In the small Bavarian Forest resort of Bodenmais we checkup on an old favorite and find a great little brewery-hotel.

Ten years ago Bodenmais was an off-the-beaten-track resort near the Czech border at the foot of the Grosser Arber in the Bavarian Forest. Tourists were attracted to its lovely setting among green, rolling pastures, 85 miles of walking trails, a low-key atmosphere and its glassworks. It has never been visited much by Americans.

Beginning in 1989, the Iron Curtain came down and inexpensive Bodenmais became popular with new travelers from the East and a stopping place for Westerners flocking to such Czech cities as Prague, Pilsen and Cesk Budeiovice.

Today Bodenmais bustles with tourists as never before. Each day busloads of Poles, Czechs and Hungarians crowd the town's few streets and several large stores that sell the glassware for which the region is noted. There are more hotels than ever and dozens of pensions, private accommodations and vacation apartments. In front of the tourist office you can punch your accommodations requirements into a computer and get a free printout of hotels or private lodgings that fit your needs.

When it comes to tourist crowds, Bodenmais seems deserted compared to Rothenburg or Salzburg. Most of the tour buses are just passing through and at night things are considerably quieter. On the other hand, it sure isn't like it used to be.

Bodenmais Hotels

Wald und Sporthotel Riederin

The buildings of the Wald und Sporthotel Riederin sprawl over several acres of pasture on a hillside across the valley from Bodenmais. Adjacent to the hotel is its indoor tennis court and some 50 yards or so below it, in a separate building, is a splendid new indoor-outdoor swimming pool and spa reached via a carpeted and brightly lit underground tunnel whose walls are lined with posters and merchandise display cases.

Except for the spa, the 57-room Riederin is much more rough and rustic than elegant. The newness we remember from our first visit some 12 years ago has, of course, worn off. Wooden ceilings and walls have aged to a darker hue and fabrics that cover some of the furnishings are not so sprightly anymore. In the not too distant future the hotel will need a refurbishment.

Most guest rooms are spacious and have the necessary amenities, including separate sitting areas and balconies. Our room, Number 41, had the above features plus a poorly lit bathroom, fair reading lights over the bed, TV with limited cable and a balcony with a table and two lounge chairs.

While we find no fault with the hotel's ample buffet breakfast, the Riederin's restaurant is only average. However, a satisfying meal of pork or veal steak with salad is about 40 DM ($24) for two persons including beverages. The dining and breakfast rooms, as well as a large adjacent sitting room with fireplace, have large windows and good views across the valley to the village.

With the spa, tennis, proximity to miles of hiking trails and the fact that it is at the bottom of a little ski slope, there is much to do in all seasons at the Riederin.

Service was very friendly and the hotel is absolutely quiet. Not much English is spoken, however.

Wald und Sporthotel Riederin, Riederin 1, D-8373 Bodenmais, telephone 09924/7760, fax 09924/7337. Singles 65 DM to 100 DM ($39-$61), doubles 130 DM to 220 DM ($79-$133). No cards.

Hotel Riederin: II

Kur-und Sport Hotel Adam

In the center of Bodenmais, the Hotel Adam, on busy Bahnhofstrasse across from the tourist office, has grown from a small café to a 32-room hotel with its own brewery. It offers the same wood-dominated rusticity as the Riederin but is newer. The comfortable guest rooms are all alike and contain a sofa, two soft chairs, television, phone, minibar and twin washbasins in the bathroom. Most have a balcony. Room Number 128 is on the quiet side of the hotel.

The Adam's small, but very up-to-date brewery, which guests can arrange to tour, sparkles with gleaming tile, stainless steel and highly burnished copper.

Braumeister Thomas Klaus is right out of central casting. A huge man with a massive stomach and ruddy, round face, he makes outstanding Export and Pilsner beer twice a week. The latter, according to Herr Klaus, has less hops and is good for schlaufend (sleeping). Export, he says, has more malt and makes for big bellies. Be sure to stop for a beer at the Adam, even if you don't stay there.

If you plan to be in Bodenmais for just a day or two, the Adam is our choice. The Riederin is better suited to longer visits.

Kur-und Sport Hotel Adam, Bahnhofstrasse 51, D-8373 Bodenmais, phone 09924/7011, fax 09924/7219. Singles 73 DM ($44), doubles 136 DM ($82). No cards.

Hotel Adam: II $

Hotel Andrea

Though this trip we did not visit a favorite Bodenmais hotel, the 26-room Andrea, we have heard of additions and renovations and know that it is still owned and operated by the hospitable Eichner family.

In previous visits we found a homey, quiet atmosphere and unusually cordial service.

Hotel Andrea, Hölzweg 10, D-8373 Bodenmais, telephone 09924/386, Singles 78 DM to 89 DM ($47-$54), doubles 138 DM to 156 DM ($84-$95). No cards.

Hotel Andrea: III G (previous rating)

Bodenmais

Population 3,400

Altitude 689 meters/2,246 feet

Distances from:

* Frankfurt 411 km - 255 miles

* Munich 178 km - 110 miles

* Passau 73 km - 45 miles

* Prague 200 km - 124 miles

Bodenmais Tourist Office

* Bahnhofstrasse 56

* D-8373 Bodenmais

* Phone: 09924/77835

* Fax: 09924/77850

February 1993