My little girl gets out of the tub-temperature water, runs laughingly to the snow and grabs a handful, before returning to the pool with a dip.
As we float, we watch the steam rise, enjoying the view of the towering white-tipped Leogang Mountains that surround us. It is an exceptional place for an active winter vacation.
We are staying in the ecological five-star hotel Forsthofgut, which looks like an oasis in Austria, which is designed as a resort for adults, but which is decidedly child-friendly.
Carol and her family bask in the steamy outdoor pools at Hotel Forsthofgut (pictured)
Summit Special: Forsthofgut, pictured, is a “luxury family hotel with traditional chalet-style decor throughout,” writes Carol
When Carol and her family arrive at Forsthofgut, they are “greeted by a large roaring fire surrounded by comfortable seating and a bar serving après-ski drinks and mugs of hot chocolate.”
It is a 90 minute drive from Salzburg and a two minute walk to the Leo’s Kinderland children’s area, where my three year old daughter will try skiing for the first time.
The luxurious, family-run hotel has traditional chalet-style décor. And with beautiful bright pink blossoms at every turn and sparkling snow, it’s as pretty as a postcard picture.
We are greeted by a large log fire surrounded by comfortable seating and a bar serving après ski drinks and mugs of hot chocolate when we arrive for our four night stay.
Our modern Alpine Family Suite is the perfect size – with a spacious double bedroom with oak floors and an elegant living room that opens to a balcony offering us breathtaking views.
The hotel is located in one of the largest ski areas in Austria – with 170 km of slopes, 140 blue, 112 red and 18 black slopes
There is a separate children’s bedroom with a double bunk bed, as well as a bright bathroom with a walk-in shower and bath, and a separate toilet (perfect for families).
And there’s even a pillow menu to help guests get an optimal night’s sleep.
The hotel – which started its life 400 years ago as a logging company – couldn’t be better placed to make the most of the slopes.
The ski school and children’s playground are just 150 meters away, as is the Asitz gondola lift, which can take adults directly to the Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn ski area in a few minutes.
It is one of the largest ski areas in Austria. With 170 miles of slopes, 140 blue, 112 red and 18 black, there is snow for all skill levels, including parks, funcross (a cross between a ski slope and a snowpark), tubes and snowboards. trails to explore – not to mention the state of the art – state of the art elevators.
This image shows the main restaurant – ‘1617’. Here, explains Carol, “there is a choice of three different and exquisite five-course menus”
Equipment rental is also simple, and there is a ski storage room in the hotel where we store everything overnight.
My husband and I take turns enjoying the slopes, while the other watches our little girl enjoying her time in kindergarten skiing.
The scenery is stunning – and the vast expanse of slopes makes it seem moderately calm – there is room for everyone.
There are a lot of shiny (blue) beginner runs, and I’m gaining my confidence to try a few exhilarating, yet comfortable reds.
Beginner skiers can hire an instructor or join a ski school, or for those who are more advanced there are many suggested routes for a mix of racing abilities.
Double rooms cost from £ 191 based on a minimum stay of five nights with half board
The snow is soft and powdery, while the sun is shining – perfect conditions.
I ski back to my husband for a change and watch my daughter as he tries out some of the more difficult black runs.
With a smile on her face, she rolls down magic carpets, plays on the merry-go-round and makes snow angels, while being encouraged by the friendly ski instructors.
There are also nearby toboggan runs, horse-drawn sleigh rides and a toboggan run in this snowy wonderland.
Exhausted after a day of fun in the powdery and soft snow, we return to the hotel for a delicious afternoon tea of sandwiches, cakes and tea, before jumping into the heated swimming pool.
Peak of Perfection: The hotel’s superior rooms feature sitting areas, balconies and vaulted ceilings
I book at the forest-style Waldwirbel spa to pamper myself.
It’s a family space, so kids are welcome, but there’s also an adults-only section if you really want to get away from it all, with saunas, relaxation rooms, steam rooms, and an organic swimming lake. with sensational views.
It’s an amazing place to recharge your batteries. Paradise!
After my massage, I return to the bedroom to cool off, in time for an aperitif in the elegant Botanist Bar.
My husband and I sip herbal infused cocktails before dinner, while admiring the setting inspired by a 20th century pharmacy. The staff laugh at our daughter, who also gets her own fancy drink.
Carol enjoys herbal-infused pre-dinner cocktails at the Botanist Bar while admiring the inspired setting of a 20th-century pharmacy
Catering is another innovative and environmentally friendly concept of the hotel, which prides itself on using local and sustainable ingredients, in line with its ecological philosophy.
We settle into the luxury restaurant 1617 – a tribute to the hotel’s history – where there is a choice of three exquisite menus of five different dishes.
Delicious dishes include monkfish, traditional Kasnock, and meat dishes as well as plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
The food offer is taken very seriously at the Naturhotel Forsthofgut. This image shows the multiple cheeses available
Meat eaters are well catered for at the hotel – but also, says Carol, vegetarians and vegans
The hotel’s impressive wine cellar. An expert sommelier is on hand to guide customers through the grape varieties
For children there is an impressive buffet, or they can also choose to dine à la carte (it is a zone without fries).
All food tastes divine – and we feast heartily on our après-ski appetites.
It feels like a real adult meal, in a beautiful setting with waitress service, serving delicious course after course, accompanied by a few glasses of local wines.
The breathtaking Leogang mountains form an idyllic backdrop to hotel life
Location, location, location: the Naturhotel Forsthofgut is only a 90-minute drive from Salzburg
Drunk, we return to our bedroom to put our daughter to bed, then sit on the balcony with a digestif, taking in the breathtaking view of the Leogang Mountains – an idyllic backdrop.
It’s not too long before we also call it a night, exhausted from a day on the slopes and all that fresh mountain air.
But the best part is that we can do it all again the next day.
Carol Driver was hosted by the five-star Naturhotel Forsthofgut (www.forsthofgut.at/en) in Leogang. Double rooms from £ 191 based on a minimum stay of five nights with half board.
For more information on Leogang and lift passes, visit www.saalfelden-leogang.com.
For more information on the SalzburgerLand region, visit www.salzburgerland.com.
Note: At the time of writing this article, Austria has put in place a nationwide lockdown that is expected to last until December 13 – the start of the ski season. See advice from FCDO here.