As you may know, we’re a small family of three – my husband, my 8-year-old son and myself. Although, strictly speaking, we are four if you include my gorgeous west highland terrier Charlie! As a family, we’ve travelled to many places in Germany over the past few years. In this blog, I’d like to show you another place that we’ve been to – thanks to a recommendation from our friend Sonja. Let me take you to Bavaria again – this time to the eastern part of this beautiful federal state in the south of Germany.
It ticked all the boxes
When our son was four years old, we wanted to go on holiday to Bavaria, and we were looking for a family-friendly hotel that had activities that would appeal to both adults and children. We didn’t have Charlie at that time, so there was no need to look for dog-friendly accommodation as well. My friend, Sonja, who has three children herself (the youngest being four years older than my son), spent several holidays in the family-friendly Ulrichshof hotel in the Bavarian Forest. So, as they’d ‘tested’ it several times, I thought it was a good idea to try it out for ourselves. I always think recommendations are great!
Making the journey part of your holiday
If the drive is likely to take more than seven hours, we always like to include a stopover somewhere along the way. It avoids being in the car too long, and we get to discover something new as an added bonus.
As we live in the UK, we always use the Eurotunnel if we go by car. It’s an easy 35-minute-journey from Folkestone to Calais, and I like the flexibility of having a two-hour time window within the booked departure time. Something you don’t have if you go by ferry. Another plus for the Eurotunnel is also that it’s easier to take your pet, because you stay in your car during the crossing – unlike the ferry, where you need to leave your pet in the car while you go up to the passenger area.
The downside to the Eurotunnel is that it can be slightly more expensive, especially if you choose the flexiplus option, which allows you the freedom to board whenever you like.
Hello Düsseldorf! Hello family! Hello Schweinfurt! Hello friends!
As we have friends and family living in Düsseldorf, we always like to take the opportunity to pop in and say hello before travelling to the south of Germany. That’s exactly what we did when we went to Bavaria in 2014. We also took another break to our journey, and visited friends in Schweinfurt, a city in the beautiful Franconia region.
Nature, wellness and family fun – just our cup of tea
We stayed in the superior 4-star Ulrichshof family hotel, which is also part of the Familotel marketing cooperation. We’ve also stayed in one of these hotels on a skiing holiday to Austria, and we like the concept and standards they’ve set for a family hotel. I don’t know about you, but for me, first impressions count. The lobby should be a welcoming space for guests, and if it’s modern, with an interior design that meets my expectations, I’m immediately happy and relaxed.
Being presented with a little welcome gesture would always win me over. Whether it’s a glass of Champagne or a scented face towel on a hot day, it goes a long way in making guests feel welcome. I always get excited about going on holiday, and appreciate every little moment. And that included the wonderful atmosphere and the warm welcome we received at the Ulrichshof hotel.
A paradise for children
After having settled into our room, we had a look around the hotel, and discovered a soft play area, a place where the children can enjoy various ride-on vehicles (tractors, bobby cars, etc.), as well as a play barn where the children could jump around in the hay. Even the parents enjoyed jumping in the hay! Great fun! Our son really enjoyed playing with the other children – whether it was climbing up the castle or sliding down the slides. Another popular attraction were the bumper cars. Smaller children were able to use them with an adult, and the older children got a chance to be in charge! The various indoor and outdoor pools were also great for families.
Some me-time for parents
The hotel had managed to create some peaceful areas for parents to recharge; without worrying about the children. I quite often enjoyed a coffee in one of the cosy areas in the lobby, just reading while my son was playing. Thanks to the open plan design, I was able to hear him, but still found the peace I needed. During our stay we also had the chance to have a peak at the top floor, which was under construction at the time. Here, you can now find a lovely ‘executive lounge’, where you can enjoy extra services for an additional charge.
Spa time, me-time, quality-time
The beauty of having only one child is that you can take turns with the childminding duties, and allow yourself a little break. That’s exactly what we did at the Ulrichshof hotel. The ‘Wald Spa’ was tastefully designed, and perfect for relaxing in one of the various saunas or steam baths. We even treated ourselves to a relaxing massage while we were there. The wellness and spa treatments on offer range from massages (also for children), facials, beauty treatments, Ayurveda, physiotherapy, manicure, pedicure, relaxing baths, and much more. I always find that taking some time for myself and having a break from being a parent enables me to enjoy my time with my son even more.
There’s also the option of booking your child or children into the ‘Tohuwabohu’ kids’ club. The club is well- organised, and has professional staff. This way, you’re able to enjoy a spa break together, or maybe do something separately if you have a special interest.
Looking at their website, I’ve discovered that the Ulrichshof hotel now offers a ‘lay-in service’, where carers will collect the children from your room at 7am, and give them breakfast, so you can spend a little longer in bed. It wasn’t an option when we were there, but I think it’s a great idea for parents of children who are early risers. How wonderful not to have to function at the crack of dawn on holiday! 😊
Allow yourself an evening on your own
While we were staying at the Ulrichshof hotel, we decided to take advantage of their babysitting service one evening so that we could have a quiet dinner in an adult-only restaurant. Being foodies, we do enjoy a sophisticated meal in a calm atmosphere – something you wouldn’t get in the hotel’s family restaurant. The buffet offered in the family restaurant is great, but I do like the atmosphere you get in a restaurant with table service. Somehow, it feels less rushed.
In my opinion, you shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying an evening out with your partner. To be able to have a conversation without any distractions is essential. Life often gets in the way, so we need to make the effort to include some quality time together. After all, communication is key in any relationship. Maybe you could take advantage of a babysitting service on your next holiday, and go for a drink or meal with your partner? As parents – we deserve it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about another of our family holidays to Germany. I wanted to write this blog because we really enjoyed the ten days we spent at the Ulrichshof hotel. It’s a great place – particularly for families with young children. In my opinion, the hotel may not offer enough entertainment for children over ten, unless they’re interested in horse riding. But for families with babies and toddlers, the hotel has a lot of facilities and services to make your stay a relaxed one.
As a mum to a football enthusiast, it’s worth mentioning that the hotel didn’t offer any organised matches or training sessions at the time we stayed. However, they do have a football pitch if you enjoy a kick around.
The Bavarian Forest is a beautiful National Park, and the hotel is ideally located to visit Regensburg, Passau, Nuremberg, or even across the border to the Czech Republic. Prague is around two and a half hours from the hotel. In my next blog, I’ll be talking more about the things we did in the surrounding area.Read about another family hotel in Bavaria