Lech is one of my favorite ski destinations in the Alps. I have to admit that I was originally attracted to this snowsure resort when I found out that it used to be a favorite of Princess Diana. If it is good enough for the Royals, then it is good enough for me! I am now on my 5th trip to this picture-perfect little alpine village, and each time I return, I find something new to delight me and keep me coming back for more.
There are so many things I love about Lech. The cute chalets (ugly buildings simply aren’t allowed here!). The alpine river rushing through the center. The horse and cart that bumbles up and down the main street. Strollz department store (think mini Harrods for ski and apres-ski gear!). The fact that the nursery slopes are separate from the main slopes so that beginners have free reign without the concern of advanced skiers weaving around them and, of course, the wonderful and extensive ski runs for more advanced skiers.
Lech is a high-end resort packed full of luxury hotels, and as a result, it attracts a sophisticated crowd. Expect to ski from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm but nothing too hardcore. Before and after, the slopes are virtually empty. Most people are here to enjoy the fine alpine lifestyle rather than to ski from dawn to dusk.
Having stayed here before, we knew the 5 star superior Almhof Schneider was a great choice. In fact, if I were to pick a ski hotel in the Alps that is most like a Four Seasons, this hotel would be it. The styling, room sizes, and communal areas are finished with a panache that would fit nicely into the portfolio. The service is super friendly, slick, and professional, and the property itself is immaculate. If you are looking for a Four Seasons ski hotel in Europe, look no further. The Almhof Schneider is the hotel you’re looking for.
Sitting in the village center, just across the road and up a small slope from Strolz, this ski-in-ski-out hotel could not be more perfectly located. Since our last visit, the ground floor has been rebuilt, and as you enter the building, you are welcomed by a spacious and uber-modern reception area with central seating and an insanely ornate fire-place to one side. We arrived just days after these renovations had been completed. The extent and scale of the building work so vast, I wondered what on earth I was looking at when viewing pictures of the work in progress on the Almhof’s Instagram feed.
The impressive foyer leads into ski storage rooms at one end of the building, complete with cow hyde stools and antler light fittings, and a pool and spa area at the other end of the building, which again, couldn’t be more stylish. The pool area is also blessed with an effective heating system. The air is warm enough to laze on a lounger in your bikini, and the lighting is pleasingly subtle, making you look fabulous in said bikini, even after a day spent struggling with skis. In fact, the entire hotel has been carefully designed with complementary lighting, which seems to dumb down even the most ferocious red apres-ski cheeks to look only slightly rouged in its forgiving glow.
On the floor above the reception, you find a large bar area that extends across the front of the main building with glorious views over the center of Lech. During the day, the verandah, which sits in front of the bar, is bathed in sunshine. At night the sparkling town of Lech sits below and is such a pretty vista. To either side of the bar are the two restaurants. While we were there, one restaurant was used for evening dining, and the other was used for breakfast. Both offer the same views across the twinkling valley, and the service at both meals was exceptional.
The Almhof Schneider has wonderful rooms. The look is alpine chalet with pine walls and ceilings, thick wood tables, deep sofas, and comfortable beds. Deep blue curtains with a blend of gold and red-framed the vistas outside and the browns and oatmeals inside gave the room a warm hue. Bespoke paintings, candles, and interesting pendulum clocks personalize each room. Everything was incredibly well designed and thought out. The walk-in wardrobes (we had 2 in our suite!) were brilliantly designed with ample shelves, hanging areas, and mirrors. The bath was big, and the shower even had a little marble seat in it for those who have overdone the skiing, as well as a dinky inset shelf for your toiletries and to house the plentiful bottles of Aesop amenities that are provided. The orange rind scented body balm was rich and perfect for protecting your skin before and after skiing. We were in room 201/202, and because it faced the front of the building, we had the sun streaming in through the windows throughout the day. The bedroom part of the suite was particularly noteworthy as this sat on the side of the building, and lazing on the bed gave you magnificent mountain vistas across both the front and side of the chalet.
Evenings at the Almhof Schneider were wonderful. Sipping a beer, looking down upon the village on a comfy sofa with fires roaring and majestic deer heads peering down at you. The friendly staff refilled drinks and nibbles, and the atmosphere and dimmed lights made this venue ideal for enjoying apres-ski.
The food both in the morning and the evening at the Almhof Schneider was excellent. The morning offered a spread of cereals, fruits, bread, cheeses, and charcuterie. Eggs were a la carte and offered any way you liked. Nice touches like delicious vitamin fruit smoothies were offered over and above more standard breakfast drinks.
In the evening, I would rate both the dining and service at an excellent 3 rosette standard (i.e., 1 Michelin). The scenery and ambiance thoroughly enhancing the overall experience. Of course, because the restaurant offers a set menu, it is not rated in the same way as a conventional restaurant, but the food deserves recognition. To give you an idea of what was on offer, the meal on our last night started with a delicious salad which included lots of locally foraged elements, followed by a gilet dish, a consomé, a pre-main veal dish, and then a main which was the choice between red meat (veal or venison) and a fish dish. All the dishes were beautifully cooked and had the most exquisite blend of vegetables, sauces, and other accompaniments. For dessert, there was a cheese course followed by possibly the most scrumptious dessert you can imagine. On our last night, this was a mix of vanillas in delicious parcels of moose and light cheesecake with red berries and red berry compote. The result was truly delicious and, dare I say it, one of the best desserts I have ever had.
Rooms at the Almhof Schneider start at €650 EUR up to 19th December, a truly lovely time to visit Lech. Our suite starts at €900 EUR, and in my humble opinion, this hotel is worth every penny.
I traveled to Lech flying British Airways into Zurich and then using Sun Transfers to take me to the resort (the Zurich – Lech transfer takes around 2.5 hours). British Airways also flies into Innsbruck, which is slightly closer to Lech. You can also transfer using the efficient and clean Swiss and Austrian trains that take you into Langen Am Alberg, which is then a 15-minute taxi ride from Lech. This takes around 1.5 hours from Innsbruck and 2 hours from Zurich.
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