Revisiting a place under changed circumstances is risky business. The changed circumstances I am talking about this time is having two kids. But let me explain:
In early May we had a week off and decided, pretty spontaneously, to take the kids to the mountains. Both Mr. Loca and I are into hiking and climbing, but of course going to the mountains with kids is more about walking and eating then it is about alpine sports.
We had stayed in “Alpengasthof Schwand” twice before, both times just the two of us in the early days of our relationship. Butterflies and late breakfasts it was back then. Ah, those were the days…
If you want to follow along, there is a nice little Vlog embedded into this post, but if it is solely the hotel you are interested in, keep on reading!
Red and white bedding, carefully carved wood, whatever you imagined a hotel in the Southern part of Germany would look like, you will find it here. And while mountain gear and traditional garbs may easily be too much for my liking, Alpengasthof Schwand manages to be authentic and aery instead of cluttered and dated. A heritage hotel done right!
Alpengasthof Schwand sits picture perfect in Allgäu, a region of Germany well known for its beautiful landscape and its many outdoor activities. Easy walks for a family with little kids as well as more trying tours for seasoned outdoor adventurers are possible. While you can use public transportation, the remote location makes having a car at hand the most convenient option, especially if you plan on going out in the evenings. Oberstdorf is your destination for restaurants and a bit of (touristy) shopping, approximately 15 minutes by car. You can get a few impressions of Oberstdorf in my vlog, but we did not spend too much time there.
Single, Double, Suite, with balcony or without one, many options are available. This time (due to our absolute last minute booking) we stayed in a bungalow right next to the hotel, very affordable and spacious, but not as pretty as the rooms in the main building. The room you see in the vlog is not a good example for what to expect! Before we left we had the chance to look at other options suitable for families and they got me pretty excited.
Bloggers bonus information: W-Lan is extra (2€ a day) and there is no reception in the bungalow. Perfect for a digital detox as phone reception isn´t the best either up there in the mountains.
If you hear kids and wellness area, chances are that you cringe. And I admit, I usually feel the same and stay clear from visiting the sauna with two energetic little ones, simply to save other guests from constant singing and talking in the quiet zone. But as we remembered correctly from our previous stays, the wellness area of Alpengasthof Schwand is rarely frequented by hotel guests, and we took advantage of this fact and spent quite some time there with the kids. We skipped the sauna (heated upon demand) and the infrared cabin and headed for the whirlpool made from stone. Let me tell you, this pool is huge, and with the “whirl” option turned off, it made the perfect spot for fun in the water and even some impromptu swimming lessons for my three year old daughter. The water used in this pool is from a mountain spring nearby, crystal clear and heated to 38 °C, and to this day my daughter keeps asking if we will go back soon for swimming lessons.
I am not going to lie though: If you are looking for a real spa and wellness experience, one to get you all Zen and pampered, you will be disappointed. This is a place to soak your sore muscles in hot water and enjoy the sauna after being outside, not a facility to spend the whole day in.
Comfort food anyone? Southern German cuisine is pretty heavy in carbs, but if like me you love that, some cheese and some sweets, you are in food heaven.
While breakfast is a traditional buffet with everything you could ask for, but no surprises, the food at night is where I was spoiled for choices. I could have easily stayed a few nights more to get a chance to try everything from the menu. Filling salads as well as more traditional options like Leberknödel and Käsespätzle are available, and with a goat alpine dairy belonging to the complex, the various cheese options are delicious.
To replenish all the calories burned from hiking I recommend sweat treats like Kaiserschmarrn and homemade cake, served with coffee and a view at the mountains in the afternoon.
The Alpine Dairy, provider of amazing goats cheese and, if you have kids, source of ongoing entertainment. I can´t count the amount of times I did find myself making various animal sounds to explain to my son the difference between a horse, a goat, chicken and a cow. Right now to him everything is “Mooo”. My daughter had the chance to go feed and milk the goats, something that I feel is really important for kids. I don´t want her to grow up and think that milk is grown in supermarkets, if you know what I mean.
Kids are very welcome in Alpengasthof Schwand. There is a play area in the restaurant, a special kids menu and, most important, never the feeling that your kids, loud as the may be, are a burden and disturbance.
Attentive, but not pushy, welcoming, but not obtrusive, the staff at Alpengasthof Schwand is what separates the hotel from many others I have stayed in. Be it a quick chat over having kids as a working mum with the owner over breakfast, patiently answered questions on what goats eat and how cheese is made in the afternoon or the freshly brewed cup of my favorite tea to go upon departure, it is the little things that did make this stay extra special and that will have us coming back.
If you want to know more about the hotel, here is a link to the website.