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Wheelchair Accessible Austrian Chalet Getaway

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The Austrian Alps in the summer

A Review of La Soa in the Austrian Alps

Last summer we won a three night stay in La Soa, a beautiful retreat in the Austrian Alps. I was worried about both accessibility and family-friendliness, but I needn’t have worried. As our most luxurious stay to date, this one is worth sharing! Here’s what we learned about wheelchair accessible La Soa Chalets and Event Lodge and the surrounding areas in Tyrol, Schattwald, and Tannheimer Tal.

The Location

The backdrop of the Austrian Alps and the surrounding hill country views are enough lure for guests of any travel style. The luxury hut village of La Soa in the Tannheimer Tal – a unique high valley in the Tannheimer mountains at about 1100 meters above sea level – invites those seeking relaxation as well as active holidaymakers to take a break in modern luxury chalets in Schattwald in Tyrol. You could be content relaxing in the Alpine village and enjoying the on-site amenities, but there is also plenty of mountain adventure to explore. There are two ski mountains within easy range, a few small towns to explore, and endless views in every direction. We took the train to Innsbruck before taking a bus up the mountain, and we could tell from the very start of our journey that the natural beauty of the area would be unparalleled.

Schattwald

The chalet village is perched on a hill in the center of Schattwald. There is a small grocery and souvenir store just down the hill to the left, and there is an off-campus restaurant to the right. There are bus stops on both sides of the village entrance, but both require navigating hills. La Soa does have a golf cart on campus that can be requested for transportation to and from the bus stops.

Tannheimer Tal

Tannheimer Tal was our favorite off-site destination for exploring. Voted by German Wandermagazin as the most beautiful hiking region in Austria, it’s less than 20 minutes by bus from the chalets. The town was easy to roll through and the views were accessible. There were not always curb cuts, or sidewalks, for that matter, but the streets were wide and meant for walking. There was very little traffic.

The ski lift to the top of the mountain (lift tickets included with your stay at La Soa!) has ramped access and wide doorways into the gondola. They stopped the ride to give us time to load and unload and it was an easy process for some spectacular views. The top of the mountain has several trail options, but none that we could manage with a manual wheelchair. We took in the views just off the lift, but we didn’t wander too far.

There is a mountain top restaurant, but it’s down a steep gravel path and up a flight of stairs. In town, there are several quintessential pubs serving up delicious schnitzel. They also had ice cream shops, cafes, historic churches, and an art museum. Most of these options had zero entry from street level. There is a large playground with a grass surface before the parking lot for the lift. It has limited options for wheelchair users.

The Luxury Chalets

Each chalet has a unique layout. We stayed in the Bently, which had a fully accessible first floor, and additional bedrooms upstairs. The main floor has a spacious layout, making it easy to navigate the main living areas. Both front and back doors are zero entry, creating easy access to both the village and to the backyard with an outdoor dining area, Weber grill, outdoor tub, and private sauna. The Bently is also a convenient location since it’s close to the main lodge and restaurant.

The downstairs bedroom has a private bathroom with a roll-in shower. The hallway bathroom has a roll under sink, but the private bath does not. The bed has open space underneath to fit a hoyer lift, but the hotel does not have their own lift to loan. The bedroom also has a desk that is open underneath and full length windows for mountain views. All kitchen cabinets are under the counter – making all kitchen essentials easy to access. There are drawers under the stove.

All chalets include luggage transport to the chalet, welcome drinks, cozy bathrobes, sauna towels and slippers, organic fair trade coffee beans, organic tea varieties, a fully equipped kitchen, a sun terrace protected from view, a modern fireplace with effect fire, parking spaces, and direct access from the chalet to the Schattwald/Zöbeln skiing and hiking areas.

While the ease of accessibility wouldn’t put La Soa on the top of any U.S. lists, this was easily the most accessible place we stayed during our five weeks in Europe.

The Amenities

Breakfast

Of course breakfast is included, but you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your room. Like a bit of holiday magic, your breakfast will appear at your front door every morning. Breakfast selections vary each day, but you can be guaranteed freshly baked pastries, and fresh eggs, milk, and juice. We also enjoyed a variety of yogurts, granolas, meats and cheeses, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and local jams and honeys. Hands down the best hotel breakfast we’ve ever had.

Private Sauna

Convenience certainly adds to wheelchair accessibility with these in-room options. The Finnish sauna is attached to the chalet, just outside the back door. Zero entry and wide doorways make it easy to roll-in. The temperature is guest controlled, so it can be a great way to unwind after the kids are in bed, or you can turn the temperature down and make it a family activity.

Playground

I love a natural playground, and the views make it even better. Unfortunately, the playground is not wheelchair friendly. If your wheelchair user is an adult, the playground is conveniently located next to the restaurant to keep an eye on littles while enjoying Hors D’oeuvres.

#eighty

Enjoy regional Tyrolean specialties and let the chef guide you through the evening with culinary delights at restaurant #eighty. From fine wine pairings and local specialties to pasta cooked however your pickiest eater likes it – there is flavor euphoria waiting for everyone, here. It’s a marvelous thing to be able to enjoy fine dining just outside of your chalet without having to worry about the hassle of going anywhere.

We found the prices reasonable for such a convenient and luxurious experience. Our meal with wine, bread, and bottled water for the five of us came to less than $100.

Pool

The pool area includes several lounge areas, lawn games, and a giant sand area for volleyball or free play. The pool can be accessed by following the driveway behind the chalets to the far side where there is a grass entrance without stairs. There are no chair lifts available.

Laundry

There is no washer and dryer in the chalets, but you are welcome to bring your laundry to the front desk for full service laundry. For $5, your load will be washed, dried, folded, and delivered to your chalet. I think that beats running back and forth to the laundry room while the kids are asleep!

Transportation

If I were to do it again, and I hope we do, we would rent a car. Local bus service is included with your La Soa stay, but the bus schedule is pretty spread out (about one per hour when we were there) and there is no way of knowing what style of bus you’re going to get. Some busses were “accessible” (a single step up), but others were not. We would have been able to see and do more if we had a vehicle at our disposal. La Soa is a great landing spot for road trips to places like Neuschwanstein, Reutte, and Innsbruck if you have the appropriate transportation to make it efficient.

Without a vehicle, La Soa is still manageable and an incredible escape. You’ll just spend more time enjoying the views and the several on-site amenities, instead of wandering the mountains and surrounding towns.

*Each chalet was built with conscious use of resources, sustainably built and embedded in the Tyrolean mountain landscape.*

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