I’ve been on many ski holidays, but none like my recent ski holiday in Tignes with Mark Warner.
Who is this Mark, you ask? He’s not some flamboyant Bavarian gentleman I met on the slopes. I’m also not talking about United States Senator Mark Warner whom I kept accidentally tagging in my Twitter updates. Oh dear…
Mark Warner is a British tour operator, specialising in ski and beach resort holidays. I’m usually not a big fan of package holidays (I like quirky boutique hotels and spontaneity) but I must say that I thought it was perfect for a skiing trip!
Why? Let me tell you all about my experience and help you figure out if a Mark Warner ski holiday is for you… But before I do, watch this short video which makes it all come to life!
Who is Tignes good for?
Tignes is a large skiing resort in south-eastern France. It comprises of five villages – Val Claret, Tignes le Lac, Le Lavachet, Tignes Les Boisses and Tignes-les-Brévières. It’s also part of the Espace Killy skiing area along with neighbouring Val D’Isere.
Its steep slopes are ideal for advanced skiers and snowboarders – it even served as the freestyle skiing venue for the 1992 Winter Olympics. But don’t worry, there is also plenty to do for beginners as I’ll explain shortly.
Tignes has snow cannons and pretty much guaranteed snow cover all winter so if you’re looking to have a nonstop skiing bonanza it is always a good bet. The Grande Motte glacier it used to offer year-round skiing but thanks to global warming that’s sadly no longer the case.
It’s popular with young adults looking to have a fun holiday full of skiing and drinking, as well as families with small children.
Is it suitable for beginners?
Tignes is quite an advanced resort with steep slopes but you’ll be able to find plenty of blue runs to keep you happy. If you’re just getting started, you should check out Mark Warner’s beginner ski weeks.
There are some great ski schools in the resort (I recommend Evo2) and the instructors are very helpful even if you’re quite an advanced skier as they’ll show you the best slopes and share lots of insider info.
Where to stay?
I was travelling with Mark Warner and was hence staying at one of their hotels – Chalet Hotel Ecrin de Val Claret. It has a big pool, gym, a spa and a great atmosphere.
The guests seemed to be mainly families with children which makes sense because the hotel provides free childcare, so the parents can hit the slopes and leave the littluns behind.
But thanks to the nanny service the children weren’t loud during dinner time or running around the hotel like tiny uncontrollable beasties, so I never felt disturbed by them.
There was also a singles table at dinner where you could sit and meet other solo travellers which is a fantastic ideas! The average guests were 30-40+ though, so if you’re after a week of crazy uninhibited parties this is probably not the hotel for you.
The chalet is very cute – the rooms look like tiny cabins and there is a lot of attention to detail, with little wooden sleds and reindeer hidden cleverly all over the place.
The only downside is that it’s not a ski-in ski-out hotel, you have to get a bus to the slopes. But all the buses are free and run regularly so it wasn’t too much hassle!
How do you get there?
The easiest way to get to Tignes is flying into Grenoble and then taking the bus to Tignes. Because I was going with Mark Warner this was all organised for me, but you could easily arrange transport yourself.
Where to eat?
I had a hot home-cooked breakfast, afternoon tea and three-course dinner provided at the hotel so I didn’t end up eating out too much.
The food at the hotel was of extremely high standard. Think goats’ cheese salad, beef steak with roasted potatoes or prosciutto crudo with melon, all accompanied by bottles of wine.
And let’s not forget the dessert – lush brownies, mint chocolate chip ice cream and delicious cheese boards like the one below.
Having said that I did try several restaurants near the slopes, because – let’s be real – food is an integral part of any holiday and gluttony is fun.
L’Escale Blanche was probably my favourite restaurant and it’s located right underneath the Palafour lift which just so happened to be my favourite slope. They serve delicious French food and pizza, and the portions are big.
Their dauphinoise potatoes are to die for (and so cheesy that eating them every day might actually kill you). If you’re a meat eater, I also highly recommend their fillet steak.
Regardless of what your favourite food is, I’m pretty sure you’ll like the decor though. Vibrant ink hues and cow print? Yes please!
If you can get up the funicular to Maison Bouvier, try their cakes and chartreuse hot chocolate. Not only are they delicious – the restaurant is also full of adorable dogs.
Sadly I can’t guarantee they will be there during your visit, but they seem to belong to one of the owners or staff and they’re very cuddly.
Where to apres ski?
What is apres ski? Essentially it means getting really drunk after a long day out on the slopes. The Loop Bar and The Marmot Arms are some of the most popular places in Tignes. Both have live music, great vibes and lovely vin chaud (mulled wine).
What can I do there?
There are lots of things to do in Tignes other than skiing and snowboarding. You could hit up Tignespace and go swimming, play tennis, badminton or use their 16m-high climbing wall.
You could also try a husky ride, ice-diving, paragliding, ice-driving, snow-shoeing, ice climbing or tobogganing – just a few of the winter activities offered by Evo2.
Oh, and many hotels offer spa treatments! Chalet Hotel Ecrin de Val Claret where I was staying had two lovely masseuses and I loved their back massage and pedicure package for just £65.
How much does it cost?
So, how much will it cost you? For a 7-night Mark warner ski trip departing on 17 April at Chalet Hotel Ecrin de Val Claret you’d pay £549 per adult and £314 per child.
That includes flights, resort transfers, accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and three-course dinner with wine, lift pass collection service (not the lift pass itself) and free evening childcare.
On top of that, ski and boot hire cost £112 and a six-day Tignes lift pass costs £168, although I’d recommend paying £198 for an Espace Killy pass which also covers Val d’Isere. Don’t forget to have a look at their late deals!
Is a Mark Warner ski holiday for you? Here’s a checklist…
- Would you prefer to have transport arranged for you?
- Do you want breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner included?
- Would you like a heated locker for all your ski gear?
- Do you want a fuss-free experience?
- Are you coming with children?
- Would you like gym, pool and spa facilities in your hotel?
- Can you pay more than £500 per person, plus at least £168 for a lift pass?
If you said yes to at least three of the above points, I think you’d have a fantastic time and should definitely consider booking a Mark Warner ski trip.
Have you ever travelled with Mark Warner or been on a package ski trip? What was your experience like?