In evaluating hotels, Gemütlichkeit is partial to family-run places where the owners are welcoming, available, and eager to assist their guests. Though the Schlair's physical assets—guest and public rooms—are more than satisfactory, it is the duo of owners-managers, Maria and Erik Kux-Schlair that moves this hotel into the "special" category. The couple demonstrates the natural warmth and unflagging enthusiasm so characteristic of the best small hoteliers.
Passing through Schlair's reception area early one evening last December, Maria grabbed a couple of American guests and took them to a nearby Weihnachtspünsch booth where, for an hour they stood at a high table in the cold, drinking hot red wine, and being introduced to friendly locals. This easygoing, warm-hearted style puts guests at ease and sets the tone at Schlair.
The hotel consists of an attractive, well-maintained Baroque main building in the village center and a guesthouse, Zur Alten Mühle (the old mill), a few blocks away, literally in the shadow of the Abbey. Dating to the 13th century, the guesthouse is the town's oldest structure and contains a handful of vacation apartments that can accommodate from two to six persons. They range in price from e48 to 62 per night for stays of six nights or longer. Done in a traditional style with wood trimmed furniture, herringbone hardwood floors, the accommodations come with satellite TV and direct dial phone. The small kitchens are suitably equipped for light meals.
The main building's public rooms feature vaulted ceilings, tiled floors, heavy wood beams, an inviting salon with oversize leather furniture, a cozy bar with blazing hearth, and wireless Internet access.
Sharing the building is the Schlair family bakery, a center of village social life for nearly 200 years. Hotel guests have the good fortune to be served breakfast here, where the wondrous pastries affirm Austria's reputation for baked goods.
The hotel's "business" rooms have been remodeled in a bright, modern style with recessed lighting and such amenities as cable TV with English channels and high-speed Internet connections. At E84 double, including breakfast, they offer excellent value.
The value-minded traveler seeking solid accommodations and hospitality in an engaging, well-located town will find all in Kremsmünster and its hotel Schlair.
Daily Rates: Singles €50-59. Doubles €72-84. Apartments €48-62, plus cleaning fee. Optional breakfast for apartment guests, €7.5 per person.
Rating: Quality 14/20, Value 17/20
Schloß Kremsegg, Kremsegger Straße 59, A-4550 Kremsmünster, Tel. +43/7583/52 470