Hotel Alpina Wellness and Sporthotel
The Hills are Alive: Family Holiday in Austria
Poshbrood's expat family adventure continues! Recently the Morgan family -Mama, Papa, Felix (age 4) and Oliver (age 2) - embraced the “summer holiday” season in Europe and spent a week in the Alps outside Salzburg.
We can report that the hills are alive!
From the moment we arrived at Hotel Alpina Wellness and Sporthotel in the picturesque village of Alpendorf, we felt that we had entered a family lodge rather than a hotel. Felix and Oliver were greeted with smiles and small stuffed animals, while Mama and Papa were invited to welcome drinks with the Schwartz family who has run the Alpina since 1973.
Our family stayed in a “2 bedroom apartment” in the hotel, which included a kitchenette, flat-screen TVs with plenty of channels (German and English), wireless Internet access and all of the features we would want for a vacation. The décor throughout the hotel and rooms is more “Austrian mountain lodge” than modern or lux –but the entire property is extremely clean and comfortable.
The boys’ room came equipped (free of charge) with a portable crib for little Oliver and a basket with wipes, baby shampoo, and diaper cream – a thoughtful touch. The absolute best part of the room was the balcony – and it’s magical view of the Alps and village towns along the mountains. (Requesting a mountain view is a must!)
In terms of activities, most anything is possible at Alpina. Every morning at breakfast the “Morgenpost” is delivered– full of options for the day – ranging from family hike outings, to tennis and golf lessons, to featured spa treatments and children’s activities for that day starting at 9:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night. Felix and Oliver most enjoyed the indoor kid’s pool and the massive outdoor playground.
Part of the reason we chose the Alpina was its “KinderHotel” affiliation as part of a European network of hotels that offer quality childcare and children’s activities on-site (and typically at no extra charge). Alpina’s “Kid’s Wonderland” was massive – full of toys, games, a climbing wall, arts & crafts stations – and a kitchen for baking lessons and meals.
Throughout the week scheduled activities ranged from Treasure Hunts to Olympic-themed games to excursions to a local farm. The center was impeccably clean and the staff could not have been nicer. We did not use the services every day – but Felix and Oliver had fun every time we dropped them off at the “Kids Club” – and Mama and Papa were able to enjoy a walk or cocktail sans kiddos.
Highlights of our week included a hotel-organized family hike to a nearby waterfall (Alpina provided backpacks with lunch for all families participating – at no extra cost); a day trip to Salzburg to visit the city, the Salzburg Zoo, and a castle on the outskirts of town; and a gondola ride followed by exploring the Alpendorf mountain.
After your hike, head to The ASIAN Beauty & Spa for a massage or body scrub. The Hotel Alpina is so family friendly that they offer spa services for little ones!
Another highlight: the food! We chose the full meal-plan which included breakfast, lunch, dinner and an Austrian style “kaffee and kuchen” (cake/coffee hour) in the afternoon.
From Oliver to Felix to Mama and Papa – we loved the food…probably a little too much. It was hard to resist the organic eggs, fresh breads and produce, regional cheeses, and other daily specials. Every morning the friendly chef made pancakes for the kids – while also whipping up gourmet vegetarian dishes for Papa.
Breakfasts and dinners were served in the main dining room (with highchairs and bibs waiting for Oliver, a coloring book for Felix), while lunch and snacks were available at the “bistro” with an outdoor and more casual feel.
Every meal had a variety of options – with a nice Austrian touch. (Note: Schnitzel-lovers will be very happy.) With such a mix of buffet and menu options, we were well-fed campers. Alpina also has a nice bar with an outdoor terrace which many adults enjoyed while the kiddos were at the kids club.
(P.S. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the meal plan.)
The Morgan family gives a big thumbs-up to Alpina and we would recommend it to other families looking for a fun and active holiday. The hotel is most popular in the winter for ski-lovers, but we loved the summer experience.
Prices range depending on season, number of children and meal plan– with stays ranging from 200-300 USD/night.
Alpendorf Region: http://www.alpendorf.at/
A few notes, especially for Americans:
· The hotel is classified as a 4-star superior – it is extremely clean and features modern amenities BUT as is typical in the region, there is no air-conditioning in the hotel.
· Also, another cultural difference – there is not a huge emphasis on speed when it comes to service. Every request that we made was responded to with courtesy, but no one is in a rush.
· For those worried about language -while German is the most prevalent language, the staff is generally proficient in English and I had little problem communicating throughout the stay.
· The easiest way to reach the hotel is to fly into Salzburg Airport and then drive (approx. an hour) to Alpendorf. We flew into Munich and drove from MUC, (drive took us about 3-4 hours).
--Submitted by Courtney Diesel O'Donnell. Courtney is a communications advisor with over a decade of experience in the government, corporate and non-profit sectors including roles at the White House, the William J. Clinton Foundation, Interbrand Corporation and numerous political campaigns. She loves developing communications strategies for social good. She is the proud mother of 2 junior firefighters, ages 4 and 2, and is currently an expat in Berlin.
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