Feuerstein Nature Family Resort on the Italy-Austria border was exactly what we all needed.
Parents often joke that they need another holiday after holidaying with their kids, to recover from all the stress. I have big news, fellow parents: I’ve found a hotel where you’ll leave just as refreshed as your children. A place where they’ll be kept entertained from dawn until dusk. A restaurant where the staff actively encourage kids to run from one buffet station to the other. A spa for you to relax in, knowing the kids are having fun too. In short, Feuerstein Nature Family Resort is the dream for parents with children of any age.
Swimming pools and slides to suit every taste
My husband and I descended on the resort with what can only be described as a clan: our four-year-old son plus family friends who have kids aged five, six, nine and 11.
The 5-star rural hotel is in the mountains of South Tyrol, right on the Italy-Austria border. Tucked away in a valley, every window looks out on plush forest with the smell of pine trees infusing every room.
We all know that kids don’t wait so no sooner had we checked into our sumptuous rooms than we’d planned a whole host of activities for our stay: pony rides, a wood workshop, painting in the snow, ice skating, day camp and spa treatments for us adults. All of this was just a click away thanks to the hotel’s app.
Then it was straight down for a swim – or a slide, in the case of the kids. Feuerstein has three indoor pools and one outdoor. Soaking in the pool on the patio, the views of the snow-capped Alps against the clear blue sky took my breath away.
The older children could not get enough of the three storey tube waterslide and the little ones entertained themselves for hours on the smaller ones. Don’t worry, I hear you: kids running around and in and out of pools can be stressful. But we could keep a watchful eye over most areas from the oversized lounge beds that surround the pools. The addition of lifeguards, and some other safety measures around the resort, would have helped us to feel even more relaxed.
There was a hot tea dispenser on hand and when a timeout was needed (for children and parents) we retreated to the dimly lit relaxation room to soak in the meditative music while tucked up on beds in the snug alcoves.
For true indulgence, us parents took turns in the adults-only spa. I spent most of my time warming my bones in the Finnish sauna, gazing down at the resort’s ponies romping around in the fresh snow.
How a waiter made us feel welcome at dinner
On our first evening at Feuerstein, a waiter caught us telling our kids to calm down in the restaurant and stop running around. He stopped us and said, “No, don’t worry, they are welcome to be free here, we love it!” This waiter’s comment made such a difference to our dining experience for the rest of the trip. With such simple words, the anxiety of public eating with small children disappeared.
Not only was the food amazing but the setup made meals with your children a stress-free and fun experience.
The dining area was divided into small nooks that you shared with just a few other families so the kids weren’t distracted in a big space.
At the buffet, our children were empowered to get their own drinks, utensils and, in the case of my child, an endless supply of chocolate muffins at breakfast (we were on holiday, you can’t say no!).
We also really appreciated the extra menu that catered to picky eaters, you know for when the handmade ravioli with black truffles wasn’t up to our young diners’ standards.
Is this the only hotel in Europe with an indoor mudroom?
We are a well-travelled group but none of us had ever stayed somewhere so well-catered to families.
For the older children, being able to throw themselves into the hay of the playbarn provided hours of giddy fun. For my little one, the indoor mudroom – an entire room filled with sticky gooey mud – was a dream come true. For our only little lady of the group, the surprise magician (who performed in Italian, German and English) on our last night was a revelation. She bounded over to us after the show with a giant smile on her face, “Did you see it? It’s real magic! How is he doing it?”
We were all left wondering how Feuerstein creates such magic for their guests. We made memories that will last a lifetime.