24 Hours at the Jagdgut Wachtelhof
Have you ever dreamed of a Private Ski Hideaway with lots of fur, fire places, wooden rooms, elegant design and a perfect situation - meters from the lifts and slopes - in the heart of the Alps? Well, you might have, but never thought that this dream is even affordable. Alright, it is not Gstaad, St. Moritz, Courchevel or Kitzbühel - it's simply Maria Alm - more exactely Hinterthal. That doesn't mean that you have to miss five stars, excellent food, luxurious furniture and personalized service: the Jagdgut Wachtelhof has everything.
So why else should you spend your holidays at this lovely Small Luxury Hotel Property (SLH)? I would define the factors service, spa, food, location as well as my favourite part: design. Styled and designed by no one else than Mr. Michel Bönan himself, this hotel could also be a hotspot in Florence or Rome (he also designed the famous J.K.Place hotels). This was why my colleague, Mr. Beverage Executive and me arrived with high expectations and a need for a day of doing simply nothing than relax (we have been skiing for three days in various ski resorts in the Tyrol before).
Upon driving the driveway, we were impressed by the charme of the building and the location, near the slopes. Mrs. Maierhofer welcomed us and while we filled out the paper work, we were treated with an excellent rosé sparkling wine which tasted like fresh berries from the forest. After a short tour through the hotel, including the private cinema (a real highlight), the underground bar "Schluf" as well as the spa, we were accompanied to our wnderful yet spacious Deluxe Room.
Inside the room we found a handwritten letter and a small sledge with the hotel branding as a welcome gift - a very nice touch. The minibar as well as a large bottle of sparklig water was complimentary and much appreciated by us (most of the hotels only offer still bottled water). The whole room was larger than expected and we even had a sofa, walk-in wardrobe, hallway and a small but very nice bathroom with shower-/tub combo, toilet and single vanity. The toiletries were branded by the sister hotel and made by a German soap factory - however the smell was very good and the size at 100ml is very generous, too!
The yet so stylish "Heurigen Spa" turned out to be even more glamorous in the inside. Beside a huge dry sauna, an armomatic shower, changing rooms, vast showers and a small bar in the heart of the small building, there was an impressive and perfectely designed relaxation room overlooking the heated outdoor pool, snow capped roofs and mountains as well as fire places around the pool. There was also a jacuzzi around the corner, but at 26 degrees celsius we didn't find it comfortable to use - by the way the water level of the swimming pool is simpy too low (guessing it was 1 to 1.20 metres) and the temperature was also way too low - also the reason why no guest was using it. This should be considered to change in order to be a real spa hideaway.
Another important part of our stay - the food and beverage outlets: Having dined at the best restaurants, we found the cusine of the Jagdgut Wachtelhof very good for the region and the type of hotel/restaurant which is the typical Austrian chalet style. From the salmon tartar, the cream soup of chestnut, to the main course, which was a perfectly cooked fillet of venison with butter "spätzle" and an excellent sauce. The grand final was a parfait of elderberries on a milky and creamy souce. We had an excellent Barbera d'Alba (perfect to meat) and a glass of excellent Austrian Eiswein, followed by a housemade nut liquor.
Last but not least - a stay with Mr. Beverage Executive wouldn't be final without having an excellent post-dinner drink - we got two different ways of Gin Tonic (in fact it wasn't something you might think of!). I took the excellent "Mare" with spanish Gin, while my colleague chose the one with German Gin (helping to his home country ;-) ). Honestly, it was the best Gin Tonic we both ever had and it took our breath with every sip we took! This was the best barkeeper and hopefully he doesn't return to Apulia - where he is originally from.
All in all this is a perfect ski hideaway in the real Austrian Alps and we guess the prices are very moderate for what you get. You will feel like owning a private ski chalet - due to the guest-staff ratio of 17 rooms and nearly as many staff members.
We were invited by the Hütter-Bönan Hotel Group for a test stay at the Jagdgut Wachtelhof. All our above written represents our personal opinion and hasn't been influenced in any way.