Severin*s, Lech, Austria

We've stayed in a lot of hotels. Most are good, some are brilliant, and then there are those that linger in your mind long after the door has clicked shut behind you. Severin*s is one of them.

Tucked on a mountain slope away from the clatter of ski boots and clink of glühwein glasses in Lech proper, this is the ultimate alpine retreat. Constructed from wood over 150 years old, the gorgeous chalet-style building stands proud and welcoming, and you just know there'll always be a lit fire inside.

Cross the hearth and you'll find that fire crackling away in a sitting room that'll make you want to kick off your shoes and curl up - the only thing stopping you being impeccably chic surrounds that blend traditional alpine interiors with contemporary touches such as architectural light fittings, design-led furniture and a bookshelf full of interesting, arty reads.

A glass of champagne appears in your hand, quickly followed by miniature burgers. Then you're led through Lichtenstein-strung corridors - the owner is an art collector, and many works are for sale - to your room, where you immediately Google "careers at Severin*s" so you can move in permanently.


Nine suites are the definition of "sumptuous" with exposed wood, contemporary Italian furniture by Minotti, flat-screen Loewe televisions, faux-fur throws, striking artwork, beds that could easily sleep four and, of course, a fireplace, making for deliciously cosy surroundings in which to rest tired limbs after a day on the slopes (or evening familiarising yourself with the après-ski scene).

Black-marble bathrooms are impossibly glossy, completed by paddling pool-sized baths and rain showers. iPads are integrated into the walls to control the lights, television and surround-sound systems, and your (included) minibar will be restocked on a daily basis.

Senior suites have a dining area in the living room, while the sprawling "Residence" offers split-level living for up to eight people, with a fully equipped kitchen (for your private chef), a self-playing grand piano, cinema room and whirlpool hot tub on the terrace.

What's for breakfast?

A lavish spread of regional meats and cheeses join an a la carte menu, while little pots of fruity, yoghurt-y, nutty goodness and fresh bread await on every table.

How about lunch and dinner?

Deep-blue velvet chairs, blonde wood and hanging gold orb-like lights make for simply beautiful surroundings in which to spend at least two hours (and probably three) getting to grips with a sophisticated menu that combines local produce with global flavours on pretty plates. Like all the other rooms, the atmosphere remains homely with convivial chatter emanating from the handful of tables; dining here will leave you with a warm glow, helped along by several bottles from the well-curated wine cellar.

Is there a bar?

Yes, in the reception area - though you'll probably want to take yours to the living room. The negronis are excellent.


Free WiFi, parking (in a heated basement car park), laundry service and 24-hour butler service both included in your room, indoor swimming pool, spa and wellness centre including Technogym, sauna and steam room.

Things I should know

With 26 staff members, there is at least one pair of hands per guest… We're still assessing how our skillset could make the cut.

Within a short walk I can find…

Perhaps the only downside of this place is the fact that it's located in Stubenbach, about a five-minute drive away from the centre of Lech. You'll need to hitch a lift with the hotel's chauffeur to get to the ski lifts and après bars. On the plus side, the resort villages of Zürs, St Christoph and St Anton are all in the vicinity, so once you get into town you are spoilt for choice when it comes to runs.

This trip was arranged by The Oxford Ski Company.