In the summer of Covid-19, having been shut at home for months on end with some trips earlier in the year cancelled, we were desperate for a change of scenery – somewhere that avoided flying but which would give us a break from the monotony of lockdown life in the UK.
The Alps is our favourite place to visit and, with a weather forecast of unbroken sunshine for a whole week ahead, we started looking for a last-minute holiday, which we could drive to via Eurotunnel.
Chalet Sandy – a catered chalet in Les Gets – came up in our search results and, persuaded by the impressive photos and videos on their website, we booked up at the last minute and were on our way with the three children a couple of days later.
Les Gets is in the Portes du Soleil region of the Alps, which is full of things to do in summer as well as being a popular Winter ski resort. It’s close to Morzine and Chamonix in France and Champery in Switzerland is just a few chairlift rides away over the border.
It’s a stunningly beautiful region, made all the better by the glorious sunshine we had all week. The town of Les Gets is lively with plenty of shops, restaurants and amenities – and quick and easy access to chairlifts and cable cars up the stunning mountain slopes with their miles of walking, mountain biking or skiing routes.
Chalet Sandy is a few minutes’ drive outside the town centre (about 15-minute walk) on a hillside with mountain views from every balcony.
It’s owned and run by Hillary and Duncan – an English couple who’ve lived and run chalets in Les Gets for years.
Our first impressions were good before we’d even arrived – with the communication during the booking process. Emails and phone calls were answered quickly and they were helpful with a very last-minute (the night before) change to our booking to accommodate an extra person.
When we arrived, after a long 12-hour journey in the car, we were pleased to find our expectations were easily lived up to.
The chalet is very large and really high quality. Well-decorated, clean and with all the facilities you could ask for to make a holiday enjoyable and comfortable.
We had two rooms between us – one of the really big rooms with a balcony overlooking the mountains at the front and a smaller back bedroom overlooking the vegetable garden.
All the rooms have their own en-suites with modern, luxurious showers and comfortable beds. There are thoughtful touches like USB points in the plug sockets (charge your phone without needing European plug adaptors), decent quality shower toiletries, luxury towels, bottles of water in the room re-filled daily…
This is a shared chalet, with 8 bedrooms – and there’s a big lounge / dining / kitchen area where all the guests can sit and relax on sofas (with a log fire in the winter) and sit together for breakfast and dinner (tables were separated for social distancing while we were there but normally all guests are seated around one large table).
As well as your own big balcony with mountain views (in the front rooms) there’s a communal outdoor terrace with sun loungers, dining table, sofas, a decent quality hot tub and more views of the valley and hillsides of Les Gets.
The property and accommodation were great but what makes the experience of staying here all the more enjoyable is the helpful and friendly nature of the owners.
Hillary was full of suggestions and ideas of places for us to visit and things to do. Guests qualify for a huge discount on lift passes – I can’t remember exactly what the discount was but it was way over 50%, which made a big difference to us with five people to buy for.
There was an ample supply of drinks – wine, beer, soft drinks, tea, coffee – and just relaxing at the chalet after a day in the mountains was enjoyable.
The thing every guest at Chalet Sandy will surely remember the most though is the food.
We had a semi-catered option, with dinner on 4 of the 7 nights and breakfast every day.
Duncan is the chef – and not just some guy who owns a chalet and happens to cook the food – but a professional trained chef from a Michelin star restaurant. His food was nothing short of mind-blowingly good.
This is gourmet fine dining style food of unbelievable standard. Four course dinners, every mouthful of which was absolutely sensational – a different league from any meals we’ve had anywhere before.
What proved the food was special is that we had our three children there, who aren’t exactly used to fancy gourmet restaurant style food. At a restaurant they’re typically more likely to choose a burger or pizza than a mushroom tortellini and crystalised pistachios…
Even I’m much more likely to choose a restaurant with a big steak or mixed grill than somewhere with this type of food, which I often fear is too small portions for too much money.
But Duncan’s food at Chalet Sandy was something else. All five of us loved every mouthful of every course we were served. In fact we all more than loved it – we could hardly believe the amazing flavours that each mouthful contained – even in things that none of us would normally choose or expect to like. It was sensationally good food.
The daily breakfasts were just as enjoyable – with a big selection of options that were a perfect way to start off an energetic day in the mountains (or a lazy day laying by a lake).
Our whole experience staying for a week at Chalet Sandy was a brilliant one, made all the better by some incredible weather, the amazing sights of Les Gets and the surrounding region – and really topped off by the phenomenal quality of the food and hospitality of the owners.
If you’re looking for a catered Ski chalet in Les Gets – or a summer mountain chalet in one of the best towns in the Alps – we can highly recommend Chalet Sandy, you definitely won’t be disappointed!