What is the perfect hotel room?
What is the perfect hotel room? The question always stumps me. Perfect for what? Business or pleasure trip? With or without kids? A city weekend? A ski trip?
Let’s be honest: the ideal hotel room simply doesn’t exist as a single immovable entity. Perfection depends entirely on time, place, purpose, and person. Of course some things are universal—the bed must be exquisitely comfortable with crisp sheets and wonderful pillows. The lights and TV and anything with switches should not be impossible to figure out. One of my personal benchmarks—is there a full-length mirror? Yes? Thank God. Decor should be interesting but not too interesting. The bathroom is ideally a refuge with excellent water pressure and products that you want to take home. And let’s not forget lighting: is it soft, relaxing, conducive to comfort? It should be.
My first night in Almhof Schneider got me thinking about these questions yet again. How did they get it so right? The room was impeccable but also felt effortless, the opposite of twee. The rustic furnishings (the cabinets are antiques found in the region; the wool used on the settee from a local producer) are not affected but part of what this part of the world and the family are about. A bed that felt high-tech and made for me (mattresses are indeed custom handmade for the Almhof), and the gorgeous cassette ceilings in light, not dark, wood, which I’d find out later were part of a long modernization masterminded by the hoteliers and British interior designer Anthony Collett. A little plate of apples, pears, and dark chocolate rested on a a bit of embroidered Austrian linen. There was space in the room to move, and a balcony overlooking the skiers zigzagging down the slopes, a kind of meditation. Absolute, utter, delicious silence (for me the ultimate luxury). The details— like a bench made of tree branches, two sinks, and fabulous water pressure that one must have after a day of skiing—all fit. I looked for the full-length mirror … perhaps I’d found the room’s fatal flaw? But there it was on the inside of the closet door. I could even figure out the lights. I realized that if I could build a dream chalet in the mountains, it would be exactly like these room.
Hotel rooms are interstitial spaces, spaces that become home for a day or a week, but they need to embrace us in some way. This one did. I rarely sleep past 7am these days, but my first morning at the Almhof I overslept, by many hours. I awoke at 9:47, the best-rested I’d been in years.
— Kimberly Bradley