A couple of years ago we were invited to Villars with some friends on a skiing holiday. The first thing that struck us was that this Swiss village, unlike any of the other ski resorts we had previously visited in France; Tignes, La Plagne or Les Menuires, is not a purpose built ski resort but a bustling place where local businesses, international schools and skiing coincide. Granted Villars is at a lower altitude than these other resorts and the skiing area is not as expansive, but it is charmingly situated on south facing slopes, easily accessible from Geneva airport and there is plenty of good piste skiing for beginners and intermediates and more than enough off piste for the more competent. For families one of the best bit about Villars is the Free for Kids offer for children under nine.
The Villars Tourism website provides comprehensive details of the range of accomodation options available in Villars which includes hotels, guesthouses, self-catering and catered chalets, mountain huts and, as Villars also offers plenty of family activities in summer, camping. We have stayed in self-catering chalets and apartments in Villars and nearby Barbalouse since this type of accomodation is, in our opinion, the best choice for families. The ever helpful Villars Tourism website also provides details of how and where to book this accomodation, either through local letting agents like Villars Chalets or directly from the owners. Of the hotel accomodation we are only familiar with the Hotel Du Golf where some family members have stayed. As well as the friendly atmosphere this hotel probably has one of the best, most central locations, directly across from the train station from where the BVB also departs to the ski station at Bretaye.
Nothing increases the appetite more than a day skiing and there are many excellent places to eat on the mountains. We particularly like the restaurant at Les Chaux which is accessible to skiers and to non skiers who can simply take the Telecabin (Gondola) Barbalouse to enjoy the food and the view. Back in the resort there are plenty of family friendly places to choose from. The creperie opposite the Co-op in the village is one of our favourites. Eating out tends to be expensive in Villars as in most ski resorts, but there are plenty of local supermarkets to choose from or if you are travelling to Villars by car you can always stop off at any of the superstores along the motorway on your way. There is a large supermarket underneath the airport in Geneva which is very handy for last minute grocery shopping before you take the train. (The train station is also underneath the airport.)
In the last ten years we have been lucky enough to have travelled around Europe as well as spending time in Nepal, America, Asia and South and Central America. When it comes to planning trips around using public transport, nothing compares to the Swiss travel system for punctuality, cleanliness and efficiency. Some may find this precision mindnumbingly unexciting, on the other hand, if you have an infant or children in tow it is incredibly reassuring to know that not only will your train arrive at exactly two minutes past the hour as scheduled, but that when you arrive at your destination the train arrival time will be synced with a local bus to take you to your ski resort. You can calculate to the minute your arrival time from Geneva airport to Villars. In fact, this is provided on the SBB website.