“ Address: Kreuzlingerstrasse 2 / Rankweil / A-6830 / Austria „
== Hotel Hoher Freschen ==
On my recent family holiday with National Holiday's I travelled to Austria where my family and I spent six nights in the Hotel Hoher Freschen whilst visiting attractions throughout Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. My stay in the hotel was extremely pleasant and I hope to return there soon.
== Location ==
The Hoher Freschen is located in Rankweil a beautiful little town situated in the River-Rhine-Valley in the district of Feldkirch. The hotel is in many respects in a prime location as it is positioned dead opposite a train station and therefore offers superb transport links for any tourist. [The train station let me add does not run trains late into the evening or in the early morning and cannot be heard running from inside the hotel]. The location of the Hoher Freschen is not only brilliant because of the train station but also because by car or coach you can be in Liechtenstein within 20 minutes, Germany within half and hour and Switzerland in not much more. Better still if you put your foot down you can be in Milan within three hours.
== Check-in ==
Being a coach party when we arrived at the hotel one of our drivers went inside to announce our arrival and make sure the staff were ready for us. Upon ascertaining that they were we all trouped indoors to collect our keys. The entrance to the hotel is nothing spectacular but clean, tidy and well laid out all the same. You enter through a newly built glass front extension and through a set of automatic doors. Once inside you find yourself in a reasonably sized reception area with entrance to the restaurant on your left, stairs just in front of you and a lift and reception desk just to your right. Further right is a small seating area plus entrance to the bar and patio area, which is also accessible from the street.
The check-in process itself was very simple. We walked up to the desk. Were greeted by two very smart and pleasant young women and then gave our name. After checking down the list for the name a key was produced and then handed over to us along with instructions as to were the room was situated and how we were to reach it. Both of our rooms a twin room for me and my brother and a double for my parents were situated on the first floor, which was accessible by both stairs and lift.
== The Twin Room ==
The twin room was the room in, which I spent most of my time and I must say I was very impressed with it from the moment I stepped inside the door. The room itself was situated at the back of the hotel and was directly opposite my parent's room.
Upon walking into the room I was immediately hit by how large it seemed. To my immediate left was a three-door wardrobe followed by an extensive desk on which was sat an 18inch flat screen TV. To my right were two single beds with a bedside cabinet on each side and in the middle. The beds themselves had rather firm mattresses, which I found out later on to be extremely comfortable. Looking further into the room I saw two steps leading up to another small level on which was sat a table and two rather comfortable looking chairs. Opposite this table and chair arrangement was a door leading to the bathroom.
The bathroom itself was a very reasonable side with a bathtub directly opposite the door on the far wall and a toilet and sink opposite one another in front of the bath. Towels were plentiful and were extremely soft and everything looked lovely and clean including the showerhead fitting in the bath. The bathroom also housed a more than useable and in fact very good hairdryer, as well as sockets for electric razors and toothbrushes.
I must say that this room was a real gem throughout my stay in the hotel. The beds were spacious and comfortable, the provided chairs good for lounging in and the room of a more than adequate size to home all our gear and us without any space issues. My only qualm about the room would be to do with the bath. Now the baths on the continent can be a little strange and this one was no exception. The plug for the bath was located in the centre and therefore the bottom of the bath either side was sloped to allow for drainage. Now this wouldn't normally we a problem but because the shower was part of the bath it did mean that you had to stand on the sloped section n order to get your head under the shower. This wasn't particularly a problem for me as I just stood on the provided bath mat but someone a little bit taller may have had issues actually fitting in the space between showerhead and bath.
== The Double Room ==
The double room that my parents had for the week was located at the front of the hotel and overlooked the train station. Like I mentioned earlier this wasn't actually a problem as from inside the room you couldn't hear the trains going by and trust me if it was possible to do so my mum would have done.
Like the twin room this double room was equally spacious with the same wardrobe and desk layout and the twin beds simply replaced for a rather large double bed. The mattresses in this room however were spring ones but that didn't bother us one little bit, we have them at home. The chairs and table in this room were on the right hand side of the door but equally as comfortable.
The back of the room however was laid out completely differently to the twin room. To begin with there was no raised area and when you moved towards the back of the room you realised that the sink wasn't inside the bathroom but behind a small wall. Above the sink was a large mirror and fastened to the sink unit was a towel rail, hairdryer and shaver sockets. This was brilliant in my opinion because it meant that you could brush your teeth or do your hair or whatever without invading the bathroom whilst someone was trying to use it.
The bathroom itself was accessed by a door on the left of the room at the back. The bathroom was smaller than that in the twin room but equally as nice. To the left of the door was a toilet and to the right a lovely sized glass shower cubicle with sliding door. Towel facilities were again more than adequate here.
== Room Service ==
When it comes to room service I again have nothing to complain about as everything was handled very professionally. Every day the beds in your rooms would be made and the bathroom visibly cleaned. Towels would be replaced if they were left on the floor and the free shower gel and shampoo dispensers refilled. The room's bin would also be emptied on a daily basis and the glass framed artwork cleaned. The curtains for the room would also be drawn if the weather was hot in an attempt to keep out the brightest of the suns rays.
== Restaurant, Bar & Patio ==
Now no good hotel is every complete without a suitable restaurant and bar and the Hoher Freschen certainly had both of these. The restaurant as I have already mentioned was accessed by a door to the left of the entrance and led you into a rather spacious room. This room were we ate our breakfast and had our evening meal every night. We were seated in groups of 4, 6 or 10, as we were a group party but I do know that the hotel can quickly move the tables around to suit anyone's needs. We personally only used the front half of the restaurant area and therefore the back was sometimes portioned of and used as a conference room or private dining area for others.
The tables themselves were spaciously laid out allowing you enough room to move freely in and out of your seats and were tastefully decorated. Plain white cloths covered the tops and then brightly coloured napkins and glass vases with beautiful flower arrangements added an element of colour. The only problem with this room was that on an evening time it could become a little hot and some form of air conditioning certainly would have helped at times.
The bar was probably the part of the hotel that we used the least as the weather was always so lovely that we drank outside on the patio area. I did however make a couple of trips to the bar just to see what it was like. Accessed through a door to the far left of the reception desk you have to climb a couple of steps to get into the main bar area. Inside the room was in many ways like a typical Austrian bar but very pleasant all the same. Numerous deep-set wooden tables were spaciously positioned and the walls tastefully decorated with traditional woodcarvings and clocks. The bar itself was to the very right of the door when you entered and made up of a simple work surface upon which stood two pumps. Below the unit were a few fridges for storing wine and behind the unit a cabinet for storing spirits. Like the reception area there was nothing flashy about the bar but it served it's job and when you come to realise that the Austrian's don't queue at a bar but sit down and wait for their order to be taken then you see how it was more than adequate for its purpose.
The patio area like I have mentioned was were we as a family did most of our drinking. Accessed by sliding doors opposite the reception or from the street itself the patio area was a decently sized paved area, which was partially shaded by trees and given privacy from the main street by a hedge. This did mean however that the sun wasn't always the best in this area but it did offer shade from the haze of rain that passed on one night and from the midday sun throughout most of the week. The area contained ten or so tables or varying sizes and adequate seating for thirty or so people. The hotel also provided cushions for the chairs and tablecloths for the wooden tables, which was a nice touch. Also light showers could be warned of by a couple of large umbrella type things carefully unfolded by the manager and darkness warned away by some tasteful lighting in the tree canopy.
== Food & Drink ==
Now on to the food and drink itself, which I must say also greatly impressed me. Being a coach party we were offered a choice of two menus each night, which we had to choose the night before. The starters and desserts on these menus were the same but the main course different. I myself never had any problems with any of the meal choices and I don't think anyone else in the party did either.
The presentation of all the meals that we received was absolutely superb and really made me think highly of the restaurant. Everything from starters to desserts was tastefully positioned on the plate and beautifully decorated in order for you to make the most of your eating. The breakfast, which was of the typical continental variety (cereal, bread, cheese, meat, fruit, eggs) was also well laid out and there was always plenty to go around, as the table was constantly been filled out.
With another thought to the evening meals I must say that the meals presented were always a pleasure to eat. The pate's tasted delightful and the salads were always fresh and crisp. The main meals, which included steak, chicken in paprika sauce and pork in black bean sauce were truly delicious and the deserts a real treat for all who ate them.
All of the meals that we were given however aren't directly available through the hotels general menu but this menu did include Schnitzel dishes, chicken dishes, pork dishes and salads as well as deserts such as ice-cream sundaes and banana splits, which all looked lovely too. The meals were also reasonably priced from what I saw and the fact that most of the plates I saw had been scrapped clean by the time they returned inside indicates to me that the food tasted as good as it looked.
Drinks in the Hoher Freschen were also very reasonably price and all the ones I had were well served and tasted lovely. Soft drinks such as coke and lemonade came in their glass bottle along with a tall glass and cost Euro2.50. Beer came in two sizes large and small and cost Euro3.20 and Euro2.50 respectively. Wine both white and red cost Euro2.20 a glass and long drinks such as vodka and orange or white rum and coke cost Euro4.00 and constituted of a double shot of the spirit top up with the desired soft drink in a reasonable sized glass. A typical Austrian cider was also available along with wine mixes, brandy, sherry and fresh juices.
== General Service ==
The general service provided by the hotel was by all standards excellent. Every member of staff that I can across had impeccable manners and were eternally polite even if they weren't certain what we wanted. The language barrier however wasn't often a problem for those guests that didn't speak German as all the staff had fantastic English communication skills and would always do their best to try and provide you with what you wanted. A smile and a quick Danke (thank you) was all they wanted in return and if you can't give this to the people doing their very best to make your holiday enjoyable then you probably shouldn't be expecting them to do all they can.
The restaurant area was always being cleaned by the staff and the evening meal was served as a good pace that allowed you to savour the course you had just eaten before moving onto the next one. Similarly on the patio area plates and dishes were cleaned away promptly and drinks service was very quick. Drinks tabs were paid throughout the night when the girls arrived with their money wallets at the table or when you yourself requested to pay. On one of the nights however a concert in the town did mean the staff were a little rushed and therefore service not as quick but the service was still provided with a large smile, which made up for having to wait a little bit.
== Other Hotel Facilities ==
The Hoher Freschen also provides many other facilities to its guests. For example free safes are provided in all the rooms as well as free internet access and the hotel is more than happy to provide extra pillows, sewing kits, socket adapters, shoe cleaning kits, painkillers and more toilet articles completely free of charge. A laundry cleaning service is also operated in the hotel and laundry aims to be returned within 36 hours.
On top of this it is also possible to hire one of two bikes although I'm not sure whether this costs or not and the management are always willing to order you a taxi or help you to book tickets for the train or even for an upcoming concert or show. The manager himself was also eternally eager to help you plan other activities and helped us find a few interesting things to visit on our free day. He also informed us upon arrival that our hotel room key also let us into the main hotel if we returned after 11pm and that should we for any reason need him during the night a phone in a box outside the hotel would call his mobile phone directly.
== Check-out ==
I must say that I was rather sad to leave the Hoher Freschen after my stay their and that when it came to checking out I was rather reluctant to do so. The process itself was however very painless. I simply walked down the stairs from my room and handed in my key to the manager, who had come in especially to say goodbye to our party. He then quickly checked up on his list that we didn't owe anything or have anything to collect and said he hoped we come back again in the winter maybe.
== Prices ==
Now because I stayed at this hotel as part of my holiday coach trip deal I don't actually know how much I paid for the privilege. The figures I have printed below are therefore what I have managed to gather from the internet and so may not be completely accurate.
I believe, and trust me when I say that this was a little difficult to find out, that both double and single rooms cost around £108.00 a night but I do presume that discounts would apply for stays longer than one night and group bookings as my holiday as a whole which included travel, hotel, 8 breakfast and 6 evening meals only cost £450 per person.
== Overall Conclusion ==
Overall I cannot really find fault with this hotel. Yes the bath showerhead was a little funny and air conditioning in the restaurant room would have helped a little bit but there is nothing major that would stop me from returning to this hotel or from recommending it to anyone else. The staff are eternally well presented and well mannered and everything about my stay here went wonderfully well. If you need a lovely little hotel to stay in whilst in Austria then you should certainly look at this one.
It is a convenient transit point cornering Switzerland (5 min. by car), Liechtenstein (15 min) and South Germany (30 min. to the Lake of Constance) making it an ideal location, not to mention that the hotel lies in heart of the Alps!