Meet our Hosts – Insider Travel Tips for Families


At The Niche Traveller, our focus extends beyond mere travel; it delves into the realm of human connection. Whether it's the locals who lend us their insights and aid in our logistical endeavors at our destinations, the cherished members of our own team who generously share their familial experiences, or the gracious hosts of our exceptional accommodations – individuality is paramount to us. We're dedicated to weaving narratives that spotlight the individuals who ignite our inspiration. For our latest series ”Meet our Hosts” we've interviewed some of our esteemed hosts. We sought to uncover their motivations and unearth the hidden gems they hold, eager to share their unique perspectives and insider knowledge with our community.

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Villa Alma Wolfgangsee Martina Toifl

Martina Toifl is the owner of Villa Alma on Lake Wolfgang, has two daughters, and passionately develops charming boutique hotels in Austria.

TNT: Martina, you don't come from the travel industry yourself. How did you come up with the idea of ​​developing hotels?

I am a passionate host and simply enjoy welcoming and hosting people. Additionally, I have a great enthusiasm for houses and buildings with history, as well as their architecture and interior design. Furthermore, I enjoy designing, planning, and implementing projects.

The Wolfgangsee has a slightly outdated image. What is special about the area?

Slow Travel is a movement that actually fits very well with us and the region. There is simply something special in the air, which is also due to the wonderful people who live here. Many emerging artists and bright minds who temporarily or permanently see the Wolfgangsee as a source of inspiration and work here also notice that you easily lose track of time when you look out over the lake, and effortlessly find relaxation and new ideas.

You spend a lot of time with your family at Lake Wolfgang in the summer. Do you have any insider tips - food, shopping, activities with children?

The beauty of summer vacation is that the day isn't filled with scheduled activities. The kids enjoy splashing around in the large swim rings or paddling with the stand-up paddles on the lake. Just a few minutes from Villa Alma, there are a mini-golf course and a tennis court for those who want to engage in sports. Moreover, at Zwölferhorn, there's a nice barrier-free children's hike, and it's only a few minutes to the cable car valley station. Culinary-wise, not only Villa Alma has a lot to offer, but we also enjoy visiting restaurants in St. Gilgen such as Wirt am Gries, Wolferl & Wein, and Gasthof zur Post. For shopping, we go to Salzburg or the nearby Bad Ischl, and afterwards, we stop by Zauner for coffee and cake.

Your favorite accommodation outside of Austria?

One of our favorite hotels is the Espléndido Hotel in Port de Soller, Mallorca.

Seven Collection Portugal Annabell Pohl

Annabell Pohl, founder of the design agency Ampère Studio, is a board member of sevencollection, a collection of charming holiday apartments and vacation houses in the Algarve, Portugal.

TNT: Annabell, you grew up in an entrepreneurial and hotelier family. How has that shaped you?

My grandparents founded the Vila Vita Parc Hotel on the Algarve over 30 years ago, so I have been deeply connected to Portugal and especially the Algarve since childhood. The region has always been a retreat and a second home for me personally.

Was travelling a big part of your childhood and adolescence?

Even as a young child, our father took us on numerous exciting trips, allowing us to experience many different countries and cultures. This influenced me and my siblings throughout our teenage years and beyond.

Today, you are an entrepreneur yourself. What are the main topics you deal with?

In addition to the hospitality sector, I am particularly passionate about interior design, which is why I founded Ampère Studio two years ago alongside my role as a board member of sevencollection. Together with my team, we design the apartments of sevencollection both indoors and outdoors, drawing inspiration from traditional Portuguese colors, shapes, and materials combined with Moorish references and typical craftsmanship. From planning to designing our holiday homes, we take care of everything independently. In this work, I am also constantly inspired by the idea of sustainability, as it is important to me to create something that will last for years to come.

What sets sevencollection apart?

sevencollection stands out from other holiday homes mainly due to the passion and attention to detail that goes into our accommodations and, of course, the love for detail. We have tried to combine modernity with regional Portuguese details to create an authentic atmosphere. Our goal is for sevencollection to elevate tourism in the Algarve to a new level through its authenticity. We already have a great project in the pipeline for this, currently under construction in Carvoeiro and expected to enter the market sometime next year. This project also includes a gastronomic concept – you can look forward to it!

How family-friendly are the apartments and houses?

Especially in Salema, our houses are very popular with families with young children, as the converted fishermen's houses are located directly near the beach. We also provide cribs and high chairs for our young guests. In our apartments in Carvoeiro, on the other hand, there is the possibility of accommodating older children, for example, teenagers, in a separate studio belonging to the apartment, so that all family members can enjoy their privacy or time together.

What are your insider tips for the Algarve?

I love the west coast, especially Sagres. There are the most beautiful beaches there. The air, the sea, and the vastness allow you to breathe freely. I am also a big fan of the old town in Faro and the Avenda restaurant. Ferragudo is also a great little fishing village with nice restaurants and a cute old town. One of my favorite places there is also the beach of the Rei das Praias restaurant! But of course, Carvoeiro is also one of my favorite places because we have been at home there since childhood. The bay in the town center and the small beach are particularly recommended. The trail along the cliffs is also always beautiful to walk. Culinary-wise, I can recommend the Encci restaurant. The people, their warmth, the culinary delights, and the culture in the Algarve are simply fascinating. It always gives me a feeling of security.

Moar Gut Austria Nora Lipp

Together with her family, Nora Lipp, herself a mother of two young children, runs the family-friendly Moar Gut resort in the Austrian Großarltal.

TNT: Nora, you are one of the hosts of your resort and responsible for marketing. What emphasis do you place on communication with guests?

The focus of communication is to convey our sustainability ethos in all areas of the hotel. Luxury vacation for all family members and a considerate approach to nature are not contradictory.

But you are not only a host, but also a mother. What influence do your children have on the hotel's offerings?

Through my children, I have become even more aware of how important the connection to nature, our beautiful mountain world, and the animals is. The opportunities that my children are allowed to use here daily, I also want to offer to our guests.

Moar Gut is mainly designed for families with young children, from the Hipp Bar to the petting zoo, the Bugaboo fleet, to the equipment in the rooms (diaper bin, potty...). But your young guests also grow up. Are there plans and ideas on how to make older children happy too?

Moar Gut is not only designed for babies and toddlers, every age group is catered to with their needs and wishes. Our children's programs are age-appropriate. From toddlers to teenagers, exciting programs await indoors and outdoors. Our "Aktiv Gartl" with sports and climbing hall was recently expanded this spring with a new trampoline hall and an interactive gaming room.

What challenges do you face when you travel with your children?

Often, hotels cater either to the needs of children or parents. At Moar Gut, however, nobody has to make compromises. Both parents and children experience unforgettable moments with us.

In theory and practice, guests don't have to leave your resort when they vacation with you. But if they do, what insider tips do you have for the area?

The family hike to the Moar Gut Alm, along with the sunrise hike to the Schuhflicker, is my absolute recommendation that no guest should miss!

Farmhaus Mosel Jessica Holger Maurer

With Mosel Chalets and Farmhaus, Jessica and Holger Maurer have implemented two contemporary hospitality projects in the Mosel Valley, which they manage together with their family.

TNT: Jessica, Holger - with the Farmhaus, you have fulfilled a heartfelt project. How did you come up with the idea and how was the implementation?

As we ourselves enjoy vacationing with friends and children of varying ages, our heartfelt wish was to build a large holiday home. So, we searched for a plot of land and found one in the village of Lieg, above the Moselle.

What guest feedback has made you particularly happy?

For us, the most beautiful thing is when guests tell us at check-out that although they had planned many outings, they ended up staying in the house, using the pool and sauna, having meals prepared for them, hiring a masseuse for half a day, making fires in the fireplace, and enjoying relaxed time with family and friends. That was exactly our wish, and it makes us very happy that it is accepted, positively evaluated, and appreciated. Of course, the surroundings are still stunning ;)

The most beautiful excursion destination and the nicest café or restaurant to visit near the Farmhaus?

We personally love the Ehrenburg. On weekends, you should definitely visit Patisserie Schneiders; Martina makes the most delicious pastries. Our restaurant recommendation is clearly the Farmhaus itself because our private chef, Thorsten, comes directly to you and fires up the grill or offers courses, such as a pasta-making class, which is also a hit with kids.

Clemonte Hotel Salzburg Pia Clodi

The interior designer Pia Clodi recently opened her first boutique hotel, Clemonte Hotel in the trendy Andräviertel district in Salzburg. She has a son and commutes between Salzburg and Zurich.

TNT: Pia, you mainly work as an interior designer - how did you come up with the idea of opening your own hotel?

The atmosphere and architecture of the house inspired me - I found the building simply incredibly charming.

What kind of guest feels comfortable at Clemonte?

People who appreciate warmth, luxurious materials, individuality, coziness, or "cozyness" as it's called in English - so, everyone who loves something special.

A "normal" hotel usually has a reception, which Clemonte doesn't have. What is contemporary about the self-check and your concept, and what is the feedback from guests?

Great! I think many have already become accustomed to the autonomy of traveling. Of course, it would be nice if I could personally or have someone else friendly at a reception on-site around the clock, but that's just not possible with such a small property. However, we are available 24/7 by phone and chat, and we are happy to fulfill every guest's request and provide tips for the perfect stay in Salzburg.

Can guests request extra beds for children, and do you have baby cots available?

Baby cots are available upon request, and additional beds for children of all ages as well.

Salzburg is your hometown? What insider tips do you have for parents visiting Salzburg with their kids?

The House of Nature!! And walks over Mönchsberg & Kapuzinerberg. I also find the Augustiner Brewery very cool, you don't see something like that every day. I would also recommend going to the festivals or to the Marionette Theater - we enjoyed that as children. I don't know if this generation can still appreciate theater, but I hope so! ;-)

Can you recommend a particularly beautiful playground, park, outdoor pool... in Salzburg, a place where families can relax a bit while on a city trip?

The Waldbad! There is also a climbing park there, a small restaurant where you can see the sunset, and wonderfully - always quite cold - water. The perfect mini vacation. The playground at Volkspark was completely renovated last year and has become very nice - always well attended, I'm looking forward to when Vincent is old enough for us to go there!

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The Wahl-Sylters Sandra and Martin Weiß have their own holiday rental and property management company, Meer Lust Sylt, in Westerland. They have invested a lot of time and effort into the careful renovation of the historic Kapitänshaus Christiansen, where they now rent out two beautiful and family-friendly holiday apartments.

TNT: Sandra, Martin, you are hosts on Sylt and have lovingly renovated the historic Kapitänshaus Christiansen in Westerland with attention to detail, and now rent out two very beautiful and family-friendly holiday apartments there. What makes the Kapitänshaus special?

We tried to be very careful during the renovation and to preserve old style elements. So we kept the old stairs and doors and deliberately avoided modern materials. Our guests enjoy a quiet and spacious atmosphere with us while still living centrally. When they wake up, they hear the seagulls and the sound of the sea, you can't get more North Sea than that.

You have children yourselves. Sylt is generally a very family-friendly island. What type of family is suitable for Haus Christiansen? Are pets allowed?

During the holiday seasons, we mostly have families with one to three children. The large kitchen in the Achterdeck apartment on the ground floor is very popular, where the whole family can enjoy breakfast together in a relaxed atmosphere. During the off-peak seasons, couples often enjoy the spacious space with their own sauna. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed with us.

What guest feedback do you enjoy the most?

We are always very happy when our guests have felt comfortable and talk about their next vacation plans with us upon departure.

You live in Westerland on Sylt yourselves. What are your favorite places on the island?

Our favorite beach is 150 meters from our house, and early in the morning, we occasionally take our bikes and ride to Hörnum on the southern tip and back. The great bike path leads through the special Sylt nature, and you simply have to try the sourdough bread from Bäcker Lund in Hörnum. With this sporty start, we gladly face the daily tasks that await us here in holiday rentals and property management. In the evenings, we like to go from the office across the street to Olaf's Weinraum. Here, you meet many locals and a relaxed, cheerful host. But we prefer to sit in our own garden, especially during Midsummer when it barely gets dark, we stay outside for a long time and wait for our hedgehog to show up, who lives under the ivy with us.

Would you like more insider tips on travelling with children and family? Then read on in our Meet our Moms series and get valuable advice and travel know-how from the mums on our team.

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