According to Austrian folklore, long long time ago at the site of the today’s Dachstein glacier stood a rich mountain pasture. Three sisters, who took care of that pasture, had milk, butter and cheese in such abundance that they bathed in milk and made walkways from the cheese heads. One day an old man stopped by asking for some milk and bread but the sisters turned him away. The old man happened to be the Dachstein King (Dachsteinkönig), who cursed the stingy sisters and their pasture turning everything into an icy glacier. The legend states that the curse can only be lifted if a young boy who never told a lie climbs the glacier with a black bull, a black dog, and a black rooster. That boy’s name is Godei and he, along with his three animals, are the mascots of a newly-build Leading Family Hotel and Resort Dachsteinkönig. With a glass of an excellent Austrian red wine from hotel’s private wine cellar in one hand and a 10-month old twin baby in the other hand, I am listening to the legend from a friendly hotel employee, who is giving us a tour of this brand-new hotel.
A lobby says a lot about a hotel – and the Dachsteinkönig is no exception. As soon as we walk into the lobby, my six-year old daughter runs to the petting zoo. It takes a sizable portion of the lobby but at the same time is not invasive. In the lobby the animals are separated from us by a clear glass (so there is no smell) but can be petted and fed from the outside. In the center of the lobby is a 24-hour snack and drink station. A variety of soft drinks, coffee and tea are available around the clock as well as small snacks. I am in a tea heaven – there are 12 different teas for adults as well as two different types of kids‘ tea. I find out later that the selection in the restaurant is even bigger – so for the remainder of our stay I indulge on all kinds of different teas. Our daughter is most amazed by a soft ice cream machine. With two different varieties of ice cream and more than ten toppings, we taste an unlimited number of ice cream creations over the next few days. There is also a cabinet with all sorts of baby food and formula and a microwave. Baby food is also available in the restaurant and the baby club around the clock. We feed the twins and their mood lifts immediately. They smile and curiously look around. The rest of the lobby is cozy and welcoming with comfy couches, a fireplace, canopy swings, and a bar. We swing relaxingly for a few minutes… But before we are ready to continue our tour, it’s time for a diaper change. Both men’s and women’s bathrooms are stacked with all possible diaper sizes and disposable diaper pads. Babies‘ dad and I each change one of the twins and in a few minutes we are all ready to see the rest of the hotel Dachsteinkönig.
We head over to the „fun“ area – our first stop is the swimming and wellness complex. It includes and outdoor and an indoor pool, a baby splashing area, and the highlight of it all – a 100-meter water slide with rubber tires. There are also three additional smaller slides, including an indoor water playground and a penguin slide for tummy sliding. I peak curiously into the sauna area – at the entrance is the family bio-sauna, where families can spend time together and the temperatures are comfortable for the kids. The rest of the sauna complex includes six different saunas, including a steam room, and a very hot outdoor sauna invisible from the hotel complex. A relaxing music is steaming throughout the relaxation areas as the guests have a cup of herbal tea and relax on a number of soothing water beds between the sauna visits. There is also a separate spa area, where parents can enjoy a beauty treatment or a professional massage, easing muscles tired from baby lifting and carrying. Most exciting is a menu of kids spa services, such as manicure or a massage for older kids, and a bath and soothing massage for babies.
Finally, we head over to the play areas that stretches over 2,000 square meters. I watch all three kids‘ eyes widen excitedly – there are five different rooms that are carefully equipped to cater to different age groups. Three of the rooms are within the kids club that offers professional child care 7 days a week from 8 am to 9 pm. I learn that the babies can attend the baby club from the 7th day of their life! As we tour the baby club, our six-year-old daughter is gone exploring the room for the older kids. I am a little on the edge about letting the twins stay at the baby club. After all, they have never been with anybody else but mom or dad! But we decide to try it next day for a few hours. Wanting to stay in the kids club, our older daughter misses the part of the tour where our host shows us indoor go-carts, a bowling alley, a theatre, an indoor golf simulator, a fitness room, and a gym (to play soccer or basketball or just run around). A big playroom outside of the kids club features a climbing wall, two air hockey tables, a few pool tables, a stack of table games, and a couple of PlayStation consoles.
After the tour, we decide to spend the rest of the time before dinner at the swimming pool. The twins splash happily in the baby pool. The water is so warm that I don’t worry about them just playing in the water for more than an hour. Mom and dad take turns on a slide and in the bigger pool with our older daughter. Finally, happy and relaxed we head upstair to get ready for the dinner. Exhausted from swimming, the twins drink their milk and fall asleep within minutes and later sleep soundly through the night. We decide to try what we discover later is one of the most useful gadgets available at the hotel – a baby phone. Upon check-in, parents can register their phone numbers with the baby phone service. When babies are asleep and parents are ready to head downstairs to eat, you dial a set of digits that activates the monitoring service. If there is any unusual noise, the baby phone calls your cell phones until you acknowledge it. When the baby phone calls your mobile phone, you can hear everything that is happening in the room and decide on your course of action.
With the baby phone activated and the twins soundly asleep, we head downstairs for dinner. At the entrance to the restaurant, there a wine cellar where the focus is on Austrian wines. Every night before dinner guest have an opportunity to taste a different wine carefully selected by a hotel sommelier for the evening. We try some excellent Austrian Zweigelt (a type of red wine most common in Austria) and decide to order more with the dinner. Dachsteinkönig’s food is excellent, so you don’t want to risk missing out on meals. Dinner is a themed buffet that serves regional and international specialties, and food is fresh, local, seasonal, and of the highest quality. I am convinced that for a family-oriented hotel a high quality buffet is a better option than a multiple course affair. The parents can enjoy their meals at the their own pace and be sure food won’t get cold in case one of them gets tied up taking care of a child. Breakfast buffet are extensive with multiple courses, freshly squeezed juice and glasses of bubbly prosecco. In the afternoon as soon as lunch is over, a ’snack buffet“ is set up in the lobby for those coming back from skiing or day trips, with salads sandwiches, soups, and a variety of cakes and pastries. I find it impossible to go hungry at the hotel Dachsteinkönig as drinks, food or snacks are available around the clock. Kids, of course, enjoy their own special buffet at lunch and dinner serving healthy but child-friendly dishes. If a child chooses to eat with the kids club, there is a special children’s restaurant where supervised meals take place. Our six-year old eats dinner with us the first night but then decides it is more fun to eat with the other kids. For the rest of our stay, she joins the kids club for her meals and we can enjoy our quiet time.
The next day we take the twins to the baby club. I am a little worried but they crawl away happily into the hands of the smiling caregivers. They take two naps there, eat their baby food, and seem not to pay any attention to us when we anxiously visit them every hour. There are so many new and exciting toys! We take them for another swimming session and back for a nap to the baby club. Because things are going so smoothly, I decide to have some mommy time. Since having twins, the pleasures of peace and pampering have become distant memories from a former life. But for a few days, I’m hoping to reclaim some pre-baby rest and relaxation. I visit the fitness room, followed by an outdoor swim. The outdoor section of the pool is equipped with the underwater massage lounge chairs, which I occupy shamelessly soaking up the winter sun while gazing out to the snow-capped peaks. At the end, I briefly visit the sauna completely submerging into a comfortable warmth. Next day we manage to squeeze in an adult-only trip to a one of Austria’s most picturesque villages – Hallstatt, which is only 20 minutes away. Kids don’t even notice our absence and I finally allow myself to completely relax.
Although affiliated with The Original Kinderhotels ®, the Leading Family Hotel and Resort Dachsteinkönig is a family business, run by the Mayer family, who took their 20-plus year of experience in a family hotel business (they own two more hotels) to perfect the art of the family vacations. In fact, the things you can leave at home vacationing at the hotel Dachsteinkönig with babies are: baby food, diapers, baby monitor, bottle heater, water kettle, sterilizer, crib, baby bouncer, high chair, bibs, stroller, baby hiking carrier, changing mat, bathtub, humidifier, nightlight, sled (in winter), bikes, helmets, and incline skates (summer). With so many concessions for families, our vacation runs smoothly without any tantrums, tears or arguments between Mom and Dad. We loved every minute of our stay and will definitely be back again!
Maia and her family received an invitation to spend three nights at the Leading Family Hotel and Resort Dachsteinkönig. The hotel currently runs a 15% off introductory opening offer. Please note that it is only bookable by families with children. The nearest airports are: Salzburg 63 km, Munich 230 km, Innsbruck 240 km, and Vienna 310 km. Most families come to the hotel to ski or snowboard in the winter and enjoy the outdoors in the summer. Hotel Dachsteinkönig is located in the village of Gosau, 700 meter above sea level and directly across from a ski area Dachstein West, that is interconnected with the Upper Austria’s largest ski region, with a total of 142 km of slopes and 66 ski lifts. In the summer there are opportunities to hike, climb, bike, play golf or explore the famous underground mammoth caves.