Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paradise in the Alps - Benediktenhof

Sometimes, I research and plan and book a trip and things just do not turn out how I imagined. And occasionally I don't put any effort into planning and end up finding the perfect place. This was one of those times.

We needed a place to stay overnight for a wedding that was taking place near Wackersberg, so I searched various hotel and apartment portals and everything seemed to be booked - finally I found a place that had openings, the Benediktenhof, only 3 km away from the wedding - it was a bit more expensive than I had planned on spending but it looked really special, so we went for it.

Special doesn't even begin to describe the Benediktenhof. This place is downright magical.

A rustic alpine style "Landhof" located less than an hour's drive south of Munich, the Benediktenhof is perfect for a weekend away, although I am already contemplating renting the chalet (it has its own fireplace!) for a week next summer.

The rooms hit that magical sweet spot between rustic charming and comfortably modern. The breakfast and cafe area is absolutely oozing with charm and character and little details await you everywhere - pull out coolers with a beautiful selection of chilled self serve drinks, a tea nook with snacks and cake. And the garden. The garden! Sprawling but somehow also cozy.

Chock full of small decorations and beautiful plantings, wooden structures and arches - but somehow, not at all kitchy. Somehow miraculously concealing all the amenities, that pop up like treasures you discovered yourself as you walk through - a heated outdoor whirlpool, a natural swimming pond nestled among reeds and lily pads, a wooden green tunnel leading to a play area with a trampoline, swing, play hut, sandbox and slide, and, because why not, alpacas grazing on the hillsides.

There is even more, like the sauna and the infrared cabin and the exercise room and the gazillion wooden loungers with cushions and the little huts scattered about just inviting you to nestle in with a book and a cool beer and stare at the mountains. And did I mention the outdoor hut (although hut is definitely not the right word - it's called a "saletti") which is half open and has cushy chairs and a fireplace and lanterns everywhere and is the perfect place to wile away the evening?

Also down the road is a charming and cozy Wirtshaus, which, because of course, had a Bavarian band playing and lederhosen festooned children prancing around the playground. Did I also mention that the hotel is right next door to the Arzbach Freibad, a lovingly maintained 1934 era swimming pool with a kids area, sun lounge and little section of the Arzbach creek cordoned off for splashing and wading?

Also can I talk about the breakfast for a minute? I didn't even take any pictures because we were too busy nomming but wow. Everything was amazing. Best quality fresh breads, butter, eggs, local hams and honey from the property, an incredible fresh fruit and vegetable selection, hot drinks all served in silver pots and the finest china. On sunday they had an open bottle of prosecco in the cooler next to the orange juice.

Never have I stayed somewhere that so simultaneously seemed adult and sophisticated, which made me want to immediately stay for weeks and relax and book a massage and other fancy things, but which was also so wonderfully suited for families with kids. All the amenities were there, with none of the ickyness that usually accompanies hotels that cater to kids - no icky sticky plastic high chairs, no ugly broken sand toys. no garish cartoon characters painted on the wall (believe me, I am usually so grateful for any of the above, but it was SO great to see it can be done differently and well). Instead, a high quality amazingly bouncy trampolines. Rabbits to feed grass to. Alpacas to hike with. A fast blue slide with a mountain view and an adorable wooden play hut like a miniature chalet. The magical natural swimming pond.

We will be back, Benediktenhof, yes we will!

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