Peter and I visited Austria twice in September of 2020, and I’ll be honest, I could have gone two more times. Early in September, we went to Salzburg and lived our (my) Sound of Music dreams, but our second trip was very different! We drove two and half hours to reach the tiny town of Au for a complete week of hiking and hitting the spa. Au and Hotel Adler exceeded my expectations, read on to see why!
Where We Stayed
Peter and I agree that Hotel Adler is worth making a yearly trip to, if not more often. The large rooms, amazing pool, and brand new spa are all just the tip of the iceberg. What really makes this hotel special is the people… well, them and the food.
While we visited, Au’s region of Vorarlberg was declared a COVID-19 high risk zone. Not only did the Gastgeber Peter Simma let us be SUPER flexible with our travel plans, he even arranged for us to get tested. The Gastgeberin, Annemarie Simma, knows the area like the back of her hand and was able to give us perfect hiking recommendations at the drop of a hat. If you couldn’t tell by the names, this is a family business, and you really feel it. Incredibly, the Simma family has been running Hotel Adler and one other hotel in Au since 1665!
That being said, even without the first class service the hotel would have impressed us. For example, the food at Hotel Adler knocked my socks off! Every morning they offered a large breakfast buffet. Hotel breakfast buffets are probably Peter’s favorite part of traveling, so you know he was happy. While the hotel doesn’t offer lunch, they do put out afternoon treats! But dinner is truly the highlight- every night is a five course meal. That may sound like a lot, but after long hiking days it was just right! The food was traditional Austrian cuisine, but elevated in some genuinely surprising ways. Finally, the pool and spa were OUTSTANDING. Cozy nooks and breathtaking views are paired with complementary tea, making it the ultimate place to relax!
What We Did
Here’s how our itinerary looked almost every day:
- Big breakfast
- Hiking (hopefully with beers and a snack somewhere along the way)
- Back to the hotel for a sweet treat
- Spa and Sauna
- Nap, shower and get ready for dinner
- Dinner (with Keringer wine! We highly recommend)
- In bed early so we could do it all again the next day
I’m pretty sure that this is what heaven is like. Almost every day, we hiked between 8 and 20 kilometers with Chimi. Yes, he really did it all on those little legs! We explored Diedamskopf and the Bregenzerwald mountains. After hiking, if we didn’t find a Hütte along the way, we’d stop and get some of the most delicious Flädlesuppe at the Ur-Alp Gasthaus. We’d follow that up with the sweets the hotel put out before heading to the sauna. I know many Americans might skip the sauna, but trust me, it’s a must. If you’re unsure about going to the sauna, read my article here for more info! After a few hours of heavy relaxation, we’d head up and get ourselves ready for dinner. As I mentioned above, dinner was a FEAST. We were barely able to roll ourselves back upstairs afterwards.
I hope the Coronavirus gets under control soon, because I’d love to go back and visit in the winter. As much as I enjoyed hiking in Au, I think skiing might be even more fun!
Tips for Your Visit
If this post has you convinced to visit Au, here’s a little extra information you might find useful:
- If you stay in Au for three nights between May and October, you can get a free Bregenzerwald Guest-Card. This allows you to ride the Bergbahnen or hop on a public bus at no additional cost.
- Pack smart! We went in September and experienced summer, fall and winter over the course of a week.
- Do some research on what you’d like to see beforehand, but don’t hesitate to ask for a local for a hiking recommendation.
- Both Au and Schoppernau are very small! There are a few shops, but don’t count on a main street to stroll down and window shop like in many tourist destinations in the USA.
- Everywhere was generally dog friendly, but we were not able to take Chimi in Hotel Adler’s restaurant. Additionally, if you bring dogs, be sure to take them out of the room for housekeeping to come.
So that was Au! What do you think? Are you putting this itty bitty village on your list?
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Au-some post (see what I did there?). Such helpful advice and beautiful photos, as always.