Swap the frenetic pace of everyday life - as we text, Twitter and tweak our current status on an almost obsessive basis - for some proper uninterrupted ‘me-time’ on an Austrian spa break.
AUSTRIA’S FINEST Spa Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of 15 deluxe properties offering world-class spa facilities (alpine, thermal and medical spas) and the finest local organic cuisine in breathtaking countryside, lake and mountain-side settings. Average temperatures range between 20-27°C at this time of year – delightfully cooled by fresh alpine air - making Austria the perfect place for a summer or early autumn spa escape.
Therapists at AUSTRIA’S FINEST Spa Hotels & Resorts, each boasting a minimum of three years’ professional training, provide a unique range of treatments, many using local herbs and plants. These include the Stock Diamond (where Austrian mountain crystal is pulverised with cream to invigorate the skin),
an Alpine Hay Bath (hay is laid on the body, sealed in the form of a wrap and then heated, to stimulate the immune system) and Shaolin Monk Massage (rhythmic massage by Shaolin monks). The hotels’ treatment rooms and facilities are also world-class and many include private spa suites for two. Cosmetic surgery (minor and major enhancements) is offered onsite at the Alpenresort Schwarz – and what better place to recuperate than at a world-class spa?
First stop for professional sportspeople and fitness enthusiasts alike are the cryotherapy chambers at the AlpenMedHotel Lamm – sealed ice rooms that are used to successfully treat muscle inflammation and improve circulation. Stimulate the senses at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol, where a bread bakery in one of the saunas cooks real loaves during every spa session, releasing delicious aromas. Or enjoy wonderful skin treatments, prepared from fresh herbs, at Ebner’s Waldhof - where a dedicated herb kitchen produces ingredients both for the hotel’s spa and its gourmet restaurant.
All of the hotels offer deluxe spa facilities, gourmet food and sumptuous relaxation areas as well as plenty of options for more active pursuits. Here are just a few of the options available:
· Go horizontal in Vorarlberg: Based in the beautiful village of Bezau in western Austria (fly to Zurich or Friedrichshafen), the Hotel Gams is situated close to Turner-prize winner Antony Gormley’s final installation of his famous cast-iron sculptures entitled ‘Horizon Field’ (August 2010 – April 2012) as well as the world-renowned Bregenz Festival (21 July – 22 August) on Lake Constance. Combine culture with indulgent spa treatments, such as Caribbean sea sand and fresh papaya facials and chocolate aromatherapy massages, or enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, caving and golf. Alternatively, borrow the hotel’s convertible car and go for a romantic spin through the stunning Voralberg countryside.
· The hills are alive: New to the collection in 2010 is Im Weissen Rössl in Salzburger Land (fly to Salzburg or Munich), a romantic lakeside hotel that’s perfect for couples and set amid scenery that provided the stunning backdrop to ‘The Sound of Music’. Take a dip in the unique heated lake or enjoy the view of Lake Wolfgang from an outdoor Jacuzzi. Ride by train to the tip of Schafbergspitze (1,730m) at sunset or enjoy a classic full-body massage for two.
· Eclectic eco-spa: The Biohotel Stanglwirt in the Tyrol (fly to Salzburg, Innsbruck & Munich), built entirely from Austrian wood and stone, is proud of its extensive eco-friendly credentials. Meals are created from produce grown on the hotel’s local farm and the spa offers an eclectic mix of treatments including Thalasso using local spring water and French seawater (to improve circulation), Vinoble treatments (an innovative approach that used grape seeds), and the profi-lift power massage - a type of yoga for the face.