Well, we're off skiing. Whoopee!! I love skiing and have skied all my life. My parents went skiing on their honeymoon so I think it's in the blood. I started at five and given that Alexander has now reached the ripe of old age of two and nearly a half I thought that it was about time to get him used to the white stuff - they say; the earlier the better.
A German mother of a child in Alexander's class at school mentioned the name Kinderhotels to me and more specifically the Hotel Alpenrose in Lermoos, Austria. Okay, it's no St. Moritz but the skiing in St. Moritz isn't great for beginners anyway.
It's in the Tyrol, part of the Zugspitzarena.
It's the day before we jet off from Heathrow. I am at home having my last -minute, pre-holiday beautification. The lovely people at Milk Beauty who come to you when it suits you, managed to fit me in for a gorgeous OPI pedicure. A lot of last-minute rushing around, packing far too much, then packing even more and we are ready.
For the newbies; my pick of the gear. You need goggles (UVEX are good), warm snow boots (we have some really cool, stylish Italian Olang ones), ski suits of course and do not forget the sun cream (Piz Buin has been a staple of mine since very young on the slopes). As for suits, if looking for a toddler then the creme de la creme is Mini a Ture. Lastly, for socks and undergarments the go-to brand is Falke (very important for in-boot comfort).
I like to travel in style too so this year, replaced my old tired carry-on with two gorgeous new pieces - a Brics (think Wills and Kate) and a Tumi. For check-in luggage, I swear by my Samsonite Cosmolite. They literally weigh nothing so that you can cram them full of clothes without worrying about weight allowance.
At last, packed and ready to go we chose an unusual but refreshingly reasonable, easy and luxurious way to get to terminal 5 a twenty-minute black cab from Get Taxi away. They have an app of course- who doesn't! No more smelly minicabs for me!
A scenic transfer to the hotel and we arrive in what I can safely say is children's heaven;-it's a Kinderhotel or a children's hotel.
I'm not quite sure where to start because in some ways I don't want to let everyone in on this little secret. There was hardly an English family to be seen, so please don't tell everyone!
The decor is a mix of modern eclectic and traditional Tyrolean. The two marry well. The entrance is filled with a huge futuristic fish tank and hanging seating pods with brightly coloured pieces of child-friendly modern art.
Our room is a small family room with south facing balcony. It has a separate kids bedroom with bunk beds with removable sides. This was the first time Alexander slept in a bed and he actually liked it crawling into bed on his own at night after a hard day at play.
The amazing thing for me though is how the hotel manages to keep a balance between grown-up and child. No mean feat.
I couldn't wait to get Alexander decked out for his first ski lesson the next day. They offer 'baby ski school' complete with baby ski lift and lessons every morning with Bobo the ski school penguin mascot who comes out to dance and sing midway through. Alexander was definitely the youngest and it wasn't easy keeping his helmet, gloves and skis on all at once but I persevered!
There is a whole world dedicated to kids of all ages taking up one floor of the hotel. It's truly unbelievable. From 9am until 9pm if you so wish you have free childcare - bliss! There's even a full sized soft play with a five storey slide, bigger than in my local leisure centre!
Two truly original features are an indoor Pirate Land complete with water slides and last but by no means least, outside on the hotel roof there is a wooden wonderland.
We took Alexander in his swimming costume and we couldn't drag him away.
Despite this being a children's hotel, it doesn't feel like a zoo.
It never seemed to be noisy in the dining room. Perhaps a function again of a huge space separated into more intimate dining areas. They also have a very serious wine cellar with Riedel decanters and wine glasses of a quantity that would make a oenophile blush.
You have to see this place to believe it. One word of warning, don't come here if you are just a couple. You won't get enough out of it. Wait until there are three or four or five or six of you and then see what we haven't managed to do in this country and to my knowledge has been done elsewhere either.
Pros: True 5* luxury with all the facilities that you could imagine. Superbly maintained. World class childcare and facilities. Great value for money. Cable car directly opposite hotel.
Cons: Lots of children- this is a family hotel. Skiing geared towards beginners and intermediates - advanced skiers may get bored. No nightlife or real shopping in the village.