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Your host Günter Pfefferkorn

Once upon a time there was a young man from Lech who, after attending the grammar school in Bludenz and completing his studies at the Innsbruck Commercial Academy, jobbed for a while on the Bermuda Islands. Today he is one of the best-known and most successful hoteliers on the Arlberg – the story of what happened in between is a unique tale packed with multifarious and exciting tasks, challenges and responsibilities.

While he was still earning his living in Bermuda, Günter took up his father’s offer to run a hotel in Oberlech, along with his best friend, the brilliant distiller, Günter Rochelt. At that time the heads chef of Hotel Krone in Lech, the latter was to die tragically early. For 3 years, Günter Pfefferkorn was hotel manager in Oberlech, and he married his first wife, Gabi, who was also a graduate of the Innsbruck Commercial Academy. Two children followed: Liz, who now runs the family’s sport store, Sporthaus Pfefferkorn, and Axel, managing director of a five-star hotel in Lech. As a city girl though, Gabi never really felt at home in the quiet world of Oberlech, so that a new proposal from Herr Pfefferkorn senior came at just the tight moment. Having inherited a piece of land in the centre of Lech and then buying an adjoining plot, he said to his son, “take the site and see what you can make out of it!. This sentence proved to be the starting signal for what would become the present-four-star hotel, Pfefferkorn’s. The years between 1972 and 1985 saw a perfumery, supermarket and several apartments come into being; major expansion followed in 1986, the whole was transformed into a hotel, and the nightclub was added in 2000.

However, Günter Pfefferkorn was, and is still, not “merely” a hotelier but a brilliant sportsman, too. A passionate skier he was state champion in downhill skiing and the alpine combination discipline (downhill and slalom). For 26 years on the trot, he was chairman of the Skiclub Arlberg and, with his friend Richard Nenning, was particularly engaged in training up-a-coming talents. It was under his aegis that the first four World Cup races were held in Lech. When other venues had to cancel at short notice owing to lack of snow and Lech was one of the few viable alternatives, those responsible had as little as 4 days to organize the event - a seemingly insuperable challenge. Supported by a dedicated team and in the face of considerable risks, he further succeeded in organizing 13 European Cup races and managed to break even, too.

Nonetheless, Günter’s sporting ambitions extend beyond the ski slopes, with tennis being another passion, while he has enjoyed the pleasures of competitive small-calibre shooting from his 28th year onwards. A mixture of perseverance, talent and ambition meant that he was state champion an amazing 30 times and Austrian champion 9 times, and he even achieved a world record with a target score of 600 points. His specialty was shooting in a lying position. “It just happened that way”, Günter smiles with a mixture of modesty and legitimate pride. It is only 2 years ago that he was last declared Austrian champion. And what is his recipe? The answer: autogenous training, peak concentration and a natural ability to shut out all distractions and focus entirely on the matter in hand.

Nowadays, Günter Pfefferkorn plays golf, but only for fun. His hotel is a source of enjoyment, too, as he is hotelier through and through, dedicated to promoting tourism and everything associated with it. After many years of involvement in local politics and as chairman of the Lech-Zürs advisory Board for Tourism, he laid down all of his offices 7 years ago and now only holds a single official post: he is chairman of the Hotelry Section of the Vorarlberg Chamber of Trade and Commerce. His first priority, though, is his family. His charming partner, Petra Walser, who has a Ph.D. in German Studios and an M.Sc. in Geography, looks after the business with Günter. Their daughter, little Anna-Sophie, is their pride and joy, and is the favourite of both the staff and the guests of the hotel, where and elegant ambience and welcome cordiality are key features.

Pfefferkorn’s Hotel is on e of the leading establishments in the town, enjoying a central location right next to the Rüfikopfbahn. Guests staying in Pfefferkorn’s can forget about the car, as everything can be reached on foot. Pfefferkorn’s is rather like a small village: under a single roof, there is a large supermarket with an area of 450m2, a perfumery, a wine shop and a gift boutique. In the hotel itself, ski-hire and servicing are also available – what more could one want? Well, all of the creature comforts, of course, and these are provided by the excellent rooms, suites and studios offering every imaginable convenience. Stepping out of a suite that is cosily heated with a traditional tiled stove onto its balcony, one is greeted by an awesome winter panorama.

The spa facilities pamper guests with a variety of saunas and treatments ranging from ayurveda therapy to classic sports massage in a relaxed atmosphere. So what about a sonic massage and light therapy while relaxing on heated marble, for example? Those who have had a long day on the ski slopes are warmly (in every sense) recommended to try a session in a Physiotherm infrared cabin.

It goes without saying that the culinary delights to be savoured in Pfefferkorn’s are of the very finest. The atmospheric ambience of its restaurant, Pfeffermühle, promises a feast for all of the senses as one embarks on a gastronomic odyssey that takes one from Vorarlberg to every corner of the world, with the accompaniment of exquisite selected vintages and spirits. The head of the house is only too happy himself to join his guests who share his philosophy summed up in the saying, “wine accompanies you, schnapps grabs hold of you”.

In Pfefferkörndl, the tavern within the hotel, the world and his wife enjoy dropping in for a cup of coffee or tea, a glass of champagne or a classic Italian dish from the varied menu. Here and at the ice bar in front of the hotel, locals and guests find the perfect après-ski atmosphere while enjoying a warmed mulled wine and some great music, with the magnificent mountain scenery of Lech serving as a stunning backdrop.

Last but not least, night owls gravitate towards Pepper’s Club, the place to be for music, a drop of the hard stuff and the right atmosphere late into the winter night.

Quelle: Trends & Lifestyle „Arlberg“ von Cornelia Haller und Christian Gufler, erschienen im Umschau Verlag 2010 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany

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