I LOVE LECH – Austria

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Next month we head to Lech – the Bentley of the ski world. Classy, elegant and yet quietly understated. Wonderful on piste and even better off piste. Now that the Lech/Zurs valley is connected with St Anton you have access to one of the world’s largest ski areas. But beware, once you start to party in St Anton you will not be in great shape to ski back so best rely on the last ski bus home! Don’t miss it otherwise it’s an expensive taxi ride back to Lech.

Where better to stay in Lech than the Hotel Goldenerberg – the Rolls Royce of Lech. Simply park in the car park by the telecabin that is a short 5 minute ride up the slope to Oberlech then walk through the tunnel and emerge into the lobby of the Goldenerberg. This is a stunning family hotel that Daniela Pfefferekorn and her family have been running since 1965 and Daniela herself for some 30 years now.  The building dates back to 1230 although it wasn’t until the 1930s when it became a hotel dedicated to skiing. The family have continually upgraded and improved the hotel and I look forward to retuning next month after a 6 year break to see the changes first hand.

Lech is an exceptional place and In many ways this is due to the limitations on second home ownership in the valley. You either have to live there or to run a hotel so this has saved Lech from the overdevelopment that has plagued many Alpine resorts, especially in France. Hotels such as the Goldenerberg are blessed to be ‘ski in/ski out’ so there are no issues about lengthy walks carrying your skis. The terrace of the hotel is undoubtedly the best place for lunch on the slopes with incredible surround views and snug furry blankets to keep you warm. Then at the end of the day collapse into the wonderful wellness area and revive your aching limbs in the sauna and steam room before getting ready for a dining experience like no other on the slopes. With a choice of different restaurants you can just vary your dinner plans accordingly.

The skiing is sublime and caters to all levels. The famous Weiss Ring race takes place every year but you can also do it in a more leisurely fashion in half a day. Off piste skiing is legendary here and if you are a beginner then you really don’t need to stray too far from the hotel and the centre of Lech. There is also an extraordinary fun park for those looking to do crazy stuff on skis or snow boards.

A full update on Hotel Goldenerberg to follow next month after our visit. There are of course many other wonderful places to stay in Lech as well as Zurs, St Christoph and St Anton. Personally I think its way better to stay in Lech and to venture into St Anton than the other way round but then I’m not 20 any more! And just to say that you don’t have to drive to Lech. You can take the ski bus from Zurich or indeed the train direct from Zurich airport and then taxi the last part of the journey up the valley. The whole area is totally accessible with Innsbruck being the closest airport. I can’t wait to get there…

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