£40,000 A Night: Inside One Of The Most Swish Stays In The Austrian Alps – Lech Valley’s Arula Chalets

By Tessa Dunthorne

6 months ago

What's the most luxe stay in the Austrian alps like?


At €40,000 a night in the winter on a chalet-board basis, the Arula chalets are among the most luxuriating spaces in the alps in which to prop your feet up. So what’s it like to stay in this incredibly exclusive space? Tessa Dunthorne reviews Arula Chalet One. 

Review: Arula Chalets, Austria

Stay

Peeking out from the elbow of the Lech valleys are the Arula Chalets. These sibling lodges ooze 007-appeal – you can easily picture Bond kicking his feet up here after a hard day in sporty pursuit of a nefarious villain (probably down the north face of a nearby Valluga mountain). 

Arula Chalets outside

Both chalets are decadent options for snowseekers looking to apres-ski in style. The smaller chalet, Arula Two, is a cosy family retreat sleeping a party of eight. But for big ticket trips, Arula One, the sister chalet, is a behemoth, and the only real choice. Classic in look with postcard-idyllic timber cladding, it sleeps a whopping 22 people and promises a party. The swish private bar is complete with shuffleboard table, plush sofas topped with mountainous blankets, and – of course – its very own barman. A drink here could be an expertly twisted negroni, or a bottle chosen from the vast wine cellar. If the party does get going, the garage, which sits three floors down, can convert into a party barn, DJ included.

Bedroom at the Arula Chalet

The rooms themselves are cosy, while giving no concession to kitsch. These are maturely designed, cooler-than-cool bedrooms in which to rest your weary head after a day trekking mountains. There are nine spaces to sleep – all double bedrooms or kitted out for the kids – and I stay in the mezzanine bedroom which houses both a bed and living area split over two floors. The bathroom is so decadent you almost feel guilty muddying it, with a large freestanding tub sat in view of the window (don’t worry – peeping toms can’t see in, due to the height of the room), and one of those slightly-dystopian toilets which opens as it senses your approach. The other bedrooms include desks, cosy sofas, and the children’s room has a bunk bed that invites jumping on as well as outdoor play area with slides and swings facing the mountain.  

The only word of warning is that in the summer these rooms suck in so much heat that it necessitates flinging open the doors at night. But with fresh alpine air, this is a treat.  

Eat

Expect the hospitality to be so constant that you’ll need to use their fitness facilities to burn off the calories (more on that later). 

Begin the day with breakfast served up family-style outside on the balcony – a huge table sports bread, jams, ham, pastries, freshly squeezed orange juice, pretty cafetieres and that’s before they even bring out any food ordered a la carte. The rest of the day is a similar whirlwind of food; enjoy lunch or afternoon tea (with plenty of cake), pre-dinner sweet treats, dinner and post-dinner snacks. There’s a rare few hours each day where food isn’t on offer, and you could probably ask the chalet team to rustle up some snacks even then. 

Food at the Arula Chalets

Of course, for staple meals, the chalet has its own head chef – but should you prefer, you can bring your own. For dinners with the in-house team, it’s a smattering of local Austrian favourites and dinners per your request; think piping celeriac soup, schnitzel and käsespätzle, matched with lots of salad, potatoes and in-season produce. 

Any good holiday includes as much drinking as eating. Cautiou, though: having access to your own barman for the duration of your stay is a boon and a curse. You will imbibe much more heartily than you might otherwise intend to, but it’ll be the most supremely shaken martini. The in-house sommelier, too, is a privilege – should you be stuck on the perfect bottle to wind down the evening with, the sommelier will happily host a tasting in the wine cellar. 

Do

Let’s leave the obvious (skiing) until last: Arula One offers much, much more than just bed and board to facilitate a powder-based holiday, to such a point where you should covet a trip well out of season.

Spa at the Arula Chalets

The first order of any day at Arula One is to relax. Start each morning with fresh limbs – descend the flight of stairs to enter what is essentially a maze of spa treatment rooms: first open pores in the coal-stoked steam room, then follow your nose to the hay room to have a massage at the deft hands of sought-after wellbeing therapists brought in from all across Europe. Perhaps follow this by a second massage on the waterbed, in a salt-lined room, or leave that for later. Either way, you’ll want to follow up with a refreshing soak in the indoor heated pool, alongside a coffee enjoyed waterside. Those needing a harder push should use the state-of-the-art gym equipment.

And for those with little ones, no fear, your 12pm relaxathon will not be interrupted by the pitter-patter of very-bored-feet: the chalet’s team have a partnership with children’s entertainment company, Sharky & George, to run them ragged with treasure hunts and immersive adventures galore. 

Summer at Arula

Should you be keen for an adventure of your own, the chalet will pull strings to send you out into the wild world. Summer visitors can benefit from cycle rides (rent an e-bike for easier navigation of the constant up-hill-down-hill in the Tiroler Lech national park), foraging walks (local guide Veronika Walch will convince you to put all sorts of herbs and flowers in your mouth), or even trying a hand at ice-skating at the chalet’s own little ice rink. And in such an exclusive space, they’ll happily set up exercises classes and experiences per guest request, whether it’s creaking into downward dog at enormous height, or training your abs in a vigorous pilates class.

Foraging with Veronika Walch

And in terms of the main event: Arula offers slope access in moments. The ski-in, ski-out chalets sit on the Schlosskopf slope, and Oberlech benefits from among the best snowfall across the entire Alps. Its link to Zürs, Warth-Schröcken and St Anton (via the Ski Arlberg pass) allows access to a total 302km of linked pistes that are particularly good for intermediate skiers. It’s also of note that Lech is the only resort in Austria that permits heli-skiing; the chalet has an exclusive partnership with dps skis to facilitate guests getting first access each morning via air to nearby Schneetäli and Mehlsack. The access the chalet can provide doesn’t end there, either: Arula’s team has money-can’t-buy connections with former ski champs, enabling guests to improve their technique with the best of the best.  

FINAL WORD: A treat for powder-hounds and summer adventurers alike, Arula Chalet’s reputation as one of the most luxuriating chalets in the world is well-earned. Enquire about summer or winter bookings at thearulachalets.com.