My husband and I had the good fortune to win a Silver Travel Advisor prize of a one week Inghams holiday in the beautiful Austrian resort of Lech. We stayed at the Chalet Hotel Elisabeth which was in a good position close to the centre of the village, just a couple of minutes walk from the nearest cable car station, the Rufikopfbahn.
Firstly, the hotel which was traditionally Austrian in style. It is one of the Inghams Chalet hotels and as such the staff were predominantly young and British, some being university students. They were all very friendly, efficient and helpful, from the young manageress to the waiting and bar staff and our room was kept clean and tidy by housekeeping. Our room was quite spacious with a comfortable bed, nice bathroom with double sinks, a bath tub with overhead shower and a separate toilet cubicle. The room also had a small sitting area with sofa and wardrobe, plus another wardrobe in the main area. There was a very small swimming pool downstairs, along with a steam room, sauna and relaxation area. Another useful addition was the heated Boot Room which came in very handy to dry wet boots and waterproofs after the typical Austrian rain showers! Wifi was free and a bit sporadic but adequate for our purposes.
We were very impressed by the food at the hotel. Meals were provided every day except Wednesday which was the staff day off. On this day a cold breakfast buffet was available, there was no packed lunch or evening meal but the helpful Inghams rep booked us a table for dinner at a nearby hotel. On every other day the breakfast buffet offered a choice of traditional English cooked food or continental cold cheese, meats, cereal, bread, fruit, yoghurts, juices etc. A packed lunch was provided consisting of a French stick sandwich with our choice of filling, crisps, a biscuit and a bottle of water. In the afternoon there was tea, coffee and homemade cake, and in fact instant coffee and tea were available all day. In the evening an aperitif and delicious homemade canapés were served in the lounge, giving guests a chance to meet and discuss the day’s activities. A substantial five course meal followed, with starter, main course (chosen the previous evening), dessert, cheese and biscuits (which I’m afraid we could never manage!), coffee and truffles. Wine was poured freely throughout the meal. The menu was predominantly British apart from the ‘Austrian night’ when local dishes were served – all delicious. The evening we had dinner out, we ate in a nearby hotel called the Pfefferkorn where we enjoyed a huge Wiener Schnitzel with cranberry sauce and parsley potatoes – no dessert needed!
We loved the resort of Lech. This was our first visit to the Arlberg region of Austria, having previously stayed many times in the Tyrol, although not for several years. Our Inghams package included a ‘Lech card’ which gave us free use of the local cable cars, chairlift and buses, as well as the Forest Swimming Pool which we unfortunately did not use as the weather was rather unsettled. We certainly made the most of this card and used it several times. We took one or other of the cable cars up the mountain nearly every day, then walked down to the nearby villages of Zug and Zürs. The scenery was spectacular (I’m sure we heard strains of “the hills are alive with the sound of music”) and rekindled our memories of the immense beauty of the Austrian mountains and countryside. The wildflowers on the mountain pastures were beautiful – and I have to admit the subject of many photographs! We were also fortunate to see several delightful marmots on a couple of our walks down the mountainside.
There was also a pleasant walk from the village alongside the River Lech to Zug. A very easy 40 minute walk on level ground when we wanted a change from walking downhill! We intended to use the free walkers’ bus back to Lech but enjoyed the walk so much we just retraced our steps, at the same time challenging ourselves to increase our daily mileage on the Garmin fitness monitor!
There were numerous walks from the village on generally well maintained and signposted paths through pastureland and forest. Such a lovely and relaxing way to spend a day, surrounded by stunning views and hearing the sound of cowbells as you head to the next mountain ‘hutte’ for a slice of Apfelstrudel!
We were so lucky to win this prize, we were very impressed with the hotel, resort and Inghams’ organisation and we look forward to going back in the future.