Travel : Edelweiss Lodge and Resort
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A view of the stone fireplace in the lobby of the new lodge.
Exclusive alpine resort opens, provides world-class experience

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Story and photos by Jason L. Austin, USAREUR PAO

GARMISCH, Germany - Promoting Alpine Vistas and a world-class resort experience, the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort opened its doors to guests for the first time Sept. 15.

The 330-room lodge was built as a premier, American-styled resort exclusively for active duty military members, DoD civilians and retirees. Nestled on 21 acres in the German Alps, the Edelweiss includes many touches which reflect on the long tradition of AFRC as well as the region.

"It's so much fun and such a pleasure to finally see guests," said Christopher Forbes, director, imaging and continuity, Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. "The hotel was built for them."

As stated in promotional material the lodge is "forged in rustic woods, stones and other natural elements to complement its environment, the rugged character of Edelweiss Lodge and Resort is in perfect harmony with the comforts provided by its ample conveniences and amenities."

The guests entering the lodge are first greeted by the full bell service, and then enter an open space with rocks rising toward the sky, reminiscent of the valley leading up to the Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak, according to Corey Henderson, public relations, Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.

The Edelweiss now serves as the principle property operated by the The AFRC Resorts. Formerly, AFRC Resorts operated the General Von Steuben hotel, the General Patton hotel and facilities at Chiemsee and Berchtesgaden locations.

The lodge has many touches which reflect this past including historic artwork from the Von Steuben and Patton hotels, to the naming of the ballrooms and state of the art comfortable, flexible and protected conference center.

The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort has been designated by U.S. Army Europe as USAREUR's conference center, Henderson said. Each of the ballrooms, which can be subdivided into 15 rooms, has full multi-media access and the interior spaces can also be used for secure, classified meetings.

The compound is surrounded by a stone wall which blends with its environment, access points and key areas are monitored by closed-circuit television and the exterior of the structure is blast proof without feeling like a military compound.

"Force protection is one of the primary reasons to build the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort," Forbes said. "We now meet and in most cases exceed force protection standard."

We "provide a world-class resort experience for our guest, one that exceeds expectation," Forbes said.

In addition to the lodge, the resort also includes the Hausberg sports lodge, the Alpentall Golf Course and the Vacation Village cabin rentals as well as a "broad collection of recreation, entertainment, fitness, dining, beverage and hospitality services, all carefully designed to create an extraordinary vacation experience just for military personnel," according to the Edelweiss Web site.

"The number one mission as an Armed Forces Recreation Center is to take care of service members," Forbes said.

One Soldier who spent the first night in the Edelweiss, Spc. Tim Brunson, 1st Battalion, 185th Armor, out of California said, "The first night was great." Brunson, who is on Rest and Recuperation Leave, jokingly told his wife, Debi, it was so great at the Edelweiss he wasn't going back to Iraq. "But, it's only six more months," he said.

The Soto family from Wuerzburg, Germany also came to Garmisch on R&R leave. Originally they only planned to stay for a few days, but according to Veronica Soto, they decided to stay to experience the Edelweiss Lodge. During their stay, their son, Marino "Papi" Soto, celebrated his fourth birthday on the Patton's final night.

The Edelweiss is also available for servicemembers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries stationed in Europe. Authorized patrons can reserve up to three rooms for their guests. Room rates vary based on the rank of the authorized guest and the type of room. Prices range from $69 to $159, with reduced rates for guests participating in Operation R&R.

Reservations can be made online or via telephone at (011-49)8821-9440.


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