South Tyrol II: Ottmanngut – An elegant Belle Époque oasis in Meran
Imagine a stunning panorama view on palms, vineyards and snow covered mountains – all at once,
imagine a magical garden full of citrus fruit trees, herbs and flowers,
imagine a calm and elegant villa that breathes history,
imagine tasteful and and artful food,
imagine thoughtful and caring people
… just a dream?
No, all of this can be found in the recently reopenend Ottmanngut in Meran, where we’ve been lucky to stay during our spring break in South Tyrol.
This turned out to be such a special place – even more than I thought it would be – that I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post solely to it and its amazing hosts.
When Alois Kirchlechner in 1850 bought the estate he was looking for a Sommerfrische, a retreat from the busy life in town. Since then the Ottmanngut had been in the hands of the Kirchlechner family. The calm residential area at the foot of the Tappeiner promenade has meanwhile merged with Meran, but it is still at the periphery of town, at the same time only 5 minutes away from the historic centre.
When Martin and Clemens Kirchlechner took over the old Meran country residence from their grandmother and decided to renovate and reopen it again, they didn’t quite know what would lie ahead of them. Planned 6 month became 2 years and with working on their idea of an individual place where guests could feel comfortable in an entire way their dedication to the project grew as well. What came out is a unique place that senses awareness and great attention to detail in every aspect:
Awareness for the historical heritage of the estate was central when restoring it, but the house should on the other hand also arrive in the present age. A difficult balancing act that is realized in the Ottmanngut very sucessfully. This is – by the way – not only my opinion but also that of the committee of historical monument protectors and hoteliers that honoured the Ottmangut as “Historical hospitality business 2014″.
With a caring love for detail, old structures, like brickwalls or friezes, have been made visible, antique – mostly Jugendstil and Biedermeier – furniture was deliberately chosen and combined, the tradition of the house and its inhabitants can be traced in the displayed photos and paintings … not in an frumpish and overwhelming way, but in a light and embracing one.
Each of the nine rooms has its personal atmosphere and story. We were lucky to stay in the lovely Mitzi-Martha-Suite with its own small garden towards the vineyard (that can be seen on the picture above), which got its name from the soubrettes Mitzi and Martha, who had often stayed there in the early 1900s. The stunning view on palms and snow covered peaks alike (first picture) is offered from this garden!
But no worries – the estate has also a magnificent common garden area that is not less inviting.
With a cup of cappuccino in the one hand, a book or newspaper from the library inside you could forget about time in this little oasis of palm trees, cypresses, citrus trees, rhododendrons,… Do I have to say more? – I guess the pictures speak for themselves.
Adjacent to the library but also to the garden is the breakfast room and the Orangerie.
While the Orangerie – according to its name – gives home to the various citrus trees during the winter months it is also used as a scene for special cultural events like readings or concerts. The facebook page gives some impressions of the cultural live brought into this light and airy place with its beautiful palazzo tiles.
The breakfast room that connects the Orangerie with the library isn’t less beautiful. And it brings me to food!
Martin Kirchlechner and his colleague Ivo are both devoted to the idea of Slow Food that basically aims for a new awareness for “good” food: organic, fair, small artisan, local and seasonal are the criteria that should be met – obviously this absolutely comes together with my approach to food and cooking.
The commitment and appreciation for good food and eating are brought straight into the breakfast room.
Only the best local products come to your table and Ivo or Martin passionately tell you all about each of the little cheese manufacturers they chose. We absolutely enjoyed the decision they both made against a breakfast buffet. Instead each day you are surprised with a different three course breakfast that stimulates all your taste buds and is all homemade, let it be the quince compote with chardonnay, the little potato quiche, the jams, the lime blossom juice or the rasperry icecream!
Last but not least we have to thank Martin, Ivo, Mrs Kirchlechner and grandma Kirchlechner for being such friendly, welcoming and obliged hosts that made us feel comfortable from the beginning and made this stay a real recreation for us.
Next time more about what can be done in and around Meran … if you can break away from this little Belle Époque oasis …