суббота, 19 октября 2013 г.

Family Holidays: Austria - Finest Familyhotel in REITERS RESERVE SUEDBURGENLAND (July 2012)

Another blog post about holidays with kids in Austria! This time, though, I’m writing about a hotel that is great to visit at any time of the year, whether it’s warm and sunny, or rainy and cold.
An important note to start: This is not a ski-lodge or suitable for a skiing holiday!
Our friends recommended this hotel to us as they have two small children (a two year old girl and a four year old boy), and are regular guests at this hotel. They stayed here more than ten times last year, mostly for just a week or a weekend – they were here practically once a month! This was a pretty good recommendation so we couldn’t resist :).

There are in fact two hotels on this site, connected by a gallery: the Familyhotel (4 stars) and the Supremehotel (5 stars). Both hotels belong to the same hotel chain: Reiters. As you might imagine, the FamilyHotel is designed for those on a family vacation, whereas the 5-star hotel is for adults only :). Both hotels are so-called therme hotels, with thermal water. A few years ago we stayed in the Supremehotel, without our daughter, but this time we were focusing on a family holiday.
We decided to go just for the weekend, booking a standard room with an extra bed for our daughter (then five years old).
The hotel is approximately 1.5 hours by car from Vienna, Austria, and has a garage and a lot of parking outside (free of charge).
Check-in was simple and fast - my daughter was very happy as she received a small welcome present from the hotel. The hotel staff were very attentive and friendly and all of the younger guests get pretty good VIP treatment here :).
There was nothing particularly special about the room, and nothing bad to say about it except for the lack of air-conditioning (when we were here in 2012 it was 35°C outside!). The staff provided a fan for our room but it couldn’t really save us from the heat... 
I have since read in reviews of the hotel that they now offer air-conditioned rooms and I’d advise you to book one of these if you go in summer.
Since the FamilyHotel specializes in being kid-friendly you can ask and expect to get useful necessities such as baby monitors, high chairs for kids, baby cots, baby baths, etc.
When we were there, Wifi was only available in the lobby near the front desk, not in the rooms. I hope this has changed, or will change in the near future, like many other hotels who have modernized.
One charming thing about the hotel is that there are apples everywhere – in the hotel corridors, at the reception. You can grab an apple on your way to the pool or to your room, which, while a small thing, is a nice touch…

The meal plan we chose was ‘all-inclusive’: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is a corner set aside especially for baby food with puree and juices, a microwave and bottle sterilizer, etc. It is, in my opinion at least, very convenient for moms.
The breakfasts here were lovely, with a wide variety on offer. They even offer organic bio-products, as well as a large selection of cereals (for moms like me who are ‘obsessed’ with healthy food :)).

Lunch is a buffet-style affair, and was tasty with lots of choice.
Dinner is a la carte, or buffet-style.

In general, I would say that most of the food classed as gourmet cuisine; it was not only delicious but was also beautifully presented.

There is a separate kids’ buffet for the children, in a ‘parent-free zone’ – which is, of course, supervised at all times by entertainers from the mini-club :). While the kids are entertained, parents get to enjoy their dinner :), nice, no?

As I mentioned above, this is a therme hotel, with its main advantage being the thermal pools and, of course, the swimming pools for children and adults (indoor and outdoor).
There is a water slide for older children and a separate secure area for small kids with a shallow paddling pool. There is even a kids’ sauna (don’t worry, it’s not so hot, just a comfortable temperature for the kids).
There is also a separate swimming pool for adults, with warm thermal water or, as I call it, ‘rejuvenating’ water. After a while in such a pool you feel five years younger (moms, you would love it :)).

For mothers there is a spa / wellness area in the neighboring five star hotel (Supremehotel). This is a lovely spa with a standard set of treatments (facials, massages, etc.) at European prices. You can also do pilates, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and other activities here.

The highlight of the hotel, though, is the activities for the kids: biking (bikes can be rented at the hotel), swimming lessons, riding lessons, tennis and even golf courses for children (and, of course, for parents)! However, these all come at an additional cost.

 A distinctive feature of this hotel is child care for babies starting from 6 months old! 
The kids’ club (Kasimirs Kids Club) is divided into:
- baby club: babies from 6 months up to 3 years
- a mini-club: from 4 to 12 years
- a club for teenagers: 13 to 16 years.
Kasimir, a funny buffalo, is the symbol of the hotel / kids' club. The kids have a lot of fun playing, dancing and having photos taken with him. There is no mini-disco at this hotel but there are dancing sessions for kids in the lobby. For some reason these are in the morning though, rather than in the evening. Parents, be warned, you’ll have no choice but to buy toys and T-shirts featuring Kasimir...
The kids’ club is open daily from 9 am to 9pm (12 hours!), and there is a large indoor area where the children are separated into the appropriate age group: very young - in a suitable safe area, and older - where they can move, run and climb more freely.

The entertainment program is very interesting, featuring a lot of sports like football / basketball, water activities in the pool, and a trial golf lesson. There are also all the standard kids’ club activities such as T-shirt painting, bingo, candle making, storytelling around the campfire, etc.
There is also a theater at the hotel and the kids are encouraged to get involved in putting on performances and musicals on the stage. 
We almost never saw our daughter while we were here! A quick breakfast, some swimming in the pool and then she went straight to the kids' club...

When the weather is good this is a nice place to spend time outside. There is a playground for the kids and even a bouncy castle and a sand box – a lot of things to keep the little ones occupied…
The hotel also has its own farm with goats, horses, donkeys, etc. It is a very picturesque place and I am sure you will enjoy a stroll around the farm.

Most of the guests, while we were there, were from German-speaking countries, although there were some Hungarians (probably because of the hotel’s proximity to Hungary) and a few English-speaking visitors too.
The staff at the hotel speak pretty good English in general. 

The hotel is quite expensive, but is well worth the cost...

We really enjoyed our stay and are already planning our next visit. 

Bon voyage!
Looking forward to getting your feedback upon your return!

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