Larchenhof in Tirol delivers a superior holiday experience
Der Lärchenhof – or Larchenhof in English – in Tirol close to Kitzbuhel and even closer to St. Johann is a place out of this world. If you travel a lot, as I do, you probably visit a substantial number of very good hotels in different countries, and your expectations are getting higher and higher, as a function of your travel experience, and the general development in hotel concepts, quality, and service level. So we went to the Larchenhof with high hopes. Der Lärchenhof to be precise. For those with linguistic inclinations, the “ä” is equivalent to our “ae”.
It was the warmest of summers, the flowers from all Austrian style houses were blooming generously, and the grass in the valley was lush green and high. People were in the best summer clothes and mood in Tirol, biking, walking in the shaded mountains, having family lunches sitting outside the village restaurants. It was as beautiful as summer gets during June in Tirol. While we were there, the all-time hottest temperature record: 39.5 C. degrees was set. And guess what? We would not have wanted to be any other place than at the Lärchenhof: Diving into the pools, sitting in the shade on one of the terraces, finding your own perfect spot … having some ice cold drinks, feeling time standing still. Feeling alive.
The Larchenhof sets new standards for a “resort”
Der Lärchenhof is more than a hotel with 5 big stars and the place to be during a hot summer, it is actually hard to describe because it is so much. You hardly take it all in the first 2 days, maybe first after your second visit? It is a very, very good hotel, it is also the best hotel crew ever, delivering superior, and personal service. On arrival you are handed a glass of Austrian sekt with a big smile, the moment, you enter, now that puts most guests in a rather positive mood: we have landed, the adventure may begin. The service is hospitable as well as genuine, delivered from the heart. You will feel at home, even on the first day.
So how close to heaven are we?
The ambition must have been to build a not so small interpretation of paradise on a mountainside in Austria, and it is an ongoing endeavor. Paradise was not built in a day. The rumor has it, there will be an infinity pool at the very top of the area soon, where there already is a secluded, serene area with another spa and sauna. The motto must be “you can always do better, always do more”. To get up there you enter from the main buildings and the spa area by an indoor escalator to spare you the 100 steps, it otherwise would have cost you. This escalator alone cost some million Euros. Nothing is spared here. You can always do better and more – in the Austrian style course.
You will as a guest and mentioned in no particular order, find excellent restaurants indoors and outdoors, very nice bars, the largest wellness areas, I have ever seen, the hotel´s own golf course, swimming pools indoors and outdoors, 3 garages for your car to choose from, a carwash, of course, several indoors and outdoors tennis courts with 3 different surfaces, and a very good tennis pro, a big fitness area with newest work out machines and fitness instructors. During winter you will also find a big ski shop and ski instructors of the highest level.
Larchenhoff goes underground
You can walk from your room underground if you prefer to any activity at the resort or to the reception. Just take the elevator to the lowest level. Yes, you read it correctly. This is slightly surreal, and these are more than connecting corridors cut into the mountain. You find table tennis, beauty treatment, fashion clothes, children’s playroom, football table and much more as you walk along.
All the different houses and functions are connected this way. And a few shops with fashion clothes and beauty treatment and sports products like the big ski shop are integrated into the various buildings with rooms and suites. It is not one big hotel, it is a number of cozy typical Tirol style 3-4 story wooden houses, and you are of course excited to see in which one you will stay, as your luggage is carried from the reception to your room. It is like a whole village.
Can you go skiing here?
If you come during the winter season, you will notice the hotel´s own private ski area, not the biggest in Austria of course, but perfect for the Austrian and German ski teams to use for training for the Hahnenkamm Rennen in late January every year. The perhaps most famous downhill skiing competition of all. If you need more slopes to attack, you have Kitzbuhel close by, where Hahnenkamm Rennen takes place, and St. Johann with a really nice medium-sized ski area, and you also have access to the biggest Austrian Skipass and area. But Larchenhoff defines itself also by what it is not. “We are not a ski hotel”, they say with some understated modesty. They are of course much more than that. I get it.
The food at Lärchenhof
The verdict is clear. The food from breakfast to dinner is impeccable. The chefs make delicious food, modern and elegant yet inspired by the Austrian food tradition. Dinner typically consists of 5 dishes or more counting a starter and various choices every day or a la carte. There are always stations serving local cheese and an ice bar with homemade ice cream, you may have to get up and choose. Life can be hard.
Hotel room or suite?
Instead of 2 double rooms, we were given a suite in 2 stories with 2 separate bathrooms, a freestanding retro bathtub in front of the double bed downstairs, 2 toilets, and as a bonus our very own sauna with some advanced light therapy, we never quite got around to! Giant romantic beds and advanced control of lights and music. You will feel truly spoiled here.
The view from the room included the magnificent mountains, a good view of the resort area, and also included the golf course, we were to play, rather appropriately. The suite is an ample 125 m2. It was private and comfortable. We never heard a neighbor.
Minigolf or any other activity anyone?
When you are out again, you suddenly see 18 holes mini golf on the mountainside, different playgrounds for the children. While underground again you may drink wine from the excellent wine cellar. We drank only local Austrian wine (and water) for our meals except for breakfast, where we had so many types of juice to choose from. We agreed that “Vitaminen sind wichtig!” But the white wines especially are simply excellent. Austria has 26 varieties of grapes for white wine alone. It calls for an article by itself. Wine connoisseurs know that by now, but spread the word!
Also, you can walk (but it is a slightly demanding mounting walking to a beautiful mountain hut, just on the other side of the ca. 750 meters high mountain.
If you are more adventurous you can go hang gliding or mountain climbing. The sky is full of people hanging up there enjoying a magnificent view or gliding without a sound from mountain to valley. In Austria, you really use all elements to the fullest extent.
If you are tired of walking or running or flying, use the electric bikes or the golf carts that are also used for local transportation. We went golfing 10 minutes walk from the hotel and simply called the hotel to be picked up afterward. Of course, golfing is such a demanding sport, so being taken directly to the bar in a 4 person golf cart is only reasonable.
Golfing at the Larchenhof golf course
One has one’s own golf course. It is a brisk 10 minutes walk from the hotel and visible from some of the rooms. The surroundings are stunning. You play in the valley with mountains on all sides. The course has 9 holes, driving range putting area, a big clubhouse, pro shop and all the facilities a golf course is supposed to have. It is not a very easy course. To my mind it is a big advantage, cause you dont ace the scorecard first time. You want to play it again. See if you can get par on the almost 200-meter long par 3 hole or the almost 500-meter long par 5 hole, that even doglegs the last 100 meters after a river crossing. In other words, it is real golf, not a pay and play course. That said, it is a delight to play.
Golfing in Tirol is a subject by itself or even in Austria. Austria has more than 150 golf courses. Say what? So if you are a golfer, bring the clubs, alone in Tirol there are 6 golf courses. With Lärchenhof as your golf hub, you can easily play a new course relatively nearby every day for a week or 2. And return to the swimming pool and a cold beer after playing some amazing golf courses.
The Larchenhof DNA
I venture an interpretation knowing from many years in advertising, that a vision is not fulfilled until your clients understand the vision and take it to heart.
Larchenhof is not only a very good resort and a sports/active holiday hotel. It is for anybody wanting to be part of the good life, in a very comfortable place, surrounded by other people, that treat each other with respect and kindness. And they may well become your new friends. We did not see any annoying guests at any time, frankly said. Many guests are families from Austria, Switzerland and Germany coming year after year, generation after generation. The age spread is to the mature side. There is no nightclubbing til next morning. There are so many places to spend your evening including outdoor dancing at midnight to live music on Friday, but you wear appropriate clothes, also when you are in the restaurant. And the vibe is warm and embraces you. There is an unspoken consensus to make it a warm and friendly experience for all, and you are a co-creator of this spirit. That is the DNA of der Lärchenhof in Tirol.
Visit Tirol and Austria
Suggestions for your reading:
- St. Johann skiing holidays
- Austria as a travel destination (top page, leading to + 50 posts)
- Golf in Austria (coming soon)
- Excursion to St. Johann friday market (coming soon)
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