Méribel's different village bases have very different après ski scenes and it's worth noting that villages like Mottaret, are located several kilometres from the main village area - reachable only by a limited bus service or expensive taxi ride.
The main Méribel village is usually one of the liveliest in the French Alps. The action kicks off at the Rond Point Bar (tel: +33 479 003 751; www.rondpointmeribel.com) at the mid-station of the Rhodos gondola. Here, live bands play six days a week, from 1700 to 1900, with dance moves lubricated by Méribel's notorious toffee vodka.
Jack's Bar (Route de la Chaudanne) is another very popular venue with good drinks at affordable prices and a fun, lively atmosphere.
Cap off the night in Dick's Tea Bar (tel: +33 479 086 019; www.dicksteabar.com), a venerable Méribel institution, where revellers can dance till 0400 to the resort's best line-up of resident and guest DJs.
Be prepared to reach deep into your pockets if you plan on dining out in the Trois Vallées. Eateries, including restaurants in Méribel, are notoriously expensive – although if you look beyond the main street and snow front, you'll generally find lower prices.
Among the few reasonably priced options is Zig Zag (tel: +33 479 004 740), a cosy little lunch spot near the foot of the Ramées chairlift, and the on-site restaurant in the Le Croix Jean-Claude hotel (tel: +33 479 086 105; www.croixjeanclaude.com) in nearby Les Allues, which offers inventive local cuisine using seasonal ingredients.
Up at Mottaret, La Brizolee (tel: +33 479 004 670; www.labrizolee.com) has built a reputation for its extensive menu, friendly service and good value set menu.
Beyond the slopes
Méribel offers a wide range of activities for non-skiers, on and off the slopes.
Out in the snow, non-skiers can try their hand at dog sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. While indoors, the resort boasts an Olympic ice skating rink, swimming pool, cinema, bowling alley, and a comprehensive fitness area. For something a little different, take a 90-minute horse-drawn carriage tour of the resort or an hour-long tour to the lake.
Various wellness areas (featuring Jacuzzi, hammam, sauna and massage areas) are situated within the resort, while further options are available in the historic mountainside spa town of Brides-les-Bains, located a scenic gondola ride away. Here, the aesthetically alluring, Grand Spa des Alpes (tel: +33 479 552 344; www.legrandspadesalpes.com) comes highly recommended.
For further options, take a trip to the neighbouring town of Brides-les-Bains, which has a casino; or take to the air with a paragliding trip over the mountains with TandemTOP (tel: +33 479 004 567; www.parapente-meribel.fr).
The École du ski Français (ESF) (tel: +33 479 086 031; www.esf-meribel.com) operates 'Les Saturnins' day care for children aged 18 months to three years old and a ski kindergarten in the snow garden. Children can then progress to the usual group lessons taught to the French national testing standard throughout childhood.
If the little ones are tired of the piste, take them dog sledding or ice skating; or try out the water slides at Méribel's swimming pool (tel: +33 479 005 821).
Childcare services include the British-run Merinannies (tel: +44 7860 925 055; www.merinannies.co.uk) and the Meriski holiday agency (tel: +44 1285 648 518; www.meriski.co.uk), the latter of which has its own crèche.
The main shopping offering in Méribel is tailored to ski gear and outdoor clothing. Check out Fat Face (Galerie des Cimes, route du Centre) for clothes; Freeride (tel: +33 479 004 241; www.freeride.fr) for gear; and Méribel Optic (tel: +33 479 005 277; www.meribel-optique.com) for sunglasses.
The resort also has a number of independent shops, including Le Maison Braissand (tel: +33 479 085 690; www.maisonbraissand.com), which offers homemade irresistible chocolates, ice cream and cakes.
Treat yourself to a romantic, gourmet dinner at Restaurant Le Blanchot (tel: +33 479 005 578; www.leblanchot.com), with its great setting, intimate atmosphere, excellent cuisine and devilish desserts. The restaurant is also open during the day and has a large terrace nestled amongst the trees.
Méribel features mostly pleasant, chalet-style architecture and is one of the more tastefully designed French resorts, with a lot of individual chalets and low-rise buildings. Accommodation in Méribel is very much based around chalets, including a range of luxury options with saunas and hot tubs, as well as more budget-friendly versions. There is also a selection of excellent hotels in Méribel, though the majority are not cheap.
Le Grand Coeur
A 4-star, ski-in/ski-out property, designed in a traditional chalet style, Le Grand Coeur places a strong onus on impeccable hospitality. Aside from the lavish rooms and suites, boasting complimentary Wi-Fi, one of the biggest draws here is the on-site restaurant, which serves a wide range of gourmet dishes created from regional ingredientsAddress: , Chemin du Grand Coeur, Méribel-Mottaret, F 73550
Telephone: +33 479 086 003
The first 5-star hotel in Méribel, Le Kaïla offers luxury, chalet-styled accommodation in Chaudanne. Among its amenities are an opulent Nuxe spa and a restaurant serving local specialities using seasonal ingredients.Address: , Route Albert Gacon, Méribel, F 73550
Telephone: +33 479 088 903
Hotel Alpen Ruitor
The Hotel Alpen Ruitor is a 4-star in Méribel Mottaret with ski-in/ski-out access, good-sized rooms, and a luxury spa offering traditional health treatments.Address: , Le Laitelet, Méribel Mottaret, F 73550
Telephone: +33 479 004 848
Hôtel Le Mottaret
A popular 3-star ski-in/ski-out hotel based within Mottaret, the Hôtel Le Mottaret was fully renovated in 2013. Facilities here include a popular après-ski bar, a good-quality restaurant and an outdoor hot tub.Address: , Le Châtelet, Méribel-Mottaret, F 73550
Telephone: +33 479 004 747
Chalet La Boua
Barely a snowball throw from the lifts at Chaudanne, this cool little chalet offers well-priced bed and breakfast accommodation in stylish, wood-panelled bedrooms complete with en-suite bathrooms.Address: , Route de la Chaudanne, Méribel-Mottaret, F 73550
Telephone: +33 479 041 475
A simple 2-star chain hotel with friendly staff, the Hotel Eliova is tucked away off the main road but is still only a short walk from the ski lifts and resort centre. The on-site restaurant has beautiful views overlooking the mountains.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +33 147 425 181