The Alpine Eco Retreat
I hadn’t been skiing in almost 8 years, when the opportunity arose to visit Forsthofalm, near Leogang in the Austrian Alps. I was nervous to hit the slopes after so long back, but with promises of a heated alpine swimming pool, a wellness programme including mountain yoga, hammock pilates and sun salutations, and a panoramic spa overlooking the mountain peaks – I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to visit the snow once more.
My memories of ski holidays largely centre around alcohol fuelled ‘Aprés Ski’ sessions, and old fashioned hotels with decor that seems to be trapped in a time warp – but our visit to Forsthofalm was a new experience entirely. The ‘wooden hotel’ is a four star, family-run eco-hotel and as well as being perfectly situated for skiers (you can quite literally ski in, ski out) they also have a huge spa, a restaurant serving organic and regionally sourced product, and a great choice of outdoor activities as well as fitness classes. It seemed totally different to any ski trip I’d been on before, and it really was.
The first thing that really impressed me was the ease of getting there. The last time I went skiing, our journey to the hotel involved a 2 hour flight, 4 hours on various train journeys, before dragging our cases through a snowy village until we found our chalet. This time, we were picked up from Salzburg airport after a short hour and a half flight from London, in a futuristic Tesla car (our jaws dropped to the ground as the car doors opened upwards, instead of outwards and inside it felt more like a space ship than a road worthy vehicle) and driven straight to the hotel which was just over an hour away from the airport.
Located away from the small town of Leogang, it’s at the bottom of one of the popular ski slopes, from which a chair lift connects you to plenty of long and enjoyable blue and red ski runs in the nearby Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski area. Also on site is a ski rental, so you can literally arrive at the hotel, and not leave aside from your ski expeditions during your entire trip.
The timber hotel was built in 2008, adding on to a traditional chalet, and in 2013 a seven story extension was added which includes the ‘Spanorama’ area – complete with rooftop pool with incredible mountain views. One morning we experienced a ‘White Out’ where the clouds descended on the ski area – we decided to leave our skis and boots in the hotel’s boot room and instead make the most of the Sky Spa where we enjoyed massages conducted using home-made massage oils created from mountain herbs collected from the local area.
The two sections of the spa are connected by a rather spectacular wooden bridge – which not only was a super place to pose for photos (!!!) but also a wonderful lookout point to take in the spectacular mountain views.
The rooms were simple, but contained all we needed for our four night stay – ours had a fabulous balcony with views straight onto the ski slopes, and each of the rooms are free from metal and glues; all designed to enhance your wellbeing during your stay. There’s also a luxurious suite which has a panoramic mountain view, a log fire and even a home cinema, and ‘Secret Forest’ rooms which have suspended beds, and private saunas.
The hotel’s speciality is the organic produce served in the restaurants, and we particularly loved the range of fresh breads baked daily on the premises; each day the flavour more exciting and unusual than the one before. After a morning on the slopes, we would enjoy lunch served outside on the terrace (including healthy options such as salads and sushi, or more hearty plates including spare ribs, or an ‘oriental burger’ to name a few) – and both the lunch and evening menus comprised of dishes where many of the ingredients are sourced locally, with the herbs and many other ingredients collected from either the hotel garden, or from local sources.
The beverage selection was equally as impressive, with a huge choice of wines including many locally made wines, and a large selection of gins too. I was most excited by the cocktail menu; every few months the hotel re-design their cocktail menu based on the current trends, but my favourite was the classic Espresso martini; and I’m going to blame the altitude but it certainly had a kick to it!
As for my ski #ootd, I wore my new kit from Dare2Be. Finding flattering ski gear can be a real challenge, but the slim fitting jacket and trousers looked very stylish on the slopes! I wore my favourite Sweaty Betty thermals underneath and accessorised with my Gucci chevron bag, Kate Spade sunglasses and Burberry scarf (who says you can’t look stylish on the slopes?!).
Shop My Ski Style
For après-ski, I’d packed this reversible shearling coat from Miss Selfridge, which I mostly wore with pale denim jeans and a chunky knit, as well as my Burberry scarf, a shearling headband, MaxMara sunglasses pale pink boots and my latest sale purchase – this fabulous Pierce bag from J.W. Anderson.
Special thanks to Forsthofalm for hosting us during our ski trip – find out more about the hotel here.
Have you ever been skiing? Or would you prefer an Alpine spa retreat?