I’ve had a busy few weeks. I went backpacking around Iran, before studying my socks off for an exam. While my trip to Iran was incredible, it wasn’t relaxing, and I needed some time-out. So I headed from the airport to the mountains, and spent a weekend relaxing in the Relais-Chalet Wilhelmy, in the spa town of Bad Wiessee.
Relais-Chalet Wilhelmy is a boutique hotel, a stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Tegernsee. It’s a beautifully old, sprawling farmhouse that’s been done up to reflect contemporary Bavarian decor. Think stag motifs and Bavarian plaid, antlers and deep red leather sofas.
I arrived on a Saturday afternoon, leaving a rather dull day outside. Having piled my bags into my room, I headed into the lounge, where I was promptly handed the most delicious apple strudel (it was too good not to share, so I popped a photo up on Instagram). I’d been dreaming of eating dinner in the hotel’s restaurant for the best part of the week, so I was super disappointed to hear that the restaurant was closed that evening. But doesn’t the menu sound tantalizing? If the apple strudel’s anything to go by, they’ve nailed the food side of things. They use seasonal and regional ingredients, and I don’t think there’s a single thing on the menu I’d be averse to trying.
There was nothing for it, I was going to have to find a restaurant that offered equally enticing food. After a bit of research and some help from reception, I was told that the Freihaus Brenner was the best in the area. More on that later…
After all of the effort of eating an apple strudel, I was ready for some R&R. I threw on my dressing gown and headed into the cellar, to the spa area. The spa area was small and cosy, and if you’re really in the area for some serious sauna action, I’d recommend you head over to the opposite side of the lake to monte mare. Wilhelmy has a steam room, a sauna, a whirlpool (which costs 13 € a go) and a quiet room, where I got started on Karl Ove Knausgård’s autobiography. If you’re just after a quick sweat in the sauna, it’s ideal, but a full wellness program is better conducted in monte mare.
All too soon, it was time to head out for an aperitif, which was enjoyed at Zum Mundschenk, a thirty-second walk from the hotel. The staff was friendly and the spritz was fresh, and on a balmy summer’s evening, the terrace is a lovely place to people watch. I headed up the mountain to Freihaus Brenner, my stomach rumbling with anticipation.
And boy, was Freihaus Brenner a revelation. I can’t vouch for Wilhelmy’s restaurant, but I can tell you that if it’s closed, book a table at Freihaus Brenner. I had an asparagus soup to start, served with grilled prawns. To follow, I had fresh tagliatelle with morel mushrooms and asparagus spears. The wine, recommended by our waiter, was a deliciously fresh 2012 Kartäuserhof Grüner Veltliner (22 € the bottle). Service was attentive, the food was reasonably priced and it was really, really good. It’s also atop a hill, so if you’re in the area one summer’s day, I can imagine that the views from the terrace at lunch are blooming lovely.
Sunday came round all too quickly, and after a deep sleep in the country, I was ready for breakfast, which was great. Lots of Dallmayr teas to choose from, pots and pots of honey, jams and marmalades, freshly pressed orange juice, a variety of breads, yogurts, mueslis…it was plentiful, varied and hearty.
The plan was to spend Sunday hiking in the mountains, but the Alps were mean and moody and the thought of curling up with a book was much more appealing.
If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and need some time out, Relais-Chalet Wilhelmy is a good base for long hikes in the mountains, strolls by Lake Tegernsee and trips to Bad Wiessee’s iodine-sulfur springs. Double rooms cost between 169 € and 219 € per night, and if you’re after a special offer, check out their list of deals here.