With so many chalet companies to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. And finding the perfect chalet that will please everyone in your group can be a bit stressful. The video above sets out some easy-to-follow steps to help you find the right chalet for your group.
Full disclosure: we've tried to keep this guide 100% factual and impartial, but we ourselves do offer luxury catered chalets in Meribel.
Great. That makes things a lot easier. Now you can start thinking about your preferred location.
If others may decide to join your group AFTER you have booked, then a shared catered chalet is probably the way to go. You can book by the room, one couple at a time.
If you know your group size will be 7 or fewer, you have two main options. You can take 2-3 rooms in a shared chalet. OR you can book a self-catered apartment and have meals delivered by a specialist company like Chalet Kitchen.
You have some great options. You can book a chalet for private use. But mid-sized groups (8-10) may still choose to book rooms in a shared chalet. That's because bigger chalets sometimes have better facilities, e.g. hot tub, sauna, cinema room etc.
Decide what your group values most. Do you need ski-in/ski-out, or is a chauffeur service best for you? Even a handy bus stop? Central locations are great for the night owls. But would a quieter area with amazing views be better for you?
Don't keep it all in your head. When you make a decision write it down with old-school pen and paper. Much less stressful! If you want to get super-organised, then you could even try a decision matrix. That's a (very geeky) system for taking the emotions and stresses out of complicated decisions.
Reviews will give you a better insight into the best and worst aspects of a travel company. Ignore the raving fans and the moaners. Just ask yourself: what percentage of guests had a great time based on their rating? Of those who left four- or three-star reviews, what kept them from giving five stars? Is there a pattern? Lastly, have a think about what they DON'T say. Nobody mentions the food? Then it's okay, but not amazing.
You have a nice little shortlist now. So give them a call and see what yout think. Are they a small, friendly business or a call centre? Keep in mind: they might be on a mobile, fixing the chalet plumbing while frying the bacon. So don't put them off by listing a whole pub-quiz of queries. But a couple of genuine questions will give you a good feel for your chalet company. Tell them what you're looking for and see what they say.
The best chalets do book quickly and well in advance. That's even more true for peak weeks, like half term. So, if you have found the right ski chalet for you, ask your chalet company to put it on hold for a few days and pay the deposit as soon as you can.