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Catered vs self-catered accommodation: which is best for your ski break?

We've teamed up with the Morzine-based accommodation experts at More Mountain to bust a few myths about the best way to ski holiday – here's the real difference between a fully-catered and self-catered stay

With more luxurious accommodation, better experiences on offer and tons of fuss-free services to make your life easier while you’re away, the whole ski holiday experience has upped its game massively in the last few years – meaning each new trip could legitimately be the most memorable ever.

But with so much choice, sometimes it can be hard to decide on what’s going to be best for you. Do you go ski-in, ski-out? Do you go for stripped-back modern style or old-school alpine charm? But most importantly, do you go catered or self-catered? These days, the answer isn't as easy as cooking your own food or not. We've teamed up with the experts at Morzine-based accommodation provider More Mountain to look at the different styles of stay you can have this ski season.

Catered Vs Self Catered – what's the difference?

Fully-catered ski breaks

Obviously, the main plus of fully catered ski accommodation is that everything is done for you when you get there, so your winter trip feels like a proper holiday from the minute you arrive. All of More Mountain's fully-catered chalets come with two hosts who'll see to all of your needs. As well as doing the shopping and preparing meals, they'll be on hand to give you a lift to the slopes and share the low-down on the best runs, restaurants and bars to check out in resort. That means you'll be whisked away from the world of work and daily chores and taken care of for your entire stay – your fridge will be full, your drinks cabinet stocked and your meals taken care of. But how does that actually translate into your day-to-day ski experience? Here's how it all breaks down.

Mealtimes are easy

When you really think about it, loads of your daily routine revolves around eating – you get up extra early for a slug of coffee and some breakfast before work, you spend most of your lunch hour preparing or going out to buy food and dinner shopping, planning and prep takes a big chunk out of your evenings and weekends.

When you plump for fully-catered accommodation on your winter getaway, you won't need to worry about anything at all: that means no busy supermarkets, no time-consuming cooking, no washing up and longer to enjoy yourself.

In the mornings with More Mountain, your breakfast will be on the table whenever you want to roll out of bed, and cakes will be laid out warm and oven-fresh when you get back from the slopes in the afternoon.

It's the evenings when fully-catered accommodation really comes into its own, though: each evening with More Mountain, you'll be treated to a fresh-cooked four-course dinner made with great produce – all served right at your chalet's dining table. Think proper restaurant-quality food – tasty tartlets, duck supremes with beetroot purée and veg, tasty puds and local cheese – served just for you and your group. There's a different menu for kids, too, so you won't need to worry about teething the little ones with fine dining just yet.

On top of all the great food, you can take advantage of unlimited access to a stellar selection of wines, as well as an honesty bar if you fancy choosing a slightly different tipple for your nightcap.

Transport is a breeze

It doesn't matter whether you're racing to make tracks on a freshly groomed piste or are running late because you needed a lie-in after the previous night's après, when you go fully catered with More Mountain, you'll get fuss-free transportation to and from the lifts.

That means you won't have to walk a mile in ski boots, lug your poles and skis all the way to the lifts or squeeze onto an already-packed ski-bus at peak time in the mornings and afternoons. Just hop in the pre-heated minibus and off you go to the slopes. 

Similarly, when you're done from the day and fancy hitting the town for a little bit of après, More Mountain's boot drop service means you'll be able slip straight into more comfortable shoes and have all your heavy gear transported straight back to the chalet. Easy.

Who is it best for?

Fully catered ski accommodation with More Mountain is a seriously sumptuous affair. The perfect blend of luxurious living, bespoke food and drink, and helpful hosting, it's super easy – and that's why it works for the kind of traveller who's willing to splash a bit of cash to make their winter getaway completely hitch-free. It's an escape from the hectic world of work that means you can maximise quality time with your family, friends or partner.

For families, you've got the flexibility to maximise times on the slopes and get the kids up to speed, as well as the chance to drop them off at the chalet if you fancy one last lap on a tougher run before the lifts close.

Groups, meanwhile, will have a great shot at balancing the wants and needs of everyone involved. Your meals, transfers and most drinks are already covered in your stay, so there'll be fewer chats about who can afford a round of drinks or a meal out, and more time carving on the slopes and chilling off them.

It's not just for experienced skiers wanting to maximise their time on the hill, though: fully catered accommodation can make a far less mystifying experience for first-timers, too. Chalet hosts have all the local knowledge you need to find the best runs (or bars) the first time you head out – and knowing you've got meals covered at the chalet means you won't have to spend tons of time getting to know the resort instead of just enjoying it.

Self-catered ski breaks

People used to have pre-conceived ideas that self-catered apartments were small, cramped and only for skiers travelling on a shoestring. Wrong: for the most part, basic self-catered ski accommodation has now been replaced with super-contemporary, state-of-the-art luxury ski apartments.

Spacious and well-appointed, these boutique boltholes are fitted with finishing touches that mean you'll have an experience that's one better than 'home away from home'. Here are a few reasons why you might choose to go self-catered on your next ski break:

Keep your independence

Travelling self-catered means you can do exactly what you want, whenever you want and not have to worry about keeping to time schedules. That means you can be more spontaneous: you can party late or lie in as long as you want. No set meal times mean you can choose exactly when and what to eat, and you'll get more of a chance to dive into the resort's culture.

Save money

It's no secret that self-catered accommodation is cheaper than a fully-catered stay. You'll be subscribing to fewer services, staff and experiences – and if you're happy doing it your own way, it works perfectly. You'll be able to cook your own meals, live more like a local and let your time on the slopes be the thing that you remember most when you get back home. Either that or you can save all your cash for an extra-special meal out at the end of your holiday.

Top up your experience where it matters

Like cooking? Great, go ahead and cook. Don't mind riding the bus to the lifts in the morning? Go for it. Hate queuing for ski hire? You're in luck, because you don't have to. Thankfully, with More Mountain's Apartments Concierge Service you can pick and choose what you need doing for you, and deal with the rest yourself. From ski hire and transfers to shopping, private chefs and additional housekeeping, it's down to you how all-in you make your experience, meaning you can save money where it matters.

Who is it best for?

Thanks to its ease, cost and flexibility, booking a self-catered stay is the way to go for loads of travellers, from first-time skiers looking to go far on a small budget to huge families on their big winter holiday.

For some families, the flexibility of self-catered accommodation is the difference between going away and not: that home-from-home environment gives the less ski-focused somewhere to properly kick back and relax while other members of the group go out on the mountain.

As a couple, it makes sense to go self-catered, too. All-in service and in-house catering works really well for bigger groups where getting a table at restaurants is tough, but getting out and enjoying the bounteous food and drink scene of the resort has to be high on the agenda for any couple looking for a romantic getaway.

Whichever type of stay you choose, the experts at More Mountain can help. Expect laidback luxury accommodation, extremely well thought out, no-compromise service and access to some of the most picturesque pistes in all of Europe. And you'll get looked after equally as well no matter how you choose to stay.

Interested? We thought so. Find out more about holidays with More Mountain at moremountain.com, or make an enquiry about the 2019/20 season by emailing info@moremountain.com or calling 0033 686 021805

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