The Monchhof is a horsey kind of place, a heavenly holiday hotel for horse-mad families. Situated in Gaggenau-Moosbronn, the hotel is a black and white half-timbered chalet, 300 years old and once a glass-blowing workshop, and around it Icelandic ponies peer from stable doors and trot out in single file bearing blissful kids on their backs. Michael Fuchtenschneider, the owners’ son, looks after the horses, giving riding lessons, and runs one-week courses for 9-16 year-olds in the summer holidays (but for security reasons he does not hire horses out).
The family has close links with Iceland, and there are Icelandic and Swiss families among the guests. But solid German cooking is served in the rustic restaurant, which is open all day and has a tiled stove for winter warmth, and whose walls are crammed with rows of rosettes and photographs of equine events and successes. Tables on the small terrace at the back are surrounded by green trees, and guests can stroll among them. The shuttered windows of the rustically furnished first-floor bedrooms look out on rural scenery; and the rooms in the eaves, with dormer windows peeping out from the huge hipped roof, are wood-panelled, simply decorated and utterly charming.