It seems like a long time ago that we arrived back at Gatwick. Car picked up at Valet Parking, - a great tip for families, by the way- you drop of in the short-term car park, seconds from the entrance and pick-up again ready to speed home, from a much more convenient location than if you were parking yourself- our Samsonite's all unpacked, out come Alexander's Mini a Ture ski suit and boots, my Olang snow boots and my brand new Ray Ban Aviators that I picked up at Vision Express just before the trip.
This is my second review of a Kinderhotel- a little known concept in the UK, one that our European counterparts have been keeping to themselves for far too long; hotels which offer facilities that you would only dream of for families. Hotel Rudolfshof is run by the two generations of the lovely Hermann family. It's in Kaprun,close neighbour to Zell am Zee and home to the glacier that can be skied ten months a year and just an hour's easy transfer from Salzburg Airport.
A four star hotel with a great offering; in Austria; standards are high so expect really good value for money. Skiing doesn't have to break the bank after all. Plus, passes and ski hire are also much cheaper than say France or Switzerland.
The hotel is typically Austrian in design. Cosy with lots of wood the offer plenty of room/suite configurations for families, some for up to six people. Expect everything you need for all ages too from cots and prams, organic baby food and bottle heaters, through to bunk beds and a teens club.
On one of the lower ground floors you will find a small spa, sauna along with a pool with and babies pool.
A very big draw for this hotel of course is Rudi's Kids Club. Spread over a sizeable area indoors and out, they cater for babies as young as three months to children of sixteen. Split in to Baby Club, Mice Club, Eagle Club and Tenny club, staffed by qualified professionals in each age group, the standard of care is exemplary with high adult/child ratios.
Childcare is free from 9am until 9pm except during certain 'baby weeks', when tired parents can drop off from 7am and go back to bed for a lie in! This may sound alien to those of us worried about leaving our precious little ones but believe me, this is my second visit to a kinderhotel and one thing that will astound you is how brilliant the childcare actually is.
Every little detail is covered in 'passports' that get filled in before leaving a child for any length of time.
So, to the skiing. It isn't ski-in, ski-out, however, the hotel runs a regular ski bus to and from the three main ski areas which are nearby. They also partner with Ski school Oberschneider offering toddler skiing at Bobo Club from age 2.
For the intermediate and the good skiers, there are two ski areas - Maiskogel - a great little mountain that is suitable for beginners too and of course the Kitzsteinhorn glacier; 3000m above sea level, it offers some wonderful skiing as well as views all the way down to the lake.
Plenty of places also to stop for a Gluehwein and a huge snowpark for the boarders out there.
We rented all our ski gear and booked our lessons at the Skidome just behind the ski school. Prices are good and the equipment is also top notch so worth killing two birds with one stone.
Back to the hotel; their pricing is for full board. Any snobs out there, think again, this isn't all-inclusive as you may know it but a concept that is quite normal in Austria to some extent.
The restaurant has been awarded a Green Chef's Hat, a prestigious award in Austria for serving healthy wholefoods. Not only will you find most produce is organic but also juices and wines too.
Breakfast starts the day with a huge buffet, typical Austrian with meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, organic muesli, seeds, yogurts, you name it, it's there.
Lunch is a simpler affair. It's self service with fresh salads, bread, a soup and a a hearty main both meat and vegetarian.
As for dinner, each night there is a five course menu both for vegetarians and meat -eaters alike (extensive fresh salad bar and cheese always on offer).
With two or three choices per course, we ate like kings. If this isn't enough there is also a menu that doesn't change daily with many options for adults and kids that you can choose from any day or any course you like simply indicating the size of the portion.
The standout at this hotel is the family and staff. Nothing is too much and the service is extremely friendly - a balance that can be hard to find. Kaprun isn't the most exclusive resort either but if you drop the pretentions and you are skiing with kids, it's worth a visit.
All photos copyright Pregnant Citygirl 2015