Country inns with excellent regional cooking in Austria

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Landgasthof Loibnerhof

The Loibnerhof is a real institution in the culinary scene of the Wachau and a mecca for excellent regional cooking for decades.

Actually, one does not go to the Loibnerhof to eat, one goes to “Knoll”. The name stands for one of the Wachau’s greatest teams and is a guaranty for quality in a number of senses: Josef Knoll in the kitchen at the Loibnerhof and his cousin Emmerich, who’s renowned for his veltliner and riesling wines from the Loibnerhof estate. During the warmer part of the year, the expansive fruit garden is a particularly popular venue, whilst during the winter the happenings are concentrated on the other side of the street, at the “winter quarters”.

Josef Knoll is a master chef who commands formidable skills in hearty, rustic cuisine and has a predilection for aquatic specialties such as crayfish, wels catfish and trout. But along with the delicious fish, one finds all manner of other dishes such as game, mushrooms and the legendary homemade noodles with bolete mushrooms. On weekends when the weather is nice, a table reservation is absolutely necessary, as word has long since spread of how wonderful the food is at Knoll, as reflected by the three stars by Guide à la Carte and one Gault Millau toque.

Unterloiben 7
3601 Dürnstein, Lower Austria

Sonne Lifestyle Resort

From a dated traditional guesthouse to a 4-star superior designer and wellness inn. That the Sonne or ‘Sun’ Hotel in the Bregenzerwald forest is shining today as strongly as ever is all down to the long-term vision of its owner and the commitment of its staff.

When Nobert Bischofberger discovered in 2006 that the Sonne Hotel in his hometown of Mellau was up for sale, he did not hesitate long. It had after all once belonged to his family – and for Norbert, inventor of the anti-flu drug Tamiflum, the financial resources necessary for the renovation were at hand. The work lasted two years and entailed the stripping down, restoration and detailed refurnishing of the entire older part of the hotel.

The historic, wood-tiled main building today houses a restaurant credited with a Gault Millau toque award along with a bistro and a cozy wine cellar, where guests may sample wines. Living and wellness come together in the loft-style extension, which was built almost exclusively from the timbers of indigenous silver firs and oaks and won the Vorarlberger prize for a wooden structure only a year after its construction. The 38 superior bespoke rooms contain open-plan bathrooms with large wash basins and spa showers. High quality mattresses and beds made of natural fibers make for a restorative night’s sleep and are also suitable for allergy sufferers.

Situated in this wing is a large wellness and spa area with an outdoor sauna building as well as a combined indoor and outdoor pool which is heated in the winter. Here’s a tip: the Sonne resort offers many tailor-made special deals for winter sports enthusiasts, gastronomes and weekenders. A look at the hotel’s website is highly recommended.

Sonne Lifestyle Resort
Übermellen 65
6881 Mellau im Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg

Hotel Kärntnerhof

The Kärtnerhof is situated at the heart of the Viennese old town, only a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Cathedral – a hotel for price-conscious travelers with a preference for style, elegance and top service.

The hotel describes itself on its website as “a three-star hotel in a five-star location”. And really, you could not find a more central yet quiet hotel than the Kärtnerhof in Vienna. If you are not convinced, then take a stroll onto the rooftop terrace and enjoy the views of the baroque towers of the Heiligenkreuzerhof and busy surrounding side-streets. Here you are at the center of it all, and yet also somehow above it all. Apropos above: For the trip up and down you must try the mahogany paneled and brass-bound lift dating from the turn of the 20th century. Or opt instead for the stairway and soak up the art nouveau embellishments on the windows, doors and ceilings of each of the five floors.

The hotel’s rooms and 3 suites are decorated in a similar style, which demonstrates impressively that old need not necessarily mean worn-out, but rather well-cared for and lovingly preserved. The hotel’s quiet location means you will wake up refreshed, and go downstairs to find a rich buffet breakfast made from plenty of local produce. What will also impress guests is the reception staff who are second to none, and that includes luxury hotel concierges. Whether it is obtaining theater tickets, reserving a restaurant or simply mapping a romantic walk from A to B in the Kärtnerhof, these service professionals are on top of their game. And where the friendly staff cannot be of further service, there is always the internet which is available free of charge on the hotel’s laptop in the library or in every room.

Hotel Kärntnerhof
Grashofgasse 4
1010 Vienna

Kitz Garni

Less is sometimes more – this was the thinking of the owners of Kitz Garni when they set about bringing the hotel to life. They reduced the number of guestrooms by a third and transformed the old three star inn into a four-star boutique hotel.

Upon entering the Kitz Garni it is immediately apparent that the approach is a little different here than in many other hotels: Instead of the usual reception desk, where you check in standing up, there is a colorful, upholstered wing chair and large rustic table where all the formalities can be taken care of in seated comfort. From here you can proceed into a small lounge decorated in modern alpine style – a perfect spot for a lunchtime Aperol or a glass of red wine in the evening. On the floors above are located the double rooms and the larger wellness double rooms – all furnished with free WLAN and a balcony.

In the cellar, a small but smart spa area serves as a wellness spot offering all guests space to luxuriate in the infrared booth, sauna, chamomile blossom sanarium, steam bath and terrace hot tub. Complementing this is a tasteful quiet room with heated waterbeds as well as two treatment cubicles for massage and beauty treatments. Superb for nature lovers: The hotel has a unique vantage point onto the Bichlalm mountain, some 15 minutes’ walk from Kitzbühel’s old town. Hiking and mountain-biking tracks start right outside the entrance.

Skiiers can reach the valley station of the Hahnenkamm lift in 5 minutes by car. A morning treat before hitting the courses, pistes or trails: at the breakfast buffet, different specialties such as creamed trout caviar, salmon salad or potted homemade spreads are served daily. Pleasant after a taxing day: Although the hotel only offers breakfast, fondue specialties can be enjoyed in the lounge upon request.

Boutique Hotel Kitz Garni
Bichlnweg 44
6370 Kitzbühel, Tyrol


Boutique hotel, designer accommodation, a home for the well-traveled and those seeking pampering: all this (and much more) can be found at the Hollmann-Beletage – a Viennese gem in the truest sense of the word.

The hotel has just 25 modern and comfortably furnished rooms (most of which come with large open baths). Not a lot – but nonetheless enough to lend an entirely new tone to the capital’s hotel landscape. The Hollmann, named after its founder Robert Hollmann, a one-time cook, baker and actor, is simply different and more distinct that other establishments.

You don’t congregate here in some anonymous lobby, but rather in the “the living room” with its piano and library. And instead of an all-morning onslaught at the buffet, a several-course breakfast menu is served in the small, kitchen-style dining room. And if that were not enough: you can also spend an evening with friends in the hotel’s home cinema, feel as though you have stepped into the Garden of Eden on the rooftop terrace, or have a sauna in the mini spa (lovingly given the Viennese nickname “Spa-tscherl” by returning guests) and watch the flames of the roaring fire.

And just around the corner you can find Hollmann’s Salon, an award-winning restaurant, which styles itself just as unconventionally as the hotel and is located in one of Vienna’s most beautiful baroque courtyards. Ecological. Regional. Seasonal. These are the three tenets of the cuisine. All this plus an unrivaled location in the old town, only two minutes’ walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, prompted the New York Times to give this hotel a complimentary mention. The largest honor the hotel has received came from the famously picky natives. As so many Viennese wish to stay here at least once, a package called “Viennese Lovers” has been launched to cater for them. It includes an overnight stay, candlelit dinner, prosecco, flowers and a late breakfast in bed.

Hollmann Beletage
Köllnerhofgasse 6
1010 Vienna

Naturhotel Chesa Valisa

Here everything is 100% environmentally friendly, with clean air, a hygienic altitude, plenty of nature and an optional program of indulgence into the bargain.

The Austrian valley of Kleinwalsertal lies so close to a mountain range that it is only accessible from Germany. Until the introduction of the euro, the deutschmark was legal tender here. Originally settled by Walser speakers from Switzerland the alemannic dialect has been preserved here until the present day. The valley is the ideal holiday destinations above all for pleasure hikers and families, due to its many well-signposted trails and (for those with a Walser Card) free trail-orientated bus connections. A few years ago, Klaus Kessler converted his 500-year-old farm house into a hotel. Now modern timber constructions and contemporary design align with the traditional alpine architectural style. You can relax in the spa area with its Finnish sauna, laconium (dry sweating room) and multi-sensory showers along with the generously proportioned quiet room with hanging loungers.

The alpine indulgence package provides luxury with its alpine salt-oil-herb peeling, a mare’s milk and rose oil pack and salt bath with stone pine salt. The hotel is a member of the Bio-Hotel association. Added to this is the showcasing of regional culinary skill: all food comes from verified environmentally-friendly farms. One particular delight is the homemade rye and wholemeal bread. The hotel’s facilities top off the cheerful atmosphere: guided hikes and bike tours, morning gymnastics, Nordic walking courses and also deep-snow skiing courses.

Naturhotel Kleinwalsertal
Gerbeweg 18
6992 Hirschegg im Kleinwalsertal, Vorarlberg

Schwarzer Adler

From simple guesthouse to award-winning boutique hotel: The Schwarzer Alder in Kitzbühel draws guests with its traditional hospitality, modern architecture and dream views over the entire city from the rooftop pool.

The Hahnenkamm downhill course or perhaps a hot stone massage? In the Schwarzer Adler you are spoiled for choice with Kitzbühel’s 4 star superior inn offering both winter sports and spa enthusiasts the perfect holiday. After all, it is under five minutes from the centrally situated hotel to the gondola on the legendary mountain. Elsewhere the 1,000 square-meter Black Spa cannot fail to impress with its refined design, first-class treatments, and distinctive features such as the triadic massage room.

In 2008 the Schwarzer Adler even claimed the Austrian State Prize for Architecture and the Travel Oscar for the best hotel nationwide after the expansion of its wellness area around the rooftop pool (the longest in the Alps) and the building of six modern, panoramic, cottage-style suites, each fitted with a private sauna or free standing bathtub. And the awards don’t stop there: the hotel’s own À la carte restaurant Neuwirt has received a star from the testers of the Michelin Guide as well as two toques from Gault Millau.

Schwarzer Adler Kitzbühel
Florianigasse 15
6370 Kitzbühel, Tyrol

Hotel Tschitscher

Swapping the TV and computer for a book: the stylishly renovated estate in the Lienz Domolomites from the year 1672 is the perfect spot for getting away from it all, including the TV. The bed & breakfast hotel entertains guests with a mix of audiobooks, books and games.

The name says it all in Tschitscher, the hotel of games and books: Instead of a TV, guests will find a CD player in the room with which they can play one of 500 music CDs or over 450 audiobooks. If you prefer a classic book, the hotel’s library has over a 1000 books to choose from, which guests can read in their rooms. There is also an constantly growing selection of English and Italian audiobooks and books. Each room has its own living area where guests can withdraw to read or listen.

Rooms are named after games like Nine Man Morris and Backgammon rather than numbered. If you wish to listen to an audiobook in the garden, you can borrow an iPod. Guests will find not just books and audiobooks but also a choice of 250 board and card games from the collection of hotel owner Dieter Mayr-Hassler. One of the special highlights of the collection is an oversized Ludo game in the garden and a 150-year-old skittles lane in the traditional parlor. When the ball fires at the pins from the wooden cannon, it is sure to excite both young and old.

To facilitate light-hearted gaming fun, the game-room as well as the dining room have extra large tables. The lounge is stylishly furnished with cozy armchairs and coffee tables and has a drinks buffet with a Nespresso machine. Between games you can discover the countryside of the Großglockner and Dolomite mountain ranges with its crystalline mountain lakes and green alpine pastures through hiking excursions or on the Drau bike trail (bikes can borrowed free of charge). In the winter, the tended 350km ski pistes, 400km cross-country runs across 6 multi-award winning ski areas, and numerous natural tobogan runs beckon holidaymakers – with the small family-run hotel in the middle.

Spiele- und Buchhotel Tschitscher
House number: 21
9782 Nikolsdorf, Tyrol

Jagdgut Wachtelhof

With its modern spa area and three different saunas, the Jagdgut Wachtelhof in Maria Alm is a place where you can truly switch off and recharge your batteries. Those who love exciting outdoor adventures are also catered for.

The Jagdgut Wachtelhof offers a chalet atmosphere at 1,000 meters above sea level. It is not hard to get away from everyday life here. The interior design of the rooms bears the typical Alpine trademarks, combining old and new in an inspiring way and inviting you in with warm natural shades, the aroma of high-quality oak and Swiss pine and fine fabrics in a loden and traditional costume style, making you feel as at home as possible.

The spa area and the Aqua Lounge, which is completely glazed and thus provides a wonderful view of the surrounding mountain landscape, have a modern feel. There are various ways to relax and recover here. A Finnish sauna is located outdoors in a rustic cabin. You can cool off afterward in the fresh snow or in the crystal-clear waters from a source belonging to the hotel. An outdoor, heated jacuzzi by the soothing stream and a herbal and an infrared sauna ensure deep relaxation. Unique experiences are also positively tangible – whether on the golf course nearby, biking on the mountains, skiing on the slopes in winter or snowshoe hiking with a private guide through the magnificent woods. Everyday life is simply far away.

Jagdgut Wachtelhof
Urslaustraße 7
5761 Maria Alm, Salzburg

The Kitzhof

The Kitzhof is situated just five minutes from Kitzbühel’s chic city center. The relaxed tranquility of the 4-star hotel’s modern alpine ambiance is, however, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the hip, upmarket ski resort.

“Deer antler meets design” – this is the Kitzhof’s somewhat unusual motto. What this means is that in the hotel’s rooms and suites traditional tastes have been infused with the fresh and modern, while sacrificing none of the typical alpine comforts. Abundant natural light plays a big role in this as does the crackling logfire in the open-plan lounge, the animal hides spanning the walls, the untreated larch timber floors and the black and white photos of mountain motifs to be found on every floor.

The stylishly minimal wellness area is also in keeping with this design plan. The Kitzhof’s four uniquely decorated restaurants are on hand to satisfy your culinary desires as is the hotel’s open, reserve bottle cellar. In order to work off all those calories, Kitzhof has its own gym and Nordic walking equipment rental at reception – what is more, the 163-room lodge is located directly on the jogging track to the Schwarzsee lake. If you are feeling even more active, you will be spoiled for choice in summer between golfing, mountain-biking and swimming, and in the colder months between the extensive range of winter sports. Here’s a tip: keep an eye out for the numerous special offers on the hotel’s website – they range from the pre-Christmas “cinnamon biscuit breakaway” to offers for engaged couples and luxury spa days.

Hotel Kitzhof
Schwarzseestraße 8-10
6370 Kitzbühel, Tyrol

Landhaus zu Appesbach

The Landhaus zu Appesbach was built in 1912 as a private holiday residence and later accommodated famous artists and even a former king! You can still sense much of this establishment’s illustrious history even today in its stately salons, elegant guest rooms and suites, as well as on the enchanting hotel grounds with private access to Lake Wolfgang.

“It’s a magnificent part of the world,” wrote Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom, to his future wife Wallis Simpson. And Thomas Mann was no less effusive in his descriptions of staying at the Landhaus zu Appesbach. So what was it about this 27-room hotel in the Salzkammergut that so enthralled these two well-traveled bon vivants?

The magnificent location with a sprawling sunbathing lawn right at the water’s edge, the divine peace and quiet, far from the endless influx of tourists, and the sophisticated, historic atmosphere, which is less reminiscent of a hotel than of a holiday home belonging to a well-heeled friend. Still, it simply wouldn’t do for guests to forego the comforts of a four-star superior establishment. In addition to a private tennis court and rowing boats, guests can also enjoy a small spa area with a Finnish sauna, organic sauna and steam bath. Yoga and hot stone massages are also on offer.

And in addition to breakfast and afternoon tea, a first-class four-course dinner based on modern interpretations of classic Austrian cuisine is served each evening on the lakeside terrace or in the restaurant. For guests who’ve got a taste for the extraordinary, why not book the original Windsor Suite or the Thomas Mann Room? Then you can feel like a real celebrity for the duration of your holiday! The hotel is a member of the Castle Hotels & Mansions Association.

Landhaus zu Appesbach
Au 18
5360 St. Wolfgang, Upper Austria

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