Free spending money
Contemporary yet warm is a tricky mix to achieve, but the Patagonia manages it well. The leather wingback armchairs and comfy sofas next to the large open fireplace are more suited to a country pile than a mountain hotel. Move on through to the bright and airy restaurant with its high, vaulted ceiling for extensive buffet breakfasts and evening meals.
This is a good choice for families as the rooms are really spacious and there's an unsupervised children's playroom with toys, crafts and games. There's also a games and TV room for four to 11 year olds who want a break from the slopes.
When you get on your skis or board, you won't have far to walk to the lifts as the Patagonia is right next to the express chairlift. Very convenient! You'll have free access to the hotel fitness room (in case you needed more exercise). You can also use the hotel's sauna, steam room and outdoor hot tub for when your muscles get a bit too sore, but there is a charge for this.
All of the rooms come with plenty of space and a choice of sleeping arrangements, again well-suited to families. Each has a balcony and kitchenette, ideal for enjoying a morning cuppa while catching the sunrise over the mountains. The internet is accessible throughout the hotel, so you'll be able to stay connected with friends and family.
Nearest ski lift: 100m
Tuition meeting point: 100m (top of lift)
Resort centre: 800m
Ski bus stop: 10m
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 10 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
It's half-board meals at the Hotel Patagonia. Enjoy an extensive buffet breakfast and a buffet-style evening meal to fuel up before and after your day on the slopes.
The Hotel Patagonia is warm and inviting and its 80 bedrooms are no different. Each is perfect for two to four people and comes with twin beds and two sofa beds, cable TV, a bathroom (complete with a bath for an end-of-day soak) and a small kitchenette. There is a small charge (paid locally) if you do use the kitchenette. Most rooms have a balcony, so be sure to take advantage of those stunning mountain views.
Larger premium rooms are available which have a balcony, tea and coffee making facilities plus dressing gowns and slippers.
Official rating: ****
Lounge bar with open fireplace
Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
Games and TV room for 4 to 11 year olds
Free use of fitness room
Relaxation area with sauna and steam room
Outdoor hot tub
Massage services available
Small unsupervised children's room
Free ski and snowboard lockers
Arrival airport: Toulouse (in France)
Flight duration: 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours
Transfer time: approx. 3 hours 30 minutes (including a comfort break)