1 Fam Trip to Austria - The Battered Black Book

Fam Trip to Austria

Earlier this year alongside Perowne International, BBB arranged an amazing Fam Trip for one of our PAs, Victoria Reid, to head to Austria to stay at two exceptional Perowne properties. More members of our community will be heading off on trips soon but in the meantime, here’s how Victoria got on. 

I was fortunate to be invited by Perowne International to the beautiful location of Stuben am Arlberg in Austria to experience House Hannes Schneider. Now for me – a powerful shower, decent bed linen and great food are a pre-requisite, however as you are all aware, the people we work for require a little more from their trips.  So I switched into CEO mode, packed and headed off to Gatwick.

Having arrived into Innsbruck after a ninety minute stress-free flight from Gatwick. It was a rather impressive forty five mins from wheels on the ground to winding our way to Lech. Innsbruck airport is tiny, and passport control and luggage collection were superefficient!

Our hosts welcomed us to Lech and we immediately headed up in a gondola to the Hotel Alter GoldenBerg, Oberlech.  Oberlech is a stunning car free hamlet above Lech. We enjoyed a beautiful late lunch, al fresco, whilst watching the last of the days skiers and tobogganers complete the last few runs.

Back in Lech, we checked into the Hotel Kristiania. This place is just lovely, forty nine, individually designed rooms, that are warm and cozy with lovely modern bathrooms and proper sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. 

The main thing that strikes me as I enter the foyer, is the wonderful smell – oh my goodness! – it is warming, relaxing not too floral, not “spa-like’ but makes you want to snuggle into the squashy sofas in the bar and just unwind.  Our luggage had been taken on ahead and after a quick unpack, shower (some rooms have corner baths, separate showers, separate WCs) it was time for dinner – a lovely meal, with wonderful service from informative, and charming (but not over-attentive) staff.  After a token schnapps in the bar, our beds were calling and so we called it a night.

On Monday morning we met our ski guides Jip and Manny and headed to Strolz in the middle of Lech for boots, skis and poles.  Once kitted out we made our way to the gondola and some ski action.  The group quickly split with Manny taking the advanced members of the group off for some serious ski-ing and Jip taking a couple of us for some more basic downhill!

Time for lunch at Severins Alpine Resort which was lovely. We sat down with the manager and heard all about the facilities and had a quick tour of the rooms.  A point to add at this time is that SPF50 on the face, head sweat and contact lenses do not mix.  After taking my helmet off I managed to rub my eyes, and in about 30 seconds rendered myself blind.  After being forced into taking my lenses out of my eyes in order to see anything, I ended up back at the Hotel Kristiania to find my glasses.  So no skiing for me, but a lovely afternoon snoozing and watching the world go by.  I can therefore vouch that this beautiful hotel is a haven for anyone who wants a break from skiing or just to head back early for some r and r!

Our dinner that evening was at the Thurnhers Alpenhof Hotel, an opportunity to indulge in multiple courses of Austrian specialities.  The food throughout the trip was exceptional, only matched by the stunning views.  Heading back to Kristiania we enjoyed a final drink and headed off to bed.

On our final morning, we started off earlier to maximise the skiing opportunity.  Jip provided the patience of a saint and after a good two hours, of which 50% were spent falling over and 50% doing quite well, we established my skiing issues are between my ears and not the ability to actually ski!!! Ah well, next season will come soon enough!!

For lunch we were taken to the most spectacular hotel, the Aurelio in Lech and Claudia looked after us so well, and the food was superb.  The hotel has a variety of rooms, functional ski room, spa and an adjoining chalet which can be booked out for larger groups looking for exquisite accommodation and complete privacy.

On leaving here we headed off to House Hannes Schneider, in the small village of Stuben.  The chalet has been completely modernised and comes with 6 individually decorated double suites all of which have stunning en suites.  There is also a nanny/staff room (as cozy as the rest of the suites), a beautiful ski room, sauna and a Jacuzzi bath to take care of aches and pains after a hard days skiing. The chalet comes with its own butler and chef who looked after us very well.  As the chalet is run by the same team as Hotel Kristiania, we knew that standards would be fabulous.  This is an understatement.

That evening, the owner of the Kristiania, Gertrude Schneider, joined us for dinner and we learnt all about the history of Lech, and her family which was fascinating.

For the final night Gertrude organised one last surprise, an evening of night tobogganing.  This was so much fun and I can confidently state this is my winter sport!! In Stuben we walked to the bottom of a blue run, grabbed a toboggan and piled into a 4×4 which drove us to the top of the run. Lit only by the moon, and the dim glow of the village lights, we all took off down the run. In less that 5 minutes we were at the bottom, laughing hysterically and asking to go again. 

Wednesday morning arrived all too soon after a night’s sleep in bedding that felt you were being cocooned in a combination of silk and cotton wool.  Coffee and croissants were lovely and we set off to our final destination, Hotel Tannenhof in St. Anton which was about 20 minutes’ drive away.  

Set at the top of the town with views the length of St. Anton, we settled down to a brunch which like every other meal over the previous 72 hours, was superb!  The decor and luxury at Tannenhof was on a par with everything we saw throughout the visit to Austria and was a fitting end to a fabulous trip.

Skiing in Lech is brilliant, for beginners and those lacking in confidence (aka me), the blue runs are enough and for advanced skiers there are lots of black and cross country runs to keep everyone happy.  Hospitality and food is out of this world but with the great skiing and so many other activities in the area (climbing wall, table tennis, swimming and spas) no one needs to worry about over eating or being a non-skier! Après ski, is well served, Lech is not famed for its bouncing night life, focusing more on fine dining, however St Anton 20 mins away more than covers the need for dancing and pounding base!  With all this less than 2 hours from Gatwick, I can confidently say I’ll definitely be recommending it!