When I began researching hotels in Austria, I happened upon a Medieval castle built in the 1300’s for a Bavarian king. I knew at that moment the search was over–what an unforgettable experience it would be to spend a week in a royal residency. Schloss Grubhof, as the castle is named, is located in the small town of Sankt Martin Bei Lofer. It has been completely renovated and updated with modern amenities, yet the integrity of the castle remains: soft poster beds, marble columns, crystal chandeliers, 16 foot ceilings with artistic frescoes, oriental rugs, gilt moldings and antique decor.
If you are used to luxury chain hotels, this is probably not the place for you. There are no washing machines, room service and limited wifi, but for us the idealistic setting of the snow-capped Austrian Alps, flowing waterfalls, rushing rivers, along with the 700 year history and architecture more than made up for a token mint on our pillows. We were sleeping in the rooms of Kings and Queens for heaven sakes! Such a surreal experience far surpassed any cliche hotel we’ve resided in previously.
The caretaker, Karin definitely takes her job very seriously. She puts all of her energy into maintaining the authentic feel of living in a magical time from the days long ago. The castle was immaculate and Karin certainly take pride in keeping it beautifully maintained.
The grounds were another highlight, especially for the kids–the beautifully landscaped expansive lawn with ornate fountains and statues with majestic mountain views made for the perfect setting for tossing a ball, playing a liesurely game of badminton (purchased in the nearby quaint village of Lofer) or practicing endless cartwheels.
Schloss Grubhof is truly set in an idealistic location–Lofer, Salzburg, Eagle’s Nest, Hallstatt and the Kimmler Waterfalls were all within driving distance. We also enjoyed cable car rides up into the Alps for incredible full-day hikes. The Salt Mine in Berchetsgaden is also close, but we decided to try the mines in Hallstatt instead, which was a great decision. We walked daily to the nearby market to buy fresh groceries to stock our kitchen along with enjoying the hotel restaurant as well.
To sum up: We had the opportunity to live in a genuine castle set in a dreamy Austrian fairy-tale setting. Our only disappointment–it wasn’t haunted!