Our Holiday Apartments and Chalets in Arinsal, Pal and in Encamp, Andorra
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Frequently asked questions and hopefully... answers


1) FAQ's on our Properties
2) FAQ's on transport to Andorra
3) FAQ's on Reservations and on Payment
4) FAQ's on Skiing and winter
5) FAQ's on the summer months
6) General FAQ's

1) FAQ's on our Properties

Do you have availability and what is the rental price of your properties?This is probably the most frequently asked question and the easiest to answer: on the bottom of each page (including this one) there is a menu with links to all pages.  Look at "prices and availability" and click on the appropriate period.  A page with the prices appear and there's a link to our up-to-date availability calendar.

The property I am interested in is marked as "not available" on your availability calendar for the week I want. Is that the case? Yes is is. Our availability calendar is updated with every reservation paid and confirmed. If the availability calendar marks a property as not available....it is not available.

Do you have any other properties besides those on your web site? No, otherwise they would be on the web site.

Are the properties officially declared with the Andorran Government? Yes they are and they appear in the official Andorran hotel guide.

Are the prices per night, per person or per property? All prices are per property and per stay.  In other words, if the price of an apartment is 600,00 Euros per week, that is the price you are going to pay for the week and for the apartment.  If you are 2 persons, that means 300,00 Euros each for the week.

I have a dog. Can I bring him along? Yes you can as long as your pet is well educated and you are well trained. The few times we have had to keep the cleaning deposit has been because of pets.

We have a small child. Do you have a cot? Yes we do! What's more, we have a high chair, a pram and a potty which you can borrow. However, please bear in mind that we only have one of each (which belonged to our son). Therefore, please ask for these items as soon as possible as it is all based on a "fist-come-first-served" basis.

My father is coming with us on holiday and he is quite elderly. Will he have problems accessing the properties? Accessing the chalet requires walking down outside steps. The apartments on the other hand, can be accessed by lift directly from the garage. In other words, he can get from the street to the apartments without having to climb a single step.

Are your properties set up as holiday properties (ie: kitchenette etc) or are they "proper" apartments and chalets?.  Apartments B4 and B6 were not designed to be holiday apartments. Besides, they are the only 2 apartments available for holiday rental in the entire building. All the other apartments belong to private owners. This means that the building is quiet. The kitchens are standard for a small apartment with an oven, microwave oven, normal-sized fridge etc. In other words, you won't find just 2 silly hotplates which don't work very well. As far as the chalets are concerned, they were built 40 years ago when pre-fab bungalows did not exist!

2) FAQ's on transport to Andorra

Which is closest airport to Andorra? Barcelona is closest, has the best bus service to Andorra and the easiest roads. Next is Reus, then Toulouse, then Perpignan, then Carcassonne, then Girona. There is a limited bus service from Girona and Toulouse airports and none from Perpignan. Distance wise, they are all about the same except Girona and Carcassonne which area bit further away. Click here for more info

How can I get to Andorra? By car, by bus or on foot (don't laugh, we have guests that stay in our properties during their Pyrenean hike from the Med to the Atlantic). You won't find an airport or train station in Andorra. You'll find information on how to get to Andorra here and more information on bus transfers here.

Should I take the bus or rent a car? It all depends if you want to move about once in Andorra. If you happy staying in Arinsal during your entire stay, then by all means take the bus to Arinsal or hire a private bus with a driver. On the other hand, if you would like to ski in Arcalis (which is included in your ski pass), visit the country and perhaps go to Caldea, we recommend renting a car as public transport in Andorra is not good.

Can you arrange for airport transfers? Yes we can! We can arrange for door-to-door transfers, either by bus or by private taxi/bus. All you have to worry about is getting your plane tickets. We'll take you from there. For more information, click here.

I'm thinking about renting a car.  Will I need snow chains? Another easy question to answer: if you don't bring snow chains, you'll need them.  Don't forget, rental cars have summer tyres meaning that if there's an inch of snow on the road, you will be in trouble if you don't have chains.  The Andorran authorities usually do a very good job clearing the roads.  However, if there's a snow storm, the snow settles faster than they can clean it.  Chains were needed on 4 occasions in Arinsal last winter.  If one of those occasions is the day you need to catch a plane, you'll be glad to have snow chains.


3) FAQ's on Reservations and on Payment

How do I reserve?

a) Chose the property you would like to rent
b) Checked that the property is available for the dates you want
c) Either fill out the online reservation form, print this form on paper, fill it out and fax it to us or you can call us at +376 869 181.

I am planning on reserving over the net. How secure is the credit card information and how do you debit my card? Important notice on credit cards:  no credit card transaction is 100% fraud proof.    We use SSL , one of the most secure systems on the internet.  Your browser will inform you that you are entering a secure site when clicking on our secure reservation form (unless you have the option turned off!).  No matter how you reserve (via internet, fax or phone), we do not actually charge your card using the internet.  We use the conventional method via telephone (just like any restaurant, hotel or shop) and have not received any complaints from our clients concerning their credit cards up to this date.
Sending credit card information over the net is always a bit delicate but remember that in the vast majority of cases, the fraud takes place once the credit card details reach their destination and NOT whilst being sent over the internet.  We are under contract with the International Bank Banca Mora of Andorra for credit card processing, authorisation number 992-080424. Our register of commerce with the Andorran Gov't  is nº 912218.X/12075 year 1994

You say .rent directly form the owner but who is Andorra An agency? We have been asked this question a number of times and the answer is quite simple.  The Andorran government obliges owners that have more than one holiday property to also operate an agency.  We therefore run our properties over our own agency Andorra which we created in 1994.  By the way, when we say "we", I mean my wife and I!

How long does it take you to confirm my reservation? We normally confirm all reservations within 24 hours, working days

What happens if I cancel my reservation? All cancellations must be sent to us via fax, mail or E-mail and must be confirmed by us.

Cancellation fees:
Cancellations received at least 28 days before the arrival date mentioned in this confirmation will be refunded 100%.
Cancellations received between 27 and 16 days before the arrival date mentioned in this confirmation: 25% of the total bill.
Cancellations received between 15 and 08 days before the arrival date mentioned in this confirmation: 50% of the total bill.
Cancellations received between 07 and 01 days before the arrival date mentioned in this confirmation: 75% of the total bill.
Cancellations received thereafter or "no-shows" will not be refunded.

If you would like to see all of the conditions of rent, click here

When do I have to pay for my reservation? We charge a deposit of 50% when we confirm your reservation and the balance must be paid at the latest 8 days prior to your arrival.  If you would like to see all of the conditions of rent, click here

What exactly is included in the price? Rent of the property from the arrival day mentioned in the confirmation to departure day mentioned in the confirmation at 10:00, hot water, electricity, TV, heating, bed covers, the use of the kitchen, a parking space in the private garage (private outside parking place  for the chalet), a private cellar for skis and or mountain bikes (except for the chalet) as well as all taxes.

Do I get my cleaning deposit back at the end of my holiday? Good question! Basically, if we need to call in the cleaning lady, we'll use your deposit to pay her! For more information on that, click here.

What extras are there?

Why do you rent on a Saturday to Saturday basis during mid and high season?
There is more than one reason:
a) Tour operators (such as First Choice, Panorama etc) all operate on a Sunday to Sunday basis. This means havoc on Monday mornings at the gondola, in the rental shops and at the ski school. If you arrive on a Saturday, you can rent your skis, arrange your ski lessons and get your ski passes in peace and quiet without having to queue.
b) Why leave on holiday on a Sunday when you can leave on a Saturday!
c) Getting back home on a Saturday gives you a full day to sit in your living room and get depressed before going back to work on Monday. Also, some flights leave Barcelona quite late, meaning that you might not walk through your front door before midnight and this could lead to extra depression if you have to work the next day.

4) FAQ's on Skiing and winter

I'm thinking about a skiing holiday but I know NOTHING about skiing! Nothing to worry about. The ski school in Arinsal is well known for the high level of teaching. They are used to seeing complete beginners and you will not feel out of place. Some novices even turn up with their ski boots on the wrong feet!

Can you arrange for ski passes and ski rental Of course we can. When you reserve your apartment or chalet, you can also reserve ski passes and ski rental with a 10% discount. When you arrive, we will give you the corresponding vouchers which you only need to hand in in order to get your ski pass and ski equipment.

I have young children. Is Arinsal a good ski destination? Although there is little for youngsters to to in the village,  Arinsal's well known for the quality of it's kindergarten and snow park.  The kindergarten (for children up to 4 years of age) is in a building located at the bottom of the beginner's slopes, 100 meters from the gondola and is just like any other kindergarten with kind and qualified staff.  However, they do not feed the children so you will have to organise yourselves for lunch.

The snow park (for children up to 8 years of age) is a closed off area, also located at the bottom of the beginner's slopes, 100 meters from the gondola.  The children play in the snow and learn how to ski with qualified instructors. Obviously, if a child gets cold or miserable, the instructors put him or her into the kindergarten in order to warm up.  If you will putting your children in the snow park, remember that they will need ski equipment and that you will have to organise yourselves concerning lunch.

You do not have to reserve the kindergarten and snowpark in advance. You can go to the ski school upon arrival and arrange everything right there and then.  As tour operator groups only arrive on Sunday afternoon and start skiing on Monday, you will have first choice

What's the ski school like? In general the level of teaching is excellent.  Obviously, some teachers are better than others but the school has a very good reputation.  The teachers speak English and are very friendly.

Should I take private lessons? We are amazed by the amount of people that take group lessons instead of private lessons.  Why they do it we don't know!  Imagine you're a group of 15 persons in a 2-hour lesson.  The teacher will devote only 8 minutes of his (or her) time to you! (120 min / 15 persons!).  Of course, many of the explanations he gives apply to the entire group so the above is not 100% correct but it does make you think!  True, group lessons are more fun but standing in line at the lifts for 20 minutes during class or listening to the teacher correcting other people does not improve your skiing!

Private lessons are not as expensive as you think: a 1-hour lesson for 4 persons during high season is 9,25 Euros per person.  A group lesson is 5,96 Euros per hour and per person (89,50 E /15 hours)... hmmm.  Add the fact that the teacher is there only for you, that he can choose slopes adapted you and not the group (he must always cater for the worst skier in a group) and that you can skip lift lines  should make your choice fairly clear.   If you are serious about wanting to learn how to ski, TAKE PRIVATE LESSONS!

What are the best months to ski and is there still any snow left in March?
Answering this question always makes us smile as many people seem think that all the snow melts after Easter, no matter when Easter falls!  If Easter falls mid-March, all the snow melts thereafter.  If, on the other hand, Easter falls mid April, the snow somehow stays!!! MAGIC!!!

How much snow there will be for any given week therefore only god knows.  However, it does help to understand the climate in Andorra in order to make a calculated guess:  the months from Decembre to mid February are cold.  The first snow falls occur mid november and then on and off until Christmas.  There is normally another big snowfall around Christmas and another in February.  Beginning of March, there is normally more snow and funnily enough, there is another snowfall beginning of April.  March is normally a very good month but the snow tends to get slushy in the afternoon.  Skiers therefore get up early, enjoy the good conditions until about 13:00 and then relax on a terrace with a drink. April is about the same as March and the resorts close about the third week-end in April.

All resorts open beginning of Decembre as the 6th and 8th are public holidays in Spain.  Many Spaniards take their skiing holiday during that week and the resorts make a huge effort to make the slopes look as good as possible.  The weeks up to X-mas are not without risk but it is EXTREMELY rare not to be able to ski. The big tour operators (Thomson, Panorama etc) start around the Decembre 17th. The weeks after X-mas are virtually guaranteed to have snow. I say virtually as I am not god!

Don't forget that all resorts have hundreds of snow cannons which they use every night during the entire season no matter how much snow is already on the ground.  They therefore make "spare" snow which comes in useful.  Snow cannons can be operated as soon as the temperature falls to 0 degrees Celsius.

Another important thing to remember is that you ski pass for Pal and Arinsal is also valid in Arcalis.  If there's snow somewhere in Andorra, it's going to be in Arcalis.  In order to give you an idea, Arcalis closed on April 24th 2005 with still over a meter of snow on the pistes!  Therefore, if the conditions are not good in Pal or Arinsal you can go to Arcalis.  This means that no matter when you book your holiday, you will be able to ski.

Are the slopes in Arinsal very crowded?
Very busy periods: the first week in Decembre, Christmas and half-term in February.
Busy but bearable periods: from Christmas to January 6th., Easter
Wonderful periods: January and mid-March onwards

Is Arinsal suitable for good skiers? A good skier enjoys all pistes if they're good and if the skier is good.  Arinsal and Pal are marketed as "family skiing resorts" but judging by the amount of red runs, specially in Pal, we sometimes wonder if this strategy is appropriate.  It is true that Arinsal and Pal are not as big as the GranValira resorts but the skiing is well above average.  If, on the other hand, you think that you need a bit more, you can go to Arcalis.  You can also get a ski pass for all resorts in Andorra.  Check our ski page for more details

Is Arcalis linked to Pal and Arinsal? Although your ski pass is valid in Arcalis, there is no physical link between the resorts.  If you want to go to Arcalis, you need to go by car or take the bus.

What's Arinsal like in the winter? Arinsal's a typical ski resort and very well known for its après-ski.  The pubs fill with skiers as of about 16:30 and stay that way until about 20:00 when everyone returns to their respective hotels for dinner.  Things liven up again about 23:00 and go on until about 01:00.  Then only those that are not too worried about the next day continue on until about 03:00.  See our Arinsal page for details.

What else is there to do besides skiing? There are many things to do near Arinsal all year round.  Check our activities page for details.

What are the prices in Arinsal for a drink? For dinner? Supermarkets? A beer is about 2,50 Euros and count about 20,00 Euros for dinner in a restaurant, wine and coffee included.  A packet of Marlboro costs 2,10 Euros if bought in a supermarket. The supermarket prices are fair and are the same for everyone, locals and tourists.  They are open all year and do not change their prices for the winter season.

5) FAQ's on the summer months

Once thing you need to know: there is more to do in Arinsal (and in Andorra in general) in summer than in winter! Arinsal is an untapped paradise for walkers and trekkers as well as for people that get a thrill out of catching a trout for dinner.

What's the climate like?Spring can be a bit risky.  May and June are rather unpredictable but that does not mean to say that it will rain every day.  If the weather goes bad, it normally does so for a day or two before returning to normal.  Trekking in high altitudes during that period could prove to be tricky as you may come across snow.  July, August and September are good months, temperatures rising to about 30-35 degrees celsius during the day and dropping to about 18 degrees at night.  If you are planning to do some hiking in August, you'll have to start early in the morning unless your route is entirely in the forest.  October until mid november are usually excellent months, cold at night but sunny during the day.

What's the hiking like?Andorra is a paradise for walking and hiking and there are dozens of well-marked trails for all levels, many of which start in Arinsal.  The summits and mountain huts are very rarely crowded. The Coma Pedrosa (2'942m) can be reached in 4h30, starting from the village.  What's more, there are 3 mountain huts and 7 lakes in the same valley.  For more information on the walks and on the mountain huts, take a look at our trekking page.

I'm scared of heights, can I hike? All you have to do is chose hikes that are not too exposed and there are many of them.  Hikes marked "difficult", means that some sections are quite "aerial".  However, no special equipment (such as a rope) is ever needed.

What is there to do besides hiking? There are many activities to do around Arinsal!  Check our activities page for details.

What's Arinsal like in the summer? Outside the skiing period you will find a peaceful and quiet mountain village.  There are a few restaurants open as well as a few bars and the supermarket.  Most of our guests that go down to the capital for some shopping are VERY happy to return to the peacefulness of Arinsal at the end of the day! Check oour "summer activities" page.

6) General FAQ's

What's the coffee like? Coffee in Spain and in Andorra is one of the best in Europe. Don't base your opinion on what you get served at breakfast in a hotel. Go to a non-English bar, preferably run by locals. In order to appreciate the quality, it helps to know what to order:
Cafe solo: small coffee, black, strong enough to power a rocket
Carajillo: same as above but with a dash of whisky, brandy etc.
Americano: black but "long", meaning watered down. Served in a larger cup. For those that don't like real coffee
Cortado: same as a cafe solo but with cold or hot milk
Cafe con leche: large coffee with hot or cold milk, typically drunk in the morning
Cafe con hielo: a great drink that many do not know. You receive a cafe solo and a glass with ice cubes. Add suger to the coffee if you want, stir it and pour the coffee into the glass with the ice cubes. Wait a few moments before drinking.

Any of the above coffees can be decaf, either "de maquina" (meaning decaf ground coffee) or "de sobre" (meaning decaf soluble coffee). You can also ask for sugar or sweetener. With all of the above, things can get quite complicated. However, it will give you chance to practice your Spanish. Example: "Por favor, un cafe con leche caliente descafeinado de maquina amb sacarina... Olé!"

What's the beer like? There aren't any local breweries in Andorra. San Miguel is very popular and so is Estrella (5% alcohol). If you prefer your local brew, most English pubs in Arinsal have a wide choice of English and European beers.

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