Severin’s Alpine Retreat is a Lech ski hotel with sumptuous suites, cutting-edge Austrian cuisine and a stylish spa. Part of the impressive Arlberg range, Lech’s reputation for world-class skiing has long attracted a well-heeled set, who’ll feel right at home in one of Severin’s suites, finished with Minotti furniture, wood-burning fireplaces and stone-lined soaking tubs. After a long day on the slopes, sample the sauna cabins or a sprucing spa treatment before dinner, a four-course affair showcases the best of the region’s produce and wine, which is stored in a 3,000-bottle-strong cellar. Well aware that guests want to make the most of their time on the slopes, the staff will also save you from making a gear-laden trudge to the lifts, shuttling you there at a time of your choosing.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from $699.65 (€627), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.40 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include à la carte breakfast and dinner, shuttles to the ski lifts and the drinks in your minibar.
All of the hotel’s artwork was chosen by experts from Contemporary Art Advisors, a collective of art experts based in Vienna. The works will change from time to time, making the hotel something of a gallery.
The hotel will be closed from 24 April 2019 to 6 December 2019.
The hotel is closed every summer.
At the hotel
Heated ski lockers; wine cellar; children’s playroom; free WiFi throughout; laundry service. In rooms: working fireplace; Loewe HDTV; free minibar; Nespresso coffee machine; tea and a kettle; free bottled water; La Biosthetique bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Walled with thick timber, each suite has a glass-encased fireplace, Minotti furniture and a stone-clad soaking tub in the bathroom. The beds are made by Austrian design house Wittmann, and are topped with luxuriously thick duvets that keep even the frostiest Alpine night at bay. The Senior Suites have spacious living areas, and the Family Suites have bunks hidden behind sliding wall panels. Split over two levels, the Residence sleeps up to eight in extravagant style, and has a living room with a grand piano, a private cinema and a hot tub.
The heated pool is in the spa area, and cuts a suave figure thanks to its slate-clad walls, rustic timber roof and stylish taupe sunloungers. At 12.5 meters, it’s generously sized for a small hotel, and has submerged loungers, a countercurrent system and a waterfall that’ll help loosen your neck and shoulders after a day on the mountain.
Evidently aware of the importance of a good sauna in a ski hotel, the team behind the stylish spa didn't build just one – at Severin’s, you choose from an infrared, ‘bio’ or steam sauna. If it’s a massage you’re after, you can book in with a professional physiotherapist who’ll tailor the session to your particular needs. Active types will be pleased with the gym, which has top-of-the-range Technogym machines and space for yoga and other floor exercises.
Statement sunglasses for long, leisurely lunches on the slopes.
All public areas are wheelchair accessible, but there aren’t any adapted rooms.
All ages are welcome. There are two family suites, and there’s a children’s playroom with a snooker, foosball and ping pong table. Babysitting is available from €17 an hour; a day’s notice is needed when booking.
There are no bad tables. If it's seclusion you’re after, go for one in the corner; if you like it toasty, get close to the tiled stove.
Bring your best cable-knit cashmere and oversized Fair-Isle knits.
In looks and cuisine, Severin’s restaurant splices Alpine tradition with striking contemporary design. On the more traditional end, the floor, ceiling and beams are all fashioned from grainy wood, and the room is warmed by a custom-built stove clad in cobalt-blue tiles. This bold burst of colour goes hand in hand with the more avant garde elements – winged velvet chairs and chrome pendulum lamps that hang low over the tables. Austrian chef Kevin Szalai is the man behind the menu, which has a four-course option that changes every day and an à la carte section. He uses the same Alpine ingredients that would have been eaten here a hundred years ago – Simmental beef and Zuger trout, for instance – but renews each dish with modern techniques and international flavours: the beef might be served as tartare, the trout combined with Japanese plum. The presentation is just as creative, often making use of classic mountain materials like slate, granite and moss to create a theatrical finish.
The bar is near the entrance, doubling as a casual eatery. Have the barmen mix you the cocktail of the day or try one of the many wines from the cellar, which is particularly well stocked with local varieties.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am all the way through to 1pm. Dinner is served from 7pm to 10pm.
The room service menu changes fairly regularly, but you can expect comfort food like Wiener schnitzel, club sandwiches and caesar salads.
Severin’s Alpine Retreat is on the outskirts of Lech am Arlberg, a charming ski village in the Austrian Alps.
The closest international airport is Innsbruck, which can be reached directly from London Heathrow and Gatwick. It takes around 90 minutes to drive to the hotel, and private transfers can be arranged for up to three people for €285 each way.
You can catch trains to St Anton am Arlberg from Zurich (a two-hour journey) and Innsbruck (just over an hour). Once there, you’ll need to hop in a taxi to Lech, which takes around 30 minutes. Langen am Arlberg station is four kilometers closer, but the journey from Zurich takes at least three-and-a-half hours and involves changing, sometimes twice.
You’re unlikely to need a car once you’re in Lech. The center of the village is compact enough to navigate on foot, and buses and taxis have you covered for longer journeys. You can arrange shuttles to and from the lifts, too, saving the need for equipment-laden journeys. If you do choose to drive, the Smith24 team can arrange your hire. Each suite has an underground parking space at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Many guests spend the majority of their days on the slopes, which helps to explain the hotel’s lavish breakfasts, which will coax you out of bed just as much as a foot of fresh snow. If, on the other hand, you’re taking a spa day, you’ll be pleased to hear that breakfast is served until 1pm, making long lie ins a tempting prospect. After a day on the mountain, revive weary muscles in the saunas, steam room and 12m pool before heading up to the lounge, settling in front of the fire with a glass of Austrian wine. And on the subject of wine, the hotel has a presentation cellar stocked with thousands of bottles...
Beyond the hotel, skiing is by far the greatest attraction, and for good reason. Not only is the Arlberg region the birthplace of Alpine skiing (the legacy of a pioneering local called Hannes Schneider), it’s also one of the largest resorts in the world. Serviced by 88 lifts that climb its many peaks and valleys, the resort has more than 300km of pisted runs, and the region’s reliable snowfall means that number is no once-in-a-blue-moon scenario. Beginners and intermediates have plenty of terrain to improve on, and excellent local ski schools to help them make the most of it. Experts will likely be well aware of the Arlberg’s prestige, rightly famous for its 200km of off-piste terrain.
For a laid-back lunch on the mountain, book a table at Balmalp, at the top of the Zugerhorn two-man chairlift. The views alone warrant a visit – the restaurant it at 2,100m, but the succulent spare ribs, excellent pizzas and cold-meat platters are what keep people coming back year after year. It’s been around for decades, but a recent refurbishment has ushered in a much more modern, chalet-chic look. It’s as popular as ever, so be sure to book ahead. Rud-Alpe is another slopeside mainstay, and serves some of the best strudel and kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancake topped with confectioner’s sugar) in town. Down in the village, don’t miss Hus Nr 8 (house number eight), which is in one of the oldest guesthouses in Lech. It’s nothing if not traditional, serving regional specialities in a cosy, pine-clad dining room.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this ski hotel in Lech and unpacked their new gear from legendary ski shop Strolz, a full account of their Alpine break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Severin’s Alpine Retreat in Lech…
It’s not easy for a new hotel to shine in Lech, a ski resort peppered with enough stratospherically priced suites to claim the crown of Austria’s best-heeled ski resort. It helps that the village is just a few valleys from where modern Alpine skiing was invented, meaning it’s had plenty of time to cultivate a genteel air and long list of glittering clientele. But even the creatures of habit now have good reason to let old loyalties lapse – the arrival of Severin’s Alpine Retreat.
The hotel’s first distinction is its perch on the outskirts of town, which gives it the peace and exclusivity of a private chalet – and with only nine suites and a private residence, it really does feel like one. Alpine traditionalists will relish the use of classic materials through the hotel, including 150-year-old timber, slate-grey stone and luxurious wool fabrics, all of which add rustic mountain style. What’s less old-fashioned is much of the rest: every suite has suave furniture by Italian designers Minotti, iPad-controlled tech and a built-in humidifier to banish the dryness often associated with fire-warmed rooms. In the restaurant, chef Kevin Szalai unites the most classic of Austrian ingredients with contemporary cooking, the sleek spa and gym has looks to rival the latest health retreats, and even the art collection is forward thinking, made up of works picked by a team of contemporary art experts in Vienna.
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