Now, I do enjoy a good knees-up at Oktoberfest, but it can all get a bit too much. It’s an assault on the senses – the shrieks of people riding rollercoasters, the redolence of roasted chickens, the throngs of merry Bavarians in Tracht…after a while, I need to get away and take some time out.
So, I escaped the Wiesn this past weekend, spending a couple of days in Das Kronthaler in Achenkirch, near Achensee in Austria. Das Kronthaler’s story began back in 1979, when the first hotel was built on the site – by the Kronthaler family, from Innsbruck. The hotel was renovated on a grand scale, and was reopened in its current glory in November 2010. It now offers four-star superior luxury – wellness, gourmet meals and beautiful interior design. It was designed by architect Manfred Jäger, who has designed many an Alpine-style building and is renowned for creating simple, elegant lines.
After a busy week of Oktoberfest and work, my boyfriend and I escaped to Das Kronthaler on a Friday afternoon, arriving just in time for dinner. We were booked into the Luis Trenker suite (from 195 € per person, per night), named after the South-Tyrolean director famed for making movies about the mountains. The design was a delightful juxtaposition of rustic Alpine simplicity and modern opulence.
We threw our bags into the room, and headed down to dinner. Over a glass of prosecco, we checked out the menu – I was starving. We ordered, and headed to the buffet area to load our plates with antipasti – salad, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted aubergines, roasted zucchini, and other delicacies such as thinly sliced roasted beef, smoked salmon, and some tremendous parma ham.
Next up – I had tempura vegetables, and F. ordered beef carpaccio. We both chose the wild herb whipped soup, followed by the organic suckling pig. Having gorged far too much on antipasti, I knew I’d never be able to finish the Black Forest gâteau, so I chose the green apple sorbet. Which was just the ticket before the cheese platter – it cleansed the palate beautifully.
Having filled our bellies with good wine and food, we headed upstairs to get some rest – a busy day of wellness lay ahead.
I was feeling too lazy for an early morning swim, so we headed down to make the most of breakfast. Fresh fruit, many different types of muesli, eggs, bacon, and around five different sorts of bread – it was a breakfast fit for a Bavarian king, should he jaunt across the border.
Thereafter, I promptly entered relaxation mode. I used the Physiotherm infrared cabin, drank gallons of herbal tea, spent a rather long time on a lounger, reading my book (which is amazing by the way – Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn), and between all of that, squeezed in those laps of the pool. All before midday.Lunch was surprisingly generous. The hotel brochure advised that it was a small snack, but hot dishes were on offer – I had a slice of homemade lasagna with a side salad, F. went for Currywurst and chips (you can take the man out of Germany, etc)…
Feeling energized from lunch, I hopped on the cross trainer in the gym for a bit, until I realized I could do just as much sweating in the sauna, and it would be far more enjoyable. The Finnish sauna did me the world of good, and I headed outdoors afterwards for a cold shower (which apparently did me just as much good, even if that part was less enjoyable). If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can tip a bucket of iced water over your head. Wonderful for the circulation, I’m told.
The herbal steam room was empty, and offered an infusion of camomile, sage and lavender. The steam room also did me the world of good, and we were offered a bowl of sugar to allow us to exfoliate our skin. This is my favourite part of any spa, I absolutely love the feeling of sloughing off dull, old skin and having baby-soft skin afterwards.
After an afternoon in the spa, we were more than ready for dinner. This time, we chose a Riesling as recommended by the sommelier at Das Kronthaler. It was peachy, and wonderfully fresh. I went easy on the antipasti, and F. and I enjoyed a tremendous mozzarella-tomato starter. F. chose an oxtail soup for the second course, and I plumped for a pumpkin soup, before practically inhaling the loup de mer – it was SO good.
And so, yesterday we left Das Kronthaler feeling relaxed and far more invigorated than on Friday afternoon.
Das Kronthaler is the perfect hotel for a weekend of R&R. If your batteries need recharging, or if you simply want to treat a loved one to a little pampering, you can book online or check out their current specials here. Doubles are available from 155 € per person, per night. If the weather’s kind to you, I can highly recommend a hike in the nearby mountains, the views are breathtaking.