review Les Terrasses D'Eos Crystal ski holidays

 

It’s strange although our ski trip holiday seems so long ago, it somehow also feels like only yesterday? I wanted to take a moment on this fine sunny Manchester day and take you through our experience on where to stay in Flaine – logistically – reviewing our stay at Les Terrases D’eos, provided through Crystal Ski holidays.

 

Arriving into Geneva

It wasn’t until we placed our first snow-boot steps outside the terminal, that we realised just how popular this skiing malarkey was as we encountered literally hundreds of people patiently awaiting to board their transfer.

To say it was busy would be an understatement. There was a huuuuge line of coaches and ski and snow board bags everywhere, I felt almost left out as everyone here looked like they knew exactly what they were doing. Carting their gear to the bus that would take them to whichever enclave of the alps was going to be theirs for the week.

Luckily, the Crystal Ski staff were all easily identifiable in their spearmint green outfits which made them stand out pretty well amongst the chaos. Eager to move on, we accosted one of them – a lovely young lady called Paige, who turned out to be our rep for the trip. She advised us that she’d give us a shout the minute our coach arrived.

Arriving into Flaine, the roads got narrower and narrower as we snaked our way up the mountain and through the small villages until we pulled up outside our hotel… The Terrases D’Eos. A lovely, part-wood-part-brick building, up on the hill from the little centre of Flaine.

 

 

Checking in

Baggage unloaded, we made our way inside and it was clearly rush hour – everyone and their mother seemed to be in Flaine so we joined a queue which circled the waiting area. We reached the front-desk some half an hour later and the check in staff were very polite and apologetic about the wait. They kindly arranged for our 2 standard rooms to be on the same floor, each room slept 4 people. We required 1 room for the Fab 4 and one room to accommodate our dear friends who make up the Super 6.

 

Our room

Our rooms had views overlooking the back of the hotel which was great as we could see the families getting ready to leave in the morning and most importantly we could see all the SNOW. It was a good way to gauge how busy the slopes would be and what the conditions were like. The room/apartments were extremely well-equipped, we didn’t really think there was anything missing. A well-sized double bedroom, an open plan living space which included a dining and kitchenette area.

 

Image credit: Les Terrasses D’Eos – I assure you the rooms look exactly like the pics! 

Our mini kitchen had a sink, cutlery, crockery, pots and pans, an oven and cooker, a Nespresso machine and to everyone’s great delight – a dishwasher, so we didn’t have to waste any valuable skiing time doing any washing up. We had enough available for us to cook our own meals, which we did occasionally and they even provided cute little welcome boxes with a few added extras such as washing up liquid, cloths, salt and pepper.

 

 

There were four of us in our apartment and only one bedroom, as the other was basically the living room where the sofa opened out to a double bed. There is then a separate bathroom and toilet, so the loo is still vacant when your loved ones are in the bath, extremely handy when you’re a group of four! And the great thing is, the bathroom has a full-size tub, perfect for an apres-ski soak to relax those tired muscles after an energetic and sweaty day.

 

Facilities

The hotel itself is pretty big. There is an outdoor and small indoor swimming pool – they were very busy in the evenings; sauna; steam room; restaurant and games room and onsite gym. Of course the most important part of a ski hotel, there was a large boot room for storing all of our bulky ski gear. And as this was a ski in-ski out hotel, the boot room leads straight out onto the snow.

 

 

That was literally the best thing about this place. I never understood what ski in-ski out actually meant, but if your a novice like I was all you need to know is that it is the BEST.  As soon as you get your boots are on, you can ski out directly to the main skiing bowl of the Flaine ski resort. As we had no idea how to ski on the first day we decided to walk down to Flaine and my goodness walking in ski boots carrying skis is really not great. We knew from that first trip we were never going to do that again! From Terrases D’eos, the slope is a great beginner’s track and a nice way to get to grips with practicing your turns etc. We had some spectacularly hilarious falls when we first went out, but I will talk about that in another post…

 

The hotel

Decorated in warm colours, neutrals accented with earthy reds, oranges and browns the colour scheme mixed with lots of natural wood completely soothed me. Why did the interiors even matter? Well to me it did! This was my first ever ski holiday and I loved that we were able to stay in a location that had the feel and warmth of winter lodge,  to contrast with the stark white winter wonderland outside.

Back to the important things though – this place was in an excellent location. If you didn’t feel confident enough to ski out, there is a bus stop literally outside the entrance to the hotel which takes you to the bottom of the bowl, as well as stopping at other places such as shops and restaurants. It’s literally a 10min bus journey. You could walk down, though as I mentioned above if you’ve got your gear on I seriously wouldn’t suggest it!

The hotel also had mini buses and cars available in the evenings if you did want to go out to eat or couldn’t be bothered walking. We used them a couple of times when going to eat out at a local restaurant L’Ancolie, they would even pick us up when we were ready to come home. I love little touches like this which takes away any unnecessary hassle.

One thing to note, is this place was great for children. There were lots of cute events the hotel hosted for little ones, it was quite adorable. We did gatecrash a crepe party one evening, which I highly recommend – they were DELICIOUS.

 

 

Flaine Village

En route to the pistes, you will go past the little centre of Flaine – which has a supermarket, some shops and a good variety of restaurants. The hotel is self-catering and whilst you can order pastries at reception for breakfast, we went down to the shops to stock up for breakfast and sometimes lunch or dinner every day.

 

How were CrystalSki?

Excellent. They really were. I’ve only ever been on a rep-style holiday once before and it wasn’t that impressive. But having Paige on hand was brilliant. From the moment we arrived, till the day we left she was always on the other end of the phone. She didn’t hassle us – I think it was definitely the other way round. On the day we arrived we were so hungry we couldn’t wait to go out and find food, which meant we missed meeting Paige in the lobby – but luckily she was passing the village anyway so she popped in to where we were having lunch and swiftly sorted out everything we needed i.e. ski hire, ski lessons and answered our hundreds of questions (usually asking for recommendations on where to eat).

We always received texts if there was anything we needed to know about the weather conditions, although we had downloaded the Crystal Ski app anyway which was really handy for any local info. That reassurance of having someone there, at the touch of a button was a novelty but I quite enjoyed it. I loved that I didn’t have to spend time researching and sorting out paperwork, instead we could all spend our time playing games and out in the snow.

 

Would we stay again?

The litmus test for us when we stay anywhere is whether we would stay there again. In this case, it’s a firm yes. If we were to return to Flaine, then we would absolutely come back here.

It has all of the amenities you would need from a ski resort and the location is fab. Our interaction with the staff was minimal as we were dealing with Paige anytime we needed something (poor Paige) but the ones we did deal with were very lovely.

It was a fabulous location for what turned out to be a totally FABULOUS holiday!!

 

Where do you normally go to ski? Any recommendations for some place new to try next year? 

 

Terrasses D'Eos review

***  Thank you to Crystal Ski Holidays and Terrases D’eos for organising our accommodation and big thanks to Paige for dealing with me and my crazy group ***

 

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After winning an apartment stay in the GoWithOh Summer competition, I was delighted to finally be planning a second trip to Spain, this time taking Mo with me. When I visited Barcelona with the family, I knew I would have to return with the hubby to show him just how amazing this city is.

We stayed in a Go with Oh apartment last year and I was excited to use them again as we had a really good experience the first time round.

Emails went back and forth between Tiago and I, sending him details of apartments I was considering, only for him to come back with one not on my list. He had taken into consideration what we were planning to do and recommended a place that would be better for us location wise.

He was of course, spot on (should never underestimate the power of local knowledge!).

Our apartment in the L’Eixample (pronounced L’Eshample I believe) area is the ideal place to stay if you’re planning on doing a whole heap of sight seeing, just as we were. Mo and I managed to walk near enough everywhere and if walking isn’t your thing, don’t worry, as the metro stop Urquinaona is three minutes from the apartment.

With me being in and out of hospital the weeks leading up to us going away, I completely forgot to email the apartment owner to request an early check in. It was only once we’d landed at BCN early Wednesday, that I realised the confirmation said to meet at 4:00 pm!

I took a chance and rang the owner to see if we could somehow arrange to meet earlier and thankfully he offered to come there and then for us, saving Mo and I an afternoon of dragging our luggage around. Between my little Spanish and his little English we exchanged some laughs as he showed us round what would be our home for the next five days.

Spacious, lovely balcony, comfortable bed and eating area, the apartment was everything it said on the tin.

I particularly loved the collection of books left on the dresser. Books on Barcelona history, Gaudi, Dali, guide books – in various different languages… lots of interesting reads to relax with after a day out. Plus, the top drawer housed a handy collection of maps and other tourist goodies.

One thing we struggled with in our last location by the Sagrada Familia, was finding nearby restaurants at night to grab a quick dinner. We had no such problem here (the only thing we struggled with was making the decision on where!). Just a ten minute walk heading towards Passaig del Born, there is an abundance of restaurants all open till late in the night.

This apartment is also ideally located for any Muslim travellers – we found a great halal café, Annur Halal, that was perfect for snacks, practically round the corner. If you’re craving a full on halal dinner, then take off on a ten minute walk the other way towards Vila de Gracia and you’ll find all sorts of halal gems dotted around (full post on finding halal food in Barcelona up next week!).

From all the apartment websites I’ve used, I’ve always found Go With Oh the most useful and the quickest to deal with, their response times are great. All the staff are super friendly and always happy to help.

We may not have chosen the most luxurious apartment this time round, but Mo and I both agreed we would pick this one when we return as we really couldn’t ask for a more accessible place to stay.

Looking forward to a potential third visit… 2016??

 

Click here to check out where we stayed

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For years and years we had promised to take my mum on a trip to Barcelona and this year my sister and I finally put this plan into motion. We all booked our flights early summer and I decided to take full responsibility in finding us a place to stay. We didn’t have confirmed numbers up until the last minute, because of work commitments so I left the accommodation hunt till the last few weeks before we went.

Everyone I knew who had been to Barcelona had stayed in apartments anyway, I assumed it would be pretty easy to sort this out.

Because the trip was specially planned for my mum, who suffers from what can be quite severe back/leg pain, whatever place we decided on had to be suitable for her. I made a list of necessary requirements: lift or ground floor, clean, in the city and air conditioning (to help mum get a good nights sleep on hot summers night).

The first thing I noticed, was although a lot of my friends had stayed in apartments, not a lot of them recommended the specific ones they stayed in!?!

When you google ‘Barcelona city centre apartments’ there are a number of comparison sites that come up and one by one I went through them to find the perfect place to stay. When I found apartments that I liked I was conscious that we were dealing with landlords rather than a hotel and as most apartments were on the first floor I wanted to receive confirmation that the advertised lift, was a functioning lift (we’ve been stung by this before).

I sent out brief emails stating I was interested in booking ASAP but just wanted confirmation on the lift situation etc. No reply. I found a number of apartments on Trip advisor and emailed them. No reply. I even found a site that guaranteed a response within 24hours. Four days later, no reply.

I got really irritated with the whole process and was about to resort back to the hotel option when I stumbled upon a website called oh-Barcelona.com (aka GoWithOh). I have no idea how I found it, but I am so glad I did.

When I first started looking on the site and looking at the apartments I assumed they would be overpriced. Sure enough it was coming up more expensive than the others I had seen, but only marginally more. I emailed with my question and got a reply straight away. Sods law, I also received replies from some of the other apartments I had enquired about. However, these replies weren’t solely to confirm the lift situation, every other email had added on that because there were five of us staying in the apartment the price would have additional charges.

I know I’ve taken the long road to explain this, but my first tip when booking an apartment is do not assume that the price advertised is for a three bedroom family apartment, sometimes this is not the final price! Make sure you ask for a figure once you have confirmed the number of people that will be staying.

After all the hassle I bit the bullet and booked the oh-Barcelona apartment. My decision was purely based on the fact that the website had replied within 24 hours and the price advertised had no hidden costs, everything was laid bare on the description. Oh and the place did look pretty good.

Once my booking was completed, I received a full confirmation email giving the address, contact details and advised to contact the landlord direct if there was any special requests. Which I did, to explain that our flight was going to land very late at night so we would require a check in after 11pm (I also asked if he could leave us an iron). Again the landlord David got back in touch swiftly and assured us he would have everything arranged.

The night we set off for Barcelona, our flight was delayed. It was nearly midnight by the time our taxi arrived at the flat. There was no one outside and I was panicking from the inside. My number one fear booking an apartment rather than a hotel was not having anyone there to receive us so late at night and all five of us would have to traipse around the city to find somewhere to stay when we were hungry and tired. I called Davids phone… no answer. Heart started to sink as I knew everyone was relying on me. BUT he called me back within minutes and told me to buzz the flat (WHY I didn’t do that in the first place is beyond me) and that his brother was inside.

 

The Apartment

We were greeted by a friendly face when the door opened and given a tour of the flat to check everything was ok. It was perfect. Everybody loved it. The apartment looked exactly like its online photos.

I won’t put you through my usual walk through, because it really looks exactly like it was advertised. All the rooms were super clean, even the bathroom and kitchen were so much better than my expectations. There was a bathroom and a separate shower room at the other end of the apartment.

The kitchen had a dishwasher and all the basics, even a selection of oils and sauces which was handy. The flat was not too big and not too small and the piece de resistance… a dining room window that provided a snapshot of the great Sagrada Familia. The flat also has wifi connection, a selection of voucher books and tourist leaflets which was a real help for us during our stay. As I sorted out the remainder of the payment I could hear the others walking round and round the apartment gushing about how great, how posh, how modern it was. Boy was I glad I found that website!

 

The Location

Location wise, we really couldn’t complain. Right next door to us there was a small food store, this became our everyday stop off for fresh fruit and veg and we quickly made friends with the owners. Not even a five minute walk away was a bakery café, pizza place and a number of other cafes and shops which we visited over the course of our stay for things like souvenirs, breakfast, tea breaks etc.

The Sagrada Familia was literally round the corner and the metro stop was right there in front of it. We never had any problems getting around and as we were travelling as a group it was comforting to know that if we ever got separated it was easy for all of us to remember where we stayed and be confident that every cab driver would know it too.

 

GoWithOh.com is one of the best booking sites I have used. I like the little touches they include, such as emails before the trip recommending things to do, links to more vouchers and information emails in case we needed anything. They sent enough to keep me excited about going, but not too many to make it spammy.

I cannot recommend this apartment enough it was a great place and we were comfortable throughout our trip there. All I wanted was to be able to book a place that my mum would enjoy and be able to relax in that had a touch of luxury to it and Carrera de Valencia had the perfect solution, at an affordable price.

 

www.GowithOh.com

Click here to book this particular apartment

 

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Five years after our last family holiday, my sister and I finally fulfilled our promise of taking my mum away for her birthday to go sightseeing in Barcelona, with my dad and brother in law as a tag along.

It was after 11pm by the time we arrived, exhausted after an evening of flight delays and waiting around, but it was nearly impossible to sleep after checking into our apartment and discovering the dining room window gave us a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia.

That small snapshot of Gaudi’s unfinished project was enough to make me feel like a child on Christmas Eve, too excited to tear myself away and close my eyes and I couldn’t wait for the next day to begin.

The other reason we were all still awake – hunger! But it was late and the area where we were staying seemed very quiet.

Luckily, our landlord suggested a Turkish café not far from us that would still be open, so the boys ventured out for food whilst we settled in to our new, temporary, home.

I was under the impression eatery’s would be open well into the night in Barcelona so I was quite surprised that there was little available. This Turkish was one of the few restaurants near us that was open till late, within walking distance and saved us again a few nights later when we fancied a night time snack.

Our apartment was on Carrera de Valencia, literally 2 streets away from the Sagrada in the Eixample district. It was a great starting point for us to get around and we got to appreciate one of Spain’s greatest landmarks at all times of the day.

BCN

When planning the trip, I had made a conscious decision not to buy a travel guide and instead work off recommendations I had found on blogs and internet sites. My dad also got in on the action and created a pdf document that he emailed out to us all beforehand with all the (plagiarised) information he had found from websites on what we should do.

Although I hate to admit it, it was quite useful. He had included information such as opening times and websites which allowed us to make a preliminary plan of action before bed.

When I look back on the four days we spent there I am actually amazed at how much we managed to achieve as a group. Too much to put into one blog post so I’ve decided to talk about each day on it’s own. That way, if you’re planning a trip yourself, it will hopefully give you an idea of the timescale needed for different places.

So after arriving safely and topping up our tummies, we called it a night.

Ready to embrace all that Sunday in Sunny Barcelona had to offer us…

 

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