Nothing says relaxation like a spa day – especially in Austria, where wellness has been a big part of the culture for hundreds of years. The country’s spas are world-class, so take some time for yourself in one of our favourites.
Explore four worlds of wellness heaven at the Alpentherme. Little ones will love the Family World, where they can race down slides, bob around the lazy river and watch kid-friendly films on the big screen in the multimedia pool. The Relax World and Sauna World are more laid-back. Spend your day drifting between spring-fed pools, swimming lakes, panoramic saunas and relaxation areas. Or if you need some girl time, retreat to the Ladies World to unwind in the female-only sauna and steam room.
The spa is also renowned for its unusual treatments. You can take a dip in naturally radioactive waters – said to promote cell renewal and boost metabolism – or pamper your skin with a hot chocolate massage, algae wrap or goat butter mask.
Natural wood and stone blend with contemporary design in this adults-only spa. The indoor saltwater pool is the highlight, with its sensory lighting, underwater music, massage jets and fireplace. When you’re done soaking, you can explore the cluster of saunas – head to the textile sauna if you aren’t comfortable going nude. Then savour some peace and quiet in the Room of Silence, curl up with a book in the lounge, or doze to the sound of softly splashing fountains on the sun terrace.
Elisabeth Hotel, Mayrhofen
This chic spa makes the most of the thermal waters that this area’s famous for – the pools are fed by 18 natural springs in the surrounding Gastein mountains. You’ll see echoes of nature in the design too, like the rocky walls around the indoor pool. Outside, you can swim laps in the sports pool, unwind in the bubbling hot springs or just stretch out on the lawn and catch some rays. As for saunas, you’ve got five to choose from. We especially love the zirbensauna, with its soothing pine scent, and the glass-fronted panorama sauna, which has amazing views of the peaks.
You’re spoilt for choice here, with not one but two spa areas – the Classic Spa and the over 16s-only Grand Spa. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the indoor pool, whirlpool and saunas in the Classic Spa. Not to mention the private bathing beach by the lake. If you’re after an extra layer of luxury, visit the Grand Spa to use the brine steam room and tepidarium – a quiet relaxation room with heated loungers. And round off your day with the Grand Spa Signature treatment, which includes a snow crystal body exfoliation, alpine plant wrap and jade stone massage – bliss.
Grand Hotel, Zell am See
The Tauern Spa has 11 pools to play in, including a glass-sided rooftop pool. And when you want to turn up the heat, you can sit back in the Finnish sauna, bio sauna, aromatic steam bath or dry salt steam room. Kids aren’t left out either. The Kidstein spa has its own indoor and outdoor pools with slides, play areas and a climbing wall.
If treatments are more your thing, indulge in a honey massage or try an exotic Lomi Lomi Nui – a traditional Hawaiian massage said to improve circulation, ease muscle pain and relieve anxiety.
Not one to stick to tradition, this 450-year-old hotel is home to a state-of-the-art spa. It’s spread over three floors, with both nude and clothed areas. Hop between the indoor pool and the saunas – including the kelo sauna, which is made of pine wood all the way from Finland. Leave some time for a treatment or two, as well. You can soothe your skin in a Dead Sea salt bath, or try a revitalising Adler Vital scrub with honey and Austrian pine oil. The cherry on top of it all is the rooftop sky pool.
Hotel Schwarzer Adler, St Anton
Treat yourself to a holiday in the Austrian lakes and mountains next summer.
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Published: August 9, 2019
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