A 14th-century Austrian estate turned minimalist mountain lodge, Wiesergut is as pure as fresh powder. Nestled in the Alps – in fact, hardly distinguishable from them – its modernist aesthetic of pale woods, exposed stonework and barely there glass seems to melt into the pine-dotted pinnacles like the last snow of the season. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame patchwork meadows and crisp, white peaks that will entice even the least adventurous onto the hiking trails and ski slopes that surround. As the sun sets, wilderness gives way to wild herb cocktails and plates piled with warming schnitzel at the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant, where evenings are all about cosying up around crackling wood fires.
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A bottle of Bründlmayer Rosé sparkling wine; for GoldSmiths, a snack on-piste at Wieseralm Mountain Inn or at the hotel
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £330.44 (€387), including tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include an à la carte breakfast, use of the spa and, in summer, a pass that provides guests with free access to Hinterglemm’s mountain railways and cable cars. There’s a minimum stay of seven nights during peak season and holiday periods.
Spa treatments and spinning bikes can be brought to your room and guests are free to pluck fruit from the onsite orchard. The hotel has four Rotwild mountain bikes that can be borrowed, free.
Wiesergut closes during spring and autumn: from 11 April to 12 July in 2018, and from mid-April to mid-May in 2019.
At the hotel
Spa with a Finnish sauna; pool; small gym with fitness classes such as yoga and pilates; free Wi-Fi. In rooms: flatscreen TV; yoga mat; minibar; espresso machine; tea-making kit; Susanne Kaufmann bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Gutshof Suites in the main manor house feel snug without compromising on space, particularly those with a balcony and views over the surrounding hills. Done up in the hotel’s signature pared-back palette of light wood and stone, they’re full of supremely soft fabrics and let in masses of natural light; it’s the perfect place to hole up and watch snowstorms swirl outside. In the Hideaway Suites, you can slalom your way from the slopes straight into a private garden, complete with your own sauna and a hot tub for thawing frosty feet.
The heated indoor pool is in the spa, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over meadows and mountains in summer or swathes of snow in winter; children are welcome as long as under-12s are supervised. On the other side of the glass walls, there's an 80sq m outdoor heated infinity pool with built-in sunloungers.
Wiesergut’s spa makes the most of its soul-soothing setting by bringing the Alps indoors. Lotions and potions come from Susanne Kaufmann, who packs her products with Alpine plants, and water is sourced from the hotel’s own well; Alpine-inspired elements like warm pine-wood chips replace hot stones in specially adapted treatments. Stretch out aching limbs at private yoga sessions, sink into some guided meditation or soak beside an open fire with your significant other in a lavender-infused outdoor bath.
Bring your most stylish ski goggles and a Fitbit so you can smugly order a second apple strudel.
Common areas and suites located in the main manor are wheelchair accessible. Extra beds can be added to Manor Suite Bliss, Garden Suites and Hideaway Suites for €70 a night for kids aged 5-12, and €120 a night for teens from 13-17.
Children of all ages are welcome and under-4s stay for free. They can run riot on the hotel lawns and the restaurant has a playroom (and a children’s menu), however, there isn’t much else to entertain them on the property.
Meals at Wiesergut are made with organic, locally sourced produce, much of it grown onsite on the hotel’s family-run farm; there’s also a wild herb garden and orchard. Food waste is composted, bathrooms are stocked with eco-friendly products from Susanne Kaufmann and energy-saving lightbulbs are used throughout.
Long lunches are best spent at tables by the window where you can watch the sun glinting off snow-capped summits, but evening meals are more suited to the restaurant’s intimate little Austrian stube.
Don cosy cashmeres in nude and neutral tones.
Mealtimes are to be savoured at Wiesergut. The farm-to-table ethos means everything is either locally sourced or grown onsite and transformed into their interpretation of contemporary, Austrian “slow food”. Wood garlic soup, truffle-topped pasta and saltimbocca with cheese curd gnocchi and sugar peas all feature, but the real star is the sublime wiener schnitzel. Served with fresh bread, whipped, herby cream cheese and a pot of rosemary salt, it’s far too delicious to take your time over.
Sleek stone pendant lighting is about as statement as things get in Piazza, the hotel’s masterfully minimal lounge bar. Après-ski aperitifs come in the form of Wiesergut Spritzers (their take on an Aperol spritz made with wild berries) and glasses of gin punch that pair perfectly with crusty slices of straight-from-the-oven Wiesern bread smothered in herby cheese spread.
Breakfast is served between 7.30am and 11am wherever you like: in the main restaurant, out on your private terrace or in bed. Lunch is from 11.30am to 6pm and dinner begins at 6.30pm, running until 9pm. Piazza lounge is open from 11.30am to 6pm.
During restaurant opening hours you can order anything from the full menu.
You’ll find Wiesergut in the dramatic Glemmtal Valley, on the precipice of Austria’s Tyrol region.
The closest airport is Salzburg, which is roughly a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the hotel, and there are direct flights from airports across the country, including from Gatwick, Luton, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Alternatively, you can fly direct to Munich from Southampton, Birmingham and Cardiff, after which the journey to the hotel is two-and-a-half-hours. The hotel can arrange transfers from both airports for €44 and €98, respectively.
Zell am See station is a 25-minute drive away, from where there are direct services to Salzburg, Innsbruck and Graz.
You can hike, bike, ski your way around most of the surrounding area straight from the hotel, but a car might come in useful for easier access to trails and pistes further afield. There is free parking onsite.
Worth getting out of bed for
The town of Hinterglemm is in the centre of the Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski circus, with ski-in, ski-out access all winter and snowfall that dissolves to reveal 400 kilometres of hiking trails.
Baumzipfelweg – the highest treetop trail in Europe – is open year-round and forms a leisurely two-kilometre stroll over fairytale hills and pine forests. The more intrepid can tackle the challenging and remote Seven-Summits circuit which takes you 24 kilometres through the Glemmtal valley, along craggy ridges and over sky-brushing peaks like 2,363 metre-high Geisstein. Snow-sports enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice, surrounded by the 270km of runs that range from blue to black, plus the area is a fantastic freeriding destination. The Alps might be made for the adventurous but if you’d rather leave the hiking boots behind, cable cars can whisk you up to meadowy mountaintops. Zwölferkogel is one of the most picturesque and a jumping-off point for some of the area’s most awe-inspiring hikes and adrenaline-pumping mountain bike trails.
Perched beside the top of Reiterkogelbahn cable car, the hotel’s on-piste pitstop Wieseralm Mountain Inn serves up classic currywurst and other Austrian staples, though the food is all but outshone by the spectacular views. If you’re ski-ing closer to the town of Saalbach, duck into Seppi’s for dry-aged steaks, après-ski charcuterie and smoked burrata or slide into a candlelight-filled booth at Tiroler Buam which turns out impeccably crisp wood-fired pizzas.
When ski season hits, the fairly lacklustre bars around Hinterglemm neighbouring Saalbach tend to get overrun by rowdy ski-tripping crowds. Piazza lounge at Wiesergut is really your best bet for a quiet cocktail but closes early. In the town, Der Jennerwein does the job with a large selection of drinks and pleasant, if plain, decor.
When the avalanche closed all roads leading to Hinterglemm, an Austrian resort town in the Alps, I thought my holiday was over before it had begun. But the staff at boutique hotel Wiesergut were totally unfazed, and even arranged alternative accommodation for me in the next town. You know you’re onto a good thing when a hotel’s customer service extends 20 miles down the road.
I’d planned a relaxing bit of ‘me time’ at Wiesergut after a business trip to nearby Innsbruck; what I hadn’t planned on was up to seven feet of snow being dropped on Austria at exactly the same time, which led to travel chaos in the area. It sounds dramatic, but Austrians are not flustered by a few snowflakes and the roads were all clear in less than 12 hours. Wiesergut staff couldn’t have been more helpful, and once I landed in its sleek modern lobby, that welcome cup of tea was a welcome sight.
The hotel seemed to be entirely staffed by women, and with its linen upholstery, muted colour tones and evocatively scented honey-wax candles it did give the air of a luxe nunnery. Concrete floors and industrial decor made it feel contemporary, but homey touches, like the low Fifties-style chairs, hand-blown glass chandeliers by Cologne-based artist Isabel Hamm, and earthenware pottery from Austrian ceramicist Petra Lindenbauer added warmth and an artisanal touch throughout. It was like visiting a friend’s house who has impeccable taste, and needless to say my Pinterest board took a lot of inspiration from it.
The hotel is owned by husband and wife team Josef Sepp and Martina Kröll; the land has been in the Sepp family since 1350, and Josef’s great-grandmother opened a guest house here more than two generations ago. My room’s look was minimalist monastery chic, with stone features, pale walls, white bedlinen and a log-burning fire. The hotel’s built round a cloister-like central courtyard, and with only 24 rooms the whole place had a calming, meditative feel.
After my late arrival, I wanted to see the town before sunset. You can ask to borrow backpacks and Alpine walking poles at reception, but that seemed a little over the top for my casual stroll. Wiesergut sits on the edge of Hinterglemm, a buzzing ski-in, ski-out town that’s packed with skiers all winter, and cyclists and walkers come summer. I took the Reiterkogel Cable Car from the town centre to Wieser Alm café on Kodok mountain; watching the sun set over pristine white mountains with a boozy hot chocolate in my hands soon made me feel I’d achieved the ‘me time’ I’d been hoping for.
The treats kept on coming once on returning to the hotel, where the elegant spa and sauna awaited. I cautiously dipped into the sizeable outdoor pool, which was surrounded by five feet of snow, and watched the stars come out above me as snowflakes sparkled on all sides. The traditional Austrian sauna and steam room were essential to warm back up again, and had spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the snow-blanketed slopes.
Relaxed and probably slightly red-faced after my sauna, I went down to dinner in the bright wood-lined dining room. The waitresses wore traditional Austrian bodices, long aprons, and anachronistic (but probably very comfortable) high-end trainers. The food menu stayed loyal to tradition with a few modern touches: handmade pasta came with truffle foam, walnut bread was served with carrot curd, and the tomato soup was made with intensely flavoured dried tomatoes. I couldn’t resist classic Austrian Wiener schnitzel, served with cranberry sauce, parsley potatoes and a crisp Grüner Veltliner wine.
The hotel doesn’t charge extra for room service, and on request they’ll even wheel an exercise bike to your room so you can workout in private. After dinner, I opted for the less energetic option of the hot-chocolate delivery service, which arrived with a dollop of cream as thick as the snow outside my window. The self-indulgence accumulated as I donned my soft white bathrobe, laid back against the impossibly fluffy feather pillows and gazed out at the mountains.
The multicourse Austrian-style breakfast I enjoyed come morning would have kept me going for days in the mountains – but sadly I was only heading back to the airport. Alpine cheeses, smoked ham, freshly baked breads, homemade jam, Bircher muesli and rich coffee were just what I needed to sweeten the blow of leaving such a luxurious mountain refuge. As a certain Austrian superstar is known to say, I’ll be back, only next time I’ll check the weather report.