“Food. Art. Doing Nothing. Good beds.” These are the words that Philip Rachinger chose when I asked him what Mühltalhof was about. It made me giddy, he was speaking the language of my heart. Philip is a handsome young man with kind eyes, he also happens to be a loving father, and an incredible chef. He is the 5th generation of Rachinger’s to enliven Mühltalhof with passion and vision and care. From the moment we arrived, to the moment we reluctantly left, we were taken care of.
Food: Philip is following in his father, Helmut Rachinger’s, footsteps. Together, they are making what I think is safe to call some of the most beautiful and imaginative foods in Austria. But the magnificent thing about the dishes is their approachability, nothing is overwrought or too precious. The dishes are grounded in the simplicity of the valley they are born in, while being infused with a creativity and an inventiveness that comes with travel and exposure to other cultures and other ways of approaching cuisine. An incredible balance is being achieved at Mühltalhof and most importantly, the food is delicious!
Art: Mühltalhof itself is full of it, not just the paintings and photographs and sculptures that are tastefully placed throughout, but also in a connection to art outside its walls. We had the pleasure of being introduced by Philip, to Klaus Rinke, a tall 77-year-young german man with short silver hair shimmering under his signature black leather fisherman’s cap. Klaus is cool, cool in that way you can only become after several decades of dreaming and doing what others do not dare. Klaus showed us his giant art warehouse full of decades of making and collecting art. And then he took us to his 600 year old castle apartment, where we ate macadamia nuts from Hawaii and sipped sauvignon blanc from New Zealand as we listened to him paint the rich colors of his lifetime of making art. Klaus is far from being finished with that.
Doing nothing: Well, we did a lot of that at Mühltalhof. It invites you to in that way that so few places manage. The tranquil river sparkling in the sun settles you as you rest in your bathrobe, lounging in the light. You can sit in the sauna that smells of honey, and then soak in the eucalyptus steam in the steam room. Drink tea, read, relax. No really, you will relax here, it will inspire you to give yourself the one thing you’ve been needing, but the outside world asks you to forget. You can come here to remember.
Good beds: It’s true, the beds are good, really good. I laughed when I finally laid down, full from the beautiful day, the gorgeous food. The bed was so comfortable. Of course it was. And the sleep? So very sweet. Despite the several glasses of beautiful wines I had consumed the night before, I woke rested, light, grateful that there are people taking the care to create places where you can go with no purpose other than to enjoy being alive, seeing, touching, tasting. A high pursuit, and a fine purpose.
Address: Unternberg 6, 4120 Neufelden, Austria
Prices: double room starting at 120€ incl. breakfast