Rest­ing place that’s truly leg­endary

Fresh air, a feast of food, spa treats and a host of ac­tiv­i­ties for all ages – Fiona Woot­ton un­winds in the Aus­trial Ty­rol

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GLOBE TROTTING -

AC­CORD­ING to Aus­trian folk­lore, the soul of Em­peror Charle­magne lays rest­ing be­neath the Ty­rolean Wilder Kaiser moun­tain range. The leg­end states that when the Ho­hen Grut­ten stream ceases to run, the mighty power will awaken to fight a great bat­tle and van­quish his en­e­mies.

With warm sun­beams on my shoul­ders, a glass of Prosecco in one hand and a wrig­gly eight-month-old baby in the other, I at­tempt to trace the out­line of the Kais­erkopf (Em­peror’s head), etched into the ma­jes­tic Aus­trian Alps ahead of me.

I no­tice the moun­tain stream is still in full flow, and with not even a hint of con­flict in the air, it’s safe to say Em­peror Charle­magne is still sound asleep.

Thou­sands of fir trees car­pet the moun­tain­sides, where but­ter­flies dart be­tween wild flow­ers and the cli­mate flits from cool moun­tain breeze to com­fort­able warmth, eas­ing mus­cles tired from baby lift­ing and car­ry­ing.

Run by hus­band and wife duo Gunter and Bianca Lam­pert, the Kais­er­hof well­ness ho­tel is a pic­turesque hide­away that ap­pears to tick along at a sim­i­larly gen­tle pace. With an in­door pool, nat­u­ral spring, spa and five restau­rants, it’s al­ready charmed me.

Since hav­ing a baby, the plea­sures of peace and pam­per­ing have be­come dis­tant mem­o­ries from a for­mer life. But for a few days, I’m hop­ing to re­claim some pre-par­ent­hood rest and re­lax­ation.

With Daddy on babysit­ting duty and my daugh­ter only a press of a ho­tel-room-to-well­ness-spainter­com away, I seize some mummy time. I start my days with pool­side yoga stretches and wa­ter ex­er­cise classes, and even man­age to sneak off for a few hours to re­lax on an a sun lounger with a good book, while gaz­ing out to the snow-capped moun­tains.

Although my baby, Maya, is too small for the ho­tel’s kids club, there are plenty of op­tions and ac­com­mo­da­tions for lit­tle ones.

My daugh­ter is par­tic­u­larly noisy, with a habit of let­ting out in­sis­tent ptero­dactyl shriek dur­ing meal­times, which makes eat­ing out fairly un­ap­peal­ing. But, at our re­quest, the ho­tel easily seat us a safe dis­tance from other din­ers, and one evening, we even have a meal de­liv­ered to our room and set up on our pri­vate bal­cony.

Kais­er­hof’s food is im­pec­ca­ble, so you don’t want to risk miss­ing out on meals. Buf­fet break­fasts are ex­ten­sive with mul­ti­ple cour­ses and glasses of fizz, and in the af­ter­noon, a swell of cakes and pas­tries also ap­pears.

Din­ner is a fit­tingly re­gal six-course af­fair, although at times it’s a lit­tle too over­whelm­ing for a tired child who can only stay put in a high chair for 25 min­utes. But even though our meals are rushed, our daugh­ter does calm down in the bar, where live mu­sic seems to quell her tem­per.

Dur­ing the day, there’s a cosy play­room where ac­tiv­i­ties take place, and an out­side play­ground area with trampoline and swings. But it’s the set­ting that re­ally makes Kais­er­hof a win­ner for chil­dren.

Aus­tri­ans are a whole­some out­doorsy sort and have made great ef­forts to set up fam­ily friendly at­trac­tions in the area. Soar­ing ca­ble cars and mono­rail moun­tain trains link the val­ley be­low with moun­tain­top play­grounds, while ad­ven­ture comes in the form of zip lines, kooky-spooky walks and wa­ter ex­plo­sions.

Bug­gies can easily be taken on the ca­ble cars, and some walks are even on ter­rain suited to pushchairs. With so many con­ces­sions for fam­i­lies, our hol­i­day runs smoothly with­out any tantrums, tears or ar­gu­ments. In the shadow of a sleep­ing em­peror, peace and calm reigns supreme.

Top three child-friendly at­trac­tions in the area

Hex­en­wasser, Hochsoll This wa­ter won­der­land will send kids into fits of gig­gles. You can walk on it, make it sing and erupt, pad­dle in it, and even eat at a ta­ble with your feet in­side it (as a stream runs un­der­neath you). Af­ter­wards, walk the long­est bare­foot trail in Aus­tria. Visit www.hex­en­wasser.at

Kais­erBad & Ellmis Zauber­welt, Ell­mau

This quaint, mag­no­lia-draped vil­lage regularly fea­tures in TV show ‘Der Bergdok­tor’ (the Moun­tain Doc­tor), a kind of Aus­trian Peak Prac­tice. There’s an out­door swimming area at the foot of the moun­tains, plus theme park Ellmis Zauber­welt, where kids will de­light in the pet­ting zoo and gob­lins in trees. Visit www.kais­erbad.com/en/ and www.ellmi.at/en/ Kais­erWelt, Sch­ef­fau Af­ter an ex­hil­a­rat­ing ca­ble car ride, chil­dren can get to grips with kid-sized off-road trucks. Al­ter­na­tively, they can play on a gi­ant trampoline, mul­ti­ple zip wires through the for­est and gi­ant skit­tles. There’s a short 25-minute walk on flat ter­rain - ideal for lit­tle feet who can’t yet han­dle a hike. Visit www.kais­erwelt.at

PA Photo/Fion­aWoot­ton

InsetIn – Fiona Woot­ton on a ca­ble car with daugh­ter Maya and, above an­dan be­low, Ho­tel Kais­er­hof in the Aus­trian Ty­rol

PA Photo/Ho­tel Kais­er­hof

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