Bavarian Forest Holidays
Who are we?
Margaret Leach and Martin Holborow
Bavarian Forest Holidays was set up in 2005 by Margaret Leach and Martin Holborow to market our holiday apartments in Bayerish Eisenstein, in the Bavarian Forest. Tragically Margaret has died at the young age of 66 after a 3 year battle with Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA).
Since the end of 2008, we have been joined by Ulrike Jungwirt who lives in the village. Ulrike is our housekeeper and much more - as well as keeping the apartments spotless, she helps with the garden and window boxes, looks after the guests if we are away, translates our website etc. into German and helps with our marketing too. Last but not least, she makes delicious cakes for our guest lounge, gives Bavarian cookery courses and provides massages and facials for guests! In March 2010, she was joined by Andrea Kraus who moved on to a full time job in 2011 and was replaced in 2011 by Magda Jichova - our first employee from across the border. Ulrike speaks good English and helps with meeting and greeting guests and is always happy to answer questions about things to do in the area. Magda's language skills are more limited but improving!
We bought Haus Sterr in Autumn 2004 and started by renovating Haus Sterr 1, the 1st floor apartment now called Maria, which we let from May 2005. Haus Sterr 2, on the ground floor now called Anton, was available for letting from August 2005. The final apartment in the original building, the top floor now called Arber, involved putting in a completely new apartment and was ready for Christmas 2005.
Fairly early on, we decided we liked it here so much we would live here for a large part of the time!
Holidays in our apartments were so popular that we started looking for another house in 2006 and managed to buy the house immediately behind Haus Sterr at auction in August 2006.
The 'new' house, given its original name of Haus Peter, was totally renovated and 2 more apartments were available from Christmas 2006, this time with all ensuite bedrooms. In summer 2007, we had the 2 apartments in Haus Peter and the top floor in Haus Sterr classified by the German Tourism Association and were awarded 5 stars for the Haus Peter apartments and 4 stars for the Haus Sterr apartment - the first 5 star accommodation in Bayerisch Eisenstein and for miles around.
As our smallest apartment had 2 bedrooms, we were very pleased when, in Spring 2008, the opportunity arose to buy an additional house at the far end of the street, a few minutes walk from Haus Sterr but backing directly onto the Bavarian Forest National Park. We bought the house, now called Haus Martin, in May. It has 4 one bedroom apartments, 2 on the ground floor and 2 on the first floor. The ground floor was renovated by July and the 1st floor apartments were ready by Christmas 2008.
In summer 2008, we had the renovated apartments classified by the German Tourism Association and were awarded 5 stars for all them, giving us six 5 star apartments and one 4 star apartment. The final 2 one bedroom apartments were classified in summer 2009 and also received 5 stars. In 2010, the original apartments were due for reclassifcation and we finally received 5 stars for all of the apartments.
All of the apartments have completely new bathrooms and kitchens, new carpets and curtains and mainly new furniture. We have also kept the original decoration on the staircase of Haus Sterr, including the wallpaintings with alpine scenes and the stuffed birds and animals which represent a small museum of forest life in the mid 20th century when the house was built.
Over the years, we have also developed the guest facilities to include indoor table tennis, table football, sauna and fitness room, large and growing libraries of books, DVDs and CDs, sports equipment to borrow, mountain bikes, maps, basic supplies of food, drink and toiletries.
In autumn 2008, we bought our 4th and final property, also in the Hans-Watzlik-Strasse. As well as providing much needed comfortable accommodation for ourselves (we had had enough of working and living in the cellar of Haus Sterr!), we have also been able to bring together many of the facilities which were scattered between the various houses as well as adding function and social rooms for guests and an office for ourselves. Outside there is a sunbathing lawn with a view of the Arber mountain, a children's play area and badminton net and a barbecue area next to the barn, which we can use if it rains! We have given the house its original name: Forsthaus (it used to contain 4 apartments which were accommodation for workers in the forest).
In early 2010, we went back to the original 2 apartments and installed an extra shower room in each, additional soundproofing and had the walls and ceilings thoroughly renovated.
From autumn 2010, we started on the round of reclassification which has to be done every 3 years. Each year we identify a number of areas for renovation, replacement and further improvement in the apartments due for re-classification. After a gruelling 2 day course in October and a lengthy application form we were also pleased to receive the news just before Christmas that we had been granted the ServiceQualitaetDeutschland seal of approval and therefore also the European Hospitality seal and we have also achieved Viabono environmental certification.
Our prize possession since summer 2011 is a wood fired pizza oven which we use for Sengzelten (Bavarian pizza) evenings.
In autumn 2012 we renovated Haus Martin Vogel and Otter again, replacing the remaining carpets and buying lighting and dining chairs etc. we were pleased that the inspection confirmed the 5 stars for both apartments.
In 2013 Margaret was diagnosed initially with Parkinson's Disease and she and Martin returned to their UK house intending to return to BE once the medication had been balanced. Unfortunately it soon became apparent it was more serious and MSA was diagnosed and after a traumatic 3 years Margaret died at our UK home in June 2016.
Martin with Ulrike and Magda in BE and help from Margaret's daughter and son are continuing to provide the holidays in the way we set out and the beginning of this adventure. Thanks to Ulrike and Magda and members of their families for looking after matters locally during our absence.
Finally after a long time on the market Haus Martin now has new owners. Vladi and Anje will be letting 2 apartments.
Our main principles
Our main principles in preparing the apartments for letting were:
That renting a holiday apartment should involve as little compromise as possible.
There is no reason to accept lower standards in holiday accommodation than you would expect at home.
We have had (and still have!) many experiences of walking through the door of holiday accommodation to find it grubby, with a mish-mash of furnishings, often uncomfortable and not enough seating for the number of people, a mess of old items in the kitchen, with breakages having been replaced by anything which came to hand and with no thought given to what is actually needed.
Our apartments are totally cleaned before the arrival of guests. Bedding, curtains, floorcoverings and furniture have been chosen to harmonise with each other in each room. The kitchen cupboards and drawers contain all new, specially bought items - no second hand items from other houses - and are all of the best quality we could reasonably afford. Each kitchen has a 4 ring glass hob and full oven, a full size fridge (in most cases with a separate freezer section), a microwave, a kettle (unusual in continental European holiday apartments), toaster, filter coffee machine, coffee grinder and all the pots, dishes and utensils you need to prepare, cook and serve a full meal, if you want to do that. The sitting room contains a full size TV (not the small screen so often found in holiday apartments) and a DVD player and now most have MP3 players. Each bathroom has a hairdryer, soap and shower gel. Slippers and bathrobes are available to borrow. We are aiming for quality equivalent to a reasonable 4 star hotel, including concierge service.
Our apartments are not 'German' in size and layout
Our apartments are very much larger than standard German holiday apartments. They also do not have the combined kitchen/dining room/living room (sometimes even including a sofa bed) which you find in most German holiday apartments, except in the case of Sonne and Otter apartments. Our apartments mostly have bedrooms for sleeping in and a separate living room and kitchen/dining room. The 3 bedroom apartments all have a central corridor so that you don't have to go through one room to get to another. The 3 bedrooms in the newest apartments all have ensuite shower rooms. And every apartment has its own front door. The one bedroom apartments are designed to be comfortable for 2 people.
You should arrive with the apartment fully ready
You should be able to arrive at your apartment and concentrate on settling in and exploring the area, not have to immediately find a shop to get basic supplies. In your apartment you should find everything you need for your 1st breakfast, with extra supplies available if needed. We supply you with tea, coffee, sugar, soap, washing up liquid, toilet rolls etc. - a basic supply when you arrive and more available if you run out. If you arrive late on the 1st day or get back late from a day out, there are pizzas and ready made meals in the freezer and a wide selection of soft drinks, beers and wines. If you need anything else, we can probably find it from our own stocks.
Everything for your holiday
During your stay, you should have almost everything you need for the type of holiday you want - whether relaxing, active, cultural or whatever. We provide a large file of detailed information about things to do in the area - historical, cultural, sporting, walks, eating out and shopping, public transport, driving. Just in case, you have any extra questions, we or our housekeepers are available for any extra advice you may need. We keep out of your way if you want to do everything yourselves but are here in the peak seasons to provide support, a chat or a drink if wanted. We have accompanied guests to the local hospital, arranged tickets for a local festival, advised on driving and trains, collected guests from stations, taken guests on trips to the Czech Republic, had drinks on the terrace at the end of day to share experiences of days out, helped out with changing money and bus/train tickets, found more efficient train connections, given guests a lift to the Arber cable car and even retrieved some guests from further afield when they got stranded. And some guests we have hardly seen at all.
We provide tennis racquets, badminton racquets, a football and frisbee, toboggans for the winter, golf clubs and tennis racquets. There is a sauna and gym and we can arrange massage and facials. For wet days and quiet evenings in, there are novels and guide books to read and DVDs and CDs to borrow. Our guest lounge in the Forsthaus is available for tea, coffee or something stronger at any time and there is usually at least one home made cake, made by our housekeeper. Our library goes on growing.
Holidays should have as little impact on the environment as possible.
We ask guests to separate all their waste and place it in separate containers. We take most waste to the recycling centre, with only the minimum put in the black 'other waste' bins. Click here to read our full environmental policy.
As 50% of our guests are from the UK, we are now actively promoting making the whole journey from the UK by train. The first test journey (at our expense) was made in October 2007. We supported our village in providing free local bus and train travel for guests from 1st May 2010.
Bavarian Forest Holidays
94252 Bayerisch Eisenstein
(Germany) +49 (0) 9925 90 32 04
(UK) 07813 811 497 (Martin)
(Ulrike – Germany) +49 (0) 160 9171 8011