Hotel Aurelio

A chauffeur picked us up at the station in Arlberg, Austria, and took us on a drive through quaint towns that wouldn’t look out of place in The Sound of Music until, finally, we reached it: Lech. Techno music spilled onto the streets from open-air bars. People sat in trendy ski outfits laughing over brimming mugs of beer or walking around holding skis and snowboards. It looked like a commercial, down to puppies in fuzzy sweaters and Swarovski collars. And all around us were jagged mountain peaks blanketed in thick snow, with people zigzagging down the slopes with skill – even young children. Despite our long journey to get here, we suddenly felt rejuvenated by the fresh air, vibrant music, and sheer life pulsating through the streets of this cute little town. It got even better; the driver took us to a chalet-style hotel atop a hill and my husband nudged me when we saw the sign: this wasn’t just your average five star hotel, it was a five star “superior.” Sounds good to me.

The Welcome

All wood and warmth inside, we were invited to have an aperitif by the fi replace during check in at HotelAurelio, a gorgeous boutique hotel with 19 suites and one of the most famous spas in Europe. It was like a film set; there were even antlers hanging above the fi replace. A wide window boasted stunning views of the snow-covered town below with lights turning on as the sun started to set.

Was it really just yesterday that I was sitting in an air-conditioned office in Dubai, staring out the window at the sunshine and trees? This sudden change of scenery, climate, and strong aperitifs made us feel giddy as we ran upstairs to check out our room and get ready for dinner.

Sweet Suite

The room was the size of a small apartment, with a large bathtub fit for two, a bed that looks like it is fit for four, and a terrace overlooking gorgeous views of the twinkling town below.

Fine Dining

It’s a good thing I packed a nice dress or two, because dinner at Aurelio’s is a white-tablecloth aff air every night. The waiter showed us to our table – again, with the same stunning view that was breathtaking every time – and we were given leather bound menus in German and English. The waiter explained to us that all the food is local, organic, and freshly made on site as he placed a warm bread basket with tapenades and wheatgrass stems. My husband boldly ordered the venison and we both indulged in delicious starter salads made of mixed greens from the mountains.

The cherry on top of the meal was the dessert: a traditional Austrian sweet made with oozing cheese and soft pie crust that we requested every night after that.

Breakfast at Aurelio’s is a real treat. Staying true to its intention of being a first-class wellness and relaxation spot, Hotel Aurelio’s breakfast has a dizzying array of fresh berries, nuts, organic yoghurt, steamed veggies with egg white omelettes, and honey straight from beeswax. Of course, there are also jars of Nutella and trays of buttery croissants for those who crave a little more of an indulgence while on holiday.

The jovial waiter served us fresh grapefruit juice while telling us about studying for his upcoming exams – everyone in the hotel is incredibly warm and friendly. After our power breakfast, the receptionist let us borrow extra gloves, helmets, and other ski-necessities so we wouldn’t have to rent them.

Time to Ski

After taking pictures in our ski outfits and posing with snowboards, it was time to get real and hit the slopes. This is what people travel all the way to Lech for, after all. You can ski right from the hotel’s private piste.

More habituated to sand and sun, my husband and I decided to join the children at the bunny slopes first, struggling to get happened to take place while we were visiting in late spring, so we got sidetracked after lunch by wandering through the little streets from bar to bar enjoying the bands. There was a Frank Sinatra-type crooner in one corner and someone singing Joss Stone covers in another. We joined groups of people standing in front of the performers holding steaming cups of mulled tipple and snacking on pretzels until, before we knew it, it was dusk and time to head back to the hotel for another fabulous dinner.

 

#WhatToPack

Stay warm and ramp up the heat in this fuzzy ensemble!

 

Austria Skiing

 

 

Topshop red jacket
480 AED – topshop.com

Volcom activewear pants
940 AED – backcountry.com

SOREL long boots
backcountry.com

Ski hat
31 AED – amazon.com

Lip makeup
115 AED – charlottetilbury.com

 

Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Welcome
 
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
 
The rooms
 
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
 
Eating
 
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
 
 
Location
 
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
 
Don’t miss
 
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
 
 
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
 
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450

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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email sara@holidaysinheels.com!