Review of Madonna di Campiglio

20th February 2008 by Peter Davies 

Just returned from Madonna di Campiglio and had a fantastic time. Went there 10 years pre marriage and pre children. Now we have a 2 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. What struck us after visiting Chamonix over New Year was the laid back and quiet nature of the resort and as it is traffic free you are not overcome by the fumes as we often were in Chamonix. Hired a car and drove from Milan via Lake Garda, which was a beautiful journey. Stayed in the Alpen Suite Hotel, perfectly positioned fantastically clean and very welcoming. Stayed on a half board basis and the food was of a very high standard. Although there are some notable restaurants and bars it is evident that the evenings are based around the hotels, which only serves to reinforce the quiet nature of the town centre. Beautiful scenery and the Dolomites are just stunning.

The lifts are a little disjointed but the hotel shuttle service was excellent and the hire car was very useful, especially as we had our two year old girl with us. we are now in the position where our chances to ski are determined by ski school times and our two year old, but when my wife and I were able to ski it was a joy, especially as our son is now able to join us. The pistes are flatteringly easy, which is just as well as your attention is continually drawn to the beautiful scenery. There is varied skiing on both sides of the valley and an excellent snowpark on Groste which also has a super and very lively restaurant. For the parent doing the child care on valley level the walks are lovely and a popular pastime with the Italians. The shops are very classy and the ice rink is a welcome diversion. There are also dog sledge rides available, which is great fun and a ride in a snow cat to a super restaurant in Campo Carlo Magno. The laid back approach to skiing in this resort is in stark contrast to the French ones and you often have the pistes to yourselves, especially in the morning. However it is markedly busier at weekends when the Milanese come to town. The schools too are less frantic with the lessons usually starting at 10 am and ending at 1pm. Little evidence of the wraparound care offered by the ESF. However the standard was good and was rounded off with a race and presentation evening enthusiastically tended by the vocal Italians. One point to note which was a real pain was that the learner pistes in Campo Carlo Magno are not covered by the Madonna pass and you have to pay separately, which is fine if you know this beforehand. If not you will find yourself with a very long uphill walk as there is no way the operators will let you on!

It had snowed a lot previous to our visit and we were blessed with good skiing in sunny weather. ‘Kicking’ Madonna is not, but for us at this time of our family life it was just perfect and the affection the Italians have for children especially ‘bambinos’ is obvious. We will be visiting the same hotel for the next few years at least and look forward to it with great anticipation.

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