This long established Vorarlberg institution is outside our usual size range but its ethos and atmosphere is so hard to reproduce that it can’t be ignored. Family run for three generations, the pine clad building stands 25 m or so above the road through Gargellen, a modest, but relatively high resort not especially known to the British, with skiing from 1400-2300 m. It is one of several linked resorts in the Montafon area, which together offer a serious range of pistes and runs that will please intermediate to advanced skiers.
The main public spaces – reception, bar, large sitting room, dining room – are friendly and relaxed, yet civilized. The decoration is typical Austrian Alps, plenty of carved wood and panelling, well kept, well organized, no self-conscious design statements. The Rhomberg family, headed by Monika, whose husband Bertram died tragically in 2017, knows the craft of hotel keeping so well that everything seems to flow. You’d feel at home with or without a jacket at dinner and groups of small children drift around, sometimes running, always chatting, without disturbing the overall calm. It’s a feat to absorb small children so effortlessly but at peak times, for example after skiing, they tend to dominate the swimming pool.
The rooms in the old part of the hotel have beautifully mellow floor-to-ceiling pine panelling while newer rooms have more or less neutral colour schemes and less character, but are well designed, with adequate space.
The intelligent and engaging staff behind the large circular reception desk, headed by Monica, seem capable of solving any problem, especially with travel arrangements. Ski passes can be printed at the desk. A ski and boot hire shop is integrated in the building at lower ground floor level, a few paces from the main entrance. Getting on to the slopes couldn’t be more convenient, although the lift is a seven-minute walk.
The food is exceptional and half board at around 180 euros/£160 per person in 2023 is amazing value – many hotels in the UK charge that just for a middling room and a nothing-special breakfast.