Returning to the Arlberg region has all along been my plan but it was not easy to find hotel availability during my travel dates due to the limited number of lodging. Thus it was with delight that I found accommodation at Kristiania Lech at a price I was willing to pay. However due to weather conditions, my stay had to be moved back a couple of days. I managed to communicate directly with the hotel’s owner due to the closure of roads into Lech which effectively closed the village to nearly everyone. As this is known to happen, the hotel was flexible in altering my stays without additional cost even though I had booked a non-refundable rate.
I was also offered a choice of beverages as I got seated in the lounge and when I was wondering on what to order, a pot of hot ginger tea was offered and it sounds like a great idea for the winter time.
The receptionist then offered to give me a tour of the property. There is a luggage storage space and an enclosed telephone room by the foyer.
On the ground floor there was the restaurant where meals are served and beside it was a lounge with a bar area where cakes are served at 5pm for guests.
It is worth noting at the start that the hotel is located a bit off from the main stretch of shops, though it is still within walking distance to the gondola and cable car. There is also no ski-in/ski-out at this hotel. However, guests staying here gets access to the free shuttle service that is operated using a Mercedes van and I was able to use them when going for dinner at the neighbouring village of Zürs and for morning rides to the gondola.
Room No: 19 Category: Deluxe Double Room
Rooms in the property are spread over 3 floors with the sole elevator located inside the lounge space. Traditional keys were passed to me and I was escorted to my room. The fastest to get to the room was through the set of staircase across from the reception desk.
On entering the room, I realized I had been upgraded to a double room having booked a single room. My guess is that there were some cancellations due to the weather and with me being able to accommodate the date change, I was upgraded. A foyer with hangers and closets lined the entrance and these were nice to have as it allowed me to hang my ski jackets and helmets once I enter the room.
Located at the end of the foyer was the toilet with their own sink. The shower is located separately like in more luxurious European hotels.
Moving to the bedroom, guests can find 2 soft twin beds that was adjoined to form a double bed. These beds are a little bit on the softer side when I prefer a firmer mattress but the plush comforter was always nice to have in winter time. The decor in the room was classic European style which is not my preference and seems a bit out of place in a ski hotel.
Across the bed was a set of armchairs and sofa but the 2 seater sofa was uncomfortable and large books and catalogs occupy the space of one armchair. The larger room might provide more seating space though it would be nice to have more comfortable lounge chairs.
In between the sofa and armchair was a console table with a wooden box that contains all the hotel’s information. There was also stationery and postcards inside the wooden box. Though this bulky box occupied the table top space and there was no work desk to be found anywhere, so
In the corner lies the small flatscreen TV located above the console that holds the minibar. Guests staying in this hotel actually have free drinks including beer from the minibar. Other than beer, there was bottled water, cola and juices. There was some snacks that was complimentary as well provided in the shelf beside drinks fridge.
In addition to the complimentary snacks and drinks, there was a welcome fruit platter with a bottle of sparkling wine placed in an ice bucket placed by the bed. Turndown service in the hotel includes small chocolate pieces as well.
At the end of the room, there was the bathtub and shower area that comes with another washbasin. While the separation of the bathtub and toilet was convenient if more than one guest is staying in the room, it made the shower are really small. Thus I just thought it was an inefficient use of space. There was a window at this bathroom as well which is nice to have since there was no other buildings in the vicinity. Curtains over the window also ensure privacy is maintained.
Amenities provided in the bathroom was by Saint Charles Apotheke which has packaging similar to Aesop. The scents used are similar as well and it could be a love-it-or-hate-it affair with these kind of things. Fortunately, I enjoy these herbal scents for showering rather than the floral kinds.
The view from the hotel room was very beautiful too as the Kristiania was located on higher ground with a vantage view of the village.
Breakfast at the Restaurant
Breakfast is served from 7:30 onwards and can be arranged until as late as one wants it to be. Thus it is alright for guests to sleep in late when not skiing and still have a brunch service. That definitely is a mark of luxury for a hotel!
Rather than having a full buffet for the limited number of guests, the hotel has a nice concept of allowing guests to order dishes they like from a menu. There was no limit to how much they could order and I actually prefer it this way. The menu for breakfast was as follow:
Aside from being able to order items from the menu, guests were able to grab bread and breakfast rolls from the table. There was apples, oranges, grapes and bananas available as well.
Below are some of the dishes I had during my stay in the hotel. Some of my favourite things to have during breakfast was the mixed berry bowl, the eggs that comes with your choice of sides and the nicely presented waffles.
By the second day, the server in the restaurant kind of knew my preference of condiments such as nutella and honey. And the third day, he kind of knew the dishes I liked and the service inside was excellent. Guests could also be more specific with regards to their food such as requests for more chives which I did or having their bacon cooked more crispy and dry.
Another thing I liked about the breakfast here was that fresh juices were available and I had an apple and carrot juice that was fantastic in addition to a cup of cappuccino.
One major requirement for a luxury ski hotel in my opinion is the need to have an in-house spa and guests can find the spa in the basement. Access is only through the elevators here and there was no formal reception here so if reserving a time slot for a massage, guests should head to the reception desk.
Besides a couple of private treatment rooms, there is only another room in the basement. However the doors are not marked so it is always better to knock first before entering. Inside the spa, there was 2 toilet by the entryway with washbasin.
Another section of the spa has a hot tub but it was out of service during my visit. Next to the hot tub was a pair of armchairs with a small side table that contains some tea and plastic cups.
Besides the hot tub, there was a sauna chamber that guests can enjoy in this small spa.
There was open shower stalls across from the sauna making it easy for guests to cool down in between sessions.
Finally there is a separate lounge space that has 2 lounge chairs for guests to relax after using the facilities. There was also a bench by the wall where guests could place their bathrobes.
Ski Room and Other Facilities
As a ski hotel, it was also necessary for them to have a ski room and they have one of the nicest ski rooms I have seen. While it was not fitted with personal lockers, there was a sink and a heated bench area in the middle of the room. There is a bench space as well for skiers to tune their equipments easily. For a small hotel with limited number of rooms, the racks on the walls were adequate to store the boots and skis.
Aside from the ski room and spa, there was a restaurant and bar on the ground floor. The bar area serves some cakes after skiing but the snacks offered was limited and after visiting it twice, I stopped going for the snacks. The restaurant is open for dinner but guests are required to make prior reservations in the day and there was a set menu that changes daily. However with plenty of dining choices in the village and other neighbouring villages, I did not dine at the hotel.
Aside from these facilities, there was some interesting display found in the hotel. As a local, the hotel owner’s father used to be an Olympic skiing champion and there was a section in the lobby lounge dedicated to showcasing his medals. There was also the array of Winter Olympic posters displayed in the basement corridor, so this is a hotel that skiers should be happy to stay in.
The rate per night was around EUR200 (~$230) inclusive of taxes which is a good deal for a luxury property in the nicest village in Arlberg. At this price, it is possible to get a hotel room in most European ski resorts, and I think it was a very good price for staying in Lech. With the personalized service from the welcome by the owner herself and the complimentary shuttle to as far as Zürs made it a very comfortable stay. On the last day, I was even able to get a drop off at Zürs for the bus ride to St. Anton train station.
Staying in family owned ski hotels like the Hotel Edelweiss Hochsolden in Austria remains one of my memorable hotel stays and this one did not fail as well. The fact this hotel was located in one of my favourite places to ski in the world is just cherry on top of the cake!