The Mountain Way | HOTEL TANNENHOF
As I stand on my balcony, I’m overwhelmed by the vision of endless jagged mountain peaks erupting from the earth, like a sea of daggers; vast, vibrant green oceans of pine trees spewed all around, and the snaking path of the ski runs, now glowing with luscious green grass. I’m deep in the Tyrolean Alps at Hotel Tannenhof in St. Anton, Austria. Until this moment, I had never been to, nor considered visiting, a ski-town during the summer months, nor could I fathom the beauty, tranquillity and endless list of activities that would greet me upon arrival. Needless to say, I’m pleasantly surprised.
Historically, St. Anton has always been the European ski resort to visit. With some of the most exceptional piste and off-piste skiing, along with an extensive après-ski scene, St. Anton has garnered a reputation of unbridled pedigree. However, it doesn’t just stop there, oh no. The summer months offer more than enough to grab the attention. From mountaintop yoga and endless spa treatments, to mountain biking, climbing and hiking, there’s something for everybody, and Hotel Tannenhof is here to offer you the very best of the Austrian Alps.
As one of the most acclaimed 5-star hotels in the Arlberg area, and one of only 18 superior 5-star hotels in Austria, Hotel Tannenhof’s exclusivity knows no bounds. With only seven suites, or should I say apartments from the sheer size of the rooms, it is far more a home than a hotel. In fact, Tannenhof’s resident directors, Judith Volker and Axel Bach, greet you with beaming smiles and the words, “Welcome home,” each time you enter through the front door. Couple this with Emma and Tommy, the Hotel’s two black Labradors, and you find yourself in a home from home; in a hotel that is the very definition of the word luxury, but without the slightest amount of pretentiousness. I can even walk around bare foot, simply because they’re that relaxed.
And perhaps that’s what visiting Hotel Tannenhof during the summer months is all about – pure, unadulterated relaxation.
You breathe in the fresh mountain air, stare in awe at the panoramic scenery, and unwind in any way you want. For me, it’s getting into the mountains to wander through the untouched landscape, a landscape very few see without its white blanket. And, of course, Judith and Axel organise for the best guide in the Arlberg, St. Anton native, former professional freeride skier and all-round mountain guru, Geli Häusl, to lead the trek into the unknown.
We begin by driving along the picturesque Moosbach River, twisting through the endlessly perfect mountains up to the Verwall Reservoir. Now and then I hear the bell of an alpine cow jingle from a distant mountain face as a light breeze gently whistles past my ears. Our trek takes us along well-worn paths up the ever-steepening mountain face until we arrive at Sattelkopf, a jutting platform high above St. Anton. From here I can see the entirety of the town, the numerous chairlifts and ski runs, and far into the neighbouring valley. It’s an undeniable luxury to be rewarded with such views, and something I urge all to experience.
So as we make our decent, with Emma and Tommy ever-obediently at our heels, I feel awakened by the mountains, with thoughts of city life far from my mind. It is, in a word, bliss. When we reach the bottom, in the neighbouring valley near Verwalltal, Hotel Tannenhof’s resident chef, James Baron, is hastily barbequing a plethora of delicacies on the banks of a bubbling river. I take off my hiking boots, cool my feet in the crisp water, and sit down to eat a well-earned lunch.
When we return to the hotel, I’m offered a soothing massage to relax my muscles, and as I drift off, I’m still picturing the enchanting Austrian mountains and wondering why I haven’t been here before. A mere two hours from London, and you’re in one of the most beautiful spots in Europe, surrounded by ceaselessly striking landscapes, warming, welcoming people, and enjoying a level of luxury almost unseen anywhere else.
Although I’ve only been away for two days, I return to London revitalised, full of energy and thoroughly de-stressed. If there were a reason to escape to St. Anton, I’d argue that the summer is the time to do it. Ok, so you can’t ski, but what you get instead will surpass anything imaginable. Go for the adventure, go for the mountain air, go to clear the mind, and go to switch-off. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Prices start from €550 per night during the summer season. Visitfor more information.