The Kristiania Lech is a traditional ski chalet on the exterior, but the interior reveals a renowned contemporary art collection and individually designed rooms focused on the artwork. Othmar and Irmgard Schneider opened the boutique property in 1968, and it has always felt more like a private residence than a hotel. Standing in a league of its own, the Kristiania Lech boutique hotel is ideally located on the southern hilltop of the village of Lech, a short stroll from the gondolas and the exclusive shops of this elegant alpine resort. With its walls abundant with mementos of the owner’s, Othmar Schneider’s triumphant skiing career and every niche of the hotel filled with famous contemporary works of art and regional antique and classic furnishings, the Kristiania Lech could understandably be taken for a museum. Since opening its doors, art has played an integral part in the history of this boutique hotel.
The history of Kristiania Lech starts from 1952 when Othmar Schneider brought a gold medal for the slalom and a silver medal for Alpine skiing back with him to Lech from the Olympic Winter Games in Oslo. He went on to pursue an international career as a ski school director in Boyne-Mountain, Michigan, and at Portillio in Chile. On his return to Lech, he built the Kristiania up into one of the leading addresses in Lech.
It features 29 unique guestrooms and suites, gourmet cuisine and genuine Austrian hospitality. It is located in Lech in Austria’s Arlberg Region, renowned for skiing with 170 miles of groomed trails descending to seven nearby towns connected by shuttle buses. At the Kristiania, the foremost aim has been to offer a comfortable home to winter guests accompanied by individuality, lifestyle and privacy. Personal style and unique charm are the distinctive attributes of Kristiania. The philosophy of the art of living naturally focuses on the guest. Austrian hospitality, impeccable personal service and a convivial atmosphere are all equally important.
Pampering their Guests is a tradition at the Kristiania Lech. They privilege attentive service and refined cuisine with its roots in Austrian traditions. The Kristiania à la carte restaurant, with its canopied cooking range, makes the ideal setting for classical fine dining while the Kaminzimmer with its open fireplace is designed for casual dining and relaxed get togethers. And you’ll never suffer through a lack of choice of what to drink with dinner – there are over 7000 bottles of mature wine in the traditional cellar. The small wellness area has a sauna and relaxation room where revitalising massage treatments help to unwind after a hard day on the slopes.
The staff at the Kristiania are extremely welcoming and can organise every aspect of your stay when you’re in residence. From choosing the best restaurant at lunch-time to selecting the best wines at dinner, you’re in great hands. You’ll know every staff member by their first name after a few days and the delightful owner, Miss Schneider will personally make sure you’re stay is wonderful. Attention to detail and guest care is of utmost importance.
Lech is one of the world’s best known ski resorts and boasts 88 ski lifts and 260km of prepared piste and the hotel aims to make your days on these slopes as enjoyable as possible. In addition to downhill skiing there are also plenty of alternative winter sports and activities to take part in. Cross-country skiers can enjoy 15km of interesting pistes around the resort, snowboarders and skiers alike can practice jumps and tricks at Lech’s fantastic snowpark and heli-skiing is available for the more advanced who wish to ski in more remote off-piste locations. Paragliding is a fantastic opportunity to admire the beauty of Lech from the air whilst catching thermals high up in the mountains. Ice bowling, ice skating, snow shoe hiking and tobogganing are also possible.
The hotel is located within easy reach of the centre, at a 5 minute walking distance from the ski slopes, next to the cross-country ski track en route to Zug, overlooking Lech with a marvelous view of the Alps. Lech, the cradle of modern skiing, is one of the world’s best-known ski regions. Yet it has kept the charm of a classical winter sports resort. Preservation of the natural landscape and village character are features which set Lech apart today from most other ski resorts. Although Lech keeps pace with the growing demands of its friends, it still knows how to preserve the charm of its original character.
Winter vacation at the Kristiania Lech means to enjoy the mountain world, covered in deep snow, magnificent downhill skiing or hiking through pristine snow landscapes, fascinating pistes, cross country skiing tours, ice skating, curling, sleighing and snow shoeing are only a few of the many attractions. Around Lech and Zürs non skiers can enjoy 40 km of prepared winter hiking trails. While summer holidays at the Kristiania Lech is to discover the special attraction of Lech. Go for long and short walks with experienced mountain guides, enjoy cheese spätzle in the mountain hut “Formarin” or have breakfast in the heart of blooming summer meadows. There are no limits to sports and cultural activities. Enjoy a ride on mountain bike or improve the swing on the 18 hole golf course of Braz in the vicinity.
Value for Money
Double rooms from Euro 600,00 in low seasons; and from Euro 1.050,00 in high. Mentioned rates are per room and day including breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
Our Special Readings
The Alpine rings of Lech am Arlberg
Lech am Arlberg, the small alpine village will be a delightful surprise for the everyone visiting Switzerland and Austria. A two and half hour scenic drive on the Arlberg Express Bus from the Zurich Airport unfolds the brilliant panorama that it offers. Interestingly, it was founded in 14th century by the Walser migrants from of one of the Swiss cantons. The majestic peaks, the crystal clear lakes and the quaint architecture are simply captivating. Skiers across the world know it as the premier sky resort frequented by the rich and famous like Princess Diana, the royals of Holland and Jordan and the actor Tom Cruise. Such is the charm of this place that even the non-skiers fall for it and enjoy in the horse drawn sleigh rides, walking in the woods, visit the 14th cent. St. Nicholas Church and visit a small museum that displays the lifestyle of the medieval days.
Alpine skiing is a major priority in Lech/Zuers am Arlberg. For centuries Arlberg has been famous for being the “cradle of Alpine skiing” and casts a spell over enthuasiastic skiers year after year, winter after winter. Because Arlberg is where tradition and modernity meet. A ski resort with the very highest standards of comfort and 340 km of adventurous runs makes skiers’ hearts beat faster and guarantees a relaxed and varied skiing holiday in the heart of Arlberg. Around 300 Hotels, hotel garnis, Bed & Breakfast establishments and holiday apartments will make the holiday in Lech/Zuers am Arlberg an unforgettable experience. Both in winter and in summer, whether you are staying in a cosy family guest house or an exclusive luxury hotel, like the Kristiania Lech, you will find friendly and enthusiastic hosts everywhere, who all have the same goals of pampering you and surprinsing you during the stay. Talking of Kristiania Lech, it is more than a hotel, more than a destination, Kristiania Lech is a contemporary lifestyle of the finest caliber and design. Thoughtful modern design is evident as soon as you enter Kristiania Lech‘s doors, with inspired pieces of art including more than 200 paintings, sculptures, original prints, and tapestries. The 29 guest rooms and suites are individually decorated with warm color palates, custom fabrics, and handcrafted furnishings. Homemade chocolates, a complimentary mini bar and wireless internet access are a few of the luxury touches, and the genuine European hospitality of Kristiania’s staff is felt in every detail.
Schneider’s Art Philosophy
Once past the threshold of the front door, it is evident that Irmgard Schneider’s keen eye for design and attention to color created an environment that dazzles visitors, offering a stunning series of sights and experiences. Her love of modern contemporary art is also apparent throughout the hotel, with the intention to acknowledge the potential for fine art in the home. For nearly four decades, Mrs. Schneider’s philosophy has been simple “the Kristiania Lech should be a cultural hub where one can co-exist amongst the art.”. Mrs. Schneider’s passion for collecting was inspired by her mother’s love of art which she is passing on to her daughters, Gertrud and Susanne. Collecting can be as great a passion and as powerful a creative process as the creation of art. Today, the Kristiania Lech’s collection consists of more than 200 contemporary paintings, sculptures, original prints and tapestries by both emerging and established artists such as Max Cole, Roy Lichtenstein, Max Bill and Sam Francis. The works reflect the artist’s vision, while illuminating some of the most significant movements in contemporary art including Conceptual, Pop Art, Concrete Art, Abstract Expressionism to name a few.
The Kristiania Lech is so serious about its stunning art that it transformed the main dining room into a gallery that rival those of major metropolitan cities and impress even the most prestigious collectors. The hotel’s dining room, divided into three sections, showcases a rotating collection of stunning antiquities and original art from contemporary artists including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and mixed media. The elegant Rote Bar lies toward the rear of the building, where a glamorous après-ski scene unfolds each evening. The soft crimson color walls, custom-designed silk draperies, warm velvet couches, Viennese Jugendstil, handcrafted wooden Italian lamps and original vivacious artwork fill the walls. A painting by Sam Francis, renowned for his bright, striking images based on key principles of abstraction and expressionism, hangs in The Rote Bar. His works can be found in such prestigious venues as the Museum of Modern Art and Tate Gallery.
Special City Guide: Lech Am Arlberg
Founded in the 14th century by émigrés from the Valais district of Switzerland, Lech am Arlberg still has its original Pfarrkirche (parish church) from that era. This archetype of a snug alpine ski village is practically joined to Oberlech, a satellite resort a little farther up the mountain. Lech stands at 1,440m; Oberlech is at 1,710m. Zürs is more fashionable, but Lech has its own claim to fame: It played host to Prince Charles and his future wife, Princess Diana. Despite its reputation as a ski resort, Lech offers some great warm-weather activities, too. In summer, visitors come here to tour the Upper Lech Valley, which stretches for 56km to a scenic valley between the Lechtal and the Allgäu Alps.
Set in the upper regions of the Arlberg Pass, Lech has no railway connections. Visitors are best advised to take the train to the rail stations at either end of the Arlberg Tunnel and then transfer to a bus that winds its way up the mountain passes to Lech. Passengers from either Vorarlberg or Tyrol should get off at Langen am Arlberg, the closest station to Lech. All Zurich-Vienna express trains stop here. From Mid-June to mid-September, Lech offers an Activ-Inclusiv Program. As part of this program, any hotel guest in Lech gains automatic free access to the five cable cars that run in the summer, tennis courts, and the indoor pool. Daily guided hikes covering 5 to 11km are also included in the program.