Winter holidays in Verbier (VS)
The last time we went to Verbier was just before my cancer diagnosis so what a pleasure to go back to enjoy it to the fullest.
We collected the children from school and set off on a Friday evening. It’s a short drive from our house and we had soon arrived at the Hotel Le Vanessa. We received a warm welcome and were shown to our room which was a duplex with three bedrooms and two bathrooms so it's perfect for a family or group of friends.
We had time to unpack and for Jean to take Alba and Jude to get their ski equipment from Intersport Phillipe Roux before the babysitter arrived for Elio. As we’ve mentioned before, Elio's routine is very important and he often screams in restaurants so I gave him his dinner and got him ready for bed before we left him in the capable hands of Claudia who regularly works with the hotel.
Our destination for dinner was the very cool Taratata Verbier which is a couple of minutes walk from the hotel. Descending the stairs and you find a cool bar and restaurant of the sort I miss from my London days. There is a lively atmosphere with DJ later in the evening and we were soon ordering ourselves a cocktail whilst perusing the menu. They are famous for their meat so Jean and I decided to try some steak and the children were happy to see bolognese on the menu. The great thing about this place is that although it’s very trendy, it is also very family friendly with colouring equipment for the children and even board games you can bring to the table between courses. We found Guess Who and enjoyed a few games of that during dessert which was lots of fun.
Back in the room and we were soon tucked up in bed before a busy day ahead.
We were up early and had a good breakfast at the hotel before starting the activities for the day. We were splitting into two teams with Jean and Elio heading to Medran for the handi-ski and me taking Jude and Alba to Les Esserts: one of the very practical things about the hotel is that there is a private shuttle service so Jean left first with Elio and the rest of us took the little bus directly to the beginners slope. Here we met Rupert who was our instructor with ESS Verbier. We had a two hour lesson scheduled and the children LOVED it! Rupert was kind and patient with the children who warmed to him immediately. That and the fact that the sun was shining made for a perfect morning. The children don’t ski very often so it has been hard for them to make much solid progress but they really seemed much more confident after two hours with Rupert which was wonderful. Thank you very much to Rupert for doing such a great job with our beginners.
Jean and Elio LOVED the handi-ski. To be honest, we were a bit doubtful when they set off in the morning because Elio had had almost no sleep the night before and we were worried he would be tearful and stressed, but in fact Jean said he only got upset when it was time to stop. This was Jean's second experience of handi-ski and he was amazed at how high they went and how fast they made the descent on steep runs with such ease. The team were brilliant with Elio and they were sad when it was time to finish so a huge thank you to Matthieu, François and Tracy for this truly magical experience for our little man (and Jean too).
We headed back to the hotel in the shuttle and got ourselves tidied up for lunch. We had a reservation at La Nonna restaurant which is close to the hotel. We ate at La Nonna the last time we were in Verbier and we loved it so much, we were really excited to go back. We weren’t disappointed with a large choice of tempting options on the menu and colouring stuff to keep the children busy. Alba picked some pasta and Jude had their escalope milanaise and they wolfed it all down after their exertions of the morning. Jean and I shared their delicious carpaccio and a nice glass of red wine with chocolate mousse for dessert.
Next stop was the tourism office where we collected the clues for the treasure hunt we were doing that afternoon. We got our winter gear on again and asked the hotel to take us in the shuttle to the place where the hunt begins. It’s a really lovely walk which offers fantastic views over the valley and we were lucky to have a beautiful sunny afternoon. We managed to crack all the clues which motivated the children to keep walking on tired legs. Once you have collected the answers to all the clues, you can take your completed sheet back to the tourist office and collect a small prize :-).
We had organised for Claudia to come back again in Saturday night to look after Elio so we all got tidied up and headed out for dinner. On the Saturday night we tried another very cool spot called 67 Pall Mall. This branch of a London based bar and restaurant is new to Verbier and well worth a visit for its lovely decor, well reputed chef and excellent choice of wines. Alba was so tired she fell asleep on my knees after eating so we finished our meals and carried her back to the hotel.
Elio slept better but I was feeling unwell on Sunday morning so we had to split the team again and I stayed at the hotel with Elio to pack while Jean took Alba and Jude to try the dog sledding with Takitrek at Les Ruinettes.
The children had been extremely excited about this and it definitely lived up to their expectations as they sped through the snowy landscape in the sunshine. They were really impressed by how fast the dogs can run, especially as they start! During the ride, they had the chance to break and meet the dogs which they loved. After 45 minutes, they were back to Les Ruinettes and it was time to check-out the hotel.
We were so grateful to have had the chance to go back to Verbier and discover such fun winter activities. It really is a magical place for skiers and non-skiers alike. Our next ambition is to go back in the summer time and discover some child-friendly hikes.
Don't miss the video of the weekend, 15 seconds and you will want to go!
Route de Verbier Station 61