While we live in Grenoble for a few months, we decided to explore the ski resorts close to the city as much as we could. When Simone’s cousin came to visit from the States, it was time for some skiing holidays in Alpe d’Huez, only a 1h30 drive away from Grenoble. Spoiler: we had an amazing time! Simone and his cousin went to snowboard most of the day, while I enjoyed the amazing hotel we stayed at and its spa (call me Queen Alice!!)!
Alpe d’Huez Ski Holidays in France
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The Alpe d’Huez location
The Alpe d’Huez ski resort is ideally located in the Western Alps in France. It’s only 59km from Grenoble so it’s easily reachable from there, by car or by bus. It’s located at 1250 to 3300m and it’s part of the Grandes Rousses massif. You might have heard of it since it’s frequently used in the Tour de France cycle race and hosted the bobsleigh competitions at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
Alpe d’Huez ski
The Alpe d’Huez is a great place to ski in France, and one of the largest in the world, with 249km of piste and 84 ski lifts. It’s highly popular for off-piste as well. The whole resort is extremely well organized to make the skiing practical and easy.
As I couldn’t ski, Simone wrote this part to tell you of his experience snowboarding in Alpe d’Huez:
How could I not mention the fact that waking up and being able to jump in my snowboarding suit right away ready to ride was something that made these holidays something special…. well I just did!
So come on and hop on the board with me to discover how amazing this place is.
It has been years that I wanted to go back skiing, and Alpe d’Huez fully fulfilled that desire.
The sun shone over the skiing resort, a place for everyone: beginners, pro, or just for those who want to relax in a spa looking trough the glass at a stunning panorama. First thing in the morning, get up to the peak at 3300m altitude, so you can avoid a bit of line and be the first to ride the trails. Then you are ready to get lost trough the 119 pistes made for being curved by the blades of whatever you’re riding!
If you’re good enough on your skis or snowboard, try the two snow parks: one for beginners and intermediate, the other one for those aerial master that I enjoy to watch so much…. Respect, guys. I wish I could land one of these tricks before getting too old to try it!
Interesting fact, the sun shines over this resort for 300 days a year, and in April it even does so for eleven hours a day. Doesn’t that make you want to book now for that month? I would, but this April I really can’t, something beautiful is about to happen so maybe next year……
Last cool thing to say about skiing in Alpe d’Huez: when the weather conditions are perfect, you can see 1/5 of France…. insane….!
So now go on and click on one of the affiliate links and enjoy!
Fabulous Alpe d’Huez hotel: Les Grandes Rousses
The location of Les Grandes Rousses
Les Grandes Rousses hotel is ideally located in the Alpe d’Huez resort, only a few steps away from one of the ski lifts. It’s very close to commodities (supermarkets, pharmacy, restaurants, snacks, bookshop) and a few minutes walk away from the outdoor heated pool.
This great location naturally offers amazing views from the rooms, which we just couldn’t get enough of!
The check-in, services and check-out
Everything was a smooth. We were warmly greeted by the great staff every time we went to the reception, our bags were in our room by the time the check-in was done, and they securely kept our stuff after check-out until we were ready to leave. They also offer a complimentary shower after check-out to recover from your last skiing session, before you leave.
The hotel Grandes Rousses
There are 8 different categories of rooms from the Junior Room (20m2) to the Duplex XXL Suite (45m2) in the hotel Grandes Rousses, as well as a fabulous spa with a pool, a sauna and a steam room – with complimentary access for guests between 10am and 3pm, and after 7pm (otherwise, entry is charged). The spa also offers a choice of massages and treatments (I’ll tell you more about that below).
The hotel has an outside terrace, which I used everyday around noon to get some much needed Vitamin D. As the sun was shining bright, I could just sit there and get warmed up even though the outside temperature was -6°C. It was amazing. The couches are very comfortable, and you could even eat outside if you’d like.
The lobby and bar were absolutely gorgeous, I loved the modern and warm colour scheme (gentle pink gold, white and copper), the super comfy seats, the authentic feel of the wooden tables, and of course, the unforgettable view. Drinks were served all day, and a selection of snacks and dishes from 12pm to the evening.
The hotel also has a restaurant but we haven’t tested it.
Our room: The Duplex Suite
Located on the 3rd floor, our Duplex Suite was one of the best room we’ve ever stayed in.
After the corridor were the toilets, the spotless and spacious bathroom (with a bathtub, yay!), and shelves were located, stood our room with a comfortable double bed, seats and an armchair, a table and a wardrobe, an electrical fireplace that made the nights magical, a big flatscreen, and the door to the balcony with a gorgeous view.
After taking the stairs right after the corridor was the second bedroom, with a foldable bed, some shelves, a table, a big flatscreen, a coffee machine with everything necessary, a fridge with complimentary water bottles, and the second balcony, with more or less the same view.
Other perks at Hôtel Grandes Rousses worth mentioning
- An electronic wine bar in the lobby
- The possibility to safely store your ski/snowboard gear at the partner ski shop downstairs, for free (great if you don’t like to have water dripping everywhere in your room!)
- Breakfast in the restaurant
- Late check-out for 50€
- Complimentary Wifi (unsecured, though)
- Luggage room if you need somewhere to leave your bags after check-out + complimentary shower after your ski session when you come to get your bags back
Relaxing Spa in Alpe d’Huez: Spa Alpes (located in the Grandes Rousses Hotel)
As I was pregnant at the time of our ski holidays in Alpe d’Huez, I couldn’t ski. But that didn’t stop me from amazing an amazing time, and I took advantage of this alone-time to enjoy and take care of myself. As the spa located in our hotel had complimentary entry times for guests, so I made sure to go during these time slots to get some relaxing time in the pool. If the spa is pretty busy in the afternoon (from around 4pm), it was absolutely desert in the morning and midday. What’s best than a spa completely to yourself, I wonder…
Since I decided that I would take this opportunity to really enjoy myself and take care of my body, I decided to book a pregnancy massage. There was a “January discount” at the time, which put the price of my 45min treatment at 90€ instead of 120€. I have to say it was absolutely worth the money.
I arrived a bit early to fill-in a paper about medical conditions and preferences for treatment (body parts I would like to be massaged and other I would like not to be touched), and was led to the “tisanerie“, a cozy room with long chairs with plaids, relaxing music and electrical fireplace. Once the time arrived for my massage, I was led to an individual room, with dim lightning and relaxing music. The massage was very nice, and I wouldn’t mind to have it last longer!! After, I was led back to the “tisanerie” where I was offered herbal tea and told to stay as long as I needed to get back to the real world after my treatment.
Once ready, I went to spend a bit of time in the pool, before heading back to my room!
What to do if you don’t want to ski in Alpe d’Huez
The first reason why you’d go to Alpe d’Huez is obviously to get some skiing done, but what if you were part of a group and you couldn’t or didn’t want to ski? There are plenty of other stuff to do in Alpe d’Huez! Being pregnant, tired and super comfy at the hotel, I mainly enjoyed the comfort of our room, took some sun on the hotel terrace, and spent time at the spa.
However if you don’t or can’t ski, there are definitely options for you to have a great time while the others are on the slopes. You could of course walk around and visit the resort, to enjoy the sun and amazing views the mountains offer. You could also try different spa in the resort, or use that time to get some sports sessions in as well! The “Palais des Sports” offers many sports classes including indoor climbing, aquagym, watersports, badminton, etc. There’s also a great outdoor heated pool that I would have loved to try! You could also do some sledging, iceskating or snowshoeing to stay in theme. If sports is not your thing or you can’t do any sports, there are two movie theaters and a library in the resort.
Practical tips for your ski holidays in Alpe d’Huez
How to get there?
By plane, then driving or transfer: You can fly to Geneva airport, Switzerland (3h, 210km from Alpe d’Huez), Grenoble airport, France (1h30, 106km), Chambery airport, France (2h, 131km), Lyon airport, France (2h, 153km) or Turin airport, Italy (3h30, 210km).
The closest being Grenoble, but the most practical probably Geneva since flights to Grenoble are limited and most likely more expensive.
By train: You’ll have to take a train to Grenoble or Lyon, where you’ll then be able to drive to Alpe d’Huez or take one of the dedicated local buses (from Grenoble, it’s the Transiere Transaltitude and it departs from the train station as well!).
Driving: If you’re coming with your own car or plan on renting one, it can be a good idea to drive to Alpe d’Huez since there are plenty of parking spots in the resort and that will allow you a bit more flexibility. We went by car and just put the name of our hotel in Google Maps and let it drive us there!
How much does it cost?
Last we checked, the ski passes were:
-Day pass: child 44€ / adult 53,50€
-6-day pass: child 215€ / adult 272€
Will it be easy to rent gear?
There are plenty of shops where you can rent or buy gear in Alpe d’Huez so you really shouldn’t worry about that.
What to pack?
To be sure to enjoy your ski holidays in Alpe d’Huez, there are a few things you should pack:
- Your ski gear if you have some, obviously
- Ski and after-ski clothes and shoes
- Going out outfit if you plan on visiting one of the clubs!
And some stuff that are not mandatory but will make you enjoy your stay even more:
- The Michelin Green Guide of the French Alps
- Books to entertain yourself: Mountain Lines: A journey through the French Alps, or Murder in Grenoble
- A French Phrase Book: Like this one, or the one by Rick Steve