A New Lakehouse At “Europe’s Original Nature Hotel”

STORY BY Patrick 17th March 2021

The Naturhotel Forsthofgut in Leogang, Austria, has been busy in  lockdown, extending and enhancing facilities, in readiness for unveiling in May, by which time it is hoped Austria’s hotels will have been allowed to re-open.

Hosts Christoph and Christina Schmuck took the bold decision to invest more than €12million (£10.6m) at their exquisite retreat in pursuit of their vision of perfect synergy with nature and optimal guest well-being.

A new waldSPA Lakehouse overlooking the hotel’s beautiful organic pool opens in May 2021 with a Japanese-themed restaurant, new spa features, an onsen pool and three exclusive garden loft suites. A signature Forsthofgut-Spa product range is also under development, echoing the hotel’s philosophy: harmony with nature.

“It’s not about being the biggest, fastest or tallest,” says Christoph Schmuck, “It’s about our guests. We want to make them feel special and take away an enduring memory of contentment.”

The new waldSPA Lakehouse is a haven, natural light and pale woods creating a warm and calm ambience. The adults-only sanctuary, linked to the hotel and its original waldSPA via an underground passage, overlooks the expanded chemical-free natural swimming lake. Three new treatment rooms, a stylish relaxation lounge with cosy fireplace, and 50 new recliners including water-beds are perfectly positioned for optimum views.

A standout feature is the new onsen-style pool (42°C) complemented by an authentic onsen washing area where traditional cleansing rituals are observed. The garden’s swimming lake has doubled in size to accommodate the onsen pool, a new infinity pool (heated to 32°C and with high-tech whirlpool relaxation zones) and, creating the illusion of floating at the centre of the lake, a stunning 35m² Finnish lake sauna and natural plunge pool.

The Leogang-Steinberg mountains provide a breath-taking backdrop. Tucked away in secluded spots around the grounds, new loungers with a comforting heat-lamp invite individuals and couples to zone out.

The new Japanese Lakeside Restaurant has a distinctively elegant far eastern style, featuring dark wood and a fully revealed show-case kitchen. A magnificent lake-side terrace offers spectacular views and a sublime alfresco dining experience. The menu will feature classic Japanese dishes such as sushi, tempura and yakitori, alongside a range of original fusion dishes applying a Japanese twist to local recipes and organic produce from the estate.

Three spacious new Garden Loft Suites above the Japanese Restaurant have been beautifully finished in a minimalist contemporary style among mature trees and shrubs, with delightful overhanging greenery. Floor-to-ceiling picture windows draw nature into the room, which is open-plan in design with light-coloured woods, organic materials and fabrics with pleasing bright colour schemes. A feature wall behind the bed is natural clay; a spacious sauna and loggia overlook the lake.

The Forsthofgut’s original waldSPA reception area has been comprehensively renovated. Key features are new consultation booths, a test counter to sample products, nail bar and shop. Guests will also benefit from an extended range of treatments using the resort’s new Forsthofgut-Spa product line.

The waldSPA Family & Kids has been extended by adding 800m² to the bathing area: notable elements include a 21m indoor pool, a children’s water-world with dedicated baby and toddler pools with a slide each, a separate kids’ pool with a 70m slide and fun speed-timer facility – and a new aqua-play area with thrilling fountains, geyzers and waterfalls. The family sauna area has been renewed and separated into two: the Murmeltier (marmot) pine sauna is for everyone and a new large textile sauna is for guests over 12 years. The changing areas, showers and cosy lounges have been extended.

Leading off the waldSPA passage are a spacious new parent-child room for fun and games, and a new nature studio created for children to discover the captivating natural world through play: nature workshops will be a regular feature of the kids’ clubs’ itineraries.

From May 2021, Forsthofgut’s à la carte menu will be available through the afternoon with service to the sun-loungers in the garden on request. Also, from 3-5pm, replacing the afternoon Jause (tea) is a new strudelZEIT offering savoury and sweet bites and a cake-cart loaded with home-made Austrian specialities – all included in the room rate.

Double rooms from €190 per person per night, based on 2 sharing ½-board and including optional participation in the daily activity programme, access to the waldSPA, daily childcare from 9am to 9pm and a Saalfelden-Leogang card for complimentary use of local transport and free or discounted entry to attractions.

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