Chilled-Out Luxury Ski Holidays

Consensio do the ski holiday at a slightly different level to everyone else – it's the level of luxury and service, but also the fact that it's totally bespoke and tailored to whatever guests want.

Hosted ByPeter & Felice
Luxury Chalet

Chalet Shemshak in Courchevel 1850

Peter Welcome to our travel podcast. We’re specialist travel writers and we’ve spent half a lifetime exploring every corner of the world.

Felice We want to share with you some of our extraordinary experiences and the amazing people we’ve met along the way.

Peter This week, we’re back to the slopes again. Literally millions of passionate skiers everywhere are getting ready for what for many of them will be their first opportunity for a ski holiday since March 2020, when the lifts in Europe dramatically closed within a space of a day or two. Pent-up demand is at an all-time high, but COVID and climate change have altered the landscape of the ski holiday. We talked to Ceri Tinley, who I think it’s fair to describe as the Empress of the Super Luxury Chalet business. She’s co-founder of Consensio Chalets, the company that provides the most luxurious ski holidays in the French Alps. Ceri, welcome to the show.

Ceri Thank you.

Peter Now, this is very exciting. We’re getting very close to the start of a new ski season, the first for us in Britain, the first new ski season in two years. Personally, I haven’t skied since January 2020, which to me is quite extraordinary. I normally ski every week of the winter. Did you get to ski yourself last winter?

Ceri No, I didn’t. So for me, it was the same as you; it had been that same January. So I’m very much hoping that this December we get to ski ,because that will mean I won’t have missed a year. For me, I think it would be quite nice to do – that if we can get out at the beginning of December, then at least I’ve not missed a season.

Peter Some countries had a very normal season last year. I mean, in America and in Canada they skied, albeit some of the resorts closed early. In Europe we had skiing in Austria for locals only and in Switzerland pretty normal. But of course, from Britain, we couldn’t get there and indeed from a lot of countries you couldn’t get there for obvious COVID restrictions. But now we’re hoping that all get off to a fairly normal start in Europe in December, right?

Ceri That’s the plan. We’re seeing…I hate to use the word ’unprecedented’ because it’s been abused quite a lot over the last 18 months…but demand for this winter is just crazy. It was crazy until August, but in the last six weeks it’s gone quite nuts. Everyone is determined to ski. Everyone’s starting to see that kind of relaxing in requirements and people can be more confident they will travel. The phone’s ringing off the hook, it’s fantastic.

Luxury Chalet

Le Grenier living room, Méribel

Felice You run Consensio, which is the most upmarket chalet operation that there is, I think. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Ceri Yes. So we’re slightly different to a lot of other people, one: in the level to which we operate and two: in how we work with our owners. We have lots of lovely owners that give us their property to sell and to manage, and to look after them whilst they’re there, and then look after our guests during the other weeks. But what we do, like you say, is we do it at a slightly different level to everyone else,  at the level of luxury and service, but more the fact that it’s totally bespoke and tailored to whatever our guests or owners want. One week can be very, very different to another week, even if it’s the same guest. So that’s where we set ourselves apart a little bit.

Felice What sort of things do you offer that other operators don’t?

Ceri Whatever the client wants as long as it’s legal, that’s pretty much what we do. Yes, of course there’s a framework – we’re there to provide service of food and beverage and transport within the resort – to the piste and back to the chalet, but it’s making sure that it’s exactly what the clients want. Clients come from all over the world and so their requirements can be very different, one country to another: different cultures, different requirements. Also what we see are different groups come one week and if it’s a Christmas holiday – that’s a very different style of holiday to a corporate boys’ trip in March. The style and the type of holiday will be very different, and we just adapt the service accordingly.

Peter Now, a lot of our listeners won’t really understand what we mean by a chalet holiday. It was originally a British concept but that has spread around the world. Can you explain what a luxury chalet is, first of all?

Ceri Absolutely. Especially at our level I would even go so far as calling them baby hotels; they are quite huge. We call it our ultimate collection now; they come with obviously the normal bedrooms and bathrooms and living spaces, but they come with pools and spas and bars and wine cellars. What they also come with, which is where we set ourselves apart from other people or agencies, is that ours are fully staffed. There is a team that we recruit and we train and we put into that property.

So the property may only sleep 12, maybe 14 guests, but there will be a team of six to seven dedicated to that property to provide management, concierge, cooking. So all the meals, driver service, housekeeping and all of that; but really to just tailor it so the guests don’t have to think about anything other than enjoying themselves and spending time with the family.

Luxury Chalet

Lhotse, Val d’Isère

Felice You once told me about some unusual things that guests want you to organise, like magicians and all sorts of things like that, what’s the most unusual?

Ceri Most unusual or most exciting? There’s excitement for birthdays – we love the fact that we can bring people together from all over the world and throw surprise parties; we’re seeing a huge amount of those at the moment. We have done weddings before, we have turned the chalet into a Disney castle for kids’ birthday parties. We’ve lit up the piste outside with fireworks for someone’s 40th birthday, but down to little things like we’ve chased across the Alps to get the certain type of food that they would like and something that they’ve tasted somewhere else that they’d like to try. Quite extraordinary some of the requests, and obviously magicians and musicians and bringing in cocktail waiters to come and help throw a party – in a sense that’s quite normal for us.

Peter So you’re a bit like a private hotel, a private five-star hotel? You can manage a level of service that can never be achieved in a five-star hotel because of the number of people?

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One of the bedrooms in Chalet Namaste, Courchevel 1850

Ceri Exactly. Because in a five-star hotel you are limited to needing to be able to recreate that service for tens, maybe even hundreds of people every single night, whereas we’re limited to a maximum normally of 15. You can’t operate with greater than that, so it’s usually between 10 and 14 guests, and they are one group so we can tailor everything to what that group wants to do at that particular time. But like I said before, no week is ever the same and even if we have the same guests who come often, the week they do in a different time of the season might be a different type of holiday.

Felice And you’ll organise things like private jets and helicopters and all different sorts of transport?

Ceri So whilst that’s not part of the holiday – we don’t package anything – we have partners who we’ve worked with or our clients have worked with that we trust that we will put them in contact and help them, then they make the arrangements. Because we’ve got clients coming in from all over the world; we only have about 40% of people coming from the UK and we really have an international clientele.

It’s tricky arranging private jets from lots of places, so we have partners throughout the world that do that, but also arranging the things that are in the resort as well. I mean, people come to ski for sure, but a lot of people come to do other activities, whether it’s snowmobiling, dog sledding, parapente skiing, what have you. And so we help, again we have partners in the resort so we help put those activities together for them.

Peter So if I’m interested in booking a holiday and I look at your website, I would start with the price. I guess for quite a lot of your international clients, the price is not necessarily the main consideration by any means, perhaps a secondary consideration compared to the product that they’re getting. What sort of figure are we thinking about, so that I know whether I can afford to have a go at it?

Luxury Chalet

Living area in Shemshak, Courchevel 1850

Ceri It is. Well, I will first say we have three different products, so in a sense whilst we are very much at the high end, we often do have something that will match most people’s pricing. So if we want to talk about the crazy stuff, it very much again depends on the week in which you wish to travel. So if I think about the most expensive property we have, you’re going to be spending about £180,000 euros for a New Year week.

Peter How many people is that?

Ceri That would sleep eight adults and five children, so we’re talking about 13 people. However, if you then chose that chalet and came in a January week, you’re talking about 56,000 euros. So there’s a huge difference in the level of demand on the type of weeks. So that’s at the crazy end; that’s an amazing chalet on the piste in Courchevel 1850. However, if you’re looking at an equivalent property that sleeps 10 adults and four children in Val d’Isère, for example, your January week’s only 8,500 euros, but it’s a very different product. We do self-catering – whilst it’s very bespoke and it’s tailored, we’d look after them more than a normal self-catering holiday, there is something for everybody in the portfolio.

Felice Can you offer things like nannies and ski school?

Ceri We have amazing partners that we’ve worked with over the years. So anything from private ski guides to group skiing, off-piste ski guides, nannies, anything like that. A lot of people come, and whilst in the group some of them may do normal piste skiing, there’s a lot that get involved in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. So they still want to do activities, but not the hardcore, normal on-the-piste skiing that you and I would be doing.

Peter So how are things changing for this winter? I mean, we’ve had this incredibly unusual season and a half, really, I guess. And now we’ve got a brand new season coming up, which we hope will run normally. How are things changing in that final run-up to it? There’s a great demand, I gather.

Luxury Chalet

Living room at Chalet Bacchus in Courchevel Moriond

Ceri A huge demand. We thought there would be, but I don’t think we quite thought that it would be this much. I mean, we’ve expanded; we have one brand new chalet, Bacchus in Courchevel Moriond, and we have a couple of new apartments in Méribel, which is all very exciting and it would have been very tempting if we knew of this demand to take on new properties. We’re always offered new properties, but for us…we knew we’d had a winter out…we wanted to make sure that, especially with the level of service that we provide, that we were bang on the money as we normally are.

Especially with some new properties anyway, we felt that it was the right decision to stick with what our normal plan would be. We normally take one or two of the next new best chalets into the portfolio each year. So we’re seeing that. We’re seeing, sadly, very obviously no demand from the southern hemisphere where they are not permitted to travel or the quarantine restrictions are very tough. But for the rest of the world, we’re seeing it looking pretty much like a normal pattern for us, the type of nationalities that are coming.

Peter And what kind of nationalities are those?

Ceri Well UK Europe as normal, literally in the last month we have started seeing the Americans as normal. They make up about 5% of our normal clientele. Russians, again, they weren’t able to travel because their vaccination was not recognised by the EU, but I understand now that with their booster – they’re being able to get a European-approved booster – which would enable them to travel. So that is very exciting because Russians normally take up quite a big section of our market, especially for the first period of time in January when they come and they normally travel to the Three Valleys for that period.

Peter I guess they have a different New Year to us?

Ceri Their Christmas and New Year dates are later than ours, and they usually travel during the period from 2nd of January for about 10 days, and so that’s always been a very important week for us. So we’re very excited that’s been able to change because we’ve got some clients that are desperate to come.

Luxury Chalets

Marco Polo’s Lacroix-designed swimming-pool, Val d’Isère

Felice Can you tell me a bit about the interior of some of your chalets? Because I remember seeing the most incredible bath that looks like a pond almost it was huge…in Val d’Isère, and then a gold plated or gold leaf swimming pool.

Ceri I think you’re talking about Marco Polo and also Lhotse. The bath, when they built the property, was installed and then built around it, because it was so big and so heavy it had to be put in by crane. It’s quite stunning in the master bedroom, in Marco Polo in Val d’Isère. In the same chalet the swimming-pool has a design of Buddhas, designed by Christian Lacroix, and they’re gold leaf. And they feature at the back of the swimming-pool there, which again is in an amazing spa with all the facilities that you would want.

So the design, especially in that chalet, the owner spent a long time travelling around the world picking specific pieces that he wanted to put in there. So the front door has come from Mongolia or somewhere like that and the ceiling, the wooden ceilings, have been sourced so they all work well together and it provides quite a magical place to go on holiday.

Luxury Chalet

Lhotse’s famous bathtub, Val d’Isère

Felice Have you got any other unusual design elements in your chalets?

Ceri Our newest one, Bacchus, isn’t as bling and crazy as some of the other ones, like Marco Polo, but it is possibly one of the most well put together and thought-out properties that I’ve seen. The owner spent a huge amount of time working with architects and working out how best to get the lighting, how to get the best views from every angle. There was really no compromise for them to make sure that the outside came in, if you like. They’ve been on many holidays and so they knew what was going to work for them as well as the clients, and the place just flows. It’s stunning. And again, it’s on the piste, which for all of us is is a winner.

Felice And which resort is that?

Ceri So that’s in Courchevel, what would have been known as 1650 – Moriond.

Luxury Chalet

One of the bedrooms in Chalet Bacchus, Courchevel Moriond

Peter That’s below the more famous part of Courchevel, but definitely the most up-and-coming part, of Courchevel now.

Ceri Absolutely, it’s a place that we’re looking to build a small foothold there. This is our first one. We’re looking to bring more in next year and the year after, because for us, we see it as…more affordable is the wrong word, but a slightly more understated resort. 1850 will always hold its own and a certain client will always want to go there, but there’s others that want to have access to that but in a slightly more understated way.

Peter The beauty of Moriond 1650 is, of course, is that it has its own ski area which is really quite separate, although of course it’s connected to the Three Valleys. So when the resort is crowded, when the area is crowded, you get some pretty quiet, excellent skiing.

Ceri Absolutely, it’s one of my favourite places to escape to during those busy weeks.

Felice So apart from Courchevel and Val d’Isère, which other resorts do you have chalets in?

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View from Le Grenier terrace in Méribel

Ceri We do in Méribel, we have Le Grenier which is an ultimate chalet there.  New for this year we are launching a slightly more flexible programme called our Relaxed Catered Chalet programme. So we’re launching this for our first time with Chalet Chopine in Méribel. This is in response to guests that are wanting to come in slightly smaller groups and have a slightly more relaxed level of service. Whilst still they want that that tailored bespoke nature, they can be a lot more relaxed about it. They’re all about going out and having the lunches so when they come home, they’re not necessarily needing a great big seven-course tasting menu that can be provided in the ultimate chalets.

We are seeing slightly smaller groups coming through, because maybe as a result of COVID that people potentially aren’t wanting to book with another group because they might not be able to travel. This is something we’re trialling for this year, so really it’s less staff on hand, but still being there. Everything’s at the same level, the same type of drinks are in the bar and the same bathroom products. We’re not skimping on that side of things; what we’re doing is just a slightly more laid-back type of ski holiday, so we’re quite excited about trialling that for this year.

Luxury Chalet

A bedroom in Le Rocher, Val d’Isère

Peter So where do you find your staff from? They’re not all British?

Ceri This is our first year post-Brexit, so everything is different. We can no longer employ UK staff in our chalets, unless they have a permit to work in France. For us, the way to obtain these permits is very convoluted, very tricky and hasn’t been tried and tested. This is the first winter that everyone is trying to do this. So for us, it really wasn’t a solution we were willing to rely upon.

So we have been working hard in this last year during a time-off, as it were, to research and decide where we were going to be recruiting our normal staff. We still need the same level, we need the same quantity, we need nearly 60 staff to run our chalets. So we are employing anyone with a European passport or anyone with a permit to stay in France. We have a huge range of nationalities, probably it reflects our clients quite well from all over the world.

It’s going to be an interesting season that the cultural mix in the chalets will be different to what we’ve had before. Obviously, they need to speak fluent English because that’s the main language spoken by all our clients. But I think it can be interesting. They’ve all worked at the high level that we expect – in private yachts and villas or top Michelin-star restaurants, that type of thing. It’s going to be a much, much greater cultural mix and it’s going to be interesting, but they’ve been used to that . In any yacht you see this kind of mix already. So we’re quite excited about what this might bring and the different style of service that might be brought to the chalets.

Felice In fact, your chalets are a bit like staying on private yachts.

Ceri Yes, we like people that have worked on private yachts because they are used to the last-minute kind of demands that often our guests give. So a guest might have decided that he wants lamb for dinner and it’s all planned and we’ve created a lovely menu. But they’ve gone out and seen lamb on the menu at lunchtime; so they ate it then and they come home and suddenly change their mind. And our chefs need to be flexible enough to adapt to those kinds of requests and changes, and expect them. Like a yacht, we’re up the mountains – we don’t have easy catering stores that are available to provide food at the last moment, so it requires a lot of flexibility on behalf of the team.

Felice You’re quite well known for your food as well.

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Chalet Chopine dining room in Méribel

Ceri We are, in a sense that whilst it’s a very high level. What we focus on is where it comes from; we like that everything is local so we visit the local markets. There’s often the local cheeses that are made in the resort, which we like to use. But the food again, it’s being flexible enough to meet our clients’ requirements. Often in a group of 14 there’s lots of different dietary requirements; nowadays being vegetarian or vegan is quite normal, whereas back in the day when we used to ski 20 years ago, it wasn’t. You very rarely found these foods in the mountains, whereas now it’s expected. And so the chefs need to be able to adapt the menu to meet a whole group of different dietary requirements. Again, it could be a seven-course tasting menu. It might be just a very, very simple steak and salad, but it would be the best steak and salad you’ve ever had.

Peter I remember many years ago now, we had a letter of complaint from some guests who were writing to us at a ski magazine saying that they had been staying in Italy in Cortina d’Ampezzo which was the resort. And it said this particular hotel, they had told them in advance that there were four vegetarians and the hotel said yes, that was absolutely fine. So they gave them liver and eggs every day.

Ceri I think in France it was very similar until recently. So that’s again often why guests would rather stay in a catered chalet as opposed to a hotel, because there’s that flexibility within what they can eat.

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Living room in Etoile Filant apartment in Val d’Isère

Felice Consensio is very involved in being environmentally friendly. Can you tell us about that?

Ceri Yes. I think like most people in this world, we’ve recognised the need to ensure the company is sustainable and what we provide is following the path and the ethics of sustainability. However, we’ve been working with Protect Our Winters, where we’ve done a full audit and we’ve decided and made some changes on how we’re going to operate. But one of the biggest things that we were quite scared of is: we provide a luxury product, we can’t get away from that. Our clients fly in by private jet, and we were really struggling with the concept of how can a company like ours be sustainable? ‘Green-washing’ is the word. Are we just taking out plastic water bottles and then stating that we’re sustainable?

So working with Protect Our Winters to look at the bigger picture, and actually it’s the bigger picture in which we can make much more of a difference. We can be changing and writing to owners and changing the way the chalets are powered. This is amazing; this is a big thing and our owners are all on board with this. We’ve been working with our transport providers that we can be looking to be the first on board to be providing electric vehicles for our guests in the resort. At the moment, they’re not there, but they are coming through.

Working with them we’ve realised that actually if we start making our demands or requests, now that this is what we want to do,, they can start planning for this. So in the next few years, they didn’t think people wanted them in the mountains, whereas we do – we just didn’t realise they were available. Also writing to your pension provider to ensure that they are not investing in fossil fuels, things that are much greater than just changing what water bottles you have in the chalet.

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Dining room in the self-catered apartment Jossane, Méribel

And also, we’ve learned that changing things might not necessarily be the best thing. We take these things out and we say, ‘No, we’re going to put these other things in the chalet,’ but actually they’ve been shipped from China. We’re trying to work a lot more cleverly with what we’re doing. We understand that burning wood isn’t a great thing in a chalet. However, it’s a normal part of our product, it is something that guests want when they come on holiday. However, we can ensure that the wood we buy comes from a sustainable regrowing in the mountains resource. So that for us is being quite an eye opener, so we’re working on how we can do things differently.

France has been very big on the normal things you’re recycling, all those things we’ve been doing for many, many, many years is nothing to shout home about. So for us, it’s just thinking a bit more cleverly, while still respecting the fact that we’re a luxury travel company. We’re always going to be, otherwise we wouldn’t be in business. If we change too many things, changing the things that we can, in a meaningful way. And so one of the things we’ve been doing is writing to all our suppliers to say: ‘Join Protect Our Winters, make these commitments yourself,’ because if we can do that, that’s suddenly amplifying what we’re doing 20-fold, 30-fold, if they all come on. So it’s those sorts of changes. We’ve recognised that we can make meaningful change. So that’s where we’re at.

Peter So suppose I’m North American. I’ve got a budget of $100,000…100,000 euros maybe. I want to go skiing with you over Easter this coming year. I’m a family of six but could be eight, I’m not quite sure yet. Where can I go?

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Living room in Chalet Namaste, Courchevel 1850

Ceri I would suggest that you would probably go to somewhere like Courchevel 1850. I think it provides everything that you might like. If you’re a family, I think that you would like somewhere like Namaste in Courchevel 1850, because it has a pool which is amazing, but it’s its location – it’s on the piste. There’s a lovely garden around it. It’s private, very private. But it’s a lovely, easy piste that you can exit the chalet and you can come back to the chalet.

There’s lots of places that say they’re ski-in ski-out, but you might not be able to return to the chalet unless you’re a competent skier. For me, I think there’s nothing better than skiing home with your kids at the end of the day and a nice, easy piste into your back door and then go outside, build snowmen in your own private garden, have a snowball fight, sledging, for me, that’s pretty, pretty special. Courchevel makes a huge effort for families and the kind of entertainment they put on at the weekends for the guests when they arrive is pretty special.

Peter And I want to go to dinner a few times when I’m there, not necessarily just eat in the chalet; who’s going to look after the kids? Is that all included or do you do something separate for that?

Ceri It’s not all included, but it’s totally arranged. We have qualified nannies in all our resorts that we work with – fully qualified and vetted. They would come and meet you and, at the start of the week, make sure that they’ve got to know your kids and then they would be there ready to look after them and play games. Your private chauffeur would be there, drive you to your restaurant or wherever you want to go and then pick you up and bring you back at the end. So there’s no waiting around, no waiting for taxis and you know that if there was a problem at any point, they would be there to pick you up and whizz you home if anything happened to the children. I think is really important to have that reassurance.

Peter What about ski passes and all the other hassles of looking at ski holiday? Would you organise all that for me in advance?

Ceri We will do everything for you in advance. You do not need to do anything except turn up. Maybe bring some clothes, but even that can be arranged. We’ve done that before where people have last minute decided to come – no ski kit. So we arranged for one of the local shops in Val d’Isère to bring a selection of kit down to the chalet. They tried them on and purchased.

Peter Can I get the ski rental in the chalet? Will you bring the skis to the chalet?

Ceri Absolutely. If you wish to go to the shop, of course that’s not a problem, but it’s more usual that we’ll put in the request of roughly what you want. The shop will turn up with a variety of choices. They’ll fit you in your own private boot room, so you haven’t even need to put shoes on – you keep your slippers on. Then you try it all out, then they’ll fit it all and they’ll be ready for you overnight, delivered back ready for skiing in the morning.

Felice Ceri, can you tell us how you first got into skiing and Consensio, and this type of holiday?

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Ceri on piste

Ceri I live in Jersey currently and we did back in the year 2000, and my husband and I decided that we would do a ski season, which probably for some of your listeners who are not aware of the catered ski holiday model, you’re able to go out and you’d work in the ski chalet you would cook. You would not get paid very much, but you’d get your lift pass and your ski hire and you’d be able to ski between the hours of about 10am and 6pm each day. It was a great way to spend a winter and that’s what we did in the year 2000. But then we didn’t really come home; we stayed and worked our way up through management.

My husband was a lawyer and I was an accountant. So after a few years of doing winters and summers, we decided to move and do it as a lifestyle. And so we got what I would call ‘proper jobs’: my husband was a contract manager for a big ski company and I was a finance director for a big ski company. So we settled into what I would call more of a normal life, weekday working and skiing at the weekends. That’s where we were until I had my eldest and I decided to go freelance and was helping private chalet owners rent their property, helped them with the admin and the finance side.

That’s when several owners came to me who had lost their operator and wanted some more help, but there were quite a few of them – about six in total, and so I said to them: ‘Look, why don’t we form a cooperative? We can share resources; we will sell your properties under the same brand and let’s see where we get.’ And that’s what we did the best part of 12 years ago and off we went. So Consensio was born. When you Google co-operative, that’s what came up as the translation of that word and we launched then. So year on year, we’ve slowly got bigger, adding the next new chalet, and evolved. There seems to still be a need, both from the owner perspective and a client perspective of having four owners being involved in the chalets. They don’t just get a lease and then they’re paid an amount and that’s that – they’re very involved in how we run their properties.

Felice That’s interesting because I never knew what Consensio actually meant, if it meant anything.

Ceri There we go: it means co-operative, and that’s how we work. Each of our owners are, if you like, a little mini hotel, run independently within our brand. So we profit-share; we don’t pay our owners rent, and that means that there are a lot more involved and invested in the brand and the company and really work with us, which makes my life so much easier.

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Lhotse’s piano lounge

Felice What’s the most unusual thing people have left behind? Because I know that when people go on holiday, they leave all sorts of things behind.

Ceri We have the normal things that people want back, and that’s absolutely fine. We have the fact that people have brought their own wine and then they leave that they’re not going to want that shipping on – the chalet staff were very excited about that. But the weirdest was the one I spoke about a moment ago, about how they turned up, they wanted to ski. We arranged for all their kit to arrive, and they then just walked out of the chalet and left it all behind. It was quite extraordinary: a full set of kit for 10 people just left in the wardrobe. They’d worn it for a week and that was that. We said we’d wrap it all up and we would send it back. But ‘No, we don’t need it.’ For me that was the most wasteful leaving behind, to be honest.

Everyone leaves jewellery or other bits and bobs, and we always post those on. Or we keep them – the most normal thing is that people leave their stuff and we package it all up and we keep it ready for when they come the next year, whether that’s their ski kit, whether that’s their cigars…they’ve sent out their special flavour of cigars, and we save that for them for the following winter.

Felice What about safety with COVID? Are the staff going to take any special precautions?

Ceri Yes. So this is something we’ve been working on over the last year as things have evolved and different protocols and they’ve sort of ebbed and flowed. Primarily the most important thing for me at the moment is the law in France: the staff have to be vaccinated, so that’s something that we’re obviously putting in place with our recruitment. However, we’re using normal hotel protocols that if they’re within a certain distance of guests, they will be wearing masks. We’re using as much of a hands-off style, not like we were preparing to do last year which was a completely hands-off service. It will still be a normal service, but just being mindful that guests might not want you in their space in the same way that they used to.

We’re putting protocol in for third parties coming to the property, which I think is actually, in a sense, more of an area to ensure that they meet the same protocols that we and our guests are expecting. And just the standard hotel COVID sanitation and cleaning that is now, I think, the norm in all hotels and restaurants – and we will be following that.

Felice How do you see the future of Consensio? What will you be doing in the next few years?

Ceri It’s a tricky one because it’s so very tempting, especially with the demand and especially with the amount of properties that are being built at the moment, to say we’re going to expand and we’re going to take over. However, our rule has always been: we take on the next new best property but it needs to be non-competing. Where I was talking before about working as a co-operative is that our next property we take on can’t compete with a current property. They need to be different in some way, either in a different location, different style, different shape, different size. And so for us, that does provide a certain limited parameter.

However, we would like to explore other resorts. We’ve always talked about Switzerland, but for us, we need enough of a base to ensure that we have the overheads and the management in place to manage the level of service that we provide, and the quality. So for us, for now, it will be slowly growing as we always have, taking on the next new properties, giving our guests the best experience.

Luxury Chalet

Ceri in green jacket, centre

Peter Ceri Tinley, thank you very much indeed for appearing on the show. We wish you the very best of luck with what must be a very exciting winter coming up for all of us.

Ceri Thank you so much. Hope to see you on the piste.

Peter If you want to know more about Consensio or book a chalet, check out their website

Felice That’s all for now. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share this episode with at least one other person! Do also subscribe on Spotifyi-Tunes or any of the many podcast providers – where you can give us a rating. You can subscribe on SpotifyApple Podcasts or any of the many podcast platforms. You can also find us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. We’d love you to sign up for our regular emails to [email protected]

Check out our other ski-related episodes, including: The Ultimate Ski Chalets, The Man Who Has Skied More Resorts Than Anyone Else, Konrad Bartelski: From Ski Racer To Photographer, Skiing With Peter and Felice, Dan Egan: Extreme Skiing Pioneer, Warren Smith: Ski Instructor To The Stars And Royals.

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