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Hotel Post Bezau

Hotel Post Bezau

Hotel Post Bezau
Hotel Post Bezau
Hotel Post Bezau
Yoga
Hotel Post Bezau
Pool
Hotel Post / Susanne Kaufmann / Bezaubernd

Why Visit?

Mid-covid lockdown I spy a travel image in (then) newly released magazine Konfekt (wonderful reading).  A low rise timber building, deckchairs set on green, green grass – the accompanying article reveals the retreat as Hotel Post Bezau located within the Austrian Alps region of Bregenzerwald – my well travelled European resident Papa assures me, “…it is a perfect place to retreat’’.

The property website has me dreaming – sophisticated simplicity, calm, an unfurling, farm and garden to plate nutritious fare, wellbeing and spa treatments. I vow to visit and a little over 24 months later I find myself arriving in Europe to do just that.  It had been a challenging few years – for all of us.   

Enroute to Post Bezau, at Zurich train station, I have an hour to kill, making a beeline to the English section in the vast bookshop (everything In Switzerland, in every shop, curated, thoughtful). I figure I should attempt to ‘break up’ with my phone for stretches (can’t very well get to the nub of things if I’m constantly scrolling). Stolen Focus (Johan Hari) stands out from piles of ‘easier’ reads, it should be perfect yet feels a stretch too far, a challenge I’m not up to. To sit with a book, about lack of focus, while desperately trying to still my mind and be with my thoughts. Ever the optimist, I buy it.

I arrive in Bezau Village late Saturday afternoon, everything closed. Low grade panic sets in. What on earth – traversing three countries to thrust myself into the extreme depths of countryside Austria. I’ve loved the buzz of seaside ‘summer Europe’, juxtaposed with French Alpine life – je ne sais quoi coursing through both.

I’m in shock as I check-in, which continues as the delightful receptionist walks me along silent corridors to my room, home for the next 10 days. The room refreshingly sparse.  Everything I need and nothing more. Fitting. 

Here rural life is life. On an early morning hike; the local dairy sits on the main street – scent of fresh pungent manure permeates, cheese made across the street, tractors sit alongside local craft shops, flowers and produce contrast the dominant green – mountains, grass, shutters. A brilliant beam of sun appears – returning from my walk the silent street bustles, Sunday church and I am underdressed. Bells toll. Then at 8.45am precisely. Just the birds. 

Serendipity, as I pass the fitness room a beaming young man (from Sanctum) pokes his head out and hands me a set of headphones, motioning me in – the space full of healthy folk of all generations, bound by vitality. “Feel the energy…”, he chants – rather than sounding like well trodden psycho babble – it motivates.  Releases the beast, as it were  Just what I need, a sanctuary far from my comfort zone, miles from familiarity, a place to renew, forcing me to look within. Surrender to the moment. By day three the cow manure doesn’t smell like poo, it smells organic.

Catering to a clientele too used to making too many decisions, the atmosphere at  Post Bezau is stripped back, architecturally perfect, yet cosy; reading nooks, open fire in season, french doors opening to the summer breezes. 

The Yoga room looks on to verdant grazing pastures, tapering to extraordinary mountains. Claudine, resident Meditation practitioner, asks us to focus on the light at their peak, “…mountains are solid, steadfast,” she hums. I resolve to embrace a grounded base – try weightless rather than anchorless. My already light suitcase now feels burdensome. I want to feel fleet of foot. I ship half the contents home and vow to accumulate experiences rather than stuff.

It takes three days  to shed a compulsion to ‘fill the moments’ – by then Hotel Post has me under its spell.

WHERE WE STAY

Post Bezau Retreat Hotel.  “I have come every year…for ten years,” a fellow guest exclaims, as we slip out of bathrobes and into one of the saunas of varying heat. This refrain repeated throughout my visit. 

Testimony to the goal of hotelier and cosmetics creator Susanne Kaufmann (the property has been in Ms Kaufmann’s family for over 170 years), and hotel director Stephanie Rist to: ‘Create an attentive and inspiring place to experience a positive change in life and body’. Using beautiful regional nature as the backdrop for award winning retreat programs. Guests flock for the tranquility and cocooning the property affords.  A sanctuary from modern fast paced life.

The locals’ knowledge of a healthy diet incorporating regional foods, and the beneficial effects of the alpine herbs on wellbeing is impressive. Meals are included in the tariff (breakfast, luncheon/afternoon tea, dinner, unlimited local fruits, and home blended herbal teas).  Guests choose from three menus depending on the retreat they have booked  – opting for the Irma Cuisine (nutritionally dense, partly vegetarian, seasonally produced). I am more satiated than I have been for years.  Assigned a table in the dining room for my stay I feel initially awkward dining alone – however I form a companionable bond with neighbouring diners and learn to enjoy the meals mindfully. Weight loss not my goal (it is for many guests), although by the time I leave I am sleeping better, feeling cleansed rather than a typical post holiday bloat, I vow to take this style of eating back into my regular life (not dissimilar from the Blue Zone region of Okinawa where ‘Hara hachi bu…’ informs their food intake ‘eat until only 80% full).

(Investigate hotel website for packages, room types, and full facilities list).

BEHIND THE SCENES

Post Bezau was established as one of the original alpine spas by Susanne Kaufmann’s grandmother, you may recognise Susanne’s name from her eponymous beauty brand  available in Australia at Mecca.  Kaufmann senior passed on many Traditional European herbal remedies and natural beauty secrets – many of which form the basis of both the beauty line and the ethos of Post Bezau. 

TO PONDER.

This is a remote location – I learn to love this aspect of my stay.  Post Bezau is in the middle of the village; supermarket, weekly fresh produce market, bakery, a couple of restaurants, a smattering of boutiques, pharmacies, cheeses, superb information centre. In high summer activities from classical music open air concerts, to hikes to high country alpine huts. A day trip to neighbouring Lech or St Anton a nice option.

WE LIKE.

Susanne Kaufmann a leader in natural cosmetic formulations and a pioneer in sustainable business practices (the range began by using the by-product whey,  a local farmer as partner). Her encyclopedic knowledge of the restorative strength of the regional natural bounty translates into chic, holistic, efficacy backed product and treatment range.

THE VERDICT.

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Highest score for ‘green heart’ – a property delivering a full abundance of Wellbeing incorporating surrounding community and environment.

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Highest score for ‘retreat love’ – where you can simply be, join group activities, enjoy a full range of well thought out facilities (natural active ingredient cosmetic treatments, gym, yoga, meditation, saunas, steam, pools, hiking, sleep rooms), tailored nutrition upon request.

Hotel Post Bezau

Image Credits: Hotel Post image library and MvT.

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If you are a slow traveller, seek a sense of wellbeing, love Retreats, and tips from chic locals – you are in the right place.

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