Last Tuesday I did something I wouldn’t normally do. In a moment of boredom, scrolling through Instagram, I clicked on a sponsored ad and ended up booking a holiday. Three factors played a role – location, price and the photos on the website – but to be honest the main attraction was the photos. I had clicked into the Huttopia Europe website and was taken in by the stunning photos of luxury tents and little wooden chalets in sun-dappled forests in France. Once the off-peak prices caught my eye, I was straight on to their booking hotline to check that they allow dogs (they do – yay!) and that they had availability for us for the weekend (they did – yay again!).
We chose the campsite in Wattwiller in Alsace, France, just over two hours drive from our home and began our trip after work on Friday. En route the receptionist phoned us to check what time she should expect us and to take our bakery order for the following morning. Reception is manned from 4pm to 7pm but for late arrivals like us someone was available when we finally arrived shortly after 8pm. Reception opens again from 8am to 10am and that is when guests can collect pre-ordered fresh baguette and croissants delivered by a local bakery.
On arrival we were given a litte map of the site, a brief run down on the facilities – heated indoor pool, cafe-bar, kiosk – and a key for the lockable chest in the tent for storing valuables in while guests are away from the tent.
We had booked the Trappeur tent style, complete with two bedrooms, a bathroom in the tent, a kitchenette indoors and a gas hob on the spacious veranda. I was prepared for the tent not to look as plush as on the website. I was prepared for it to be cramped. I was prepared to find it ill-equipped. I was not prepared to find that reality surpassed what the website promised.
The tent was impeccably clean.The bathroom and bedrooms were comfortable and, considering they were in a tent, not at all cramped. The kitchenette was better equipped than many a holiday home I have stayed in and it even had a really cool sink. Everything was perfect. Both The Bavarian and I were looking for the hitch. What had we been tricked into? Where were the hidden costs? There were none. In fact, even though we had not chosen the bedding package, choosing instead to being our sleeping bags, sheets and pillows, we arrived to find that all we needed were sheets and pillow cases. Pillows and plenty of blankets were included in the basic price!
From the veranda at the front of our east-facing tent, equipped by the way with two comfy camping armchairs and a gas hob, we had a fantastic view into the forest. Given that over the course of the weekend we had everything from bright, hot sunshine to a rainy morning and a late-night thunderstorm, we had plenty of opportunity to observe the beautiful play of wind, light and shadow in the forest. Waking to the rustle of oak leaves in the wind, brewing coffee on the stove outdoors and drinking it as the sun rises higher in the sky in front of me – ah, what a way to being the day. Simply incomparable.
In the evenings we lit the wood-fired stove indoors to warm the tent for the night. Much as I love an outdoor campfire, when it is less than 8°C outside it is so much nicer to cosy up with a book in front of the fire indoors. Logs,though damp-ish, for the fire were provided at no extra charge but the boys had great adventures roaming the woods gathering dry twigs to use as kindling. The had brought their pen knives along and spent a good chunk of time whittling branches into spears, arrows and marshmallow toasters.
As I said earlier, the Huttopia sites offer a range of accommodation styles. As well as a basic version of tent without bathroom, there are mobile homes (some dated versions but other modern and newly built) and chalets. Of course you can, alternatively, rent a pitch and bring your own tent or caravan. On our wanders through the site I took some photos to share with you. Having spoken to other families staying on site, the Trappeur tents seem to be a cut above the mobile homes, although being in a lower price category.
Sadly the heated indoor pool was not open during our stay due to a technical problem but as we were checking out this mornng it was up an running again. We got to have a look at it as we walked past and, although small, it did look inviting. Accessible from the pool house or the surrounding deck, the pool is covered with a kind of conservatory and it bright and sunny as a result. The deck continues on to the outdoor pool, which not in service till later in the season. Beyond that the deck, built on stilts, contines to the cafe-bar and its inviting terrace overlooking the playground and the Vosges mountains.
Our two night stay, booked directly with Huttopia Eupope by phone, for two adults, three children under ten and one dog cost us €107.40. We opted out of the cleaning fee and the bedding charges. Cleaning the tent took under an hour and everything required was provided in the tent. A €90 deposit for breakages,damages, etc. was taken on arrival and returned once the cleanliness of the tent had been checked.
As a family, we were extremely pleased with the facilities of the tent and the site itself was lovely and small. It was unfortunate that the pool was not available to us on the one full day of our stay and it is obvious that there are renovations ongoing in parts of the site but on the whole we couldn’t fault Huttopia on anything. We will be booking with them again.
[Note: The trip was booked and paid for by me. We were not gifted anything, given any discounts or asked to write a review. I am simply sharing this holiday location with you because we were so impressed with it. All photos are my own and were taken in natural light. No filters have been applied. The photos show exactly how we experienced the Huttopia Wattwiller campsite this weekend. ]