Don't just take our word for it
This website is filled with positive content about our chalets and service. Of course it would be, we wrote it. We can’t expect you to take our word for it, and so here is some independent opinion that has recently appeared in the UK media.
VIP deserve a prize for successfully pioneering the concept of affordable luxury in the French Alps. The superlative standard of their chalets matches the very best in the business, but at a pleasantly lower price. DAILY TELEGRAPH
I have travelled with VIP many times. They offer wonderful staff, comfortable accommodation and unstinting quantities of delicious food. Imogen Stubbs. MAIL ON SUNDAY
VIP offers a range of beautifully designed chalets that are far more up-to-date in style than most, and in prime locations. Some day, you can’t help thinking, all chalets will be built this way. SUNDAY TIMES
From the welcoming glass of Kir Royal and the spread of canapés on your first evening to the cup of tea brought to your room each morning, VIP sets the standard when it comes to customer care. HOUSE & GARDEN
VIP make designer luxury relatively affordable. It is the little twists that make these holidays special. GUARDIAN
Inventor of the affordable luxury category, VIP offer 99% of the quality at 75% of the price of rival super luxury firms. THE TIMES
… just because you’re up a mountain doesn’t mean you have to go without luxury. BBC1 HOLIDAY PROGRAMME
This is definitely chalet chic! ITV HOW TO HOLIDAY PROGRAMME
VIP has raised the game to such an extent that the standard of accommodation and service now matches that of four- and five-star hotels. SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
For credit-crunching value without compromising on luxury, VIP Chalets offer well thought out service and style. GRAZIA
...to deliver a bespoke approach without removing a sense of value.
Nine years ago I was skiing in Gstaad, staying at the Palace Hotel on the hill. Enthralled, I watched the Russian clients - relatively new to the European slopes - feasting on cote de boeuf, caviar and champagne. But I also noticed what was left: great spoonfuls of Beluga, lobster and the rest. I couldn't help but mention this to my ski teacher the following day. He smiled. Gstaad attracts that type of splendor, he said. And he was glad. He'd been up at five that morning, as every morning, to retrieve the ski resort's kitchen waste. "I have the best fed swine in Europe," he said.
Though this may be extreme behaviour, for many of us skiing in the Alps is not just about the sport; it's about the food. Not that eating well comes cheap, especially now that the euro has crucified the pound. It's why the catered chalet has always done well for those who aren't in the Palace league; the all-inclusive price is a way to control costs.
But the chalet option is not always ideal for gourmets, the food too often prepared by inexperienced seasonaires. The best you get is nursery food dressed with a handful of out-of-the-bag rocket finished off with a predictable creme brulee.
Descent International - among the most expensive, service orientated of the Alpine ski specialists before it went into voluntary liquidation last autumn - redressed this reputation. Instead of well-spoken English girls, Descent hired restaurant-trained chefs, many of them French. It was right for the times - some might have said over-the-top - with five course dinners and vast spreads at tea. The thing is: all I'd eat is a single sandwich.
When I received a call from Simon Van Der Voort, our chalet's private chef, a few days before leaving for Val d'Isere, I told him straight. Because of my work as a travel writer, I'm lucky enough to eat in fancy restaurants; I wanted something simpler on holiday. I'm not the sort to be impressed by excess; nor do I like thick, cream sauces, which is so often the cook's staple. I have a habit of returning fatter from ski holidays, which annoys me when I spend all say feeling good about the burn of a tough downhill run.
Amazingly, he listened. He delivered (from a tiny kitchen) a perfect mix of strong, perfectly tuned tastes, light starters and desserts, punctuated with generous mains showcasing his sophisticated Australian heritage. On our first evening, shallot, tarragon and prawn pots were followed by pan-fried halibut in a semi-dried tomato and olive dressing with sweet potato and spinach salad; it was delicious, the fish fell away in delicate slivers. The next day, a spicy sweet potato soup was followed by an impeccably executed warm Thai beef and noodle salad. On our last evening, we enjoyed a pear and gorgonzola salad with walnut dressing followed by a rack of lamb with spicy aubergine, tomato and celery compote, fondant potatoes and green beans. It was exactly what I'd asked for and more - healthy, filling, bursting with flavour.
I hadn't just lucked out. You pay a premium for a chef like this. Simon Van Der Voort cooks for clients who sign up to the new VIP Platinum Collection.
This is a premium service from UK-based VIP Chalets. While the design is neither the flashiest nor the most spacious I've seen - an accurate finish but a relatively humdrum mix of cedarwood, white linen, and an open fire - the single-floor apartments work very well indeed.
This is because Aspen Lodge is something of a hybrid: half-chalet, half hotel, with 12 such apartments sleeping from six to 10 people, spread over four floors and sharing a ski room, reception and lounge. The lodge is located a five-minute walk from the slopes. Everything runs smoothly, including VIP shuttle bus, should a driver see you, he will pause to scoop up clients struggling with kids on that short, icy walk to the lifts.
The Platinum difference is not, therefore, the hardware. It is the quality of the cooking and all those extras: the valet parking services at Gatwick, private transfers to and from Geneva, and a wider selection of wines and champagnes at the resort. You get a Nespresso machine, an honesty bar (with soft drinks, chocolate bars and crisps), and fluffy white bathrobes.
Anyone lucky enough to ski with Descent before it went under would say, "So what?". With Descent, the ski-hire shop came to fit your boots in the chalet, champagne was unlimited and a private shuttle bus was at your beck and call. But you paid for it, with some properties costing over £50,000 a week.
The VIP Platinum service seems to be finding something of a middle ground in the chasm left by Descent's demise - to deliver a bespoke approach (the emphasis on food) without removing a sense of value. In January 2010, prices start from £1,469 per person, and that includes all the services detailed above, as well as flights.
The atmosphere and good value make this company one of the best I have travelled with. Big enough to make sure you get the best quality, small enough to ensure none of the attention to detail is lost.
Daisy Sturt (Aged 6)
I love Daddy’s holidays!
Ski & Snowboard Magazine
VIP prides itself on achieving affordable luxury. Affordability is relative, of course, but the luxury on offer is indisputable.