As a young kid, with my family, I stayed here over 40 years ago and had dreamt since of coming back one day. Usually such dreams fail to live up to expectations. Well... not a bit, this hotel is still a little bit of paradise in a bigger bit of paradise which is Oberlech. With less than 20 guest rooms this has a wonderful cosy, family feel about it. If, as a skier, you had to position a hotel in the perfect location you couldn't do better than this. It is 20 metres from the Oberlech Ski School, 50 metres from the Petersboden chair lift and 100 metres from the cable car station for the cable car down to Lech. It is the ultimate in ski in/ski out. Simply ski in off the Petersboden run and ski off down to Lech (if you don't want to walk up to the Petersboden chair lift). If you feel up to it take the prepared toboggan run down to Lech (red run OR black run- illuminated and open until late at night- free loan of toboggan from reception) and catch the cable car back up to Oberlech. You'll have a job trying to prevent your kids from wanting to do this every evening- good for big kids too!
We stayed here on half-board tariff; it was convenient for us with a couple of young kids (girls 6 and 8). I remembered the hearty Austrian cuisine of my youth... dinner was quite unexpected, however. Each night was a 5 or 6 course beautifully-presented meal in their exquisite dining room. Guests have their own table for the period of their stay. I suggest you find their live webcams on the net and you'll see that they set up plastic sofas and chairs on the snow in front of the hotel on sunny days where dozens pull in for lunch and on the sun-terrace on the sunny side of the hotel. Now THAT'S where you get the 'hearty' Austrian cuisine! Alas having over-indulged the evening before and enjoyed a really good breakfast of fruit, eggs, wonderfully crisp and fresh rolls, etc., we usually couldn't manage more than a gulaschsuppe for lunch and we had to witness a procession of wonderful-looking and enormous servings of things we'd love but couldn't manage! The staff did an amazing job of handling this enormous lunchtime rush. I was a little disappointed to read one TripAdvisor review that complained about the service at lunch because, day after day, we marvelled at how well (and cheerfully) the staff coped. The Ice-Bar has an enormous umbrella which is raised on sunny days and covers the bar at other times. It's a bustling, lively spot at lunchtimes and in the evening although we usually avoided it because of the cigarette smoke.
Lech/Oberlech has a reputation of being a 'ritzy' and pricey resort and maybe it is? We found, however, that both here at the hotel and other places in Lech prices were quite comparable with day-to-day prices in our home town of Perth, Western Australia.
We stayed in their Apartment Wiesele- seeing as I come here every 40 years we decided to opt for this 2 room apartment which had the fold-out bed for the kids in room 2! This gave us plenty of room. We loved the amount of hanging space for damp ski clobber and towels, etc.. We had our own balcony with a lovely forest view and the views from all the windows were of the alps and a winter wonderland. Laundry is not cheap but there are plenty of radiators on which to dry anything you need to wash. The beds are comfortable (we like firm beds) and the duvets are wonderfully fluffy and warm- so are the pillows (we'd prefer something firmer). We actually had problems keeping the room cool enough- an issue that we heard from others in other establishments around. The room cleaner would create a different pattern with the duvets and pillows every day incorporating the kids' toys!
The spa/health retreat in the basement is amazing- their website shows this well. We enjoyed the sauna, the steam room, all the different sprays in the 'grotto' as well as the jacuzzi. We didn't try out the many massage options offered.
This hotel is 'traditionally' Austrian with all the accoutrements and furnishings you'd expect. It is a virtual art gallery with walls adorned with paintings and photographs of all types to fascinate. The same management owns the Burgwald Hotel which is nearby. I regret we didn't have a look over it- it looks to be a lot more modern but would, doubtless, be of the same amazing standard.
For us Oberlech is definitely preferable to Lech itself. If you feel a need to enjoy more lively apres-ski or to parade your furs then Lech is the place for you. Oberlech has no cars/vehicles in the winter months and is only accessible by cable car, it is much quieter and relaxed and has many more ski-in options than does Lech. This is not 'package-tour' country where the pistes are dangerously full. We were here in early January which is not high season. Most of the ski classes were only 2 or 3 people and we never waited more than 1 minute to sit our backsides on one of their wonderful heated chairlifts!
As with most hotels here the clientele is predominantly German. Besides the internet presence I don't think the hotel would need to advertise anywhere. So many of their guests come back year after year. We booked almost a year in advance to be sure of getting in.
We hired all our gear (skis, boots, poles) from SportHuber in the Sonnenburg Hotel just a 2 minute walk from our hotel. They were great- friendly and helpful; happy to change anything you didn't like or to give you something different to try out.
The Oberlech ski school was first-class and very adaptable to our needs. We were delighted that the kids had an English ski instructor, Gary, who (with entertaining help from his Swedish colleague Mikael and despite many frustrating early tears and tantrums from the girls) managed to turn them into fearless snow-bullets in 10 days.
I have to make mention of the amazing new indoor sports' centre in Lech, that we learned of through the kids' ski instructor- nice to have a bit of a break from snow-sport when here for 2 weeks. There is a great tennis court (20 Euro/hour) and a 4-lane tenpin bowling alley. There's also a huge and well-equipped gym (with an amazing view!), table/tennis pool, sauna and doubtless other sporting attractions. I am told it also serves the cheapest beer in Lech and snacks too! It's about a 10 minute walk from the lower cable car station
This is a skiers' paradise- we'll be back in a couple of years. Sell your soul, if you must, to stay and ski here- you will not regret it!
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