Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from the Austrian Alps.
Due to a continued strong response from readers, we are running another batch of ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews over the next few weeks. This time we wanted to hear about your ‘unique’ experiences and we’ve once again received a great amount of suggestions. Hopefully you will enjoy reading these reviews. As always you can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews by clicking here.
Today’s hotel is the Stanglwirt in the Austrian Alps.
Here is reader Matthias’ review:
“I think I’ll ask the lady to make me another pancake,” said my son, “but I can’t decide between Nutella and apple sauce”. I give him a look that says this will be your 6th course so you’d better eat it, which is met with a confident nod. Just then, my daughter bounds over with her usual pile of scrambled eggs – extra mushrooms but definitely no onions – to ask whether I’d seen the fresh hunk of roast beef sirloin.
I leave my wife to her healthy plate of insalata caprese to cut myself a slice, picking up a wedge of delicious-looking cake for later as I pass. It will probably be the only thing I’ll eat between now and dinner, unless the temptation of an Apfelstrudel becomes irresistible mid-afternoon. Back at our table I meet Gerry, who’s been in charge of this most epicurean breakfast for as long as I can remember, and he gives me a hearty welcoming handshake before disappearing off into the kitchen.
Soon enough the children are done and run off downstairs. I know their three Euros won’t last long on the arcade games, but I expect they’ll then build a Lego tower in the playroom, so we should be able to enjoy our second latte macchiato in peace before lumbering off. It’s our first day here so there’s no rush – as usual, we’ll start at the children’s farm for an hour or two playing with the animals, jumping into the fragrant hay and joining in with the arts and crafts. I think they’re decorating flowerpots today.
The afternoon will be spent in the children’s ‘water world’ complete with slide, whirlpool and big-screen Disney movie projected poolside. I’ll accept my children’s dare to swim a length of the cold pool (my wife won’t), but I’ll be rewarded with another coffee in the sun on the beautiful hotel lawn, enjoying the view of the majestic Kaiser mountains. We might also go and see the Lipizzaner horses, bringing back fond memories of pony rides around the hotel grounds when the kids were smaller.
The 2-hour drive from Munich airport last night seems far away now, although next time we’ll find a way to fly to Innsbruck or Salzburg, which are closer. I drink in the hotel’s unapologetically alpine style, all solid wood and stone, and watch the waiters in traditional outfits drift past. A little card in the room says the wood was specially selected for its relaxing smell, which may be quack but I do have the deepest sleeps here, no doubt aided and abetted by the clear mountain air. I see a couple on their way to a spa treatment in only their bathrobes and no-one bats an eyelid.
Whilst I’ve been coming here for a long time, it’s a mere wrinkle in the hotel’s 250-year history unfolding like tree rings from the original Gasthaus at its centre. Over the last 50 years the family patriarch, Balthasar Hauser, added suites, a golf course, tennis courts and a huge wellness area to attract customers from around the world, although Germans still make up the majority.
While this includes the occasional celebrity such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Clinton (as documented on the hotel photo wall), the same warm welcome is extended to everyone regardless. In the evenings, Herr Hauser still holds court at the chalet-style bar, but nowadays his three children are the custodians of the hotel’s tradition.
Tomorrow we will venture into the surrounding mountains. The gondolas that ferry eager skiers around the world-famous Kitzbühel resort still run in the summer, with hill tops converted into giant kids’ play areas. We’ll probably hike across the meadows to enjoy a drink and the view at the Tanzbodenalm ski chalet, hoping that the broken plastic cow has been fixed – it wouldn’t be the same without it.
We’ll start a bit earlier to return safely before the forecast afternoon thunderstorm, midwife to the lush flowering landscape carpeting the region. The day after it might be the climbing park, where last summer my son (139.5cm to the 140cm minimum) got stuck on one of the obstacles and had to be rescued. He’s grown a lot, so he should be fine this time if I can convince him to return. Or we might go for a stroll in the beautifully restored village of Kitzbühel, marvelling at the steepness of the famous downhill run towering overhead.
Perhaps one day when the kids have flown the nest, the circle will close and we’ll come back as a couple to enjoy the serenity of the adult pools and the decadence of the 7-course dinners, so evocatively described in the hotel’s daily newsletter. Either way, just as the hotel advertises, we really do feel “daheim beim Stanglwirt”. At home at the Stanglwirt.
The hotel’s website is here if you want to find out more. Rooms start at €300 to €400 per night depending on season.
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