|Ehrenberg Castle above the Waldrast|
The best room in the house has a castle view, a separate sitting room with satellite TV, a balcony, and is near Füssen and its royal castles.
By Andy Bestor
A few years ago we discovered the Hotel-Pension Waldrast, a terrific bargain in the small Austrian town of Reutte, near the Bavarian Royal Castles. A bustling ski resort and ski-school during the winter, the Waldrast is a peacefully quiet spring, summer and fall destination in a lush green mountain setting. But the best thing about this hotel is that the special warmth—gemütlichkeit—we felt on our first visit in 1997 is still there.
Owned and operated by the Huter family, the hotel makes a convenient and inexpensive headquarters from which to explore a region rich in sightseeing attractions.
First, there's the town of Reutte itself, which is about a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Though not a ballyhooed tourist magnet, the village has a certain authentic charm. There are elaborately painted houses, interesting streets to window shop, and several outdoor cafés good for people watching while sipping a beer or mineral water.
For those who would rather move than sit, there's the ruins of Ehrenberg Castle, viewable, incidentally, from most of the Waldrast's guestrooms.
The ruins are about a 45-minute hike from the hotel. We made the trek in a summer rain, up the steepest ascent path we could find and enjoyed every minute of it. Reutte boasts some of the purest air on earth and we sucked down more than our share of it. There are easier and shorter ways to reach the ruins and they all offer the same reward, a fantastic view of the town and surrounding environs.
The castle, of course, has an interesting history, which Herr Huter will happily relate at breakfast as you gaze across a green meadow to the deteriorating fortress that looms above it.
The Waldrast and Reutte are also a short drive from several noteworthy sights. The hotel can provide a map and also suggest the best sightseeing routes. We spent one day chauffeuring our travel mates on a scenic drive which wound its way along the Plansee through a beautiful forest and into Bavaria where we toured Schloss Linderhof and the town of Füssen. In a single day, of course, one could also visit the impressive castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, as well as great Wieskirche.
We recommend a pair of unpretentious restaurants near the hotel: the Zum Mohren, which serves traditional Tirolean farm fare, and Alina (formerly the Carina), which also offers good pizza and pasta in addition to Tirolean specialities.
Guest rooms at the Waldrast are far more comfortable than their prices would indicate. Our corner room, Number 15, had large windows on two sides and was equipped with satellite TV in a separate sitting room, separate shower and toilet rooms, attractive, comfortable furniture and balcony with castle view. We paid about $45.
The Hotel-Pension Waldrast has much to offer a first-time visitor to the region who wants to see the sights of Bavaria and experience the friendliness of a family-run hotel. But it also appeals to seasoned travelers who understand the joys of a town like Reutte and people like the Huters.
- Daily Rates: Doubles range from about $55 to $70
- Rating: Quality 14/20, Value 18/20
- Restaurant Alina (Formerly Carina), Gemeindzentrum, Breitenwang, tel: +43/05672/65008
- Zum Mohren, Untermarkt 26, Reutte/Tirol A-6600, tel: +43/05672/62345