One for the (long) Weekend – Familien Hotel Post

Family-like atmosphere in a charming Austrian town

Kinder Hotel Familien Hotel Post/Postillion am See

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It is one the 33 hotels in the Kinder Hotels group. Kinder Hotels, or Children Hotels, are quality hotels that cater specifically to families. Kinder hotels are held to high standards and rated with “Smileys” for how well they accommodate kids. At a 5-Smiley hotel, you can expect free babysitting services, indoor splash pools, a babycare package, and children specific amenities like hooks at lower heights and kids silverware, etc., in the dining rooms. Kid’s meals are served buffet-style, which is ideal for kids who like to graze and run. Babies who stay in Kinder Hotels are provided with bedding, changing tables, bottle warmers, and monitors. Some hotels even have lightproof curtains for napping. More important, however, is the pro-kid atmosphere. Only families with kids come here – so there are lots of friends waiting to be made. And you never feel like your offspring are imposing on someone else´s peace – we are ALL in the same boat here.

We stayed by Millstatt Lake, in the Carinthian Alps of Austria. This is the southernmost part of the Alps, so they get lots of sun. We left more snow behind in Prague than we found in the Alps. Summer is when the place really comes alive, with boating and swimming in the crystal clear, sandy-bottomed lake.

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6.5 hours with normal traffic.

The Carinthian Alps are in the south, and snowfall is not heavy like in the high Alps. We were there in January and there was no snow on the ground. For strollers and little walkers, that´s actually a plus – deep snow and ice means lots of slipping. Also, it´s not so cold. There is snow on the mountains, to be sure (if they have to, they´ll make it) – so for serious skiing you just need to take the free shuttle or drive to one of two nearby ski resorts. Bad Kleinkirchheim is just down the road with its two thermal spa complexes, one of them the state of the art Romer-Thermen. Thanks to a snow cannon, the hill just outside the hotel was covered in snow every day, and there are sleds at your disposal and even an hour-long ski school for beginners every day at 10:00 (9 EUR.)

Not everyone speaks English here – but people get by on a mix of English, Italian, German and Slovenian.

This is for those of us who can´t just drop kids off at the grandparents when we want a break. I want to snowboard, but only if I know there´s a fantastic sauna waiting for me. Dad wants to sleep, mostly – and eat. And hang out with the kids. But not too much. The kids want to spend all day in a kiddie pool or play in an indoor playground. If we can all be happy and still enjoy each other, then that´s worth the long trip.

Fine dining plus noise and kids running around. Each family has their own assigned table. The free babysitting service includes the option of children dining together – freeing you up for a relaxed and quiet meal. Adults choose from a menu of three options. Food is served when you are ready. A typical dinner was a starter of carpaccio with pumpkin pesto (pictured) followed by lamb shanks and green beans. Nice wine list, great breads, fresh salads. Major plus: the “all-day serve-yourself drink counter” instead of minibars. You could have cocoa, pots of all kinds of tea – there was a soda and juice bar, coffee/cappuccino machine, and plastic cups for the kids. There was a microwave, which came in handy (my weird kid only drinks warm apple juice). And every day at 15:00 they serve soup – and wonderful cakes.

Free. As a hotel guest you are given a paper to place on your dash.

Open all hours

From babies to teens. Families with babies are given changing supplies, monitors, bottle warmers. And the sound of other people´s babies crying is actually relaxing if you´re afraid your own baby is being loud. So definitely a place to bring even a newborn. Older kids get to hang out in the Party Lounge – a cool place with games and a climbing wall.

Although my kids don´t understand German, I felt comfortable leaving my kids in their care. I came back later and learned they´d been walking in the woods, had the faces painted and learned to braid bracelets. There was no lifeguard by the kiddie pool or the larger adult one. The premises weren´t completely baby-proofed (with door guards and electrical outlet plugs) but I did notice the staff were good at sidestepping little kids tearing around the place. Outside, it was very safe to wander around in the windy streets of this small town because the area was actually deserted; most hotels in Millstatt actually close down for the winter. Summer is when the place really comes alive.

200 EUR for two adults, two nights – kids free. If you factor in the free babysitting from morning until 20:00, the free activities (we even had a fireside concert of folk music), access to the lakeside sauna hut (all day) or the brand new spa, the hill covered in permanent “fake” snow, the pools, and the endless parade of tasty food, I don´t think it´s unreasonable at all. It was essentially a do-what-you-will, eat-all-you-want situation, and nicely done.

“Each day a newspaper informed you of the activities that day. While we stayed there was a horse sleigh ride, free concert (of a family orchestra including two child musicians playing local folk music), fitness classes like aqua aerobics and yoga, a romantic couples-only spa-evening, face painting for kids, and nature walks. Kids can be kids and parents can get some time to themselves and everyone can still be together.”

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