The mountain village of Lech in the Austrian Alps is one of the early birthplaces of alpine skiing. This centuries old hamlet plays host to the first known ski race in 1906, and the oldest ski school, opened by Hannes Schneider in 1925. As one of the largest ski resorts in the world, Lech (popular with celebrities and royals) is connected by ski lift to the neighboring villages and resorts of St. Anton, St. Christoph, Zürs, Stuben, Warth, and Schröcken.
We're taking a look at our favorite hotel in the Arlberg, the Hotel Kristiania. Olympic Gold Medalist Othmar Schneider (below) and his wife Irmgard opened the Kristiana in 1968, after Othmar wrapped up an illustrious career which included two olympic medals, coaching the American, Chilean, and Austrian National ski teams, and heading up ski schools in Stowe, Portillo, and Boyd, Michigan.
The Kristiania is not your standard alpine chalet. With rooms that are at once chic, yet flamboyant and worldly, and a setting that looks straight out of a 1950's era Slim Aarons photo, this is a world-class destination mere minutes from the slopes. With three restaurants, a ski valet, a patio equipped with fur blankets for apres ski relaxation, and spa, the Kristiania isn't short on amenities.
But, should you be traveling with a large group, the Kristiania's sister hotel House Hannes Schneider in the neighboring village of Stuben might be of interest. The birthplace of Hannes Schneider, pictured right, another pioneer of alpine skiing ("Europe's fastest skier" and the first ski instructor in the Arlberg), the chalet comes equipped with 16 beds, a sauna, a private chef, chauffeur, and concierge.
Whether you're with a large group of just a significant other, the Kristiania and House Hannes Schneider provide a luxurious escape, and the perfect base for exploration in the Arlberg.