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A Mind of Winter: Snug Chalets in Austria (Saunas Included)

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A Mind of Winter: Snug Chalets in Austria (Saunas Included)

January 9, 2023

In winter, we’re happy with a fireplace to gather ’round and thick duvets to crawl under at night. For inspiration this week, we’re looking to alpine cultures, where the cold season is not just lived through but embraced.

It’s in Austria that we stumbled what might be the platonic ideal of cold-weather dwellings: small, snug chalets at Peterhof, now in its fourth generation of ownership. Here, the Schmid family operates a clean-lined, world-class restaurant along with 10 petite chalets for private let, each thoroughly modern with nods to classic mountainside design. Crucially, each includes a sauna and hot tub for warming up.

Take a look inside:

peterhof was first opened in zwischenwasser, austria in \1954 as an alpine inn  9
Above: Peterhof was first opened in Zwischenwasser, Austria in 1954 as an alpine inn on the grounds of an old farm. Some 67 years later, in 2021, the retreat was transformed into a modern shingled cluster of buildings—the restaurant and 10 chalets—that is, as they say, a “village within a village.”
&#8\2\20;whilst planning and during the building of the project, we were al 10
Above: “Whilst planning and during the building of the project, we were always careful to treat the natural surroundings with the respect it deserves,” according to architecture firm Baumschlager Eberle. The resulting dwellings are incredibly simple in silhouette, clad entirely in larch shingles, with a welcoming glow inside.
the interiors of each chalet are done in silver fir. &#8\2\20;the consisten 11
Above: The interiors of each chalet are done in silver fir. “The consistent use of wood was an essential premise of the project,” according to the Peterhof website. “To do justice to the horizon of Alpe Furx, panoramic windows allow framed views overlooking the peaks of Rätikon, Alpstein, the Rhine Valley, and the Petrus and Paulus Chapel.”
the centerpiece of each dwelling is a wood burning fireplace, which adds heat a 12
Above: The centerpiece of each dwelling is a wood-burning fireplace, which adds heat and also acts as a clever room divider. (A daily delivery of wood is included in each stay.)
an efficient kitchenette runs along one wall, with shou sugi ban esque cabinets 13
Above: An efficient kitchenette runs along one wall, with shou sugi ban-esque cabinets and matte black counters.
a dining nook is tucked on the far side of the fireplace. 14
Above: A dining nook is tucked on the far side of the fireplace.
the view to the second level. 15
Above: The view to the second level.
each chalet is equipped with a finnish sauna or a bio sauna, a modern, more hum 16
Above: Each chalet is equipped with a Finnish sauna or a bio-sauna, a modern, more humid alternative to traditional saunas, and an “open-air wooden bathtub” on the deck.
&#8\2\20;the careful handling of the floor, the relationships between the h 17
Above: “The careful handling of the floor, the relationships between the houses, formal beauty, and homely comfort were the essential premises,” according to Baumschlager Eberly. Each house was carefully positioned on the slope to ensure unobstructed views.
an alpine motif marks each entryway. 18
Above: An alpine motif marks each entryway.
an aerial view shows the clusters of chalets surrounding the restaurant, all co 19
Above: An aerial view shows the clusters of chalets surrounding the restaurant, all connected by paths. Each overnight comes with breakfast delivered daily as well as optional snowshoe rental, charging spaces for electric vehicles, and massage treatments.
the village in the mountains. 20
Above: The village in the mountains.

For more on the chalets and restaurant, head to Peterhof. And for more mountain houses, might we suggest:

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