Off to Andora for the first time, staying with 7 lads in an apartment - knew we'd have fun but expectations weren't too high. My previous experiences of skiing in the French alps led me to perceive Andora as second rate.
However I was pleasantly surprised - the apartment was easily big enough for 7 big lads. I was expecting a tiny french apartment but this would be great for a family or mixed group of 9 friends. The sofa bed was a very comfy double as good as my own bed at home.
A 5 minute walk to the lift station to pick up the ski kit from the locker was no bother at all. At 1800m high the snow was excellent and now that all of Andora is linked the area to explore is great for a week and good enough to keep me coming back. Dropping the skis and boots off at the end of the day means that the 5 minute walk back to the flat could often take 5 hours via the handful of lively bars with surprisingly good live bands.
We rented a people carrier from Barcelona airport and did a big shop on route for the week. Just as well as the food shopping was limited locally. Cooking in the flat was easy as all the kit was there just like at home. We did eat out twice, cheap and chearful from a great cafe next to the Irish pub. Second time a fantastic restaurant well recommend for the steaks. Both good quality and great value.
The biggest surprise for me was not how cheap things were but how good a quality everything was. A beer was €3.50 but you got a full pint of San Miguel a premium larger back at home costing £4.50. Lift pass was €100 less than France but the lifts and skiing of a similar standard. A big three bed apartment for the same price as a French studio apartment that would squeeze 4 people in.
I'll still go to my favourite French resorts fir early and late season but will also be back each year mid season to this great apartment in Soldeu.
What a location!! Just a 5 minute walk and your in the heart of everything.
The apartment is spacious and well equipped with everything you will need after a hard day's skiing.
The ski locker is worth its wait in gold!! this gives you the choice to enjoy the apres ski or take in a restaurant after a hard day on the slopes. The skiing was fantastic!! The slopes catered for all levels of experience from blue runs with fantastic scenery leading onto reds and then the more advanced blacks.
I enrolled into ski school in the mornings which gave me a steady base for an afternoon on the slopes.
The bars and restaurants have a friendly vibrant atmosphere, catering for families and groups.
I would highly recommend this apartment and resort.
I have been skiing in Grand Valira since 2006, first up, if you haven't been you are in for a treat. This isn't the Alps, the pisted skiing is good but not that challenging, remarkably snow sure all year and well
groomed.....not challenging but great fun because compared to the Alps it's empty, it doesn't have any prima donnas and it is great value for money. It has around 200km of piste and lots of cafes bars and restaurants on the piste. The restaurants range from cafes to real high end culinary mountain experiences. I skied throughout the Alps and especially in the trois valleys and the food is as good as anything I had there but a fraction of the cost. 25 euros will get you a 2 course lunch with medium wine. You are in for a treat.
So, the review of the apartment. Firstly, Soldeu is more of a family resort, it does have some late night early morning pubs but most accommodation is found in hotels. The resort isn't pretty but it does give great access to the piste and it does have some nice bars and restaurants, a very friendly crowd.
The apartment is a 10 minute walk slightly up hill to the main area but the main area is on a main road so you don't want to stay in it. La Pleta is a relatively new area of apartments, attractive, well built and quiet. It has several blocks and this apartment is in the most accessible block. We have rented apartments in La Pleta since 2008 when we rented this. We have also stayed in a couple of others in La Pleta and also several in the centre. We always liked this apartment when it was with the previous owners but it was a bit dated and didn't have wifi and we stopped using it.
So, this year under new owners and it's our first time since 2011. It has been refurbished and more has had wifi fitted (Andorra telecom is treated as rest of the world so call costs and particularly internet roaming are the same as Australia, a friend left his roaming on as we crossed the border from Spain and his bill was £30 in 30 mins!) and the wifi is superb.
The apartment is extremely clean, well furnished and superbly appointed, if you eat in they have a good range of pots and pans, crockery and cutlery. We visit Soldeu, 2-3 times a season and we will now return here every time if we book in time. I think I am a Soldeu expert and trust me, I don't think you will find a better family apartment at the moment. I have visited this apartment with my wife and children (3 girls and their friends) we have also visited with another couple so 4 adults and it's then very spacious and the last visit was a lads (if 3 50 year old and 2 66 year olds can be called lads) trip. The apartment was perfect for all the trips. If you have any questions please ask and I will answer but I am confident you won't be disappointed.
Finally, I must mention the best restaurant in Andorra...if you visit Soldeu make sure you visit the Merlot restaurant. It's legendary, run by Bruce who is the Irish chef the food is British( or Irish) with a continental twist at times. Huge portions, great choice, lovely service and if you pay more than 20 euros for 3 course and wine for a table of 4 you are either drinking to much or buying the expensive stuff.....
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