As I've mentioned before, El Serrat is the closest little hamlet to Arcalís, and there are few lodging options. I mean, the town is little more than a curve in the road with a few hotels, one ski shop, and a forgotten center of crumbling stone edifices. How many options could there be?
But, there is the Bringue. Well, to clarify, there are two Bringues. There is the four star Xalet Bringue that hovers over the valley like the Deathstar, and then there is the slightly more human-sized, three star Hotel Bringue in the town "center". Meaning, next to the ski shop.
We've stayed twice, and it's a surprisingly swank joint when you get past the rather pedestrian front lounge and reception. Rooms are wonderfully appointed and luxuriously decorated. There is a spa with sauna and an inviting pool overlooking the entire valley. The dining room has similar views, and little extras like complimentary ski lockers and "picnics to go" set the Bringue apart in the rather disappointing world of Andorra hotels.
As you enter town, the main hotel is on the right, and an annex is on your left. When you book, you can end up in either. Naturally, the main building has the pool, sauna, diningroom, lounge, lockers, et al. That is rather convenient. The rooms, here, are all cream colored, her royal majesty, Jaclyn Smith Collection, "I've seen it a million times" luxury that you will no doubt enjoy. And OUR room looked out on the rushing brook that tumbles down from Sorteny and lends a wonderful backdrop to my sweet, innocent slumber.
The annex is a different animal. The rooms are more mountain "chic" with Grizzly Adams flourishes like rough hewn wood and exposed beams. To me, this is more attractive. I like to know that I can go out in nature, or conversely, ignore it and stay inside where there are hints of the forest but no actual nature related annoyances.
Of course, the downside is having to cross the street for everything.
Like, for the lovely breakfast buffet or the fairly terrible dinners they serve. Or for the WiFi only available in the common areas(this Andorra tradition continues to irritate me. If I wanted to hang out in common areas, I'd go to the food court at the mall and skip a three hour drive. WiFi in rooms, please! Bejesus...).
Now, we just need to stay in the Deathstar to round out our El Serrat expertise....
The Tristaina is one of the few lodging options in the tiny hamlet of El Serrat. I found it in a roundabout way. Our beloved pool table was moved from Serrano's bar(now inexplicably called "Moments") and parked in the rec room of the Tristaina. So, ambled up and they invited us to use it at our leisure...even to deliver us a few beers. Alas, the rec room is full of children and questionably stained furniture of pastel hues. We passed. But, when a great deal on lift tickets and a two night stay showed up online, we rolled the dice.....
And, oh man.
This was without a doubt the worst hotel stay I've had in Europe - and that's saying something. The entire room stank from at least a decade of smoker stays, while the bathroom plumbing worked tirelessly to cover that stench with its own brand of "perfume". Cracked tiles, a broken toilet seat, a shower nozzle that dislodged and shot across the room with the force of an exploding tire, and comforters that looked as though they'd been stolen from the back of homeless people....well, it didn't lack for character, now did it?
Normally I'd complain about the non-functioning television remote or the cracked windows, but that just seems beyond the point at the Tristaina.
Okay, so despite all this I have no ill will towards this hotel. It's bizarre and a bit out of form for moi, but the place has its merits. Like what, you might ask? Well at the price I paid(€105/2 nights, 2 days skiing, 2 bkfst, one dinner), the hotel came out to roughly €17/per night. And that includes the meals. So what's the problem, right? Not everyone can be the swank Bringue across the street. And, might I add, the people are friendly and outgoing(minus one grumpy waiter).
Plus, the bar. Best views of any bar in El Serrat, AND an excellent beer on draft, that I can never remember the name of, which drives me crazy but brings me back for more. What more? Well, the bar is the hangout of Arcalís instructors and employees, some of whom live in the flats below the hotel. That's kinda rad, no?
And, the strangest surprise was that the dinner was better than that of said swanky Bringue across the street. Color me surprised. All this at a hotel as close to Arcalís as is geographically possible...
So, we tossed the crunchy comforters onto the floor and found clean sheets underneath. Some pricey cologne into the air, some documentary on Hong Kong's pink dolphins, mystery awesome beer on draft, and all is well.
Maybe I'll go back.
And if not to stay, then definitely for the bar.
I Stayed in this hotel in my second visit to Andorra. It was OK, nothing to complaint about installations and service, but the kids had a disappointment - the pool was in the terrace, and... very cold. Today I read that they covered and acclimatised the pool, which means that... it may be my option to the third visit.
It's nice hotel located in the capital city. The room clean and nice, the breakfast is good, and the staff is friendly. But the parking just for 5 cars only.
The Niu Nit is a nice inn, and one of the few in El Serrat - the nearest village to Arcalís ski resort. Our stay included a weekend of ski tix for two, "media pensión"(breakfast both mornings and dinner one night). I also thought we'd finally get our jacuzzi on, but just like ALL the hotels in Andorra, it was under "renovations" and we were stymied.
The breakfast was nice, and the dining room has lovely views of the valley, spilling out below. Also, the grounds have a rushing brook pounding through - the perfect background noise to fall asleep to. Plus, cut through the back walks, cross up and past the chapel, and you are in the "center" of Serrat. Meaning, you can go to the one bar in town and stumble home. Downhill.
On the other hand - dinner was typical buffet experience, and was quite bad. The room was incredibly small and lacked any character as compared to the rather rustic and charming common spaces(and for a 4 Star spot). And, or course, I'm not stoked about the lack of communication on the spa. This actually had played into our decision to book at the hotel in the first place and we were disappointed(booked third party, so can't blame hotel, per se).
The Bringue was a superior stay, in all honesty, but should those hotels be filled, you'll do well with the Niu Nit. Let's see how that spa shapes up, shall we?
Top quality accommodation at Hotel Coma.
The hotel is an attractive chalet style building with restaurant, bar, pool, tennis courts and an attractive garden area set up on a small rise, right above the action spot in the small town.
The rooms are spacious and very clean with great views from the balconies.
Part of a chain of Soldeu hotels, the Village is on the "right" side of the road. Lazybones, you don't even have to cross the street! Just get on the elevator and get off at the gondola(telecabina). Could it be any easier? OH, but it could!!! You can rent from the ski shop on the same floor as the queue for the gondola. All in one shopping!
OK, so I lived in The West a long time - meaning "the western U.S.", so the decor to me is a bit barf-inducing. The comforter on the bed screamed Navajo via Wal-mart, but...again....it's a personal issue.
Service was quite good, and as noted above..you cannot fault the location. Not one thing went wrong while staying there - a record for Andorra!! Breakfast was lovely, although the bleary-eyed staff was late on setting up the morning Cava and that was very disappointing in light of my hangover.
It's the little things, you know?
The rental shop on site was top notch, albeit, mad expensive. If you wanna spend that money, and are a serious skier, pick up the Vist Crossovers and get your game on. That's my advice.
And, if you haven't stayed in Soldeu, it's, to me, simultaneously the most glam and bucolic of the GrandValira sectors. Truly charming.
One gripe: The spa depicted in their literature is a separate entity that requires reservations and some fat cash. It's not truly part of the amenites.
Minus that, great stay.
Lovely looking building with a stone wall(which we crashed into during some icy driving....sorry 'bout that), and a decent breakfast. However, once again, a hotel that promises a jacuzzi and has none to offer. Damn that remodel! Is every hotel in Andorra in a "remodel"?
We did get a good price, a large room, and the breakfast was pretty good, overall. However, the shuttle to the telecabina(gondola) at Massana is little more than a minivan with bold aspirations. Thus, it fills fast and you have to make reservations or be left out. Add to that sockets falling out of the walls, and reception's lack of enthusiasm to fix the problem, and I'm once again wondering what the Hell four stars signifies. Seriously...one more star is top of the line?! Listen, if I tell you I plugged in my laptop, the socket fell out of the wall, and it shorted the lights, I do expect the problem fixed when we return from the slopes, and all. Fresh towels are great, but sound electricity would be just grand!
The most ludicrous part was having to pay for WiFi. In 2011? Really?! OK, let's be fair - they give you fifteen minutes free, per day, if you request a access code from reception.
Then again, I've been so disappointed with hotels in Andorra, that the Abba Xalet is not looking so bad in retrospect. Certainly one of the nicest rooms we've had....when the electricity functions. Guess I'll mark it "satisfactory".
We arrived Friday evening and left Sunday noon, so it was not a long stay we had at the Hotel Prisma, but even so we enjoyed our stay.
The room was nice and big, clean and the staff was kind and helpfull.
We spent other night in this cozy hotel in the mountains near Andorra la Vella and some ski facilities. It's a different way to enjoy your stay in the country, suitable both for urban and nature turism but ideal for this last one.
Pasamos otra noche en este acogedor hotel en las montañas cerca de Andorra la Vella y de algunas instalaciones de esquí. Es una manera diferente de disfrutar tu estancia en el país, válido tanto para el turismo urbano como de naturaleza, pero más adecuado para este último.
This hotel is a nice "typical" mountain house, with wooden details and penthouse, as our room was in.
I didn't really spent too much time in the hotel, but I liked it. My room was medium, with not too much space for the luggage, but it had a big bathroom. I was there just during the night, but I'm afraid it could be pretty dark because it had a small window facing a tiny patio.
Verdaderamente no estuve mucho tiempo en el hotel, pero me gustó. Mi habitación era de tamaño mediano, sin demasiado espacio para el equipaje, pero con un cuarto de baño grande. Sólo estuve durante la noche, pero me temo que sería muy oscuro en el día pues tan sólo había una pequeña ventana dando a un patio muy estrecho.
No doubt the best thing in the hotel is a good location in the city centre and a friendly staff. This place is ideal for "urban" and window shopping tourism. There are two big parking buildings nearby.
sin duda el mejor aspecto del hotel es su excelente ubicación en el centro de la ciudad y el amable personal. El lugar es ideal para turismo "urbano" y de compras. Hay dos grandes edificios de aparcamiento cerca.
I stayed at La Solana apartments in Encamp, which is about 15mins once you’ve crossed the border, I just found them off the internet, they are just off the main road through the country, but about a 20min walk to the town centre.
But they are very good value for money.
For 28 euros per night, I got an apartment with all self catering facitilites and this had 2 beds and if you really wanted you could fit another one in! This included breakfast which was an all you can eat, so as usual I stuffed my face and got good value for money.
A little hotel near the terme, small comfortable room with phon, tv, bathtub, small parking (it's very hard parking there but the owner of the hotel helps you in the parking), good breakfast (buffet) and dinner. Very cheap, room for two with dinner or lunch and breakfast only 50 euro in summertime (July). An elevator helps you to carry the baggages in the room.
Advertised as 3*, and was barely 2*. Curtains fell out the wall, shower temperature was random, non-smoking room yet everything stank of smoke. Whole place was run down, badly in need of a clean and coat of paint.
Save your money and stay in a hostel, as that's about the standard it reaches (on a good day!)
Right next door to gondola up to the ski field was the only bonus.
I stayed here in June 2005 after I reserved a room via the internet. It said it had ‘Car Parking’ – no mention of a charge. I checked in and my car was parked outside for free. The receptionist told me to park my car underneath the hotel – so I did. In the morning there was a small miscellaneous charge they could not explain and a larger one for – CAR PARKING! When I tried to question this a large man appeared and explained that I would pay the bill. They refused to discuss the matter with me and the big guy really intimidated me.
I wrote to them on several occasions. They have never even had the decency to even acknowledge my emails.
I am still waiting!
MY OPINION: DON'T STAY HERE. EXTRA ITEMS MAY APPEAR ON YOUR ROOM BILL LIKE MAGIC IN THE MORNING AND THEY WILL NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. IF YOU COMPLAIN IN WRITING - THEY WILL LIKELY JUST IGNORE IT.
**** DO NOT STAY HERE ****
Unique Qualities: I HAD EXTRA CHARGES OUT OF THIN AIR!
**THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS HOTEL THREATENED ME WITH LEGAL ACTION BY EMAIL (17 MARCH 2007)**
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