Important accommodation information
As Ireland's leading ski specialist, we have developed the best and widest choice of hotels. In order to guide you through our comprehensive range, the following features are highlighted to help you choose your accommodation:
Crystal ratings: With all the various national tourist boards applying widely varying criteria to hotel ratings, the whole question of international hotel grades has become confused. We have therefore applied our own 'Crystal rating', representing the general standards of that country in order that fairer comparisons can be made (an example of a 4.5 Crystal rating is shown above).
Please note: Crystal rating may differ from the official star rating of the local tourist board.
Our classifications take into account not only the basic facilities, but also the location, leisure facilities, general character and atmosphere of the hotel, as well as customer feedback. Chalet ratings give comparisons with other chalets but do not provide like for like comparisons with the ratings of full service hotels.
Our chalets range from larger properties to smaller traditional alpine houses and apart-chalets, where we have adapted the use of one or more apartments within a larger complex. Due to this wide range it is difficult to grade them on a like for like basis and, in addition to the facilities available, location and general standard. We have based our grades on our senior managers' opinions and on customer feedback.
Only from Crystal: This indicates a hotel, property or product offering that is only available through brands operated by TUI Travel plc in the UK, including Crystal, First Choice, SkiBound and Flexiski. We have thus been able to secure particularly favourable conditions, a large number of rooms and often 'added value' items on your behalf.
General accommodation information
- Properties in this brochure have been carefully chosen and are considered to offer suitable accommodation for the cost shown. In the case of EU countries, the star rating shown is that of the relevant national tourist authority but, as other countries apply widely varying criteria, we have featured our own 'official ratings' to help you choose from the various properties on offer and to compare from one country to another. To avoid confusion, many properties featured are described as hotels as, in our view, terms such as Pension, Haus, Gasthof and the like do not always reflect the quality of the properties and are usually an official grading for tax purposes.
- Annexe accommodation may be part of the main hotel or in a separate building, which is guaranteed to be within walking distance. It should be borne in mind that chalet/annexe accommodation, though it may give access to facilities at the property through which it is sold, may not offer rooms to the same star level as the associated property where your main meal may be provided. This is reflected in the cost reduction.
- Prices are based on accommodation in standard twin/double-bedded rooms unless otherwise stated.
- Check-in/check-out at hotels is normally after 3pm (after 5pm for apartments) and you should anticipate having to vacate your room by 10am irrespective of the time of your departure. For some European areas, your flight will leave Ireland early in the morning and you may arrive in resort before midday, so your room may not be ready when you arrive. On the day of your departure, there will be somewhere to store your luggage free of charge, where you can leave your bags until departure time, though this may not always be locked. Please note: Courtesy rooms may not always be available.
- Credit cards/Travellers cheques: many hotels/properties as a matter of policy require an imprint of your credit card to be taken at registration for security reasons. This is particularly common in USA/Canada, where credit cards are favoured by most suppliers and the majority of commercial outlets in preference to cash, so we recommend carrying one or more of the recognised cards. Visitors to Eastern Europe will generally find that credit cards are not widely accepted and visitors to Austria may find that credit cards are not accepted by 2* and 3* hotels/guesthouses. Travellers cheques are no longer widely accepted as a method of payment but most resorts will have a bank where these can be changed, at a charge.
- Baths may not always be full size and showers may not always have a shower tray or curtain.
- Soap is not normally provided in rooms
- WiFi access: please see individual property entries for details of WiFi availability. If WiFi is advertised, there may be some service limitations and 24/7 access may not be available. Access may not be available throughout the accommodation, and may be restricted to selected public areas.
- English television: In Europe some accommodations have English speaking channels available, although the selection may be limited.
- Balconies: The payment of a supplement for a balcony facility does not guarantee a specific view or that it will be private, unless stated.
- Cots should be requested at the time of booking. Any additional payment for food/cot hire must be paid directly to hotels, for which we have no control over the cost, and cot linen is usually provided (not duvets). Please note we cannot guarantee that cots will meet Irish Safety standards. The inclusion of a cot may restrict room space. Some rooms, particularly those described as small or with restricted headroom, may not be large enough to accommodate a cot. Please telephone our Reservations team for further information.
- Free drinks will be given at the discretion of the hotel owner and the offer is normally limited to one drink per person during evening meals. "Unlimited" free drinks refers to drinks between starter and dessert. This is usually a choice of house wine, beer or soft drinks and will not include spirits, etc.
- Bars in some hotels may not stay open until 11.00pm, particularly when the hotel is family run or when the bar is part of the hotel restaurant.
- Meal service: Hoteliers may decide to change from buffet service to waiter service – or vice versa. We will inform you of this if we are advised in advance.
- Restaurant/dining rooms in certain hotels are open to non-residents – see property descriptions for details.
- Smoking restrictions: In some countries, e.g. France, Austria, Italy and several North American states, smoking is increasingly prohibited in public places – e.g. hotels, restaurants, bars etc. It is your responsibility to obtain information from the relevant tourist offices before you book if such restrictions would affect your holiday enjoyment.
- Hotel facilities: Leisure facilities, saunas, whirlpools and other facilities advertised as available at a hotel, unless specifically stated as being "free" will carry a charge payable to the hotelier. Children may not always be allowed in hotel bars, particularly in North America, even when accompanied by their parents. In some cases swimming trunks not shorts and swimming hats may be compulsory.
- Fitness rooms/health suites: Facilities will vary and we cannot guarantee the range or type of equipment provided will be as extensive as in a purpose built gym.
- Saunas: In Austria it is quite usual for people not to wear bathing costumes in saunas.
- Late night entry: please ensure you always check the arrangements for late night entry in the event your hotel closes the main door at a specified time.
- Car parking is not always available at hotels and therefore if you require this facility please check at the time of booking or call the hotel direct.
- Local functions: Nowadays, even small hotels can be used as venues for weddings, local celebrations & conventions. Hotels will always try to ensure that guests are not inconvenienced but some disturbances may occur.
- Christmas and New Year in hotels: Special Christmas dinners and festivities are usually offered in all half-board hotels and are included in the holiday price. Please note that formal dress is often expected in the larger, more exclusive hotels for Christmas and New Year, (usually 4 and 5 Crystal rated hotels).
- Distances to ski lifts, resort centre, amenities etc are shown in minutes and is calculated whereby 100 metres is equal to 1 minute walking in ski boots.
Please be advised that Fire safety standards in Switzerland differ to those in the Ireland and on occasions you may be in a hotel where the fire escape is in the form of an external ladder and/or you may be required to evacuate via another bedroom.
Please ensure you familiarise yourself with the exits and procedures in your hotel on arrival and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact a member of reception or our resort staff.
Please be advised that safety standards with regards to balconies differ between countries and on occasions you may be allocated a room whereby the balcony is lower than we would expect in Ireland.
For your own safety, please ensure that you take care when on the balcony and do not lean on or over the railings. If you have children below the age of 12 in your party, please ensure they are supervised and not left unattended at any time.
Full and half-board: a table d'hôte menu is usually offered to all customers who book meal arrangements, with limited or no choice of menu, unless specifically stated. Meals usually start with dinner on the first day of your arrival in resort and finish with breakfast on your day of departure.
If you arrive after the hotel's restaurant closes, it is likely that a cold platter will be provided and if you have an early morning departure hotels may not be able to provide a full breakfast. Sometimes hotels may allocate tables on a shared basis and in some countries, particularly Italy, it is common for individual napkins to be re-used if clean and re-presented in a personalised envelope.
Vegetarian/special diets: Vegetarianism is still relatively uncommon in some areas of Europe, particularly in France and Eastern Europe, so customers requesting such meals may find choice limited in some hotels. Similarly gluten free diets are sometimes less catered for in Italy. It may be difficult for some hotels to cater for the needs of customers with strict special diets.
If you have any special dietary requirements it is important that you request these at the time of booking.
Eastern Europe offers exceptional value. However, it should be noted that standards cannot be compared with those found in Western European destinations. Whilst some hotels boast a good range of facilities, they may not always be of a comparable standard to Western European hotels, particularly in terms of service and the variety of food offered. The provision of some basic foods, for example, can be restricted at times, which results in a limited choice of food being offered and, bearing this in mind, we would not recommend Eastern Europe as an appropriate destination for vegetarians or people with specific dietary needs.
Please note: Packed lunches may sometimes be made up by guests from the breakfast buffet. In some hotels, due to limited space, it is normal for customers to share a table at dinner.
Rooms described as superior, suites, junior suites, apartments etc offer a variety of facilities and room configurations. As these descriptions vary considerably from country to country it is not possible for us to provide a standard description which will adequately cover all the variations. Therefore, please make specific enquiries when booking to ensure the accommodation meets your requirements, particularly for suites and apartments. Rooms that are small, located under the eaves, cabin rooms, in annexe accommodation and suites will be highlighted in the price panels.
Single rooms may not always offer the same facilities or location as twin rooms and the payment of a supplement does not necessarily mean that a twin room will be provided for sole use. Often single rooms are purpose built and intended for sole use only. "Single Savers" do not apply to all single rooms in a property or on all dates.
Cabin rooms are sometimes featured in chalets/apartments and are small internal rooms which may not necessarily have natural light, sometimes with restricted head room. These rooms may have pull-out or bunk beds.
Eaves rooms are so described because they have sloping roofs and beams, often with skylight windows and reduced headroom. These rooms may have pull-out or bunk beds.
Twin-bedded rooms in Austria, Switzerland and some Italian and Slovenian resorts are normally one large base with two mattresses/duvets. These are also known as 'Austrian Twins' and are regarded as two beds. Separate twin beds are rare and cannot be guaranteed as available. Some twin beds may be in ahead to head position.
Triple rooms are usually based on a standard twin room or standard double for two persons with an additional sofa/put-up bed added for the third person that may restrict space. Purpose-built triple rooms are rarely available.
Four-bedded rooms are sometimes available, particularly in North America, and may be based on two queen beds or a king bed with additional sofa/put-up beds which may restrict space. Please refer to the brochure description for the type of beds provided – invoices will always show room and then bed type.
Quad rooms are also sometimes available in our European destinations. Such rooms normally comprise a standard twin/double room with additional sofa/put-up beds being added for third and fourth occupants. This arrangement may restrict space.
Under occupancy supplements: Unless under occupancy supplements are paid rooms will be allocated in accordance with the number occupying the room. Any room facility supplement will still apply. For example 2 people paying a supplement for a quad room with private bath and shower will receive a room with two (not four) beds. The supplement is payable for the private bath and shower.
North America rooms: Rooms are costed on maximum occupancy and the cost of the room is the same regardless of the bed configuration.
North America high season supplements
- Low Season: 30 Oct 2013-13 Dec 2013; 29 Mar 2014-30 Apr 2014.
- Mid Season: 14 Dec 2013-17 Dec 2013; 01 Jan 2014-28 Mar 2014.
- High Season: 18 Dec 2013-31 December 2013.
We do not have details of other guests in hotels or apartments and are unable to provide any information in this respect. Neither are we advised of any conference/convention bookings, schools or wedding groups. We are not privy to details of individuals booked in to chalets and Crystal run hotels and, in any event, would not be at liberty to divulge such information. We have no control over the behaviour of other guests and our reps will assist wherever possible if any other guest's behaviour is considered discourteous or anti social.
Food and drink
Meals are offered on a half board basis only and taken communally at set times. Afternoon tea is laid out and available on a first come, first served basis. Early children's meals can be provided in all chalets but a special children's menu may not be available. For late arrivals (after 10pm) a cold platter or simple snack will be provided. Please note chalet and Crystal hotel staff have one day off per week when breakfast and afternoon tea are left out and you are free to sample a local restaurant for your evening meal.
Free wine is served with dinner in all chalets. Once coffee has been served, this will no longer be available.
All inclusive in Crystal-run hotels: Unlimited free drinks are available from 4.30pm-10.30pm and include hot drinks, soft drinks, draft lager, wine by the glass and local spirits. Branded spirits, bottles of wine and beer and other drinks not listed are available at a cost. Packed lunches are ordered the night before and collected during breakfast. On arrival day, packed lunches are laid out for collection. No packed lunch is provided on departure day.
Chalet bedrooms and facilities
Chalets are, for the most part, family homes rather than hotels and as such do not offer the same type of privacy or facilities as purpose built hotels or apartments. Bedroom doors may not be lockable, rooms vary in size, even if similarly priced, and there may be limited hanging and storage space. Some chalets have internal cabin rooms or rooms located in the eaves which are usually best suited to children and often sold at a discount. Many chalets have bedrooms with private facilities (though not always ensuite) whilst in others bathroom facilities are shared between guests (usually 4-6 people) and sometimes with Crystal staff who are resident in the chalet. It may not always be possible to provide every guest with a front door key, though an increasing number of chalets now have an entrycode system. The majority of chalets have lounge areas although seating may be limited.
Service is relaxed and friendly and as such these accommodations will rarely provide the same facilities or levels of service found in hotels.
For your convenience all our chalet descriptions show the individual room numbers, which will be confirmed on your invoice, so you can be sure of getting the exact room you booked.
Under occupancy supplements
These will apply when rooms are not used to maximum capacity, provided you book the minimum number required. Please note: Under occupancy supplements are based on 2 adults sharing. Should you wish to book a chalet within Europe for less than the advertised minimum capacity, the supplement for each unused bed is the applicable per person brochure price minus up to €150 which may vary depending on departure date and property chosen.
In the interest of fire and safety regulations, laws of individual countries and out of consideration for other guests, all our properties are non-smoking.
If you are staying in a chalet, please bring some slippers or indoor shoes with you. Wet floors are slippery and uncomfortable for everyone so you will be asked to leave your outdoor shoes by the front door.
All Crystal properties include bed linen and one bath towel and one hand towel per person. A mid week change of towels is included on request.
Accommodation is normally available from 4pm on the day of arrival and you should anticipate checking out before 10am on the day of departure
In consideration of other customers, use of hot tubs is not permitted after 10pm. Many chalets now benefit from whirlpools and saunas. Whirlpools can be used 5 days per week between 5.30pm and 7.30pm and will be locked outside these hours. Children should not use whirlpools and saunas unsupervised and adults should follow instructions for their own safety. It is not recommended that young children use these facilities.
Free Chalet WiFi
It is planned to have WiFi installed throughout all our Crystal chalets for 2013/14. However this is subject to availability and will be provided in communal areas only. In the event of technical issues outside of our control no refund or compensation will be given. No liability will be accepted for any loss or damage for any device used to connect to our WiFi service.
Staff night off
Our chalet hosts and Crystal hotel staff have one day off per week so evening meals are for a total of 6 nights only, leaving you free to sample a local restaurant. In chalets, breakfast and afternoon tea is laid out for you to help yourselves. In our Crystal-run hotel, there is a buffet breakfast and afternoon tea as normal. Days off vary from resort to resort, but are usually Tuesday or Wednesday but will be changed to avoid falling on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year's Eve.
Chalet age limitation
Please note, children under 12 years are only accepted in chalets where specified as either during UK/Irish school holidays or all season, unless a party is booking the entire chalet. Therefore, it is essential that all children's ages are advised at the time of booking. If we are not advised that children under 12 will be in the party where children are not accepted, we reserve the right to provide alternative accommodation upon arrival in resort and pass on any additional costs incurred. However, children are welcome in our Crystal-run hotel.
Please request at time of booking if you require this facility, and for which there may be a charge.
Chalets don't normally offer facilities to store valuables.
Our Crystal-run hotel has its own great value bar. Please note: In all Crystal-run properties local licensing laws prohibit the consumption of both duty-free and alcohol brought in from the outside in public rooms.
Our Crystal-run hotel is not featured in local Tourist Office publications as it is leased by us for the entire season and run exclusively for our guests. If you need contact numbers or directions please call Aftersales on 01 653 3510.
- When booking allocation on arrival guesthouses in Austria, bookings of more than one room cannot be guaranteed to be in the same accommodation, though we will of course endeavour to do so. Rooms booked without private facilities within them may require you to pay a nominal fee for showers provided at that property.
- Guesthouse accommodation offers bed and breakfast accommodation, although half-board is usually available, taking the evening meal in one of our hotels or in a village restaurant.
Self catering studios and apartments
All bed linen costs (although not towels unless specifically stated) and local taxes are included in all Crystal prices. All accommodation is basically equipped with cutlery, crockery etc. Kitchenettes usually offer only 2 or 3 hot plates and not ovens, unless advertised to the contrary. Items such as toasters and kettles are not considered to be essential kitchen appliances in Europe and are, consequently, rarely provided. Customers are normally expected to make their own beds on arrival. Please also note that 'starter' packs are rarely provided and you should, therefore, anticipate purchasing items such as milk, toilet roll, etc. on arrival (or the following day if you arrive late). When more than one apartment is booked of the same or different type, we cannot guarantee they will be in the same block, although a request will be accepted wherever possible. (see Special requests).
- In some Austrian and French apartments electricity charges, based upon use, may be payable locally.
- Other residents within the apartment blocks may sometimes have their dogs with them.
Cleaning of studios and apartments: The initial cleaning before your arrival is normally included and, unless specified in the accommodation description, is not provided during your stay. If cleaning is provided it may not be available during public holidays. You will be expected to take out your rubbish and wash up regardless whether cleaning is included or not. Apartment agencies expect the accommodation to be left in the state they were found and will usually deduct a 'cleaning charge' from your deposit if this not done. Upon check-in, the residence will provide their rules and further details on the "end of stay" cleaning required, please check with reception before your departure.
An inventory deposit against damages or breakages may be collected on arrival or an imprint of your credit card may be required (please check the accommodation's page). This will usually be between €150 and €250 (but up to €500 for some larger apartments), per studio/apartment, and is refundable on your departure, or later, directly by the local agent if, for example, you are obliged to depart early. It is in your best interests to leave the accommodation as it was found, as deductions for breakages, damage or leaving the accommodation unclean can be made by the local agents. As deposits are normally held by the accommodation owner/management and not Crystal, we cannot become directly involved in situations or disputes that may occur. You will need to pay the deposit on a credit card or in local currency personal cheques are unacceptable.
Apartments in France
These provide excellent value for money and are often in good locations. Check-in is not until 5pm although a luggage room is usually provided. Late arrivals (after the reception is closed) may only be able to get a full set of keys in the morning. Check-out is usually 10am. Some apartments are made up of several residences with one central check-in location. You may be allocated a separate residence building on check-in and will be required to walk to it.
Basic items like toilet paper, cleaning materials, milk, tea and coffee are not always provided unless stated. Apartments must be thoroughly cleaned on departure. Small espresso cups are often provided in older apartments not mugs. Linen is provided but beds are not made up unless stated.
Our in resort service is provided by our overseas Crystal team. You will receive one of three in-resort services depending on your chosen resort.
In-resort rep: Once we've met you at the airport we'll get you sorted with your lift passes, lessons and equipment so you can get on the slopes as soon as possible. In-resort reps are on hand to let you know all the best resort and ski area tips, activities and aprés events. You'll also find the same great tips in your info pack too.
Local area rep: We'll give you a call to say hi once you've settled in to your accommodation. We'll get you sorted with your lift passes, lessons and equipment so you can settle in and get on the slopes as soon as possible. You can also find our phone number, lots of tips, activities and aprés events in your info pack. We've got loads of insider tips for your ski resort. Just call 24/7.
A call away rep: If you need any help we're just call away 24/7. You'll find our number alongside our local knowledge in your info pack.
A resort info pack is available online before departure and throughout your stay. Standard internet access and mobile web browsing charges apply (check your mobile tariff for details). Your info pack includes details for your arrival and useful information on your chosen resort and ski area and weather reports. We strongly encourage all of our customers to download and print this information pre-departure. If for any reason this service is unavailable or you are unable to do so we will ensure an info pack is available for you (one per couple or group)on arrival at the airport or when you arrive in resort. Please note that the information provided may change from time to time and accuracy cannot be guaranteed but your rep will update you with any changes on arrival if necessary.
Activities and Aprés ski events
The advertised events are dependent upon operational availability, minimum number of participants and pre-season auditing, and therefore, some events may not always be available due to insufficient demand or, in some cases, adverse weather conditions. All mentioned restaurants and other venues featured in this brochure, which are not owned by Crystal, are not under our direct control and have not been inspected by us. Therefore, any recommendation is merely an indication that these facilities have proved popular and are worthy of mention and not a personal recommendation by Crystal.
- Heli-skiing opportunities are arranged with the best local operator. As with all adventure sports, you partake at your own risk and you will be required to sign a disclaimer prior to the activity. Please also note that if, due to adverse weather conditions, or other circumstances beyond our control, the heli-ski package is unavailable during your stay, our liability is limited to a full refund of the cost paid.
- Any other excursions or hazardous activity in which you partake locally, such as tobogganing, paragliding, inner-tubing or snow-mobiling etc. are at your own risk and liability and may not be covered under the terms of your holiday insurance. Please check the details of your individual policy before participation.
- Any specialist ski clinics will always be dependent on the following:
- Weather, powder or piste conditions
- Minimum numbers (on some courses)
- That your skiing/boarding is of a suitable level to join the course
- That you have appropriate insurance cover
A small amount of foreign money can be very useful when you arrive abroad. In Slovenia, Sterling/Euro's is widely accepted in banks, hotels and bureaux de change.
Credit/Cash Cards – most major credit cards are widely accepted in most countries abroad and can often be used in automated cash dispensers with your usual PIN number. Most European countries also accept cash cards with Cirrus & Maestro using your existing PIN number.
Ski and snowboard safety
Like any activity in the mountains, the risk to yourself and others is easily minimised by following a few simple guidelines.
Choose your resort carefully: mixed ability groups, in particular, must remember that skiing should be safe and fun for everyone. Do not encourage fellow skiers to venture onto slopes that are beyond their capabilities. It is also worth noting that because of their steep terrain some of the resorts favoured by experienced skiers may carry an increased risk of avalanche.
Let the experts guide you: A guide including essential information to help you get the most out of your skiing is included in the Info pack with links to the FIS Safe Skiing Code. Please take the time to read this simple common-sense advice, which is provided with your safety, foremost in our minds. Combining this with up-to-date information on arrival will help you to stay safe both on the slopes and in the resort.
Avalanche danger: In extreme weather conditions, any resort may be at risk, so never ignore warnings. Signs and flags around part or all of the pistes indicate that avalanche danger is present but do not rely on these alone. Local experts are there to help so ask for advice from the local ski school or ski lift company on a daily basis. When necessary resort authorities may close some or all of the pistes. Remember this is done to ensure your safety. Never attempt to ski on runs which are closed, or go under a boundary rope into an area not part of the prepared ski area.
Off-piste: If you are able to ski off-piste you must have appropriate insurance and employ the services of a qualified guide. Never ski off-piste during risk of avalanche. For more detailed resort information including recent snow and avalanche records please see Chris Gill/Dave Watts' "Where to Ski Guide" (available from any good book shops). We find it invaluable for accurate and impartial advice. It also lists telephone numbers and websites for tourist offices/avalanche centres throughout the Alps and North America.
Snow conditions: Snow Reports information is provided by the Ski Club of Great Britain and not Crystal. Therefore, the information provided is not under our direct control and we cannot accept liability for any disappointment which may arise as a result of the information provided.