It’s late when we arrive at Hotel Kristall. Not late late, but late for Austria. By 9.30pm dinner is over. It’s been a long drive from Munich and we’ve hardly eaten since breakfast. News that the dining room has just closed isn’t what we want to hear.
Then an amiable receptionist tells us they’ve put together something for us. Fifteen minutes later we’re tucking into the Austrian version of a ploughman’s lunch followed by a wedge of cake with a big dollop of cream. It’s all washed down with a cool glass of beer. All is well with the world and our stay at the Hotel Kristall gets off to a good start.
Sitting in the centre of the Leutasch Valley in the Austrian Tyrol, the Hotel Kristall, a typically attractive Austrian lodge styled building, is smack, bang in the middle of a serious beauty spot. Despite the dramatic mountain range which faces you when you step out of the door, the feeling is of a tranquil and gentle landscape. The valley floor is flat and full of flower-filled fields, perfect for a cycle or a wander in any direction.
It’s only a few minutes walk to Weidach town/village centre which has a couple of bars and restaurants, a decent supermarket and shops where you can hire bikes. In one direction you’ve got the wonderful Spirit Gorge and Mittenwald beyond, in the other the Gaistal Valley and in-between are swirling rivers and dreamy meadows. Oh, and there’s a charming little fishing lake a short distance away. For people like us who like to get up close and personal with the great outdoors it offers a nice mix of gentle meandering and raw beauty. In short, it’s a fabulous location.
We tend to find rooms Austrian lodge type hotels to be functional and comfortable rather than eye-catching and the rooms at the Kristall are no exception; lots of wooden panels, plush carpet and a double bed that’s two single beds. A small balcony overlooked the town and the mountains beyond. Room facilities included a radio/CD player, flat screen TV, hairdryer, bathrobe and slippers, fridge, wifi and a rucksack for use whilst staying at the hotel. If you became attached you could buy it. It was good sized with plenty of space to throw around hiking/cycling gear at the end of the day.
The Hotel Kristall has a good spa and wellness area with a selection of pools and saunas as well as a gym. You can hire electric bikes and Segways direct from the hotel.
Breakfast takes place in an airy dining room with views of the valley and involves lots of jams, honeys, muesli, cold meats and cheeses as well as some hot dishes. We found there was plenty of choice to set us up for the day. A nice little touch that brought a smile to our face each morning was the daily Kristall newsletter. This consists of the weather forecast (very useful), local snippets and information (interesting), an ‘amusing’ piece of news and a joke (so bad they’re funny) and the menu for that night’s dinner where you have to choose your preferred main course from a choice of three (vegetarian option included).
Dinner consists of four courses (starter, soup, main and dessert). We felt the quality, presentation and choice was very good. Unfortunately we missed out on our first night but over the next two dinners we enjoyed bouillon with liver dumplings, beef goulash with gherkins and homemade noodles, lamb in thyme with rosemary potatoes, perch with salsa cruda and pork filled with prosciutto and sage. Bottles of wine are expensive – we’ve noticed this in a few Austrian hotels and can’t really understand why as it isn’t in the supermarkets. Best value is to opt for a carafe of the house wine… or have a beer.
What’s nice about dinner is that there’s a friendly atmosphere in the dining room, probably as a result of the family-feel vibe coming the owners and staff. It’s a nice place to dine at the end of a day in the meadows.
Overall the Hotel Kristall has the charm of a small family run hotel combined with the facilities of a bigger hotel. Whether you want long bike rides, challenging hikes or just to gentle cycle or meander along the river, it is in a perfect location.
Hotel Kristall; A-6105 Leutasch – Tirol .Tel: +43(0) 5214 6319;; double rooms cost from around €78 per person (half board).
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+