Crisp winter days, sledging, enough snow to build a snowman – everything we needed to keep a toddler happy. That’s what we were looking for in 2012 when we decided to take our then 2-year-old son on a winter holiday to the Allgäu region in Bavaria.
When looking for family friendly hotels in Bavaria, we came across the the Kinderhotel Oberjoch hotel in the Bad Hindelang region. It seemed perfect for toddlers and had enough to cater for me and my husband as well. We hadn’t been parents very long and having a child in our mid-thirties/early forties meant that we had experienced a fair amount of life before. So, for us, it was important that we could relax in a calm atmosphere and be able to go to a good restaurant and enjoy a sophisticated meal. It didn’t have to be fine cuisine (although we don’t mind that every now and then), but we wanted to be able to enjoy a cosy, romantic atmosphere with delicious food.
We were very excited to go to Bavaria during the winter because we knew just how beautiful this region is at other times of the year. We went to Bad Hindelang in September and enjoyed the beautiful landscape, walking trails and the delicious Bavarian food. This time we flew with EasyJet to Munich and hired a car for the drive to the village of Oberjoch, close to Bad Hindelang. The village was around 190km from Munich (approximately a 2-hour drive) but luckily the motorways were clear of snow. The nearer we got towards our destination, the landscape literally started changing into a winter wonderland – all covered in beautiful snow.
When we arrived at the hotel, we noticed lots of children running around and our son was excited to join in. You could immediately see that the hotel’s focus was on its younger guests – making it a perfect start to our family holiday. To our son’s delight, our medium sized suite even had a colourful little den as well as everything else we needed like a changing mat and a nappy bin. We also liked the interior design of the rooms and suites, which were all modern and colourful.
Equipment at your fingertips
While walking around the hotel, we noticed that they had prams and buggies, carry bags for hiking in addition to the expected high chairs, microwaves (for heating up milk), bottle warmers etc. Basically, the hotel had thought of everything that a family with young children might need.
All the play areas were safe and well-designed with a large selection of toys including bobby cars and other vehicles, climbing frames to name a few. There were also kid’s clubs available for all ages and our son had a great time in one while we enjoyed a little pause from being parents.
During our week-long-stay, we spent quite a bit of time in the hotel’s indoor swimming pool. We weren’t that impressed with it as it looked rather dated. However, the splash area for the little ones was great. There was also a heated outdoor pool. I recently had a look at the hotel’s website, and I’m pleased to say that it looks as if the indoor pool area has been refurbished.
While we were there, we also had a peek at the teens room, which didn’t look that appealing. But I’m sure that the hotel has since improved this space too.
Kids restaurant – fun for our son
The restaurant was well-kitted out for children with highchairs and tot-friendly food. Our son loved helping himself to the buffet, which was at the perfect height for him to reach everything. The choice of food included healthy options like fruit and vegetables – perfect for children. A playroom was also located next to the restaurant, giving the little ones somewhere to go after they’d eaten.
Eating out with children isn’t quite the same
I don’t need to tell you how different it is to eat out with children – particularly if it’s not a child-friendly restaurant. As parents, we are often on tenterhooks, worrying whether or not our little ones are bothering fellow diners. So, eating in the hotel’s child-friendly restaurant certainly made it easier for us to relax. We actually found it really sweet to see how independent and grown up the children felt as they loaded up their plates.
Of course, it goes without saying that a restaurant with children running around isn’t going to be the most peaceful of places. I can imagine that it’s not always easy for hotels to find the right balance. But children need the freedom to be children and if they are happy – so are the parents. Oh, how our priorities change when we become parents!
Treating myself to some me time
As well as making sure the children have a fantastic time on holiday, I do think it’s important to find time for yourself as well. I’m a big fan of spas and wellness areas and I think it’s an excellent idea if a hotel has a child-free area so that the adults can completely unwind. For me, it’s about finding the right balance between family time and me time.
While we were staying at the Kinderhotel Oberjoch in 2012, we booked some reflexology, massage and wrap treatments. At the time, the ambience wasn’t quite right. However, that was six years ago and things have improved a lot since then. Their website now shows a beautifully refurbished spa area, renovated rooms and suites as well as the new pool area. The reviews on TripAdvisor are certainly very good, with the average rating being ‘Excellent’.
As times and expectations change, hotels need to keep up with demands. I can see that the Kinderhotel Oberjoch has adapted and found a good balance between adult and child-friendly facilities. After our visit, I wasn’t sure if I’d want to return to this hotel. However, looking at it now I’m curious to see it again and I’m sure my son would still love it. So, watch this space! I might give you an update here at a later stage! 😊
Oh what fun it is to ride on a one-horse sleigh
Our son has always been very sociable and finds it easy to make friends. This holiday was no exception and we got chatting to a lovely family. As we all got on so well, we decided to explore the surrounding area together. We opted on a sleigh ride, which took us through a magical winter wonderland. We were all wrapped up in blankets and the boys had a great time sitting next to the coachman. It was a fabulous day out for both families!
Here are some links if you’d like to book a sleigh ride in Bad Hindelang:
Sledging fun behind the hotel
Whenever we’re on holiday, we always enjoy venturing out and discovering the surrounding area. With an energetic child – it’s even more essential to include some sort of activity!
In Oberjoch, with our then 2-year-old son, we took him for walks in the snow, had snowball fights and built a snowman. For children over three, there’s a children’s snow area (Kinderland) where children can learn to ski, have fun tobogganing or enjoy some ice-skating.
Our son was desperate to join in but one of the ski instructors didn’t recommend learning to ski until the age of four. He said, from his experience, very young children don’t really enjoy wearing the gear, they get cold quickly and they don’t really understand what they need to do. Plus, it’s much more of a bother when they need to use the loo! We followed his advice and our son started learning to ski when he was five.
As part of the hotel package, a pass for the Oberjoch Plus ski area was included – as long as you stayed at least one night. It’s not very large, so if you are an advanced skier, you would be better off going for something more challenging. But it’s perfect for the average skier or snowboarder like us. They also offer other activities like snow shoe walking.
We did sneak out one day while our son was in the hotel’s kids club (which was against the rules) and tested out some of the slopes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling very well and after three runs down, we decided to call it a day and head off for a well-deserved Bavarian lunch.