Early summer sunshine
The Hotel Montane really knows how to make you feel at home and welcome. Little touches like being handed a complimentary hot wine each evening for après-ski just makes you feel like your in a 5 star hotel rather than a really excellent 3 star.
It's incredibly convenient too as you're just opposite the main gondola station, so there's no reason to be late for first lifts. Unless you're fuelling up on the gorgeous (and pretty extensive) continental breakfast that is.
An added bonus in 2018/19 is that all guests over 18 can join our free Neilson Mountain Experts ski guiding and coaching service throughout the week. Fully qualified instructors will guide you around the slopes whilst giving tips on your technique at the same time (if you want it).
The owners are very proud of their restaurant, and rightly so as chef Reyna has an impeccable reputation for the quality and variety of his food. The daily menu is delicious and just what you need after a day on the slopes, but you must try the à la carte menu at least once throughout your stay. They also offer a pretty impressive wine list to accompany the gorgeous food.
Nearest lift: 20m
Tuition meeting point: 20m (top of lift)
Resort centre: In the centre
Arinsal is the perfect place for beginners and families as there are plenty of nursery slopes, a superb British-run ski and board school and plenty of après-ski activities. Even though there's only 63km of pistes, improvers, intermediates and even the advanced will be tested at points. Hop on a bus and head to nearby Arcalis for some fantastic off-piste and even a couloir or two.
Off the mountain, Arinsal is small and friendly with a good choice of restaurants, a few shops and several lively bars to choose from. There are also a smattering of late-night bars and discos for the night owls.
Off-slope activities are easy to get to. Amazing shopping (and virtually tax-free) in the nation's capital, Andorra La Vella is only a 20 minute bus ride away. Alternatively, you could relax in the thermal waters of Caldea, a lush indoor thermal water lagoon with a spa area that's easy to love.
Ski biking is definitely a unique activity to give a go - the equipment is, you guessed it, a mix of a bike and a pair of skis.
Resort altitude: 1450m
Skiing altitude: 1550m to 2560m
Ski area size: Vallnord area 63km
Number of runs: 44
Range of pistes: Very easy 16%, easy 36%, medium 39% & difficult 9%
Lifts: 40 comprising of: 8 magic carpets, 13 drags, 16 chairlifts, 2 gondolas and 1 cable car
Night skiing: No
Cross country trails: 30km
Snowmaking: 45% runs covered
Resort bus: Yes
Half-board meals are the order of the day at Hotel Montane. A continental breakfast is included but a cooked breakfast is available for an extra local charge. The evening meal comes with a choice of three delicious courses to fill you up after a busy day on the slopes.
The hotel also offers a packed lunch service every day to make it easier for you to stay out on the slopes for longer. Christmas is a full-on feast with a five-course traditional Christmas dinner. See the New Year in with a five-course dinner. Both festive meals are included in the price of your holiday.
The 27 rooms at the Montane are comfortable and nicely furnished with lots of lovely hardwood finishes and clean, open spaces. Each room comes with satellite TV, internet connection and an en-suite bathroom with hairdryer, bath or shower. Happily, all of the rooms have mountain views.
The rooms also have tea and coffee making facilities, so you don't have to leave to get your jolt of java or your morning brew.
In 2018/19, we're pleased to be introducing free ski guiding and coaching throughout the week from fully qualified ski and board instructors. We call them our Mountain Experts.
Designed for confident blue and red-run skiers and snowboarders, they'll show you around the mountain on free guiding sessions, and even offer free coaching sessions to help you become a more confident skier or snowboarder.
There will be at least 12 hours of sessions a week and we guarantee each guest at least two sessions a week. Your Neilson resort hosts will explain how it works when you get there.
Free guiding and coaching from fully qualified instructors on our Neilson Mountain Experts service
Free lift pass for the group organiser when 12+ people pre-book a lift pass
Official rating: ***
Reception with small lounge area and open fire
Small bar with an extensive wine menu
Free Wi-Fi in public areas
Equipment storage available (cost is approx. €30 per week for up to two sets of skis or snowboards)
Departure airports: Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick, Manchester or Stansted
Departure day: Sunday
Arrival airport: Lleida (in Spain)
Flight duration: 2 hours 5 minutes to 2 hours 35 minutes
Transfer time: approx. 2 hours 45 minutes