The Elisabeth Hotel in Mayrhofen is ‘Adults Only’, conjuring images of swingers weekends in Blackpool. Nothing could be further from the truth says Michael Cranmer.
Situated on the periphery of the famous Austrian town, which has a justifiable reputation as party central, the Elisabeth is serene, understatedly stylish and offers the latest in (that awful phrase) ‘Wellness’. Among its advertised delights is a sauna area with spring refuge; Finnish sauna and steam bath; nude sauna; brine aroma steam bath; bio sauna, and a cold mist walk and experience. But there’s much, much more to the place than Nordic goosebumps.
The beautifully designed adjunct to the older more traditional pine-and-hunting-trophy style of accommodation of the original hotel sweeps around dramatically, spacious suites dotted discreetly along. The vibe is hushed and calming. The concept, by Tyrolean architect Thomas Urthaler, has created 70 rooms and a huge spa beneath decorated by interior designer Reinhard Strasser.
Using natural materials, and local craftsmen (and women), the overall result is guaranteed to lower anyone’s blood pressure to just above tick-over. The eating and drinking elements of the hotel are in the older part of the building. Breakfast, afternoon tea and cakes are buffet style, evening meals at designated tables placed quite close together. Great for eavesdropping on juicy conversations, but slightly awkward if what you seek is privacy.
Apart from chilling out without the patter of tiny feet, my primary reason for being in Mayrhofen was to investigate the skiing. It’s part of the Zillertal Arena ski area which stretches from the high-and-mighty Hintertux Glacier way down the Ziller valley with its countless village access points, to the mountains. My exploring time was limited as was the late March snow but sufficient to get a feel for things.
From the Elisabeth Hotel, it’s a short walk to the main Penkenbahn lift, which elevates you to 2,095m and opens up a range of possibilities. The Ski Arena is large, spread out, and somewhat confusing to interpret on piste maps.
From the Rastkogel, top spot in the sector, it’s possible to ski from 2,500m down to the town at a mere 630m, conditions allowing…which they weren’t on this visit, the snow vanishing faster than Jägerbombs in an après ski bar.
A must-stop is the Schneekarhütte on the Horberg. For either a heiße shchokolade or full-blown late lunch (pre-book or miss-out) depending on the health of your purse. It’s a farm/restaurant, fully organic since 1997, run with love and laughter by Josef and Aloisia Bair. The wine list is stupendous, oh, and I forgot to mention, it’s in the shape of a pyramid. Don’t ask. If wine intake dictates take the Penken 17 lift back to town as the sun is setting.
Mayrhofen shakes off its thick head of the night before and edges back to life during après-ski time. Countless bars line the streets as the beers and shots begin to flow. Not for me. ‘Wellness’ beckons.
The Elisabeth Hotel’s spa area is vast, and here the hotel really comes into its own: what a choice. Elisense spa, Minotti Relax Lounge, Quell Refugium; all a tad bewildering when you’re standing on the threshold clad in a towelling robe, and those white flip-flop-slippers that never quite fit. I headed for the pool, a quarter-Olympic size I decided, and slid more or less gracefully into the warm water and luxuriated before casting British caution to the wind and heading from the ‘dressed’ to the ‘nude’ area.
It was a low-lit heavenly haven of choices: what to try? Shower, sauna, ‘cold mist walk’, brr…brine aroma steam bath, sauna, pool, and then an infrared lounger by the fireplace. I think that’s what I did from memory – I’d left my notebook upstairs to avoid it getting soggy. After that bare nakedness, a reviving Bloody Mary was mandatory (after getting dressed, naturally) so I headed for the bar and a comfy sofa in front of the roaring fire.
Tell Me More About The Elisabeth Hotel in Mayrhofen
The Elisabeth Hotel is an adult-only premium hotel that combines traditional features with a state-of-the-art modern design. Enjoy bliss and tranquil relaxation in a central Mayrhofen location.
Suites from €316 half-board
Zillertal Superskipass, 5 days, €282
Nearest airport Innsbruck