Alternative ways to escape

Peter Thompson takes a festive short break and rounds up some of the best deals.

Santa on his sleigh at Disneyland Paris

Not all ski trips have to be action packed.

Lying flat on my back with my legs up in the air is a predicament I’ve became accustomed to on ski trips over the years. And just a few hours after arriving in the Swiss Alps, I already find myself in that all-too familiar position once again. As I open my eyes in a startled state, I hear a stern voice instructing me to “inhale” and then “exhale”. Now breathing easily, I get back on my feet, and fortunately, there’s no need to salvage my skis after another almighty pile-up.

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I’m enjoying my first ever yoga session high up in the mountains in one of the converted barns that makes up the impressive Montagne Alternative boutique hotel, billed as a place to escape for some peace and tranquillity.

Blessed with spectacular views of vast mountains and seemingly never-ending valleys, the location easily induces relaxation.

I arrived at the quaint village of Commeire by train from Geneva Airport to the nearby town of Martigny, coasting past the sun-dappled Lake Geneva. Spread over five barns (with one sleeping up to ten people), Montagne Alternative combines classic Alpine-style design with modern and chic decor.

There are only 13 residents in the village of Commeire, but every effort has been made to ensure their lives haven’t been disrupted by the hotel. Thanks to measures such as solar-powered heating, the impact on the environment has also been minimised. But a stay here isn’t just about sitting back and soaking up the atmosphere; with resorts Verbier and La Fouly on the doorstep, it’s an excellent spot for skiers.

The slopes at La Fouly are much quieter and are perfect for a novice skier like myself.

A tasty lunch with a couple of beers at traditional Swiss restaurant Auberge des Glaciers is a perfect way to end my short break in the mountains. Although I could happily stay in front of the roaring fire at our luxuriously converted barn long after the cows have come home.

Doubles at Montagne Alternative cost from 200 euros, including breakfast; a week’s stay costs from 650 euros per person (based on two sharing a room). Visit

Swiss Air flies from London Gatwick to Geneva from £67 return. For information on train travel within Switzerland, visit

For more information on Switzerland visit

If festive family fun is what you are looking for, why not join Mickey and Minnie over the Christmas holidays and snap up some tickets for Disneyland Paris.

After a few hours on the Eurostar and you’ll be walking down Main Street, taking in the sites and sounds of the festive season, as an incredible 8,200 litres of soap is magically transformed into snowflakes falling from the sky. A 24m-high Christmas tree is adorned in a mass of decorations, each one inspired by end-of-the-year European traditions.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse lead the parade of floats as pirates and princesses wave and perform for everyone lining the route. The spectacular Disney Dreams Christmas show, where Sleeping Beauty’s iconic castle is transformed into a shimmering winter scene is a must. Projections feature characters from the films Frozen, while the Toy Story guys and gals try their hand at The Nutcracker. Stunning effects and the most fabulous fireworks ever seen add to the atmosphere, ensuring every minute we spend at Disneyland Paris really is as magical as you’re led to believe.

Disney’s Enchanted Christmas two-night, three-day package, including return travel with Eurostar in December 2013, starts from £1,205.20 for a family of two adults and two children (aged from four to six). Price includes accommodation with continental breakfast at Disney’s Hotel New 
York and three day hopper tickets 
for the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, based on two adults sharing. Visit