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.