Spas, sushi… you don’t need to ski to fall for Salzburg: The joys of eschewing the slopes to indulge in some serious relaxation
- Alice Smellie checks into Austria’s Naturhotel Forsthofgut, set at the foot of the Leogang Mountains
- She says that it’s ‘perfectly situated for skiing’, but you don’t have to love the pistes to be ‘happily occupied’
- The hotel’s spa boasts a ‘heavenly’ infinity pool, four floors of relaxation rooms and a state-of-the-art gym
Should you hope for a winter holiday to offer more than superb ski slopes, in a place that will fill you up with divine food and exciting cocktails, plus boost your body and smooth your face with incredible spa treatments, then this might be the location to lay your (woolly) hat for a few nights.
The beauty of Austria’s Naturhotel Forsthofgut is that although it’s perfectly situated for skiing, you don’t have to love the pistes to be very happily occupied the entire time.
Set at the foot of the Leogang Mountains, the hotel is an hour from Salzburg and two-and-a-half hours from Munich airport. There are three restaurants, including an extraordinarily good Japanese one, and a fabulous spa, as well as mountain-biking, riding stables and hiking.
Ice cool: Alice Smellie checks into Austria’s Naturhotel Forsthofgut, a ‘place that will fill you up with divine food and exciting cocktails, plus boost your body and smooth your face with incredible spa treatments’. Above is the hotel’s heated outdoor swimming pool
The hotel is a draw-me-an-Alpine-hotel – all wooden beams and carvings – sprawling elegantly among the meadows and forests on the lower slopes of the mountain.
From the in-house ski hire, it’s just a couple of minutes to the chair lifts which will whizz you up the mountain. It couldn’t be easier. Non-skiers can meet their more energetic friends at the wooden mountaintop Hendl Fischerei Restaurant, which is handily right by the Asitz mountain station and vibrates with pumping music and pretty people.
Parts of Naturhotel Forsthofgut are 400 years old, and these buildings sit neatly with the more recently constructed Waldspa, with its new Lake House and heavenly heated infinity pool. And you might easily spend your entire break there, enjoying its multiple pools, four storeys of relaxation rooms and a 24-hour state-of-the-art gym.
The spa is split into different zones. The adults-only area contains the Lake House as well as a sauna, steam baths, a whirlpool (with a view) and outdoor swimming pools – do your lengths in the 25-metre sports pool at the top and admire the views of the nearby snow-topped peaks and skiers whizzing past.
The 105 bedrooms at the hotel have stunning views of the Leogang Mountains, forest and lake, Alice reveals
Above is a dish served in Mizumi, the hotel’s ‘extraordinarily good’ Japanese restaurant
Inside the hotel, the decor is relaxing, modern and cosy.
The 105 bedrooms have stunning views of the mountains, forest and lake. The main restaurant – 1617 – serves a five-course à la carte feast every evening, with three menus from which to mix and match. Alpine might offer a course of pickled venison fillet with rye bread, the Regional menu is locally sourced, such as wild garlic risotto with baked quail egg, and the Vegan menu includes delicacies such as coconut panna cotta with lemongrass and mango.
The Mizumi Lake Restaurant serves amazing Japanese cuisine – if you’ve never over-indulged in sushi, it’s a great place to start. ‘My wife and I love sushi, so we built a restaurant,’ says the hotel’s owner, Christoph Schmuck.
My favourite time of the day at Naturhotel Forsthofgut was strudel time. Strudel and coffee are served to guests every afternoon, and you can either relax with them around the roaring fires inside, or on the wooden terrace outside enjoying the bright Alpine sunshine, while trying to decide what, if anything, to do next.
Alice Smellie was a guest of Naturhotel Forsthofgut (forsthofgut.at/en) and the Saalfelden-Leogang Tourist Office (saalfelden-leogang.com). Double Rooms cost from £469 per night based on two sharing for a minimum of five nights. Visit salzburgerland.com for more information.