Les Balcons d’Auréa is a swish new self-catering holiday apartment complex in the sunny village of Auris-en-Oisans in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. Auris is part of the Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski area, one of the largest ski areas in Europe, linking the resort of Alpe d’Huez with six villages via ski lifts.
I stayed at Les Balcons d’Auréa for three nights, and I was impressed. Here’s a video which I made of my apartment when I first arrived:
As you can see, the apartment is modern and well-equipped – and I could never tire of its spectacular mountain views. I discovered that the mountains which I could see from the apartment window are called the Massif des Ecrins.
The Auréa apartments opened for business in December 2015, and are owned by Odalys Vacances. There are 95 apartments in all, ranging from studios for two people to apartments for up to eight people, each with a kitchen, bathroom and small terrace or balcony.
My apartment was well-designed and comfortable. There were plenty of electrical sockets and it was cosy and warm. The only thing that I felt it lacked was a safe.
The complex has an indoor heated swimming pool which looks very inviting – but I didn’t try it as I was too busy out and about skiing, fatbiking, dog-sledding and eating. There are also communal laundry facilities for guests, ski lockers, a small gym, a sauna and underground secure parking.
The basic rental price for the apartments doesn’t include things like bedlinen, towels, wifi, TV, or cleaning, but you can pay extra for these items. There was no soap in the bathroom of my apartment when I arrived, so I bought some from the well-stocked mini market across from the apartments. Baby equipment (bath, cot and highchair) is available for a charge of 25 euros per stay. Wifi rental provides internet access for one device at a time and costs 20 euros per week or five euros per day.
The location of the Auréa apartments is perfect for a family ski trip. Auris-en-Oisans is a small ski village where everything that you need is close together. There’s a handful of bars and restaurants in the village if you want to eat out. Around 100 metres away from the apartments, there’s a ski hire shop, a bar, a mini market and the tourist information office. Behind those are the slopes and ski lifts, which connect you to the whole Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski area. There’s an ESF ski school nearby too, offering group or private lessons with qualified instructors for all ages, and there’s also a kids’ ski school and a kids’ club who where you can leave your children while you ski. Besides skiing, there are lots of other winter sports activities on offer in the ski area – I loved the experience of dog-sledding in the mountains there, and you can read all about it in my post Dog-sledding in Alpe-D’Huez. I also tried fatbiking, which I wrote about in How to ride a fatbike on snow.
There are ski slopes to suit all levels of ability. I’ve skied a little and am quite nervous about falling, but I really enjoyed skiing on the wide, sunny slopes at this resort. On the last morning of the trip, my very kind and patient instructor even managed to coax me down a blue slope, without my falling over. Some of the others in my group were intermediate or advanced skiers, and they too enjoyed skiing in this vast ski area.
The apartments are also open during the summer season, when the area is popular with walkers and mountain bikers.
Crystal Ski Holidays offer a week’s self catering at the four-star Les Balcons d’Auréa from £459 per person (based on four sharing) including flights from Gatwick and transfers (price given is for departure on 14 January 2017). Direct flights are available from all major UK airports.
You could also drive to Alpe d’Huez from the UK: Auris-en-Oisans is 928 km from Calais by road, according to Google Maps.
I think that Les Balcons d’Auréa is an excellent place to stay for a family ski trip. The apartments are fresh, modern and well-equipped and the location is great. Just make sure that you’re clear about what is and what isn’t included in the price of your booking – and budget accordingly.
More winter sports posts
You can read more of my winter sports posts here:
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski area tourist board and Crystal Ski Holidays on this trip. All opinions, words, images and instances of falling over in the snow are mine.