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Families cash in on free lift passes

By Rebecca Musgrave

Having previously made family holidays easier on parent’s nerves, the Babyhotel in Trebesing, Austria, is now making holidays that little bit easier on the wallet. With two day ski passes for children normally costing around 40 Euros, a family of five will not always find it easy to enjoy the country’s winter wonderland.

But now in an effort to make the notoriously expensive ski holidays in the Austrian Alps more appealing for families, the Babyhotel is giving free ski passes to all of its guests, both big and small.

The hotel already offers up to 80 hours of free childcare a week to its guests. But as if the prospect of this was not attractive enough, founder of Europe’s first child and baby hotel, Siggi Neuschitzer, has thrown in the costly lift passes as well. The hotel’s pilot project, being carried out in conjunction with the Innenkrems cable car gives guests full access to lifts in Innenkrems, a part of the region in Carinthia known as the "family valley".

The offer, which Siggi Neuschitzer and Franz Kohlmaier from the Innenkrems cable car launched on 6 January, has already had, according to Neuschitzer, "a tremendous response".  As a father of four, no one understands better than 53-year-old Siggi how costly a ski holiday for a large family can be but "with this offer however visitors can only benefit," he explained.

The free passes offer is expected to run for the next two years, making sport and adventure in the area cheaper not only in the winter season but throughout the summer also. The unique offer will be available to visitors in the region in peak-season, school term time and also the warmer months, enabling families to enjoy the popular alpine paths around the mountains whilst staying at the hotel.

Through the new cooperation, Neuschitzer and Kohlmaier hope to not only attract foreign visitors in search of a good value, family friendly escape, but also residents of Carinthia. "We have already had interest from large numbers of new customers," explained the Babyhotel owner. Babies as young as one week old are welcome in the hotel where professional childcare is on offer to even the smallest visitor.

Over the winter months children from the age of two can also hit the slopes for the first time in Smileys "nappy" ski school. Regular visitors to the Austrian ski slopes will be well aware of the large number of children who appear to be able to ski before they can walk, a skill so quickly mastered that they leave parents for dust in a matter of days. Located on site, directly next to the hotel, with a constant artificial snow supply, the hotel ski school offers a free taster session to each child before they fearlessly don their skis for the rest of the week.

As much as the enormous kangaroo mascot, zoo with real kangaroos and waterslides are there to cater to children’s needs, the hotel is there to make the parent’s holiday just as agreeable. The 80 hours of childcare give adults the luxury of exploring the surrounding ski slopes in Innenkrems (30 minutes away by shuttle bus) or simply indulging in the onsite spa, sauna and fitness facilities. An additional morning or evening's childcare is also available, giving parents the option to finally have that much coveted lie-in or meal out.

The children’s paradise which was founded in 1983 by Siggi pays huge attention to detail to ensure the safety of children. The four star hotel which he inherited from his father and grandfather, now comes fitted with plastic protective covers on any sharp corners and child safety doors covering all exits, simple measures which allow parents to relax, safe in the knowledge that their children can gallivant around the giant playhouse injury free.

The thriving business, which has a 90 per cent occupancy rate in the summer and 70 per cent over the winter, is now one of several children’s hotels around Europe, with the winter occupancy figures in Trebesing sure to rise as a result of the new ski pass offer.
Siggi and his team have worked hard to make the experience as magical as possible for children at the Babyhotel, and such innovative installations as the tractor ride to the fairy tale fantasy walk, car race track and theatre, appear only to reflect the unfaltering energy of the hotel's founder himself.

This winter season however is now at the forefront of the venture with short, three day breaks at the hotel costing just 530 Euros, inclusive of all child care, food and lift passes for a family of four. For Siggi his mission is clear: "In these difficult financial times, I am hoping to finally make the typically Euro stretching holiday more accessible".

For more information on the hotel and the new offer visit:  http://www.babyhotel.eu/en/winter/babyhotel-winter.html

Austrian Times


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