Snowfall and a swim in an outdoor pool were not two things I would have necessarily connected until now but this past weekend I was taught that this is very much a winning combo.
The Forsthofgut in Leogang, Austria is not your average spa hotel; it is very much a full-body experience, making it incredibly easy to treat oneself with all the goodness life holds. 8am yoga or nordic walking, 3 heated outdoor pools, 5 saunas, 3 steam rooms and a beautiful gym, alp views included, make it inviting not only to relax at this hotel but to get active and give your body the workout it craves. Pushing myself throughout the day made it all the more enjoyable when in the evening I got to enjoy a delectable 5-course dinner that will have my tastebuds reminiscing over this trip for months.
We took an early morning flight from Berlin to Salzburg at 9am and by noon we were in our bathrobes at the Forsthofgut. What followed was the most relaxation-, sports- and gourmet food-packed weekend I’ve had in years. It was also my first weekend without my little guy, ever since he was born 3 years ago. Knowing he was in good hands back home in Berlin, I was fully ready to make the most of these 2 days – and I certainly did.
Before I became a travel blogger I would have always opted for sun and sea over mountains, but once you go Alpine, you never go back. Never mind the time of year, those majestic mountains always manage to calm something in me. Waking up to crisp mountain air, taking in the panoramic views and hearing nothing but birds chirping creates a feeling that is second to none. Whether you come here in winter to ski or snowboard or in summer, when the forest is calling you out on a hike or a bike ride, there is no such thing as an off season here. The Forsthofgut knows this better than anyone. On a weekend in late April the hotel was running on full occupancy.
The WaldSPA (translates to forest spa) is the pride and center of the Forsthofgut, boasting an impressive 3800 m2 full of saunas, steam baths, pools, relaxation and treatment rooms, snack zones, sports rooms, a gym and much more. The WaldSPA was originally built in 2011 but has recently undergone a major brush-up making it the largest spa I have ever been to (and I’ve been to many). Thanks to the spa, people who come here know that all it takes is a couple of days to make a full recovery from hectic schedules, work drama and the stress of adult life. As little as 48 hours here can be a reset button to your sanity.
We had to learn the hard way how popular the spa really was, when on a Friday morning it had already become impossible to book a massage appointment for the weekend. Scheduling ahead is definitely recommended.
More than once I felt bad that I came here without my son because the Forsthofgut really rolls out the red carpet on its smallest guests. Children will not only appreciate the kids club, the special kids’ buffet or the family-friendly outdoor pool and sauna, they will also delight at the family of bunny rabbits, a handful of chickens, ponies and a pretty adorable donkey. Described as a highlight by many families is the weekly feeding of the deer who live on the property, typically led by the charismatic hotel owner himself, Christoph Schmuck.
The outdoor play area is nothing short of being an attraction in its own right. A miniature version of the hotel features a door that only small guests will easily be able to enter, while adults will have to go around the back to get in. There are all sorts of toy cars, diggers and gardening tools waiting to be discovered by the next generation as well as some very fun ziplining which even grown-ups will get an excellent giggle out of. Come here in summer, and kids can enjoy a dip in a small artificial lake or play by the water fountain.
Added to the aforementioned kids’ buffet, the kids club (from 2 years old) and the family outdoor pool, there is even a sauna which only heats to 40? and is therefore suitable for children as well. Your kiddo’s first sauna experience! My impression was that the hotel is super popular with families and next time I go I will most certainly bring my offspring with me as well.
I would like to stress that albeit being a family-friendly hotel I was quite impressed by how elegantly the Forsthofgut manages to cater to all audiences, also those without children. Different dining rooms with especially allocated tables for each room make it easy to mingle with peers, whether that means other families or people traveling with only a partner or a friend. Although I love children I was surprised by how easy it was not to see or hear any during my first childfree weekend, so I’d definitely recommend the Forsthofgut to travelers without children just as much as those who come with little ones.
I have a feeling that the Forsthofgut will become one of those hotels that I will go back to again and again, every other year or so. It will become a place I run to when I am in desperate need of recovery, maybe after a stressful period or simply a time when all I have is 2 days to go somewhere and breathe, live consciously, decelerate.
*Disclaimer: I was invited on a 2-day retreat by the Forsthofgut. All opinions expressed are my own.