Hotel Review: Club Med Les Arcs Panorama in France Is A Ski Heaven For Your Tatling
So you’ve hit the slopes in Korea and Japan. Why not bring your snow-loving family to France’s famed Alps for their next ski adventure? Set in Paradiski—France’s largest ski domain—Club Med’s Les Arcs Panorama (which opened December 16, 2018) is the area’s hottest new launch.
Getting here is seamless: hop on an Air France flight to Lyon via Paris, followed by a picturesque transfer to the strikingly designed resort, which is built into the mountain at a lofty 1750m. We were among the first in the world to check in, and found that no detail has been spared to make families feel especially welcome here.
1/5 A truly carefree holiday
The last thing anyone wants after a long flight is to be stuck at the front desk, waiting to check in and register their (likely ornery) brood for ski classes. We think more hotels should offer Club Med’s Easy Arrival service: upon arrival your family is already checked in, childcare and ski lessons all booked, and everyone’s ski equipment is ready in the locker rooms. Which means all we had to decide was whether to retreat to our spacious guestroom for a nap or head to Restaurant La Pierre Blanche for its endless smorgasbord of global cuisines and panoramic mountain views.
Club Med is one of the pioneers of the all-inclusive package, which means guests can eat, drink, ski and snowboard (even ski lift passes are included) to their heart’s content without worrying about costs adding up. And all key information—such as ongoing events, weather and even the evening’s dress code —is available in real-time on the My Club Med app.
2/5 Ski with the best
Ski and snowboard lessons (at every stage of proficiency) are complementary here for all guests above four years of age. We liked that kids get access to their own ski room and the Snow Garden, a large activity area set aside for them in the resort.
Lessons are taught by English-speaking instructors from ESF (the French ski school), who prove particularly adept at encouraging little beginners who are just starting out on the slopes. For more advanced skiiers, a little-known fact: some instructors are ex-Olympians, and ours turned out to be a downhill ski medalist who carried his award in his pocket! While private lessons are chargeable, it will surely be an unforgettable experience pitting your skills against someone who has competed at the highest level—just remember to bring your GoPro to capture all the action.
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3/5 Kids take charge
Kid’s clubs can be an afterthought at some resorts, but at Club Med, they’re the highlight. Spacious, stimulating and carefully supervised venues (ranging from Baby Club to Passworld) are available for children aged from 4 months to 17 year-olds.
Particularly well-thought-out is a new restaurant concept designed specifically for families. A highly interactive space, it features fun props and animated projections of food, and serves lunch daily to children from the Petit and Mini Clubs. In the evening, kids get to play “petit chefs” by inviting their parents to dinner and taking their orders. Special family moments are virtually guaranteed—especially when the dessert trolley laden with candy and treats in every colour of the rainbow is wheeled out.
4/5 Retreat to exclusive spaces
While you’ll be quite comfortable in any of the 433 cosy, Alpine-inspired rooms, our pick of the resort is definitely Le Belvedere, Club Med’s 5 Trident Exclusive Collection space. Perched at the very top of the resort, it has 24 well-appointed suites for families, a private ski room, a strikingly designed private lounge and terrace that offers spectacular views of Mont Blanc and Tarantaise Valley, and a dedicated Concierge service. Jet-lagged teenager craving a late-night Macdonalds Big Mac? These guys will make it happen.
5/5 A wealth of local attractions
While skiing and snowboarding will keep you more than occupied, there are plenty of other adventures to be had in and out of the resort. You can hit the gym for Pilates or TRX, or wind down with a massage and a steaming cup of Kusmi tea in the Cinq Mondes Spa.
Alternatively, head out showshoeing or dogsledding, watch some child-friendly live theatre at neighbouring Club Med Peisey-Vallandry or taste the area’s famed Beaufort cheese at the Cooperative Laitere de Haute Tarantaise. And for the ultimate photo opp, take the ski lift up to Aiguille Rouge (elevation 2,000m), where its soaring peaks and jaw-dropping views will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
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