It’s always a good start to a holiday when you walk through the arrivals hall and see your name shining brightly on a white board and a lovely driver directing you to the chauffeur driven car waiting outside.
Then you get in the chauffeur-driven car and there’s a picnic lunch waiting for you on each seat.
Meanwhile, the hordes of passengers exiting the airport terminal are still fighting to get into their taxis and resort transfer buses.
When you arrive at your hotel, the reception desk is laden with freshly baked buttery, chocolate chip cookies.
The children lick their lips, my diet goes out the window – and I know the yearly family ski trip is going to be snow much fun.
Val D’Isere – famous for its snow-sure pistes, fabulous apres ski, chic alpine shopping and if you’re asking me, Hotel La Savoie!
Some places you never want to leave and this is one of them. Rest assured, you’ll have to wobble out a stone heavier, but you’ll be all the more fulfilled for the experience.
The hotel is an absolute treat.
As Ingham’s first Platinum property, it’s in a wonderful location on Val d’Isere’s main street.
From here, it’s just a short walk to your choice of ski lift, either the Solaisse express, which takes you up to Le Fornet side of the ski area or the Olympique gondola if you want to ski across towards Tignes.
Le Savoie is run by English-speaking staff and combines the relaxed, informal atmosphere of a ski chalet with the superior accommodation of the top notch hotel it is.
Fluffy robes and slippers are included as standard and were a blissful welcome after a long day on the slopes. The husband I’m sure would agree. I caught him slipping them on more than once after a hot soak.
No matter that the belt didn’t quite tie around his waist, after one day of eating in this hotel, we happily became Mr and Mrs Blobby.
There’s the hot and cold breakfast to get through in the morning, the afternoon tea buffet to tuck in to on your return from the slopes and then the four-course evening meal- complete with aperitifs, Amuse-Bouche and an extensive cheese board to savour in the evening.
The chef couldn’t do enough for you. If there was something you didn’t like, or you wanted a vegetarian option, or the children were being fussy (most nights!) there was always the option to change things.
And when I explained I had a nut allergy chef made the decision there and then to remove all nuts from the entire week’s menu. Now that’s what I call good service!
The (unlimited) wine flowed at every meal. And with a good selection of quality red, white and rose to choose from, we were in bed most nights before the children.
The warmth and safety of the hotel meant leaving them alone was never an issue. If they weren’t enjoying hot chocolate in the bar, they were trying their hand at the evening quiz or enjoying the indoor pool and spa.
For me though, a ski holiday is about making the most of every minute on the piste not whiling away the hours in your hotel.
At 3,456 metres at the top of La Grance Motte glacier in the Espace Killy ski area it shares with neighbouring Tignes, Val D’Isere is a skiers paradise and there’s a simple reason people return year after year.
Sixty per cent of the slopes are set above 2,200 metres meaning you are pretty much guaranteed snow well in to early spring.
The north facing slopes help too as does the impressive network of 900 snow canons which can produce enough white stuff to cover a football pitch in less than an hour.
I know that some feel Val D’Isere is an over-priced, over-rated resort full of snobby middle class Brits.
But honestly, after a week spent here, I think it’s pretty indisputable that the resort remains one of the best there is.
Actually, Val D’Isere has much more in common with the traditional Austrian resorts rather than the relatively new and purpose-built French ones.
Originally founded as a summer refuge for families looking after their animals in the high mountain pastures, Val had a limited amount of accommodation.
The growing interest came after local boy Louis Bonnevie became French skiing champion in 1906 – though if tradition is to be believed, the inhabitants of the high valley had long used skis to get around on the snow.
Also of note is that during the Second World War, prominent Jewish families found refuge here in Val’s resort hotels.
Today, the skiing is practically limitless with miles of exhilarating green, blue and red runs to keep your heart racing.
The legendary Face de Bellevarde black run is only for those who dare. And you may need a stiff drink when you get to the bottom. Luckily, you won’t be hard pushed to find somewhere to serve it.
Val D’Isere’s reputation for having the best apres ski in the Alps is renowned. And here it begins way before you come off the slopes. All you need to enjoy it is unlimited stamina and a deep pocket.
The Folie Douce has been amazing people for nearly 30 years. High on the mountain with a living backdrop of dancers, divas and DJs, it invites fun seeking skiers of all ages to share its unique mix of fabulous food and high altitude clubbing.
I’m talking Let It Go from Frozen being belted out by a 6ft drag queen on the roof while you sip champagne.
People remember their stay in Val’Disere for all sorts of reasons. I’ll remember it as the time my children skied faster than me, stayed up later and drank more Prosecco! Gosh I’m getting old.
Charlotte and her family stayed at the five-diamond platinum Chalet Hotel & Spa Le Savoie in Val d’Isère, France, as a guest of Inghams. The company is offering seven nights on a catered basis (including buffet breakfasts, daily afternoon tea and cake and five course evening meals with complimentary wine for six days) at Chalet Hotel & Spa Le Savoie , from £1,029 per person. Price includes return flights and airport transfers and the package is valid for travel in January 2018. To book, visit www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays or call 01483 79 114.