October 28, 2017

Hotel Forsthofalm: Total Switch Off Time

When I’m dangling on the edge of burn-out, I know I need to get away physically from whatever is driving me to the edge. Disappearing for a few days helps me to catch it early and rid myself of the anxiety bubbling under the surface.

I find that leaving London allows me to start shedding the skin of my old stressed-out self and pretend to be a different person for a few days, which really helps. As I soon as I board the plane, headphones blaring with podcasts, I know I have the freedom to leave my old life behind (momentarily).

This trip to beautiful Austria came at a brilliant time, as I was struggling a bit with my creativity and workload. I had Googled some of the images of the picturesque Forsthofalm Hotel and it looked like the total Alpine dream. The resort is located in Leogang, in the state of Salzburg in Austria, it’s famous for it’s winter sports and summer mountain biking. (And I couldn’t help make a few Sound Of Music references on Instagram: I’m only human).

If, like me, you don’t love skiing but you love the ski-resorts themselves, then you’d love it here too. I find it all a bit too sweaty and stressful for a holiday, but I do the love the surroundings and being up high in a mountain resort. It’s a bit pricey to go on a ski trip and then sit around not skiing, but going to an Austria eco-resort surrounded by mountain tops? Perfect. Even though there wasn’t any snow, it is a beautiful place in the Summer. There’s a freshness in the air while the sun beats down on your face. The sunshine was glistening over the rolling hills the whole time we were there. The views would make you gasp every time you peeled back the curtains in the mornings, and the warm pool with the cold air on your face felt amazingly refreshing.

Perfect for both relaxation and activities

I loved how this hotel catered for both types of holiday: total relaxation and also some fun and explorative exercise. I wanted to use some of my time at this resort writing my book, as I wanted to find the pure joy in writing again, and having a good view really adds to that. While I was writing Paul, my boyfriend, was able to go and take up some really fun activities that I doubt would be as fun back in England. He took part in an archery lesson out in the woodland, with targets in the woods, and mountain biking which was apparently quite intense. He came back to the hotel looking totally knackered, which is the perfect feeling after a day spent outdoors, ready for a dip in the pool and dinner.

I absolutely adored the Sky Spa is on the top floor and there are a range of lovely treatments available. I really rate hotel spas that stand out from the norm and have a distinct sense of personality to them. You can choose which herb is your favourite by smelling the raw herbs and you can also choose which part of the body you want to focus on: brain, heart, body. I went for a massage, I chose to concentrate on my brain (to re-boot my creativity perhaps – the masseuse said a lot of writers pick the brain, funnily enough) and chose lavender for my herbal oil. All the products are home-made, all the wild mountain herbs are collected by Claudia Widauer. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and friendly and this really added to the relaxed vibe of the hotel. The saunas are incredible, with the most amazing view overlooking the mountains. There are a choice of sauna heat (60 and 90 degrees) depending on what you prefer. You are made to feel like you are at home. I like a hotel where it’s OK to walk around in your robe. The whole vibe of the hotel is very relaxed.

Modern exteriors and fashionable interiors

The location is an absolute dream. It’s an hour and a half drive from Salzburg airport, but you don’t mind the drive because the views are stunning. I absolutely loved exploring the insides of the hotel, the interiors are amazing (a mix of Hygge and Scandi chic) and the architecture is incredible too. The brilliant owner Markus was telling us that he keeps the wooden feel very simple and modern, so that when he adds on extensions to the building nothing dates too quickly. Each room is a totally wooden finish, even the bed frames and walls, and therefore everything keeps the same simple modern look. We were also told that sleeping in a bed made of pine wood will in fact lower your heart rate by 3,500 heartbeats per day on average. No wonder I felt relaxed.

The chill-out room: the best room ever

This hotel is definitely geared towards couples. It felt quite romantic because there are so many spots to be totally quiet and together. When I came home from this break and wrote a list of reasons why I loved it and want to return, one specific reason stood out: the relaxation room. It is simply a large room, overlooking the most incredible views, with giant beds to lie on in total peace and quiet. You can see from the photo below how simple this is, but believe me, stepping foot in this room is the most zen I’ve been in ages.

The food: a definite highlight to our stay

I find it so relaxing when I don’t have to think about food or what I’m eating. I think that’s one of the main things about holidays. You don’t have to think about anything, big or small. I looked forward to the dinners so much at this hotel. Everything is laid out for you and the menu changes up every night. Every night you get a three-course menu which is part of the price (another nice thing you don’t have to think about). You get a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts. The salad bar is so impressive (so much choice!) and you get to get your own salad to start. Then post three-course meal, there is cheese and coffee on offer, and afterwards you can relax by the fire after dinner with a glass of red wine on the sofas pictured below. There is something so calming about sitting next to a roaring fire with the mountains glinting in the moonlight outside. On Thursdays they put all the tables into one long table and guests are encouraged to sit together and mingle and chat.

The main theme of this review is total relaxation. If you are looking for somewhere to take your mind off things, unwind and take a breather, I recommend the Forsthofalm 100%. It’s impossible not to let your shoulders drop a few inches.

Book your stay here: www.forsthofalm.com/de

***Thank you to the Forsthofalm team for our complimentary stay. Flights not included.*

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