Charming Forsthaus Auerhahn is about 15 miles north and a world away from the pricey big boys, Bareiss and Traube-Tonbach, but if you really want to get away from it all for a lot fewer euros, this is the place. The Hinterlagen bus stop serves this isolated hamlet of 10 people and two families, counting the Zepfs, the friendly owners of Auerhahn.
Originally a 200-year-old forestry house, this beautifully maintained family inn feels very much like a little house in the Big Woods near some of the area's best hiking trails. The Auerhahn consists of three steeply roofed and flower-covered buildings clustered on a thickly wooded hillside overlooking a valley with a small stream. When we pulled up, families were basking on the sunny terrace while the chef was setting up a huge barbecue to grill sausages in the street. Clearly, this road doesn't experience a lot of traffic.
Inside, the lobby and rooms have warm, contemporary pine furnishings and clean, modern fabrics in soothing dark blues or pale pinks. Guestrooms are spacious, practical, and up-to-date with heated towel racks, double sinks, and sunny views on all sides. Some family apartments have kitchens. The bathing and spa facilities are incredible for such a modest location. The indoor pool is surrounded by round boulders and potted palms and has cascading streams from a nearby creek. There are also indulgent Maria Galland and Thalasso treatments, plus a sauna and hot tubs. There are daily organized activities, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and farm visits. Children have their own facilities as well.
The cozy, nonsmoking restaurant is done in cheerful colors and modern lines and serves regional cuisine. They will also pack box lunches for hikers. And there is a smoker's lounge decorated as a hunting lodge with carved country chairs. Room rates include half pension (breakfast and dinner), but there is also a reasonably extensive a la carte menu with appetizers from €3.50-8.50, main courses from €11-20, and desserts for €4.90.
Hinterlagenbach is pretty far removed from anything else in Baiersbronn, but it is a great place to look for solitude if you have time and a car. Because of road construction, Hinterlagenbach is even more isolated than normal and can't be reached directly from the Rhine River valley. But then, getting away from it all never felt so good.—Lydia Itoi
Daily Per Person Rates: €63-90 during high season, including breakfast and dinner. Discounts for stays over four days. Two-night minimum.
Rating: Quality 14/20, Value 16/20