Basic but perfectly equipped for a short notice ski trip.
Unit was clean and warm with a nice patio door opening out to the snow.
Downside is there is no Wi-Fi in the unit only the reception so unable to sit in an watch a movie in the evening. This just meant we had to go out. Le cateral bar had cold beer, sports on TV and was dog friendly so that and the elephant in le praz became our hangout.
Good value for money, ski in and ski out, its basic and around 20 years old so dated is some parts but that is reflected in the price, its not five star! More like two star so don’t expect much other than a bed and bath, However the ski in and almost ski out location makes up for other short falls in this accommodation. Rooms can sleep 2 adults and up to 3 children. So it’s a cheap ski holiday! Wifi is only available in the lobby. My five star review is based on price paid and location, Some of the room are old and dated. Its self catering accommodation with no restaurant however you can get croissants and bread delivered for breakfast. Be prepared take you own towels and bedding and you wont be disappointed with the basic stuff they give you! You need a car with winter tyres and chains to get up the road next to the apartments so don’t try to drive to this apartment without winter tyres in fact parking is tight so I don’t recommend driving at all!! The rooms are most of all one bedroom apartments, the bedrooms are small and the kids sleep on bunk beds in a hall way. There is a sofa bed in the lounge so they can sleep five however this is a push and apartments are small so five sleeping is going to be tight! But if you are skiing on a budget then you can squash five of you in just! You could sleep five adults if two don’t mind sharing a bunk bed! Read the booking information carefully, The reception is not open often its only open for a few hours a day on changeover days. The ski lockers don’t have boot dryers in them ( this is 2 stars remember!) so take you boots back to you room at the end of the day. The whole building has underfloor heating so room are always warm.
The car park is very tight! I recommend getting taxi or airport transfers rather than driving yourself, you can get the train to Moûtiers Salins Brides-les-Bains station which is very close and doesn’t cost much in the taxi.
For myself and my friends the apartments sufficed as we was not seeking anything special due to our budget. I would however recommend staying closer to 1550 or potentially in 1650 or 1850 due to the location. We found that we had to make a 30 minute round trip in to the village at least once a day for food as there is no shops close to the apartments, there is a bus service that runs past the hotel but it is infrequent and doesn't run in to the evening. In relation to the slopes, you can ski in on a poorly maintained piste but you can not ski out, the closest piste is about a 5 minute walk away. The apartments themselves are very basic and small, stopping there with three other lads was very cramped. Overall I would probably not stop again due to a combination of these factors, most importantly the location.
RESIDENCE LES BRIGUES REVIEW
Although I aim to write a fairly comprehensive review of the accommodation itself, I think it's helpful to also mention some parts of our trip which you, if you are preparing for a trip on the cheap as a student, or perhaps a family, might find relevant to help you save lots of money without losing out on the amazing 3 valleys ski experience.
Without a doubt, this is some of the best value for money/the cheapest accommodation in the 3 valleys area. We booked our stay with Snowtrex, a division of Traveltrex for the first week of the ski season 2014, beginning 13th December. If you plan on really saving money in one of the best ski areas in the world then this is the accommodation for you, but be wary for what you are letting yourself in for.
For a party of 8, we decided to rent 2 rooms that were large enough for 6, in order to give ourselves a little extra space. Don't be fooled; there was barely adequate room for 4, let alone the supposed capacity; there was a bunk bed located in the front door hallway, in a room with no heater right next to the door. On the same impractical note, when the sofa bed was fully extended you couldn't actually enter the main living area since the door was actually blocked. The bedroom however was more than adequate, with 2 single beds and enough room between for movement. The linen provided was washed and ironed and a good general standard, and it was nice to find lots of blankets in the storage areas for colder evenings.
In contrast to the majority of sleeping provisions, we were fairly well stocked with cooking utensils and equipment; cooking for 4 was very easy. There are 2 electric hobs, a sink and an infrared cooker/microwave. There's also a large dishwasher and fridge, with plenty of room for storing food. Criticism here included only being able to cook practically with one person in the kitchen area, and, a distinct lack of glasses. One of the coffee machines definitely had been left with remnants in it for months, generating a smell which caused us to boil water on the hob for the week. Note there isn't actually a freezer, the fridge can be turned up and down to create one or the other. Bar this, we were impressed by the fairly modern equipment provided for a very modest apartment rental cost.
Other amenities include a small table which you can actually get 7 around at a push, a balcony to save on fridge space (not the best view) a fairly grim sofa and a TV. Be aware you have to pay €20 for this, which we never bothered with. The tap water is fine for drinking, and the hot water supply is decent once you've run the shower for a few minutes. For those of you with laptops needing to check emails etc, there was wifi, but this was €20 for the week for 1 device, AND it was only available in the lobby, quite far away from our rooms. Again, we didn't bother. I would also advise bringing a British multiple extension cable with a European converter to make up for the lack of plug sources. This probably isn't particularly safe, but with lots of tech needing to be charged, there simply weren't enough wall sockets.
The shower and bathroom in both of our apartments was poor - one room had no head height holder, and the other apartment's one was broken. We managed to crudely fix this, but even when in place, the sink and floor would get completely soaked. Not helpful when there was no mat provided, and reception was closed bar 2 hours each evening. One of the towel driers was also broken, and there was only room for 4 towels. Extractor fans were non existent too, in both the bathroom and the toilet, which wasn't great in a room of 4 boys.
Outside of the bathroom, the heaters worked really well, and you could have the rooms nice and warm in 2 minutes, and back again by opening the balcony door; helpful at meal times. There was just about enough storage area for ski clothing, but we had to make use of under the single beds an on the bunks - again, with even more clothing, 6 people would not be practical at all in these apartments. Hangers are also provided as is a small drying rack; but ours was broken.
In terms of arriving and departing, the staff we helpful and left a key out for us, since we arrived at 10pm on the Saturday night. They were also fairly strict on the €300 deposit for both apartments, so try to pay this asap so you don't get threatened with a room lockdown. They were also quite strict on our departure timings, but we managed to extend our departure from the rooms from 10 to 11 after asking them. One of the staff will come and check the rooms for and obvious breakages, sheets being stripped and for the room to be generally clean, but it really wasn't throughly checked, so don't worry if anything has been accidentally broken or if you didn't have it in the first place, as they wont notice. Remember to buy bin bags, toilet roll and kitchen roll, and that a broom and dustpan brush are provided
On our budget trip, we took as much food and supplies as we could with us. Without any previous experience of courchevel 1550 but with plenty of skiing in the Alps, we assumed that food would be expensive, and so we found it extremely worthwhile buying another baggage load with easyjet (£26) and filling it with 20kg of food. With some research, we found out that taking meat from the EU across boarders perfectly legal, and saved a lot of money by packing frozen packs of chicken, bacon and sausages for hungry skiers' breakfasts in an old suitcase that we actually left there. Along with a 3kg bag of pasta, 1kg of rice, pancakes, cereal, porridge, various sauces/condiments, we really cracked down on the overall food bill bought from the supermarket in the resort. In all, including breakfast lunch and dinner, the 8 of us spent about €60 each for meals. We found the most worthwhile way of saving money was preparing sandwiches with bread from the local bakery with ham we froze and took out there, or the local cheese.
For what we didn't bring with us, there was a fairly well stocked supermarket in the centre of 1550, around 10 mins down the hill with no shopping, and then up to 20 mins back depending on the amount of food or drink bought. There is also a bus service which takes 2 mins from outside the tourist office to the residence, but we found that the timings were fairly infrequent and inconvenient. This walk really got tedious after a while, especially in warm ski clothing. It's also worth mentioning at this point that the location is ski in, assuming there is enough snow, but definitely not ski out, unless you climb back up the road and go down to the lifts at La Praz 1330. Again, tedious.
With our rental, we chose to buy our ski hire and passes at the same time. This saved loads of money, and picking them up was relatively simple. Skiset is located opposite to the the granettes lift, or to the right of it (there are 2 shops 50m apart). We booked the 'VIP' package with Snowtrex but this only equated to the most basic package from Skiset, until we questioned it. Be aware. It's also worth mentioning that this rental place may not be particularly secure, I had some nice Berghaus boots taken whilst on the slopes, so ask to leave your boots or shoes in a safe place, and not in the shop. The shop was also happy to keep their equipment each evening, which is extremely helpful considering the walk back up to the Residence les Bruiges. You also have to pick up the ski passes from up in courchevel 1850, at the 'forfaits du ski', which lost us an hour of time on the first day, since we didn't have a clue where to go.
1550 itself is fairly quiet, and looking back on it, not the best place for a group of students to stay. This was based on a lack of information, a factor which I hope this review addresses. There are 2/3 bars, our favourite being next to the supermarket, since it also had a couple of pool tables and some sofas. A few doors down the hill, there was a great pizza place called 'la cortina' which served an array of Savoyarde food too at fairly competitive prices. There was a good atmosphere in both of these places. We also recommend going for a crepe after a longer day on the slopes from the restaurant/bar next to the lift station. Pancakes start at around €4, as do pints, both of which we made use of on a few occasions.
For our group, the only thing we would have done differently on the trip would be to set up a designated bank card to cover deposits and food/drink that everyone contributed towards before the trip, as it was a hassle trying to create a pool each morning with everyone giving the same amounts.
We would also recommend 3 valleys vans as a transfer company: on time on both occasions, and vastly les expensive than any other company we could find: £45 return each from Geneva airport
Anyway, to summarise our stay in Residence Les Brigues. It is very basic, and be prepared for a cramped week with quite a few broken or missing items. The beds are adequate after a long day of skiing, providing you don't sleep 6 using the bunk beds. The walk up and down will get tedious with purchased food, but often quite nice and fresh early in the mornings. To further the positives, for us, the accommodation was cracking value for money with Snowtrex, who I would recommend, equating to £405 each for 2 rooms sleeping 4 with ski hire and passes. Residence les Bruiges is a great option if you really want to do a ski holiday on the cheap, in the 3 valleys. As seasoned skiers, and including those wanting to learn, you really can't find a better area for the sport. However, if you are more interested in nightlife, entertainment and genuine comfort I would definitely recommend somewhere else, potentially away from 1550.
Les brigues, courchevel 1550
These apartments are in a complex above the centre of 1550. The walk down is about 15 mins and the walk up more like 20. It would not be pleasant in ski boots...
They are very compact, especially for more than 4 per apartment. The kitchen is very basic. The hotel is only "ski in" to certain points that we could work out and you could be a long way from these and they are only for more adventurous skiers. It is not "ski out" from anywhere as far as we could tell - you will have to walk up a snowy slope for at least 50m or ski/walk down and then pole up an incline for over 100m. There are ski lockers for every apartment – useful if you are going to take the ski in/out option, but otherwise, you may want to pay for a locker elsewhere. The ski bus does stop top and bottom of the complex though. Don’t ski on the roads – apparently it could get you fined, even if conditions are excellent!
1550 only has one basic supermarket, combine this with the limits of the kitchens and you will have to work hard to prepare interesting good value meals. (Our “chef” did!) We ate out one night in 1650, which seems to have a bit more life without being too expensive. Still not exactly cheap tho.
Access to the 3 valleys is ok – either by skiing down to La Tania and taking link gondolas, or by bus to 1550 to take a link chair or modern gondola. We had incredible powder all week right down to the valley making it especially good and most of the links did stay open all week. If they don’t, as long as you can get onto the main courchevel circuit, there is still plenty of interesting piste (and off) without the other valleys.
Overall though, unless the price is under £300 per person self catering, these apartments don’t really make sense. They are designed as budget accommodation and with the huge cost of the pass, food, drink (7 Euros a pint on slope average), they really need to be. If they are not, I’d go somewhere with a bit less skiing (after all, you can ski a good run in the powder all day and not get bored!) better location and less compact.