Austrian resorts aren't the kind built half way up a mountain within the last 50 years; they’re original old-as-the-hills mountain towns – and so are their hotels.
Many have been in the family for hundreds of years, and welcome you into their wood-panelled lodgings like long lost relatives.
Blending in with Austria’s pretty-as-a-picture villages are some wonderfully old-school ski hotels. They aren’t all about who has the biggest pool or swankiest spa (though some score highly in both departments), but more whose guests have the widest smiles when they leave.
Dating back to the 17th century, the Tiefenbrunner has been in the Brunner family for not two, not twenty but TWO HUNDRED years; enough time to make it a master of welcoming service. The traditional Nassereinerhof was built in the 12th century as a customs station - and has been run for the last 60 or so years by the lovely Cordin family.
Some hosts put on traditional music evenings, which give a terrific taste of local culture. Staff dress in dirndl and lederhosen in certain hotels; others serve regional dishes like Gröstl and Schnitzel on top of the European favourites. And while exteriors and decor hark to days gone by, facilities and modern essentials like Wi-Fi keep up with the times.
No corners are cut in Austria’s high end hotels. Some, like the Sporthotel Lorünser, have nabbed prime positions on the side of the slopes, while others go all-out for facilities – Hotel Alpine Palace in Hinterglemm gets glowing reviews for its sports, spa and games rooms. Kirchberg’s Hotel Rosengarten shoots, and scores when it comes to gourmet glory - with more Gault&Millau points than any other restaurant and a whopping 2 Michelin stars. Find all of Austria’s luxury ski hotels here.
Most half and full board hotels do a good mix of European favourites, often with hot, cold and continental options in the morning, and a different theme (Italian, Austrian…) each evening.
If you’re staying over Christmas or New Year’s Eve, you’ll often find that hotels host a celebratory gala dinner with all the trimmings. Some pensions and Snow Houses mightn’t be big enough to serve meals on site, but do have arrangements with nearby hotels and restaurants where you can have breakfasts and suppers.
A lot of the Austrian resorts were farming villages and market towns long before the ski lifts arrived, which means the bulk of hotels are a walk or bus ride from the slopes rather than ski-in, ski-out. But there’s always an exception to the rule (or in Austria’s case, a few exceptions…), and in mountainside resorts like Obergurgl, Hochgurgl, Zurs and Hochsolden, skiing from your doorstep’s the norm. This can make life a whole lot easier, saving you from having to trudge about in ski boots and meaning you can easily pop back to the hotel throughout the day if you need to.
Helga’s warm welcome and well-cooked local food are the reasons guests return year after year to this traditional Tyrolean hotel. And the fact that the village centre and ski lifts are a short walk away is certainly a bonus.
From sixteenth century blacksmiths to sensational ski hotel – whether you’re lounging in the library, soaking up the sights from the rooftop garden or making the most of the central, lift-side location, there’s a lot to keep guests grinning at the Saalbacher Hof.
Winning recognition for its first-class food and wine, wellness facilities and all-round awesome hospitality, the Salzburgerhof is mighty proud of its superior status. Find it in a fabulous location, near Zell’s centre and a short shuttle to the ski lifts.
Feast on Chef Gottfried Prantl’s highly praised cuisine (paired with one of the 30,000 bottles from their wine cellar) and relax in the three storey Venezia spa – a wellness wonderland if ever there was one. The ultimate treats after a day on Solden’s world-class pistes.
A modest and much-loved Kitzbühel hotel, Edelweiss bags the perfect balance of a pastoral-feeling location that’s close to the centre of town. Better yet, when it’s snowy, you can ski back to the door.
The Strass group have some super hotels in Mayrhofen, and their Sporthotel has long been a firm favourite. Its sports and spa facilities are a hit with all ages, and with the Penken cable car next door you’re easily up and away first thing, and back for drinks at the Icebar later on.
The enchanting Schneider family focus on discreet lux and longstanding traditions at the Arlberg, which has won the hearts of visitors from all over the globe – foodies, spa connoisseurs, SNO lovers, the jolly lot.
Peering over Lech village, Der Berghof has an exclusive, boutique-y feel. After a day skiing the Arlberg, come home to cosy furnishings, delicious food and the irresistible call of the Bergquell spa.
Staying in St Anton – with its wild piste-side parties and wonderful powder terrain – is a treat in itself; even more so when you’ve the Hotel Arlberg to call home for the week. Relax your socks off in the wellness centre and find out why the food and service get such super reviews.
Our customers LOVE the Alpine Palace, returning for its stellar service and ample amenities. The hotel – more of a resort, really – is run by the same family that opened the area’s first ski school in 1950, so they know a thing or two about making the ski experience spectacular.
|Hotel||Ski resort||Price (per person)|
|Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl 5*||Obergurgl||£ 1029|
|Elisabeth Hotel 5*||Mayrhofen||£ 919|
|Hotel Berghof 5*||Lech||£ 1379|
|Hotel Arlberg 5*||Lech||£ 1989|
|Hotel Arlberg 5*||St Christoph||£ 799|
|Hotel Schloss Lebenberg 5*||Kitzbuhel||£ 1019|
|Hotel Alpina 5*||Obergurgl||£ 1089|
|Hotel Alpina Deluxe Resort 5*||Obergurgl||£ 1369|
|Salzburger Hof 5*||Zell Am See||£ 1089|
|Hotel Salzburger Hof 5*||Bad Gastein||£ 990|