HOTEL Zürserhof, Zurs ski luxuries from dirndls to ski school is a journey of rediscovery remembering about the joys of being in the snowy mountains.
The 2 of us, The Butler and The Lady Butler now in our early 50’s visited Zurs & Lech in Vorarlberg to enjoy the snow, the mountains and remembering how to ski.
Zurs is where I learnt aged 6 in 1973 so more than forty years on it is with great joy to return to the Hotel Zürserhof, such a prestigious hotel and be looked after so well on and off the slopes.
6763 Zürs am Arlberg
Waking up like a child because its snowing…
I have long memories that funnily enough do not change of the excitement of heading off to the mountains. We had the rare delight of snow falling in London in March as we left, so a short hop from Heathrow to Zurich and then a very easy train journey of a little over 2 hours where we recommend getting off at Langen and then it’s an easy 20 minutes to the hotel.
Learning to ski again ……
I had visited Lech before but heading into Zurs I could just remember back to when I was six. I remember 4 hours of kindergarten ski school where we would ski down little runs and under gates.
I had not ski’d for 10 years and The Lady Butler not for 25 years. In addition, the previous year I had had two hip replacements and so this would have an added tension, but as I would find, the choice of lady ski instructor could bot have been better. Genuinely spot on. A beaming smile, full of confidence, but engaging and with empathy was just what the doctor ordered. Thank you Andrea
Soon after our arrival at the hotel in the afternoon we walked through the warm hotel along red carpet to the super luxurious ski room with heated lockers with lots of mod cons. After such a long time and much anticipation this was the moment when it properly registered we would be skiing again. The Lady Butler flashed some cash in the ski shop getting some new fancy gloves and I introduced myself to the staff with an opening gambit about thoughts about bringing my old boots with me. These boots were my old favourites but are 21 years old. I can remember the chaps face which told me all I needed to know, explaining the differences would be massive between those and the ones I would try. We sat on a bench and two staff started fitting our boots. That feeling when one first puts ski boots on again is quite a moment.
After, what I imagine was about half an hour, boots, skis, poles, settings and questions were sorted and including the ski helmets, again something new since I last skied. We were also told our ski passes would open the door from outside, so you can literally ski to the ski locker door.
The next morning going down after breakfast there was a little anxiety but equally exciting and much anticipation.
We soon met the beaming face of our tanned lady instructor ski instructor Andrea who was really brilliant with impeccable English. It was not an easy job. A good teacher needs to enthuse and a little different for adults who are relearning need to blend between enthusing, calming and giving confidence to. What was so interesting to this trip was that I was going to ski on the nursery slopes where I had been learning to ski at the age of 6, so some 45 years before and heading out to relearn. Quite amazing really. Her mix of passion, friendliness and tuition meant that we were both super impressed and within a couple of hours were both doing parallel turns again, though for some reason I seem to be able to turn better one way better which I still need to rectify.
We certainly did not lack snow, oodles of the stuff…
The ski conditions and support staff were superb with an excellent lift system, covered chair lifts and all the mod cons. It was fantastic to be on skis again but I felt the slopes in Lech a bit crowded. I do think there are the right slopes for me but did not seem to find them in the heavy snow. I felt the blue runs seemed steeper than I would have liked but again that might have been due to the lack of skiing on my behalf.
Being looked after ……
The Hotel Zürserhof is an institution and as I have found out over the years most of the hotels in the areas know each other.
The owners and staff are proud and justifiably so. In my opinion the areas of the hotel that really stands out are the restaurant, ski support staff and the spa which is vast.
The rooms are being upgraded and do need more luxe and refinement I feel.
The standard of staff training was excellent, and I am bias but The Lady Butler and I both agreed that the ladies in their dirndl’s looked so smart and elegant.
We were suitably impressed
…..I think the mountain restaurants are some of the most James Bond in style I have known and we enjoyed a great lunch at the www.schlegelkopf.at after which it’s a quick ski down to the centre of Lech….
…..the local buses are free with the ski pass and are quick and reliable….
…..we have love for Zug and the walk through the snow from Lech is beautifully quiet.
In my opinion one of the truly amazing feelings of being in the mountains. It’s the mixture of the mountain air, the gentle sound of air running through the mountains and the sound of snow which really is quite breath-taking.
On our first night we walked there and experienced a stunning evening in the Klosterle restaurant which dates back to the 15th century and makes you feel like you are properly in Austria.
….. the love of breakfast for me is a given but eating in the mountains is both important to strengthen one up but also a joy and The Hotel Zürserhof looks after one in exemplary ways…..
Tobogganing and laughing…
Or maybe this could be renamed The Laughing Toboggan as the runs are dedicated to the toboggan and are great fun and the scenery stunning.
Both adults, who possibly laugh more, and children use these runs that is under The Oberlech cable car.
There are 2 speeds of run, but both are pretty quick and they run between the trees. It is a must and takes you back to being a child again.
The Big Snow Shoe Adventure…
For me personally I think my highlight along with getting back on skis again of the holiday.
We were supported by the lovely Sylvia Keinprecht our winter hiking guide with the very patient Ramon Guerrero Marine, with one guide at the front and one at the rear.
It was only 4 months since my second hip operation, so my rehap was getting a good workout.
Special because I was with The Lady Butler…
Our guides had such empathy and love but also respect for their surroundings…
….for a few hours you can enter into the world of adventure in a very manageable way, though I will confess my lungs also got a good workout.
We headed out into genuinely stunning surroundings, of fresh snow, animals, nature and good conversation whilst also having a fascinating avalanche survival masterclass.
The conditions, the settings and the instructors could not have been better. The peace and quiet and surroundings is luxury wellbeing at its best.
Very very good.
…..The Hotel Spa really could be described as a hotel of its own. We did not experience any treatments but I can confess The Lady Butler fell in love with the bubbles, and might still be there if it was not for catching a flight.
It really is quite an addition to the hotel with a whole host of rooms, pools, saunas, and treatments…
…. Do not miss going to The Huber Hus Museum in Lech which offers you a taste of the mountains from the past. We enjoyed a enthralling conversation with Peter Burger who interestingly used to run a hotel in Lech, discussing the changes that have taken place over the years. Its definitely worth an hour or so especially if you take an afternoon off …
I would combine with a lunch at Hus No8 restaurant in Lech which if you like traditional and tasty is perfect. I am a big big fan hus8.at
And a Horse sledge ride to from Lech to Zug and back might seem slightly cheesy but it is worth it. You go through the tall pine trees and if the sun is shining with fresh snow as we had it really is going into winter wonderland territory.
…..I remembered old memories and created new ones with the very special Lady Butler being well looked after both on and off the slopes, enjoying the hotel and the magical mountains and had smiles on our faces from the start to the end in this magical place. I look forward to returning to Lech Zurs and wish them a wonderful new season…..
For more information on the resort and region click here – Vorarlberg Lech Zurs