Take a short flight to Salzburg, Munich or Innsbruck and drive through the Sound-of-Music Austrian countryside to this slick eco retreat centre-cum-multi-sport academy in the Wilder Kaiser mountains, just 10 minutes from Kitzbühel. Part of the Hauser family for the past 10 generations, Stanglwirt started life in 1722 as a tavern for local miners. “My father had this vision to create a place, more a home for friends than a hotel proper, built in line with nature and honouring the traditional Inn,” explains Maria Hauser, who along with her father, brother and sister are the driving forces behind the resort’s eco wellness credentials.
Families have been visiting Stanglwirt for decades and most continue to do so (with 80% returning guests), and while many come for the extensive sporting facilities and to watch their children splash happily in the numerous pools, slides and hot tubs, or ride horses, play tennis and have fun in the numerous zones, I was there to experience the newly renovated spa.
Cosseted in Chinese Medicine’s five elements (water, wood, earth, metal and air) it is close to impossible to find a more nurturing spa experience. The brainchild of Maria Hauser herself, this is the latest generation eco-spa and although the atmosphere is hushed, gone are the darkened rooms, as this expansive space is bright and alive, featuring the greenest Impregnated living moss on the entrance walls (so difficult to translate into words, it must be seen first hand), reclaimed wooden ceilings (beautiful to gaze up at while lying on the cosiest spa beds), stone grottos, candles, clean white walls peppered with chic metal ornamentation.
Here alpine hospitality meets outstanding skincare, and honestly treatments do not come better. The focus is intensive skin therapies courtesy of internationally renowned German dermatologist Dr Barbara Sturm, Dr. Erich Schulte's Quick Medical Skin formula (better known as QMS), Dr Spiller’s pure skincare, Maria Galland and Klapp Cosmetics. The exceptional team of therapists
Results-driven treatments, undoubtedly amongst the best I have experienced, delivered by an exceptional team of therapists who bring these world-class products to life Just one Dr Barbara Sturm facial (Hollywood’s Secret) left my skin looking and feeling plumper, brighter and genuinely glowing - especially around my eyes, which have been dull and sagging lately.
As with the best spas in the business, there are numerous body treatments on offer from Alpine wraps and massages (Thai, Ayurvedic aromatherapy, hot stone) to Haki Flow (a one-of-a-kind treatment where my body was expertly stretched and twisted as I lay floating effortlessly in the pool) and expert sports tuition, all delivered with the finest attention to detail. This natural ethos seeps through the resort, from the spa to the restaurants and 170 cosy chalet-chic bedrooms. “Old wood tells stories,” Maria tells me and each of the spacious rooms is decorated with custom made furniture, designed entirely from reclaimed wood and very much in keeping with the Alpine feel.
Farm To Table
A genuine farm-to-table ethos prevails in the hotel’s three restaurants, with the original farm homestead taking centre stage in the cosy Gaststube Gastof overlooking a herd of cows munching contentedly before their journey up the mountains for the summer. These cows produce the milk for much of the cheese (the Stang mountain variety is especially delicious), milk, yoghurt and the creamy butter. Many of the vegetables, herbs and fruits come from the resort’s own 100-hectare eco farm straight to our plate, with meats and seafood all locally sourced. Plans are well underway for a new SLOW-inspired restaurant (seasonal, local, organic, wholesome) with emphasis on colourful plant-based cuisine.
Stanglwirt is the dream wonderland for everyone, regardless of age and weather, with tennis, golf (an on-site driving range and 12 golf courses within one hour drive), horse-riding, hiking and biking when the landscape is soul-stirring green and powder perfect skiing during winter months. Of course, the numerous saunas, steam pools and grottos, punctuated with super cosy relaxation zones, a bear-it-all zone and so much more are always at the ready and if all of the above doesn’t satisfy, then good luck finding your own eco-paradise.
Spend a little time becoming familiar with the property and choose your little hideaway - mine was a little haven off the spa lying on the cosiest hammocks imaginable
Prebook treatments where possible
Don’t miss breakfast !
Best suited to: Stanglwirt is a busy family property and while there are plenty of adult-only zones, if you really want to escape children completely this may not be the place for you.
Will I return: Yes! In ideal world the therapists at Stanglwirt spa would be my regular go-to facialists…I can always dream….
Cost: Prices vary with seasons and room type but as example: Stangl-Moments package includes 3 nights bed & breakfast per person, in double room, inclusive of 1 evening meal for €485,00
Visit Stanglwirt.com for further information