The pursuit of skiing and of luxury go hand-in-hand for many winter sports aficionados. Austria always fits the bill, combining a thrilling, slope-based experience with spellbinding scenery and equally stunning accommodation options – not to mention top-class cuisine. With an array of indulgent Alpine experiences at your fingertips, we’ll help narrow your search with a few of our personal favourite resorts.
The traditional town of Kitzbühelis one of the most attractive in the Alps, with its medieval, walled centre lined with picturesque shop fronts. The resort is world famous for the somewhat intimidating-sounding Hahnenkamm Downhill course, which hosts the World Cup Men’s Downhill. However, outside of race season it’s classed as a red run; steep at the top but within the range of intermediate skiers.
You can choose from a selection of glamorous hotels here, with the A-Rosa Kitzbühel boasting grand views and a fairytale castle exterior. With indoor and outdoor pools, seven saunas and a Hammam, you’ll be in good hands when you retire from the slopes. Post-ski, you might like to sample steak at Kaps Steakhouse or head to the Streif Restaurant, with its flamboyant open kitchen making for a striking visual, as well as culinary, experience.
The Grand Tirolia lives up to its name, with a stunning golf course in the summer and log fires, a heated outdoor swimming pool and a spa for winter. The superior and deluxe rooms are supremely luxurious, while the presidential suite takes opulence to a new level; spanning two floors with open fireplaces, a mountain view from the dining room and a sprawling 43m² terrace.
For exclusivity, look no further than Lech, just 20km from the quaintly traditional town of St. Anton. The resort sells no more than 14,000 lift tickets per day, so you’ll have a guaranteed no-crowds experience as you sail down the 42 blue runs, 80 reds and 18 daring black-rated pistes.
At the end of the day, there’s a selection of 5-star hotels in which to rest your legs, such as Hotel Zürserhof, with its five levels of spa to experience, including an indoor pool waterfall. The ‘culinarium’ experience at the hotel includes an indulgent dessert buffet and a cheese buffet with 200 cheese specialities.
Hotel Arlberg, another popular destination, houses a large and beautifully decorated spa offering reflexology, hot stone and detox massages. Since Lech has a tendency to attract a trendy, and often celebrity crowd, the dining here is always phenomenal, with on-piste options like Zur Kanne and Rud-Alpe offering local dishes, rich fondue and a vibrant wine list.
Ninety minutes from Innsbruck, Obergurgl is one of the highest Austrian resorts at 3,080m, making it a firm favourite among the most discerning and experienced skiers. Hotel Hochfirst is the premier 5-star accommodation in the area, with superb ski-in ski-out access, open fires awaiting you on your return and the exclusive Alpen Spa featuring facials, massages and cosmetic treatments. Its elegant interior includes a wine cellar, a gourmet parlour, a winter garden with live music and a main restaurant serving six course dinners.
On the mountain, swing by Hohe Mut Alm for a lunchtime extravaganza with traditional, Tyrolean Käsespätzle and Knödel; or pop back for a delightful evening of live music by the open fire with an artisan cheese fondue.
With access to two glaciers, 2000m altitude and a 4km floodlit piste for night skiing, the relatively small yet vibrant resort of Solden is becoming increasingly popular as a destination to ski and stay in style. Fans of the Bond film Spectre will recognise the striking glass building of the Gaislachkogl, jutting out into the icy landscape. As part of the James Bond Experience, you peruse the unique exhibition.
Sölden has some fantastic high-end accommodation on offer. One of the most popular spots in the resort is the Hotel Das Central. Its interior features a blend of modern decor and Tyrolean tradition, staying true to its roots with plenty of natural wood, open fires and a glorious, mountain-view terrace. You can enjoy an indulgent trip to its 5-star spa, with rejuvenating spa packages such as ‘Wellness and wine’ promising to reinvigorate you in the most decadent manner.
Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions. Ski Solutions is the UK’s original ski travel agent with over 30 years’ experience in delivering high-end ski holidays to Europe and North America.
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