Lech in the summer?
Lech am Arlberg is an internationally well-known winter sport region and one of the Alps most famous. Lechner’s ski route ‘Weisser Ring’ (White Ring) is where the world’s longest ski runs are held every year. That’s the Lech we know in winter. But in summer or autumn? Is that even possible?
Yes, it is. And rather wonderfully in fact. And if you spend your holiday, like we did, in the luxurious 4-Star superior Hotel Goldener Berg, then you really couldn’t ask for more.
The Hotel Goldener Berg towers on a sun-drenched mountainside in Oberlech, an area of Lech. From a height of 1706 metres it looks down on to the main town, 300 metres below…
The Hotel Goldener Berg towers on a sun-drenched mountainside in Oberlech, an area of Lech. From a height of 1706 metres it looks down on to the main town, 300 metres below. Directly behind the hotel, cows parade through the luscious green mountain fields of the nature reserve Gipslöcher. On some summer evenings the last rays of the setting sun bathe the mountain in a soft golden light. I could imagine that is the reason the original hotel owners named it so. But another reason could also be that the view from up here on to the Lechtaler Alps is literally worth its weight in gold.
Several hundred years ago an Alp stood here, just like today. First a farm and then in the 1930’s a hotel was built on it: The ‘Sportheim Goldener Berg’. In 1965 the family Pfeffercorn, who have been residents of Lech for hundreds of years, took over the hotel. The Pfeffercorns are ancestors of the Walser, who came over from the Swiss Valais and founded Lech 700 years ago. The Pfeffercorns renovated, extended and developed. The Hotel Goldener Berg of today was born and is run by Daniela Pfeffercorn and her team.
We learn that our generous, modern wooden chalet-suite with stove, two bedrooms and a kitchenette is almost brand new as well as the lounge area between the hotel bar and the restaurants…
One member of the team and very friendly is Martina. She is the Room Division Manager and the soul of the house. Due to her kindness she is the reason that we felt right at home from the very beginning. After our arrival she invited us for a welcome drink on the sunny terrace. Later on she gives us a guided tour of the hotel including a very large spa area and the various restaurants of the hotel. We learn that our generous, modern wooden chalet-suite with stove, two bedrooms and a kitchenette is almost brand new as well as the lounge area between the hotel bar and the restaurants, which has been freshly renovated in a stylish and contemporary design.
But first off we are back on the terrace looking up at the mountain peaks that seem so close that you can almost touch them. The view is amazing, the peace heavenly. After a long car journey we feel as though we are in another world. We are not in driving mode any more; we have switched down a few gears and are literally cruising. The air is wonderfully clear, the sun is shining and apart from a few further guests on the terrace, treating themselves to one of the most delicious Sacher cakes outside of Austria, it’s quiet, tranquil, pure relaxation. This is the place to switch off and the holiday can start.
Walking trails are numerous around Lech…
And switch off is what we want and to enjoy the nature. We’re thoroughly looking forward to our first walk in the mountains. A whole array of information is waiting for us in our suite. The daily offers at the hotel during our stay (i.e.: 8:30 AM coordination training or mediation, from 9:30 AM guided tours with personal trainer Baling to the Ravens Berger hut, alternatively from 10:30 AM an easier walk with trainer Stephanie through the Sagenwald to Zug). Apart from that brochures with lots of walking tips are lying on our table. Walking trails are numerous around Lech. From strolls along the Lech riverbank to easier walks 2000 metres high up and with amazing views, to a mountain peak excursion, climbing heights of 2544 metres to the Mohnenfluh Mountain right behind the hotel. And all the tours have wonderfully themed names such as ‚In the Tracks of the Walser’, (‚Auf den Spuren der Walser’) to ‚Green Ring’ (‚Grüner Ring’, the summer version of the winter’s ‚White Ring’ – ‚Weisser Ring’) and which is do-able in three days. Lech and Oberlech have a lot to offer.
Walking-Worlds (‚Wanderwelten’) is also the name of a free brochure from the Lech tourist office in which specific walks for young, old, large, small; beginners or experienced walkers are described. And because some walks are not so self-explanatory, there is a walker’s bus in town, which takes guests to their first stop on the walk. And it’s free. From your very first night’s stay, every guest is given the Lech Card. This card enables you to use the walker buses all throughout the summer season and right into the autumn. You can also use the card for the Waldschwimmbad (swimming pool), the tennis and beach volleyball courts and the museums. It also includes a day at the Lech Golf Academy with driving range putting green and a 3-hole-course. (A 9-hole-course is being built as we speak), plus free access to the mountain railway and chairlifts. The train connecting Lech with Oberlech and its station, which is only three walking minutes from the hotel is also part of the package. What a great idea! We don’t even need our car because everything is accessible by lift or bus.
And as so often is the case, the best tips come from the locals. And so we are more than happy when Hotel Director Daniel Pfeffercorn joins us on the terrace and enthuses about the walking possibilities in Lech and its surrounding areas. When time allows, the sporty manager of the hotel goes for walks nearly every day. As a passionate skier she knows the mountains, valleys, meadows and slopes like the back of her hand. In the evening she regularly goes from table to table and asks her guests how they are enjoying things and always has suggestions up her sleeve for an excursion the next day. For example, a wonderful walk along the Wieseleweg and up to the Zürsersee, at a height of 2160 meters. From here you can see how majestic mountains silently reflect themselves in the water of the lake. Or a mountains trek from the Rüfikopf to the Stuttgart hut.
From there it is about two or three hours on foot through the glorious nature…
From the terrace we can see the mountain railway which takes walkers, nature lovers and sightseers to the valley station in Lech’s centre to the 2350 metre high Rüfikopf summit station nearly every half an hour and every single day. Meaning that within a matter of minutes, guests are transported more than 900 metres high up into the mountain. From there it is about two or three hours on foot through the glorious nature until you get to the Stuttgart hut. We took this route and saw field hamsters and enjoyed the cotton grass framing our footpath and reminding us of cotton-wool balls on green stalks. It’s even called the Alps-cotton-wool. We stroked the mountain cows and ate delicious bacon dumplings upon reaching the hut. Perfect!
When the food is good, everything is good! And that can also be said of the Hotel Goldener Berg. Without exception, all the restaurants at the hotel; be it the Gault Millau awarded ‚Johannesstübli’, the ‚Dirndlstübli’, the Panorama Restaurant or on the ‚Berggrill Terrasse’, all the menus and meals promise nothing less than happiness and health rolled into one. These meals are made after the GLYX principle explains Daniela Pfeffercorn. Quality organic fruit and vegetables, wild herbs, fish and meat from local producers and all of which are cleverly combined and prepared in a special way in order to activate your metabolic system and support weight-loss without tasting like a diet.
Who wants to go all out, can book a GLYX deluxe arrangement at the hotel over several days and combine the delicious healthy food with spa arrangements, cooking courses, lymph drainage, yoga, meditation, Qi Gong, Nordic walking and guided walks.
But the Hotel Goldener Berg is nothing without its service team. There are other hotels in the area of course, credited with tastefully decorated rooms, stylish interior and good food. But not all of them have such a friendly team like this one. Especially worth mentioning Martina and her lovely colleague Andrea and Victoria from reception, Restaurant Manager Frank and his colleague Ehab (best breakfast service ever!) and Yani (ni hao!).
© photography by Peter von Stamm (all rights reserved!)
Many thanks to my dear friend Bianca Demsa from Grace&Holmes for helping me with the translation (again)!
Hotel Goldener Berg
A-6764 Oberlech am Arlberg
phone: +43 (0)5583 22050