I was invited to review the Naturhotel Forsthofgut and our stay was complimentary. I was not paid to visit and was not under contractual obligation to write this blog post or create content on any platform.
When we first found out we were having a baby, I asked Mr S what he was most looking forward to…
‘Taking him skiing’ was the immediate answer. Mr S absolutely loves skiing and always claims it’s his favourite type of holiday. Though I didn’t take to the actual skiing when we first went two years ago (ok, I was absolutely rubbish at it!), I loved everything else about it! The beautiful scenery, the fresh air, the alpine food, the atmosphere (especially the après ski), the pretty outfits… what could be better? So when the opportunity for a family press trip to the Naturhotel Forsthofgut in Austria came up, we were all super excited… and what did it matter that six month old Oscar couldn’t actually ski? He’d still be the most fashionable baby on the slopes.
I was once again apprehensive about the flight but the hour and a half journey to Salzburg with twenty-five week old Oscar wasn’t much harder than our flight to Ibiza with ten week old Oscar (though I’m aware I can’t expect this for much longer!). It was a smooth pick up from the airport by a driver from Naturhotel Forsthofgut who had arranged a baby car seat and immediately presented me with chocolate, and Oscar with a toy reindeer… I think I like this place already… and from there it was only an hours drive to Leogang. Getting to a ski hotel can be a real mission but it was great to have such a short journey when we had a baby in tow.
Pulling up at the hotel, it was like Christmas all over again with snow-capped fir trees, fairy lights and reindeer images lining our path.
I loved the cosy, traditional alpine architecture that is juxtaposed against a more modern and bold style giving the hotel a unique look.
Inside there’s a similar warm and cosy glow as natural materials including reclaimed wood, loden, leather and stone have been used to create a traditional rural interior that has the feel of a modern luxury hotel. And luxury doesn’t come at the cost of having a conscience as the focus on nature lends itself to an emphasis on sustainability and local sourcing.
An open plan foyer is filled with comfortable corners and seating areas so you can find the perfect nook to take a load off your feet and snuggle by the fire. Huge floor to ceiling windows allow the beautiful scenery outside to be part of the experience even while you’re keeping warm inside.
The history of the hotel is actually steeped in family tradition… beginning over 400 years ago as a forestry business and farm. In the 1960’s the Schmuck family started renting out rooms in the property but it was Christophe Schmuck, the fifth generation of the family, along with his wife Christina who turned the hotel into what it is today. Growing up on the farm the Schmucks felt in tune with nature and wished to combine this with the luxury of staying in a five-star hotel and create special moments and memories within the four walls. I loved this idea and as our first family ski trip, I was excited to experience this beautiful landscape and show little O snow for the first time. That’s a tick off his bucket list.
Speaking of snow, the hotel is located in Leogang on the slopes of Asitz, making it the perfect ski in / ski out hotel in the winter months. The cable car is just steps away so ski lovers can get going asap… of course little O is only six months old so Mr S enjoyed his ski time with an instructor while I enjoyed chilling in the hotel with my baby. It was easy to meet Mr S for lunch so we weren’t without him for long and when he was back at around 3pm, he could look after O while I went to the spa.
Mr S aims to have Oscar on skis pretty much as soon as he can walk (!) and for when that time comes there’s a ski kindergarten right by the hotel and ski programmes devised for parents and children. Mr S’s ski instructor, Leo, came to the hotel to meet us and was really helpful in organising our day too. Hiring equipment couldn’t be easier as there’s a ski room in the hotel with top of the range brands available to rent with no need to book in advance.
There are lots of other winter activities too such as winter hikes, tobogganning and cross-country skiing. I love the idea of shooting through the forest in a toboggan, and there’s four runs around the hotel with completely free hire. The hotel doesn’t shut down in the summer and the pictures of the Naturhotel Forsthofgut look glorious during the warmer months. The hotel has a 30,000m² garden and the organic bathing lake plus the hills are alive for hiking and biking. Guests also receive the Saalfelden Leogang Card which gives access to activities on the mountain.
During the summer, kids can visit miniGUT, the hotel’s children’s farm which houses sheep, rabbits, ponies and goats. Adjacent to the farm is a game reserve which houses fallow deer and red deer and there are weekly feeding hosted by Christoph Schmuck. August and July is also perfect for teenagers and older kids as the hotel offers activities such as go-cart races, a climbing garden, cave adventure and white water experiences. There’s even reindeer at certain times of day!
Rocky’s Kids Club is a big selling point for this hotel – it’s open Summer and Winter from 9am until 9pm providing free child care for children over two, seven days a week. The kids club itself is huge and I can just imagine my nephew Jackson loving the soft play area.
The staff lead a programme that teaches the children about nature and includes nature walks in the vicinity of the property. There is also a children’s kitchen for bread baking and preparing dishes using local fresh ingredients – I’m definitely hoping O is a mini Master chef in the making so this sounds ideal.
Teens are not to be forgotten either and there’s a games room for older kids with pool and table football.
The accommodation is designed to make you feel right at home and there are a mixture of double rooms, suites, family rooms and a chalet suite. We had a family suite known a ‘schwalbennest’ or swallow’s nest… hence the wall paper.
There was an entrance room for our coats and shoes and a spacious junior suite-style room with a comfy double bed and lounge area. There’s even a pillow menu so that you can get your perfect night sleep!
Our family room had a separate bed room with bunk beds for kids – of course O isn’t big enough to go in a bunk bed but it was sooo useful to put his cot in here during nap time. Having two rooms meant I could black out his room and could sit in the main room without having to sit in the dark. The hotel actually offer a baby package free of charge which meant we got a cot, changing table, nappy bin, kettle and bottle warmer. There’s also home-made baby food with the flavour changing daily!
The bathroom contains all the necessities and best of all had under floor heating for your tired feet!
Our room had a slightly restricted view from the balcony due to the position of the room, but as someone who rarely sees snow, I was very happy to see this blanket of white from my window.
Spa Time is a big deal at Naturhotel Forsthofgut and another area in which hotel excels at providing adults-only ‘me time’ along side family-friendly space. The hotel actually incorporates two separate and distinct spa areas in order to achieve this. First let’s chat about the adults only waldSPA for 16 year olds and up… the expansive spa is 3,800 m² and located over three floors. Decorated in that signature, modern aesthetic, inspired by nature, the WaldSPA really is the perfect place to recuperate.
There’s a large selection of treatments too including massages, facials and lymphatic drainage for you, him and the kids. There’s also lots of treatments for expectant mothers making the hotel the perfect destination for a babymoon. There are Alpienne treatments too which use natural herbs and oils sourced from the Alpine region in order to harness the power of the Alps. I had a relaxing massage – my first since having Oscar – and honestly just the ‘me time’ was worth its weight in gold, let alone the incredible relaxing power of the oil and soothing pressure. Obviously I fell asleep – it’s seriously the perfect gift for the sleep deprived mum!
One element of the spa is the importance of the rejuvenating power of water in wasserKRAFT. This includes the 25 metre outdoor pool, dramatically surrounded by snow while we were there, stunning whirlpools and a rock shower.
Those looking for the warmth of a sauna can enjoy the stadlSAUNA 90 with a view of the game park, a micro-salt booth, and organic sauna and a steam bath. The vast spa also has lots of places to relax and includes a tea lounge and library. Otherwise there’s a 300 m² fitness studio with cutting edge equipment, a vast yoga studio and five fitness courses per day.
The three of us absolutely loved the family spa waldWIRBEL where kids could enjoy their own spot of relaxation time!
There’s an indoor / outdoor pool, heated to the perfect temperature for children. We actually took Oscar swimming for the first time ever here, and our little water baby loved it!
There are three saunas in the spa that are actually suitable for children – apparently the heat can help with congestion if your child is feeling ill. And you can choose the rose quartz sauna at 60°, Leogang Pine at 90° and Groundhog Family at 40° . Obviously I wasn’t taking a six month old baby in the sauna but we enjoyed the warmth of the relaxation area and the Instragrammable forest style of waldWIRBEL. We especially loved the baby bath robes provided by the hotel! There’s also a sensory shower and two steam baths so kids and adults are seriously spoilt for choice
The food philosophy at the hotel is the ‘foundation for happiness is good cuisine,’ and the ForsthofgutCUISINE cannot fail to make you smile. The hotel offers three cuisine lines served throughout the day. The first is ‘Alpine’ in other words combinations from Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Austria. Next is R50 – a cuisine using ingredients from a maximum distance of 50 kilometres, many of which come from the hotel’s own farm, served and prepared with an innovative twist. Finally, the hotel celebrates fresh and regional produce in the form of vegan cuisine for every meal.
The hotel works on a half board basis when eating in the main restaurant and each group is allocated a table in one of the hotel’s five dining rooms. Again the hotel is sensitive to those wanting to enjoy a quiet romantic trip together versus families with potentially noisy little ones. Mr S, Oscar and I were placed in a family dining room, we even got chatting to the couple on the table next to us who were with a baby boy Oscar’s age.
Breakfast is served from the Delicacies Market which is so much more than just a buffet… the intention is that each area is like small delicatessen shop. There’s an entire bread room or bakery so you can customise your morning bread basket, lots of fresh fruit, a ‘butcher’ for meats, about a zillion different cheeses plus plenty of vegan options too. There’s also a coffee and juice bar to get your fluids in the morning!
As part of the half-board plan you can enjoy a light afternoon tea which in practice works well for lunch as they serve savouries (a delicious lasagne 0n the day we went) as well as a selection of cake.
In the evening the five course menu is the hotel’s half board option and there’s a choice of three different five-course menus based on three cuisine lines – they certainly don’t let you go hungry here. You can start with a selection of salads from the delicacies market, and fill your bowl up with bread too before starting on the first course menu proper. Mr S and I alternated between the R50 and the Alpine which was very different each night allowing plenty of variety.
Dishes included warming soups, local fish such as perch and monk fish, traditional Kasnock and meat dishes. All food is sourced responsibly and sustainably in the most eco-friendly way possible. There is no packaging used in the Delicacies Market, all beef and pork is from Austria and Venison from Salzburg, milk and eggs are from Leogang.
For children there’s a supervised lunch and dinner buffet in the kid’s club or they can accompany you for a meal. Healthy eating is emphasised and it is a French fry free zone!
There’s even and ice cream buffet for dessert… which obviously Mr S and I had too!
There are two other restaurants at the hotel, not included in the half-board option. Restaurant 1617 serves Austrian classics from an a la carte menu in an old farmhouse parlour-style setting.
Mr S and I chose to dine there one night and loved the schnitzel and trout. The restaurant also does fondue nights if you fancy a true Alpine feast. Finally there is the à la carte restaurant “echt.gut essen”, a gourmet restaurant / chef’s table with 3-toque chef, Michael Helfrich at the helm. With only ten seats in the restaurant, this is a high-end luxury dining experience, available for adults only. While we couldn’t try it, it was good to know that this level of dining is available too!
Drinks-wise the Botanist Bar has a cocktail menu of biblical proportions while the Beletage Bar is an adults-only space to enjoy some quiet time. In the hotel basement is weinWald, a cellar of fine wines where twice-weekly tasting are held in the atmospheric forest style environment.
Mr S, Oscar and I had a seriously good time at Naturhotel Forsthofgut, a hotel that offers the perfect balance of being child-friendly yet super luxurious. There’s plenty of facilities and activities for kids but also for adult-only time too.
Great For Kids
- Ski kindergarten
- Kid’s Club
- Family Spa
Great for Parents
- Adult spa
- Hotel bar and wine cellar
PIN FOR LATER:
The Schmuck Family
Hütten 2 | A-5771 Leogang
Telephone: +43 6583 8561