By Anita Blundell
The Inntalerhof perches on the very edge of the Seefelder Plateau, overlooking the scenic Inn Valley. What immediately struck me was the friendliness and attentiveness of the Heidkamp-Neuner family and their staff – true to the centuries-old tradition of warm Tyrolean hospitality, nothing is too much trouble for them, and there is always someone on hand to help. (Needless to say, they all speak impeccable English.) That many of the staff have worked there for years is testimony to the relaxed and intimate atmosphere created by the Heidkamp-Neuners. Although the standard rooms are spacious and perfectly comfortable for a week’s stay, we had decided to upgrade to one of the superior rooms, and were shown to a large room with spectacular views over the Inn Valley. The view itself certainly justifies paying the upgrade price, though your money also buys you a bath, so you can enjoy a long soak each evening on your return from the trails. The restaurant shares the panorama, making it a great setting in which to enjoy the excellent cuisine. The emphasis is on traditional Austrian fare – we were treated to some delicious fish and pork dishes – though vegetarians are well catered for, too, with a good choice of dishes. Despite the hotel’s 4-star status and excellent facilities (you can’t fail to unwind in the spa complex with its indoor pool, sauna, steam room, and massage facilities), prices are very reasonable, all the more so because they include a light lunch every day, plus soft drinks with dinner.
My husband and I had chosen the Inntalerhof for the excellent black trails around the hotel and the extensive skiing at Seefeld. However, there were plenty of families staying at the hotel (children are warmly welcomed, and there is a separate menu, plus a daily kids’ club for over threes), and they simply caught the free ski bus to Seefeld, thus bypassing the more difficult trails. Despite the fact that Mösern’s trails link to the Seefeld network, we caught the bus too some days to extend our range. (In fact, Mösern’s trails also link to those in the Leutasch Valley beyond Seefeld – one day Martin skied all the way from Mösern to the Leutasch Valley and then took a chair lift to the start of another trail that led back to Mösern.) The bus departs 100 metres from the hotel, and drops you off 10-15 minutes later at a choice of points in Seefeld. You can then head off on skis, or connect with another bus to take you further into the domain. Even though I’ve travelled to Austria and Switzerland several times now, the efficiency and ease-of-use of the public transport system still amazes me. Taking advantage of the buses, we spent a day skiing up and down the Leutasch Valley, and a couple of days on the trails around Seefeld. The entire domain is dotted with checkpoints for checking ski passes and each has a public telephone, which means that it’s easy to extend your range even further – we would make a checkpoint on one extreme of the network our target for the day and once there phone for an inexpensive taxi to take us back to the hotel. My favourite excursion came towards the end of the week, when we skied across the German border to Mittenwald, returning by train to Seefeld. The trail isn’t particularly difficult (in fact it slopes gently downhill for most of the way, which is part of the reason I liked it so much!) but is wonderfully picturesque, and for me was the real highlight of a very varied and thoroughly enjoyable week.