My latest overseas trip took me to the Austrian Alps, which was a place I fell in love with last summer on a solo trip to Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. I’m usually all about visiting destinations once and moving on to somewhere new, but there was something about Austria that made me certain I would return. Last month I packed my suitcase for another solo trip to Austria, but this time the focus wasn’t on travelling around multiple cities. It was to experience an eco-friendly spa break in the Austrian Alps, at the popular Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR.
In a very rare press trip fashion, the focus of this trip was about slowing down, switching off, and enjoying the wellness spa facilities. I could do that, right? As I was travelling alone, I knew I could be 100% selfish with my time so I gave myself the challenge to spend minimal time on my phone and maximum time in the moment, enjoying the hotel as a regular guest and taking it all in. So here’s how I got on…
Introducing Gartenhotel Theresia
Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR is a 4-star, eco-friendly hotel in the heart of Saalbach Hinterglem. The boutique hotel has 53 rooms and has been family-run by the Brettermeirs for generations. In the winter Saalbach Hinterglem is a popular ski resort and in summer it becomes a haven for outdoor activities in the mountains (hiking, mountain biking and more). The summer months are the best time to experience a Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR spa break, when you can make the most of the hotel’s spa complex, treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and fresh, organic menus. The hotel also focuses on sustainability as one of its core values, which made me like it even more. I couldn’t wait to go and experience it for myself.
After a pretty drive through quaint some villages and past dramatic snow-capped mountains, I arrived at Gartenhotel Theresia****SUPERIOR. The exterior was classic and alpine in style, with vivid red flowers hanging off all the balconies. The entrance to the lobby felt chic and stylish, and I was met with a warm welcome from the reception team.
A Suite with a View
The receptionist personally checked me in and took me up to my room. She gave me a quick orientation of the room and its features, which included a spacious lounge area, complimentary mini-bar of juice, still and sparkling water, a luxurious bathroom and separate shower. But the best bit was definitely the balcony and its incredible view of the Saalbach mountains. I could feel the fresh mountain air, I could see chairlifts moving in the distance and I could hear a faint hum of cowbells chiming in the distance. It seemed like a quintessential setting for a spa break in the Austrian Alps.
The Mountain Green Spa
Naturally, the Mountain Green Spa was a highlight of my stay at Gartenhotel Theresia****SUPERIOR. Spread out across multiple levels both above and below ground, the spa is a labyrinth of saunas, whirlpools, steam rooms and jacuzzis. One of the saunas was a naked sauna, but in true British fashion I didn’t dare to enter it, in fear of what I might find on the other side.
There are a total of 3 pools including an indoor pool (great for lengths), outdoor pool and outdoor BIO natural swimming pond (not for the faint hearted). In keeping with the eco-friendly values of the hotels, the pools have the minimum level of chlorine to keep skin soft and happy.
Surrounding the outdoor pools are sun loungers and an outdoor jacuzzi; this was my favourite area in the whole hotel. I also loved the relaxation room which had individual loungers and cabanas; the perfect place to come before and after your spa treatments or just to read a book and escape. The Mountain Green Spa is a member of the Health & Spa Premium Hotels, which is a cooperation of Austria’s 45 best wellness and health hotels.
During my stay I booked in for the Rose Dream body treatment which started with a full body exfoliation followed by a head, neck and shoulder massage. The treatment took place on a waterbed which made me feel totally weightless and helped me to zone out. I loved the rose aromas and the scrub left my skin feeling incredibly soft.
The Bio Cuisine
The hotel prides itself on serving fresh, organic and local produce in their main restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the left side of the menu is a extensive list of all the food items that have been locally sourced. I loved seeing which local regions the fresh food had come from. It included fruits, meats, eggs, vegetables, cheeses, butters and more. I stayed full board at the hotel so had a chance to try all 3 meals.
Breakfast was a decent buffet including eggs made to order, fresh fruits, continental cheeses and cured meats, fresh breads, salad, pastries and granola, yoghurts and seeds. Lunch was also a buffet, which was more limited with only 2-3 savoury options (always one pasta dish) but everything I tried was simple and tasty.
Dinner was an a la carte experience in the formal part of the restaurant, but the choices are fairly limited. The waiters bring you the evening’s dinner menu at breakfast and ask you to select which dishes you’d like, which I found a little strange as I had no idea what I would fancy eating that night. Still, I went along with the process and my selected dishes were brought out to me in a flawless fashion. The dishes are fine-dining in style, but bursting with fresh, organic flavours. I remember trying the beetroot soup (a first for me) and being absolutely blown away by the taste. Later on I found out that the reason guests are asked to choose their evening meals in advance is to minimise food waste, thus making the hotel more sustainable.
The Surrounding Area
Although the focus of my trip was the hotel spa break, I was itching to get active and explore the surrounding area. The hotel recommended that I visited the Saalbach’s ‘end of the valley’, a visually spectacular and mountainous valley with waterfalls, rivers and streams (a 10 minute drive from the hotel). As well as the incredible views, there’s also a high rope course with zip lines and an aerial assault course that would be perfect for families and adrenaline junkies.
The end of the valley was so so beautiful and it felt like stepping into Jurassic world. Those that take the 30-45 minute walk to the end of the valley can reward themselves with a stop in a traditional mountain restaurant serving food and drinks (be sure to bring cash though as cards aren’t accepted).
The Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR was a dream place to come for a break in the Austrian Alps. I’m glad that on this trip I did manage to switch off more than usual, which felt like a refreshing change. With so much focus on wellness, organic product, relaxation and nature, it felt easy and natural to relax here. The staff are attentive and the facilities are fantastic and although I was travelling alone, I never felt lonely. I can imagine the hotel would have a totally different feel in the winter (and would be twice if not three times as busy) but visiting in the summer felt special, like I had it all to myself.
Read more reviews of Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR on Trip Advisor
The closest airport to Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR is Salzburg, which is roughy a 1 hour 15 minute drive away. Alternatively you can fly into Munich but it's a 3 hour transfer. If you’re in need of an airport transfer, I would recommend booking with Four Seasons Travel. They took me to and from the airport and were very swift and reliable.
Watch the video below for a closer look at Saalbach Hinterglem and The Gartenhotel Theresia ****SUPERIOR
What do you think of my eco-friendly spa break in the Austrian Alps? Have you ever thought about travelling a little further for the ultimate spa break? If you enjoyed this post please leave me a comment in the box below. Jess x
This blog post has been created in collaboration with The Austria National Tourist Office. All words, photos and views are my own.