Carinthia is probably the sunniest part of Austria and Finkenstein is at its most southerly tip, nestled just north of Italy and Slovenia. The Finkensteiner Hof is a very decent value-for-money hotel. It's not your typical traditional "gasthaus" despite the initial appearance from the street. It is in fact a pretty large hotel with a totally modern interior. I don't know the capacity but I'd guess over 200 easily. The rooms are clean with no frills, not overly large, the beds modern and comfortable enough, the furniture a bit 'IKEA flatpack', but serviceable all the same. Most rooms seem to have a shower and no bath.
The attraction for me the first time I came here was that there is a swimming pool in the hotel grounds. The pool is adequate for cooling off and having a gentle swim but not for a serious workout. Children love it. The hotel also has a private beach at the nearby lake (Faakersee) which is handy as long as you have a car, which almost everyone coming to Finkenstein has. The beach area itself is a bit disappointing. There's a sort of communal summer house/hut for changing bathing costume I suppose but the area is really too shady and the bathing area is flanked by tall reads on either side allowing only a narrowish channel to walk through to get to the open lake. Thoughtfully the first part has been sanded or pebbled so you are not walking through mud which is the basic ground of the lakebed. You discover this fairly soon!! Many people might be tempted to forego the hotel's private beach and just for a few euros use the large public beach which you pass on the way.
The food in the hotel is perfectly good. As at all good Austrian establishments it seems nearly every meal starts with a rindfleischsuppe (beef broth) with various tasty things floating around in it. Breakfast is fine, though slanted rather at the Germans who make up a large part of the clientele and they like to have cheeses and cold meats to stack up on their plates. You can see that some people come year after year, it is that sort of hotel and they seem quite often to come for weeks at a time. They have that proprietorial air of the tourist who without saying anything tells you he's been here before and knows the ropes. And Austrians while superficially charming can be pretty stroppy if crossed as I obviously did by playing my iPhone sotto voce at breakfast as I tried to catch up with international news. My 'neighbour' brusquely told me that it was "polite" not to listen to the radio. I obliged and had to spend the next few mornings listening to the raucous chatter from his table. As in many family hotels they like to assign you to a table and they don't like you moving.
My only real gripe with the hotel is the dysfunctional wi-fi service. It is free, admittedly, but doesn't really work and is only available in the dining room. When I remonstrated about this, the owner/manager a likeable chap with a permanent hangdog expression as if the world is just about to collapse on his shoulders told me that the internet was working. It wasn't. He said he would look into it the next day. He didn't. Same thing. He shrugged and his permanent expression told me all I needed to know. Some things are just out of your control and always will be.
Finkenstein might seem an off the beaten track sort of place for a relaxing break from the cares of life but watch out!! Once a year in early September it becomes the mecca of the European world of Harley-Davidson as 70,000 plus motorcycles and their leather clad, tattoed drivers descend on this little corner of Austria. If you want to join the throng, book the Finkensteiner Hof early. And for a week or so it becomes heaven or hell depending on your take on the Milwaukee beast. Maybe that's why the manager always looks so glum.
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- Also Known As:
- Finkensteiner Hof Austria/Finkenstein Am Faaker See