The outdoor pool in the summer at Hotel Arlberg, Lech, Austria

Hotel Arlberg
Lech, Austria


A harmonious blend of sensibilities by husband-and-husband duo Benjamin Schneider and Patrick Krummenacher is palpable everywhere you look at their hideaway in the Austrian Alps, Hotel Arlberg. Playing with notions of both tradition and modernity, this is a property whose charm lies in expecting the unexpected.

Since taking the reins at Benjamin Schneider’s family business, he and his husband Patrick Krummenacher have created and refurbished 24 rooms and suites in the house, not to mention two entirely new spa areas with treatment rooms, a heated outdoor pool, a new ski and boot room and a reimagining of the hotel’s terrace and gardens.

Benjamin and Patrick represent the third generation of Schneiders – now Schneider-Krummenachers – to run the hotel since its inception in 1956. It opened as a classic Alpine chalet Gasthof and, while it has undergone an incredible expansion over time, much respect is paid to its beginnings. It is clear there is an eye to preserve the heritage of the property, from old paintings, photographs and hunting trophies, to its delicate wooden panelling and tiled stoves, and from the polished ornate silver and spotless heavy crystal they use in their restaurant, to the old brass and leather suite keyrings that depict a traditional chamois hunt. And, although the antlered chandeliers hanging from the pine-beamed ceilings, lush fur throws and leather armchairs may nod to the old, the look was put together by an expert designer, who delivered a contemporary overall aesthetic throughout. Even the hotel’s branding and identity have recently been given a stylish update by Innsbruck-based graphic design house Bureau Rabensteiner, but not without a clear Mid-century Modernesque typographical lean and a refreshed logo not too far from that of a vintage Buick Skylark.

Then there are the touches of today: light fixtures by Italian designer Antonio Citterio and handmade furniture by Austrian manufacturer Wittmann and Italian specialists Cattelan Italia, Minotti, Molteni&C, Henge and Rimadesio.

The amazing spa at Hotel Arlberg is the first in the world to boast the full array of multi-sensory water experiences from German bath specialists Dornbracht and the area is lined in blue-green Vals quartzite from just around a hundred miles away in the Swiss Alps, providing fascinating pattern and depth with its colour and mica particles. Where paint is used, it is 100 per cent natural, made from pigments derived from volcanic clays, ultramarine ash and semi-precious stone to mimic the hues truly found in nature. It’s about as relaxing and beautiful of a space as you could possibly hope to find not just in the Austrian Alps, but just about anywhere.

This Basecamp review is an extract from a longer feature article, first published in print. To read the full article, click here.

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While you’re Out There
James Turrell – yes, the James Turrell – has created an art installation called Skyspace on a small hill above Oberlech. It’s a short hike up there, and the views paired with Turrell’s masterful play on light and colour are nothing short of spectacular. For the most magical experience, arrive for sunrise or sunset, and prepare for awe.

Photography by Mike Rabensteiner and courtesy of Hotel Arlberg

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