This year our summer holidays will look very different than the years before. With all the COVID-19 restrictions and travel bans in place, we might not be able to go abroad for our vacations. But while we are a little bit sad about it, we are looking forward to spending out vacation in Austria. And I’ve got the perfect hotels for active foodie families with kids.
But htese hotels are not only great for Austrians while we have to stay in Austria. I highly recommend them to everyone once tourism is back to normal. Simply because I highly recommend spending your vacation in Austria. Our tourism offers so much more than the now famous apres-ski bars in Ischgl.
Why I love these hotels for Vacation in Austria
I am not writing this blogpost because I am getting paid for it. But because I really love these hotels. I’ve stayed there several times and I had a great time there. They offer great quality and service. The food there is outsanding. They are child friendly and also great for outdoor enthusiasts. lAll of these hotels are family owned and I know the owners personally. All of them live and strive for their family businesses and put a lot of effort into making their customers happy. I want them to stay in business and I can’t wait to spend my summer vacation in Austria these hotels.
Best for family vacation in Austria: Stanglwirt – Going / Tyrol
Even though the Stanglwirt is famous for attracting a celebrity crowd during the even more famous Kitzbühel ski race with its legendary Weißwurst-Party, it offers much more than that. It originated from a historic inn (Stanglwirt literally means “Stangl” – Inn) which has been around for over 400 years and is now a 5 star luxury ressort. It has it’s own organic farm (yes you can watch the cows during dinner in their cowshed restaurant) and its own Lipizzaner stud. And it offers a lot of different sport activities: horse riding, indoor and outdoor tennis, golf, hiking, fishing, skiing, swimming etc.
But in my opinion it has the best offer for kids of all ages. There is a special Kindergarden childcare service for kids aged one to three years old. For older kids they converted a small farm into their hotel childcare center (“Kinderbauernhof”). Not only can the kids can pet and feed the animals there, they also learn about them. So far I have not met a child who didn’t love playing with the animals. They also offer all the sports activities mentioned above, plus a huge children’s water world with a 120m long water slide. The children’s water world is separated form the huge adult only spa, which is also great if the parents need a break.
In case are coming with a small baby (like us) they have everything you need: a baby crib made from famous Zirben-wood, blankets and linens, a bottle warmer, nappy bin, and even a Nespresso machine for sleep deprived parents. But it is higly unlikely that you will not get any sleep as the hotel room furniture made out of Zirben-wood is supposed to give you the sweetest dreams.
And the food is also great too. Not only do they produce a lot of the food themselves, like cheese from their own farm. They also give every guest a loaf of home made bread as a good-bye gift. With details like that you can really see that the owners want you to feel at home at the Stanglwirt, which as been their motto for years. And it is definitely true. You come as a guest, and leave as a friend.
Best for golf vacation in Austria: Sportresidenz – Zillertal / Tyrol
For a very long time the famous Zillertal valley in Tyrol was known only for skiing and hiking. But this changed when the Schultz Group – which is owned by the Schultz siblings – built the Sportresidenz, an amazing 4 Star Superior golf ressort into the valley. Not only does it offer a great golf course, including the island green on the 18th hole. It also offers a beautiful modern alpine style boutique hotel. From every room you have a great view on the local mountain range.
Besides golf there are a lot of other activities: skiing on the slopes, hikingthe local mountains, cycling, paragliding, smimming in the infinity pool and relaxing in the “cloud 7” spa. But I highly recommend this hotel in early spring: in the mornings you can go skiing in the Hochfügen Ski ressort, wich also belongs to the Schultz group, and in the afternoon you can play some golf. And afterwards you can relax in your hotel room in your personal infra red sauna cabin, and have an amazing meal at the hotel restaurant, or a nice glass of wine at the bar.
Best for mountaineering in Austria: Gradonna – Kals / Tyrol
The 4 Star Superior Gradonna in the small mountain village Kals in East Tyrol is another gem of the Schultz group. It offers the same benefits of all their hotels and ressorts:
interesting architecture and design
gym and fitness area
In this hotel you even have the option of staying in a hotel room or your own personal chalet.
But for me the biggest bonus of this remote hotel is the proximity to Austria’s highest mountain, the Großglockner. You can see this majestic mountain from the village of Kals. And if you are up to it, you can book a tour guide and summit via the “Normalweg”. Usually it is a two days trip. On the first day you climb up to the Erzherzog Johann Hut, the hightest mountain hut in Austria. After one night in the bunk beds you summit in the morning and then decend again. If you are an experience moountaineer who is used to climbing with crampons, you might be able to do it on your own. but generally I would recommend booking a local tour guide.
I climbed the Großglockner in 2017 and it was a once in a lifetime experience. I highly recomment it as a vacation in Austria to everyone who is fit and loves mountaineering. And spending a few relaxing days at the Gradonna hotel afterwards is a real nice treat.
Best for Spa & Wellness: Edelweiss – Großarl / Salzburg
The Edelweiss hotel in the Großarl valley is a true family business. Founded as a small hotel by Grandma and Grandpa Hetteger, who also raised 11 kids while running the hotel, it has seen a steady expansion and modernisation.Today 14 family members work in the family business.
The most recent expansion has made it the perfect spa getaway. With several indoor and outdoor swimming pools, saunas and several beautiful relaxation areas it offers everything you could with for. Especially the relaxation areas are perfect, if you want to cuddle up during a romatntic weekend trip with your significant other. In case you feel a bit more adventurous (or have adventurous kids) there are several waterslides. Trust me, you don’t want to stop sliding because it is so much fun.
(c) Edelweiss Großarl
The breakfast buffet is probably the biggest one I’ve ever seen, and the food is delicious. The hotel lobby and the hotel bar is absolutely stunning. It is just perfect to try a glass of wine from their extensive wine cellar. And if you feel like working out you can either use the hotel gyom or go hiking and cycling the beautiful Großarl valley.
(c) Edelweiss Großarl
Best for foodies and party people: Hotel Aichinger – Nußdorf / Attersee
Hundred years ago the painter Gustav Klimt always spent his summers at lake Attersee and painted its turquoise waters. No surprise that is is still a great place to spend a vacation in Austria. And the hotel Aichinger is probably the best place to do it. Its origins trace back more than 200 years, but it has been fully renovated and refurbished in recent years without loosing it’s traditional charm. Run by the Aichinger family you still feel that it is a true family business, with all of them workiong actively in the hotel and restaurant. Grandma Aichinger was the main chef whos cooking skills earned them two hats at the Gault Millau rating.
(c) Hotel Aichinger
It also has two bars: the Mayer’s bar wine cellar bar, and the famous American bar. Even though both of them will be unfortunately closed this summer due the Coronavirus Pandemic, they offer a great alternative: as of May 15th they will open their new beach bar “Achterdeck” directly located at their private beach at lake Attersee. A great way to enjoy the clear waters of lake Attersee, the beautiful scenery and a glass of delicous Austrian wine.
(c) Hotel AIchinger
The area around lake Attersee is also great for hiking and cycling. Or for some sightseeing at Salzburg, Bad Ischl and the famous Hallstatt Village. And when you’ve need a bit more down-time, you can also relax at their small hotel spa, or at the hotel pool.
If you are a frequent reader of my blog or follower on my social media channels you might have noticed that in the last few weeks, I’ve been quite absent. I didn’t write a blogpost in months, and was definitely spending less time on social media. The ugly truth is: The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit me hard on a personal and professional level. Very slowly I am getting my head and heart back and returning to a “new normal”.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic has affected me
First, I think we are all affected by this pandemic in different ways. Lots of us are struggling really hard right now, either mentally or financially. I am affected as well, and I want to give you an update on what happened in my life.
Private life had some ups…
As a family we were extremely lucky: My fiancé is usually commuting between Salzburg and London. When the lockdown in Austria happened on March 16th, he was back home with us. All the flights back were cancelled, so he is still working from home. And the baby and I are extremely benefitting because we are at least for a while done with this long-distance family thing.
We were also able to get my Dad back home from a holiday before the airports were closed. So, while we were really lucky to be together, we were also self-isolating in the same household with my parents for nearly two months now. Which is really hard, even though we generally get along quite well. Also, we didn’t have any support from our regular babysitter and housekeeper, so my Mom had a lot of extra work taking on both roles.
…while professional life had some major downs…
From a professional side life was also hard the last months. For the first weeks of the lockdown it was unclear if and how our family business was allowed to be open. We were trying to apply for governmental support schemes, either through short time work or emergency funding, and were facing extreme bureaucracy and technical hurdles. Nearly two months later we still have not seen one euro of that support money, and are somehow trying to keep everything running. The fear that our family business, which is over 100 years old, would not survive is always on my mind. Additionally, we were facing personal conflicts with our employees. Which is not a big surprise, as everyone was on the edge of going crazy.
These struggles, especially financially and personally, made a hard toll on my mental health. I was fighting hard, but didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I was working long hours and also on weekends, and I didn’t have enough time to take care of myself. Going for a run or a walk outside in the glorious spring weather was a luxury I could barely afford, even though it was legally allowed. Wen I was in the office, I felt bad because I wsa not spending time with my son. When I spent time with my son, I was feeling bad because I still had so much work to do. There were not only few occasions where I had fights with my family members, where I cried for hours and wanted to quit everything.
But now I am slowly getting back to what fells like myself. There now is a light at the end of the tunnel, with restrictions being lifted, and governmental support slowly on its way. And slowly I am realizing that not everything is bad and that I am actually really lucky. And I want to share with you what I learned in overcoming that crisis.
There is an opportunity in every crisis
This is something that my fiancé has told me several times, and it took me a while to actually believe it. While he might refer to the stock market, where you can definitely make money and find bargains also when the markets go down, it is also true for everyday life. Every crisis will end at one point. And when it ends, it is time for a fresh start.
You lost your job due to the Coronavirus Pandemic? Maybe you didn’t like it that much at all and this is now a perfect opportunity to find a new one. You realize that you don’t like the partner you’ve been self-isolating with? Maybe it is now time to live your own life. Your travel plans got cancelled? What about saving money and discovering the beauty of your neighbourhood? You can’t go to the restaurant? Maybe now is the time to cook. You can’t go shopping? Maybe now is the time to learn how to sew and knit. You can’t go to the cinema? What about learning a new language or reading a good book? You can’t meet your friends? Maybe now is the time to actually call them and have long meaningful conversations.
There is an opportunity in every crisis, even the Coronavirus Pandemic is. Now is the time to find it an seize it.
Spend time with your loved ones
The longer the Coronavirus Pandemic continues, the more people I know that have lost someone to COVID-19. Especially my friends in the UK have suffered a lot. And all of them told me that it is really heart-breaking if you can’t say good-bye to someone you love because they are stuck in intensive care and not allowed to have visitors. And all of them told me that they regretted not spending more time with that special person before they died.
So, spend more time with your loved one. As long as your country is still in lockdown, call them frequently. Once you are allowed, visit them and give them a big hug. Life is short, so appreciate your time together, especially in these tough times. I was really lucky and happy that all my family members were healthy and close to me. And I appreciate this hard, but special time that I have with them.
I don’t need that much to be happy
Guess what I didn’t miss during the Coronavirus Pandemic? Going shopping. Yes of course we had to buy groceries, but besides that I was not in the mood. And I realized that I didn’t need a lot of the stuff I owned. I went through my closed and put a lot of things up for sale. Most of it some very nice clothes and accessories that I didn’t wear in years. If you want to have a look, check them out here.
The only things I needed were for the baby, and I tried to get them through different ways. I was ordering toys from my friend that owns a toy shop. By doing this I was supporting a local business that was also affected from the lockdown. One other friend also sent me her used baby clothes, that she didn’t need any more.
Yes, I miss eating out, but I discovered that baking brownies was making me equally happy. So, will this change my consumption habits on the long run? Probably yes. Less money spent, more happiness.
But the Coronavirus Pandemic definitely showed me my limits. The long working hours, the constant struggles in our business, the lack of sleep, and especially the lack of self-care were taking a hard toll on my mental health. There was one weekend where I had a massive break down. And I realized that I can’t continue like this. I needed to take care of myself.
I am now trying to make certain things a priority, even though I am not perfect at it: working out, sleeping more, not working weekends, baking brownies, finding more personal space, and now writing blog posts again. Self-care is not a buzz word for being lazy, it is really about taking care of yourself and recharging your batteries.
And I highly recommend to everyone making this a priority: If you need time for yourself, take it. If you need space, step away. If you need to recharge your batteries, do it.
So I can conclude with a quote that feels very appropriate right now:
Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
How have you been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic? Leave me a comment below!
In 2018 I ran 12 Marathons for charity. This was by far the most challenging and life changing project I had done up to this point. Besides accumulating lots of awesome finisher t-shirts, medals and memories along the way, I also learned some valuable life lessons during these 12 Marathons that I want to share with you right now.
In case you are interested in race recaps of all of my 12 Marathons, you can check them out here.
One of the most important items when running a Marathon or Half Marathon is your running shirt. Besides that it should be comfortable, moisture wicking an breathable, it should also represent you and why you are running. It can be a huge psychological factor for your race because it can make you proud and confident. A customized t-shirt that you can design and customize yourself will benefit you and your race. —
In fitness and sports we like to talk about goals and personal bests. But something we do not like to talk about is failure. Somehow the error culture in our modern social media influenced world is non existing. We rather present failure free and perfect lives on Instagram. But this is not the real world. Everyone fails sooner or later. It is absolutely human and we have to talk honestly about it. So I’ll make the first step: I failed and missed my Berlin Marathon goal of running a sub 4 hour time. And I am not very happy about it. And I know many other runners that also missed their goals at the Berlin Marathon 2018, and are also gutted about it. So why am I writing this blogpost? Maybe to give us all, including me a different perspective on how we can overcome our failures.
I’ve moved cities 5 times in the last 10 years, and it has always been tough and challenging. Even worse, I had to change my fitness routine because all my favorite classes and running routes were no longer available. But I’ve also learned a lot on how to stay fit while moving and want to share that with you. —