Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How Not to Run a Chalet

I have recently received somewhat of an ear bashing from various quarters (uptight, grumble fairies suffering from a chronic sense of humour failure, if you’re asking) about certain elements of the somewhat questionable advice that I frequently dispense herein. 

I have a hunch one or two of the above mentioned work for tour operators and therefore I’m probably not at the top of their lists of ‘favourite people’ anyway, but still. Sidestepping the many petty quibbles we could get into over the fact that some of these tit gypsies are willfully missing the point of most of what I say, I thought that in fact it was probably about time I used my popularity for a good cause.

By that I mean stop simply telling people to drink their own urine and sprinkle their pubes in people’s ski gloves and provide some useful information that a newbie seasonnaire may take with them on a season, to avoid getting fired / alcoholism / fatal injury / genital warts.

The other day, a very nice lady from Alps2Alps, with a sexy name, invited me to do a guest post on Ski Accommodation Finder to offer some helpful advice the common-or-garden innocent holiday-going punter this coming season of ski-ness. This was a request to which I gladly acquiesced in the most flippant way I could think of. Here, you can read it: How to Have the Worst Ski Holiday of Your Life.

In return, the lady with the sexy name sent me what follows; A narration of a rather irksome-sounding chalet holiday. Most of what the writer experienced is pretty standard stuff and this did much to back up my frequent claim that your average ski holiday is nothing more than a glitter-garnished-pile-of-faeces.

Anyway, I thought this was all rather apt and might act as a poetic counterpoint to most of the other ramblings on here, which generally vilify the hapless punter.

Suffice to say, whoever this Chalet Bitch was, they were taking the chronic piss…

[Alps2Alps, by the way, in case you didn't know is the 'affordable airport transfer provider for all your ski transfer needs.' In other words, call these guys if you don't fancy being driven up the mountain this winter by a half-cut 19-year-old in a clapped out minibus with no wing mirrors...] 

How Not to Run a Chalet

If, like me, you thought that resorts like Megeve were these days finally free from dodgy dwelling and awful apartment owners, allow me to educate you. 
Not even close!

I recently returned from a pre-season break to what’s become my favourite haunt and to be perfectly frank couldn't wait to share my experience…for all the wrongest of reasons. In the five days I resided in a chalet block I shall not name for fear of being strung up before the courts. I experienced what I’d consider a ‘Chalet Management 101’ guide as to how NOT to run an establishment. 
It even got to such a point that I couldn't even begin to remember each and every horror of the days and nights, so I took to taking notes. That’s the first time I’ve ever compiled a fact-file of how hideous a stay in the Alps has been and hope to God it turns out to be the last. 

There aren’t enough pages on this whole site to go into full detail, but just to illustrate the point, here’s a brief look at a few of my personal favourites:

AWOL on Arrival
Ah, there’s nothing like turning up after a delayed flight only to find your ‘helpful’ chalet managed has already buggered off for the day with your keys. Cue a three-hour ordeal of phone calls, taxi rides and plenty of swearing before finally getting the things…only to be made to feel it was your fault! 

Personality Transplant
The above was just the first instance in which it seemed our plucky host has undergone a personality-ectomy. A frown that could ruin any Christmas, body odor strong enough to melt the ice caps and a tendency to only ever grunt a response while clearly too busy on Facebook. 

AWOL on Breakfast
Why bother paying for breakfast if the bloke that’s supposed to put it out doesn’t bother showing up? His excuse was that he was told nobody had paid for breakfast…interesting seeing as he checked up on and confirmed breakfast times just the night before. The downward spiral went on. 

Brits Abroad
Who in God’s name puts a five-room stag party of blokes from Birmingham above a family with two young kids? That’s right – our heroically incompetent chalet owner…sleepless nights a-plenty and I think my youngest picked up a few swear words for free. Marvelous! 

Hygiene Horrors

I won’t get too graphic in case you’re eating, but it seems there was still a good 15% of the prior guests still present in the room in the form of body hair and stainage. Seriously, you could clone a whole family from the DNA left behind…yuck!

Local Knowledge? What’s That Then?
I only asked one question and that was enough to know he wasn’t going to give us any help at all. I needed to know where the nearest shop was, he said he hadn’t a clue and didn’t know if there was one…it was three doors down on the same side of the street. I gave up. Waste of time. 

Twice Your Pain, Twice the Price
And finally, just to add insult to injury and round it all off in style, we got home to find we’d been charged TWICE for our delightful stay. This then resulted in a four-day campaign of trying to convince the chalet owner we weren’t taking them for a ride and demanding a refund. 

We’ve been told we will get one…and it might even be with us before the New Year. 

...Now, I must say in closing that it is, in fact, more than likely that someone you work alongside this season will get a complaints letter that looks an awful lot like the above. You could take this post as something of a cautionary tale. On the other hand, if you take nothing else away from this than a list of ‘possible ways to make your job easier’ that’s fine. But chalet bitches, may I refer you to rule number 18 in the Seasonnaire’s Survival Guide. Take Heed:

Photo sources: feepourvous.com - flickr.com/photos/darkdwarf - flickr.com/photos/marcokalmann

1 comment:

  1. Very nice blog.Thanks for such a informative post.

    We offer snowboarding holidays at catered chalets and hotels so grab your board and boots before heading to snow-sure ski resorts across the French and Austrian Alps.


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