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any travel agents out there? when is optimum time to book LAST MINUTE XMAS DEAL?

(12 Posts)
noonar Thu 04-Nov-10 12:24:06

i'm hoping to book a bargain holiday for 2 adults and 2 children over xmas. our budget
is £1500 for a half board package.

we want a scenic traditional village resort with a good kids' ski school. so far the only hols we've seen that we can afford are low austrian resorts and slovenia, but we want somewhere a bit more snow sure.

i'm worried that hols advertised by crystal/ thomson last week have now gone up in price.

Have we left it too late aleady or do we need to leave it much later? Any advice from travel agents much appreciatd.

natation Thu 04-Nov-10 20:04:20

www.rocketski.com/
This company just got a mention on a great website for tips on skiing which is
www.snowheads.com

natation Thu 04-Nov-10 20:29:16

Rocket Ski gives you half board for 4 in 2 alpes for just under 1400.

But you could do your own package cheaper. You could get Easyjet flights to Geneva for example for just over £400 for the family, transfers to a resort could be as little as £150 return, leaves you with £950 to pay on accommodation. You could get accommodation (maybe not hotel but certainly apartment) for around £500 for a week in many resorts.

natation Fri 05-Nov-10 10:57:44

Try looking on Peak Retreats. Resorts within easy reach of Geneva airport AND great for children AND typically Savouyard village are Combloux, Morillon, Les Houches. Most accommodation in France is self-catering, can't find a hotel in your budget still available near Geneva which is probably the cheapest place to fly to from the UK with the shortest transfers.

We go often to les Houches. All I can see still available to fit a family of 4 are the Odalys apartments, they are one stop by ski bus from Prarion lift where the ski school also is. The cost is about £450 for the week 18-26 December with www.odalys.fr. Ski passes for 4 are around £395 for 6 days, ESF ski school per child for 6 days is around £106. Transfers can be as little as £140 return. Flights as little as £400 return. Ski buses and trains are all free in the Chamonix valley.

Flights 400
transfers 140
accommodation 450
ski passes *4 395
ski school *2 212
ski hire *4 175
food 200
total £1972

noonar Fri 05-Nov-10 14:39:57

natation, thanks so much for taking the trouble to do all that posting on my behalf!
i will look at peak retreats, thanks.

funnily enough, i have been in touch with rocket ski... they can do xmas week for £1030 half board for a family of 4, but... their main client base in school groups and the accomm is vv basic. normally i'm not fussy at all and just glad to be skiing, but if i'm honset, for xmas week i want a little more than youth hostel standard of accomm.

this is the main reason why i was thinking of booking last minute- to get a hotel based holiday that's been discounted.

i found a log cabin in borovets which the whole family got v excited about but then realised that althought the resort is 14oom and so not too low, it has v poor snow history for dec.

i had assumed that flights would be exp this close to departure. will take a look...

thanks again

Nettee Fri 05-Nov-10 17:57:09

Not a travel agent but was addicted to Crystal ski prices last year and there were some very cheap deals going in the week before christmas. The prices did go up again sometimes at the last minute - I think I decided the Tuesday before departure was optimum!

The other thing about Crystal is the free child prices if your children are younger than 11. That might work out cheaper while they are till available rather than paying 4x the discounted price. Le Totem in Flaine has a full board package for £15,900 ish for four so still comes in above budget.

noonar Fri 05-Nov-10 20:40:02

oh gosh nettee, thats cutting it a bit fine! how cheap were they last minute? are we talking under £1000 per family?

i've seen the deal you mention as i too know the crystal website like the back of my hand. however, i'm holding out for a more picturesque resort with a good chance of snow. dont want much, do i?

dds are 6 and 8 btw

Nettee Sat 06-Nov-10 07:10:18

I think there were some deals for something like £198 per person chalet board for christmas week. from distant memory. I am sure it was under £300 though. It was a bit like price drop TV with prices changing nearly every day hence the addiction. These will have been for family friendly chalet hotels.

It was definatley the cheapest week of the year and with the most availability right at the last minute. I suspect that like you most people want to know what they are doing for Christmas week a little futher in advance which is why the holidays didn't shift much right at the end. Mind you it is quite a risk that there won't be anything left in the high and pretty resorts.

natation Sat 06-Nov-10 16:32:06

Hi there OP again. You don't say whether you have skiied before with the children, but I've got 4 of them and number one criteria for us is to be close to the slopes, then to have preferably a pool or something to entertain the children after and between skiing. I really can't stand carrying the children's skis for them, so I always choose somewhere not too far from the slopes and the ski school, so the children will not complain about carrying their own skis.

The Rocket ski hotels do seem to be very well situated in this respect, close to the snow, plus they are likely to be full of families with children looking for friends to play with, the reviews on Tripadvisor seem quite favourable for some of their hotels, even if the rooms are basic, yes you get what you have paid for.

A last thought, nearly all Swiss resorts do free ski passes for under 9s, have you looked there? The biggest downside I have found for Switzerland is the expensive ski schools - for France I have a limit of 120 euro for 6 days and never go above it, in Switzerland it is very difficult to find any ski school this cheap, so in fact we return each year to France ESF where the ski levels are the same throughout the country.

LIZS Sat 06-Nov-10 16:47:23

Just had a look at Rocketski and we have stayed at the Beausoleil in Alpe D'Huez in an organised group with another company. Very well located in that the slopes are right outside the back door and ski hire a short stroll away. Good food and plenty of it but accommodation cramped if I'm honest - think 3 single beds all in row, with one being a set of bunks ! You might find other school groups there at the same time, although less likely for Christmas week itself I should think. Personally I didn't like the resort itself as very sprawling , purpose built and few trees, but plenty of good skiing to be had and there was a pool, ice rink etc.

noonar Sun 07-Nov-10 17:03:55

thanks everyone. we have been skiing twice before as a family- well dd2 didnt actualy ski as she was too young.agree about proximty to slopes.

liz am glad to get feedback re rocket ski.we rally dont want a purpose built resort. we were lookingat montgenvre or risoul with them. dh thinks it'd be too basic for a xmas break- although fine at any other time.

re switzerland lift prices... if saas fee was anything to go by, the adult prices were double to compensate for the free child pass!!!

i think i'm being too fussy...

mebaasmum Wed 10-Nov-10 18:21:25

ski esprit have family of 4 to chamonix that week for 1099. + ski world have self catered for 159 pp

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