Wondering what to do if you are celebrating a special birthday, but the long-haul travel you’d planned for such an event is a distant memory thanks to Small Person No. 3’s impending arrival (which I obviously don’t mind by the way!)? You could sulk about what might have been, sad about not visiting friends in far-flung places as originally planned (next year, promise!), or you could resign yourself to the fact that you are going to have to opt for somewhere a little closer to “home” instead, and put your Significant Other in charge of booking something. Might I suggest the latter, which is how we ended up spending a wonderful few days at Schloss Elmau recently, and I ended up being a completely spoiled brat!?
This place describes itself as a “Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway”, and has been on our Bavaria “bucket list” for quite some time (having been recommended by friends). You might have heard of it recently when it hosted a certain political summit, and undoubtedly gave Bavarian tourism a boost with perfect alpine images flashed across the globe during its entirety.
The book-worm in her natural environment
Schloss Elmau also happens to be incredibly family friendly. Fear not child haters, that doesn’t mean you need suffer the offspring of others (in fact I think you could easily plan a stay so that you wouldn’t have to set eyes on any small person at all), but for those of us with children, this place is pretty much perfect! There’s so much on offer, including food, literary and music festivals at times, but even without anything happening, this place makes for a special family stay – especially as these sort of establishments don’t usually extend such a welcoming hand to small people!
We arrived on a Thursday afternoon in time for tea and cake in the lounge, whilst the children deliberated over their “edutainment” choices. I hasten to add that this is not your typical “do the macarena around the swimming pool” kind of kid’s entertainment that the words typically bring to mind – you get your monies worth here, and besides the usual football and tennis clubs, there’s some pretty impressive stuff laid on including debating clubs, science workshops, hikes in the mountains, cycling adventures, and paddle-boarding to name but a few activities (plus skiing etc. in the winter months). Strictly off limits to parents by the way, sorry about that!
Birthday breakfast in a birthday castle
And, after an incredibly early start the following morning (having been roused out of a deep slumber by a swift poke in the eye by a Small Boy wielding a birthday card), we enjoyed a delectable in-room breakfast for my birthday, together with the most spectacular views as the sun made its way steadily up over the mountains. We then packed our offspring off for a morning’s Science Experimentation Workshop whilst we endured the hardships of the adult only roof top spa, the infinity pool, and the deafening sound of silence.
It was probably ten minutes into the above mentioned ordeal (after a few laps of the empty pool, and with one foot sticking out of a cabana as I attempted to read whilst being distracted by the views), that I asked for next year’s birthday present as well – an extra night in this fantastic place. It wasn’t hard to twist Mr R’s arm on this occasion, and quality time together won the day…
By the way, when you book as a family, children’s meals are included as part of the package. Special lunches are put on in the main dining room (with parents able to pick from the menu and eat en-famille, or save themselves for lunch later on in one of the many restaurants once offspring are back to gallivanting!)… Evening meals again are all-inclusive for children in the main restaurants, but should you really push the boat out (as we did for my birthday meal at the very lovely Luce d’Oro – more on that later!) and dine elsewhere, then that may well cost extra.
We left feeling completely relaxed and happy after a wonderful short break. We all loved the location and stunning views and surroundings. Mr R particularly enjoyed the food, the spa and being able to test the resident BMW i8 (he has put one on his Christmas list. He most definitely hasn’t been good enough!).
The Small people loved the “edutainment” that they learned so much from, the food, the pools, and the fact that their parents were so relaxed that ice-cream requests and the like were usually met with a favourable reaction.
And I loved the fact that I got to spend my birthday in such beautiful surroundings, and spend some quality time with my family in a place that was incredibly luxurious but without any arrogance. The spas were incredible (and never felt busy!) and for the first time in ages we could really unwind. Being heavily pregnant I wasn’t able to experience the Hamam and the saunas obviously, so I will just look forward to that next time (do bear in mind that the fact that we booked at the height of summer meant that there were only Schloss rooms available (no a.c. by the way people – this is a castle after all, but they have a ready supply of fans!), and I think rooms in the more recently built Retreat might be better suited to families space wise. And that honestly is my only slight complaint about our entire stay)… A special occasion place most definitely.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter to write about my next visit… Dear Father Christmas…
PS. I can also confirm it’s just as gorgeous in the rain!
Tel: +49 (0) 88 23 – 180
This sounds like such a brilliant place! I came across this post via your post on things to do near Munich. If you have the chance, do consider adding this to my blog link up Family Friendly Stays.
I will pop over! Thanks Annabel! :)
lisa prince says
aw how lovely this is what a place to be on such a lovely occasion
Thanks Lisa, a really special place! :)
The hotel looks like a dream from a fairytale! What a fun adventure! #globalkids
Thanks Elizabeth! :)
This does look fabulous. And is very probably the most child-friendly luxury spa hotel in Bavaria.
Across the border, Haus Hirt’s a great Austrian child-friendly spa hotel!
That’s another one to add to my list! Thanks Rachel! (:
mummys little blog says
wow what stunning place look so beautiful x
Thanks Sara! (:
Christie @ A Sausage Has Two says
Oh good grief what an amazing place! Very much looking forward to hearing about the dinner :D
Coming up soon! :) Thanks Christie!
Oh my goodness this looks absolutely stunning. I need to go here.
I would highly highly recommend it! Such a gorgeous place! :)
Oh, I didn’t realize your birthday was coming up so soon – Happy Belated Birthday! I can well imagine R was loving that library – I would have, too. Sorry you couldn’t enjoy the sauna, but the cake looks like it went a long way toward making up for it. Thanks so much again for making the time to get together – loved meeting all of you! – and for all the wonderful suggestions that made our Oktoberfest weekend such a lovely one – I’m already mulling over a return at Christmas for the Krampuslauf, and MrL is fully on board. xx
Thank you! It was so lovely to meet you, and yes you absolutely must come back for the Krampuslauf at the very least! :) xx
This looks gorgeous. Going to have to put it on my list of places I need to visit.
Thank you Megan, it’s really worth a special visit! (:
OMG that cake!!!
It was a cakey weekend! :D Thanks Becky! (:
this looks absolutely stunning – how amazing! The food sounds divine as well. xx
It is such a gorgeous place. Highly recommended! Thanks Louise! (: xx
Michelle Twin Mum says
That mountain view is just divine. So glad you had a lovely time. Mich x
Thank you Mich. I was an incredibly lucky girl that weekend! (: x
OMG, that looks amazing for all the family. I love the idea of Edutainment! I think I NEED to visit. What a perfect birthday gift
I would really recommend this place Jen. In fact I would like to move in… :D
Yep, I can really see myself there, lounging in the spa and enjoying the wonderful food too.
When are we going? :D
Let’s book it! :D Write it on your Father Christmas letter too! :) xx
Joanne Dewberry says
OMG!!! What a stunning place! I’m so jealous! My OH took me to a spa once we had some hairy OAPs sat in the sauna with us! NEVER AGAIN!
Thanks Jo! So funny, but you do kind of get used to seeing all sorts having lived in very “naked” countries such as Denmark and Germany! :D
JuggleMum, Nadine Hill says
I’d love to make it to your neck of the woods one day, it looks so beautiful.
It really is stunning! Thanks Nadine! :)
Happy belated birthday! I wish I could attend the science experiment workshops for kids. How cool that it caters to both kids and parents (and gives you some alone time!)
Thanks Liz. It’s a fantastic place, and I would really recommend it as they have stuff for very little ones too so you get some quality time! :)
Oh my, this looks amazing. No wonder you want to revisit – next time hopefully the sauna’s will be all yours!!
Thanks Kara! (:
Oh you must be getting fed up now Emma, such a lovely idea to get away for your birthday.You are such a lucky woman to have such beautiful places on your doorstep.
Thank you Aly… Yes, starting to get impatient! xx
angela hamilton says
wow what an absolutely stunning place!! Looks like the perfect place to visit
Thanks Angela, it’s really lovely! :)
Oh my word. Very jealous. It’s my birthday on Friday & we’re going camping. I need to have a serious chat with my husband. He’s letting the side down!
Camping sounds equally fun though! Enjoy! :)