Beautiful Ski-nery in Kitzbuel
I spend hours and hours planning trips. Whether its good or bad, I fall in love with places before I get there. These high expectations can get me in trouble, but lucky for me our weekend in Kitzbuel not only met, but surpassed my wildest expectations.
A few months ago, Nate and I discussed going on a vacation in March. Living in Amsterdam, where it is regularly overcast and 40 degrees, I naturally gravitated towards a beach vacation. (I want a tan, an umbrella and an daiquiri dammit!!) Nate had something else in mind -- skiing. When I protested, he so kindly pointed out that a few moths ago, in passing, I mentioned I wanted to go skiing and I will admit I did, in early January when winter was still romantic.
I am no skier. The cold, the heights - and most importantly the gear - have kept me off the slopes since I was old enough to make my own decisions. Sure, there is some appeal to skiing, namely the cozy fires and hot drinks, but my winter ski fantasies have never involved the physical act of skiing down a mountain. But, we make compromises for those we love, so skiing it was.
I wanted to make sure we went somewhere with a great town that was manageable for beginners. I consulted Conde Nast Traveller who had a great list of ski towns for non skiers. Our results were narrowed down due to the fact that we wanted to be within three hours from a major airport, needed a (relatively) affordable hotel and wanted to avoid Switzerland as it is notoriously expensive. Once we narrowed it down to one or two places, I consulted my new favorite website Design Hotels (which I will talk about another post). I found Hotel Kitzhof and that was that - a match made in winter heaven.
The drive from Munich was relatively simple and straight forward. Arriving at the hotel was a windy adventure with a great surprise at the end. The hotel was clean, modern and enchanting. Our room was cozy, with an incredibly comfortable mattress/comforter situation. There are some hotels where your hotel room is your home base and it is important to make that space comfortable. This was definitely not that situation. Once I saw the hotels facilities, I knew we would not be spending much time in the room.
The views from the lounge were truly stunning, overlooking a vista that can only be described as a scene from the Sound of Music. You see rolling hills, some covered in snow, a church and beautiful wooden ski Chalets. There was spaces to sit and enjoy a cocktail and the view outside or by a cozy fireplace. It was all perfect. Although the hotel was a splurge for a long weekend, we both felt that the facilities, restaurant and service makes you feel you get your money worth. The gym was fantastic and modern, with views overlooking the mountains. The on-site spa facilities were also incredible. We are both new to the European spa scene (aka sweaty older naked men everywhere you turn) but the hotel did such an excellent job cleaning and maintaining the area you felt as if you had a little space carved out for yourself.
The town of Kitzbuel was incredibly charming, with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets.The weather was just about perfect our first day, and we enjoyed (a few) delicious pizzas outside at Centro. We both agreed it was some of the best pizza we have ever had. On Saturday, when it was a bit cooler, you got a sense of what the town would be like on a cozy winter day. Rather than sit in a restaurant, we decided to check out a few of the food stalls, enjoying a delicious brisket sandwich (kosher for passover?!) and a bratwurst (just as good as you would imagine, with that spicy mustard that makes your eyes water- the bitter herb?!). We also made sure to try the local Tyrol cuisine at Gastof Eggerwirt which was surprisingly delicious (if on the heavier side :-))
A note about the actual skiing - it was as humiliating. The hotel set us up with a lesson with Max from Element Three. We skied on Hahnenkamm, which was close to the hotel and beautiful. Max was lovely and patient as we made our way down. But that run was no joke! At one point I just starting holding on to his backpack while he skied me down the mountain. After I made it down, I was talking to the concierge at the hotel who informed me that the mountain down the road Hornbahn was a bit better for beginners, so be advised!
Overall I can't say enough incredible things about this trip and am already plotting ways to go back in the summer.
I can't wait to share more adventures with our family and friends!