With everyone tightening their belts and watching the pennies holidays are often the first place you cut back but everyone needs a little R&R. It may only be the Russians that can still afford 33,000 euro a night rooms in the likes of Courcheval but for us mere mortals who still want to ski, what are the options?
Stylebible set out to find a little ‘luxe for less’.
We settled on Austria and the Ski Circus area, on arrival we headed to Leogang, a small, quiet village, nicely tucked away off the main circuit. We checked into the acclaimed Krallerhof Hotel, which is located away from main roads, on a sunny mountain plateau 850 metres above sea level, it scores well in ratings and it has a fabulous spa too.
Each of the 124 rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art fittings, with a number of suites and apartments that offer different designs themed by colour. Our suite was huge on space and family friendly, spread across two floors, with plush interiors, stunning bathrooms and walk in wardrobes that even SJP would be proud of. The hotel has recently been refurbished and the new wing really is quite special – in addition to the more family orientated rooms there are also some stunning penthouses that offer private saunas, open plan fireplaces (flanked by mood lighting), shag pile carpets and spacious private balconies in a setting worthy of a boutique hotel.
Harmony between mind, body and spirit is encouraged; the spa offers an indoor swimming pool (500 m² with family sauna), sauna, steam bath, hairdresser, cosmetic department, massages and treatments, Ayurveda, a modern cardio and exercise room and a solarium. For those that want something a little more rigorous there is even a squash court.
The hotel bar has atmosphere, if aided by alcohol – this was the only downside, the bar was a little tired but there are a few other places nearby you can go for an after dinner drink and the restaurant offers fine cuisine with either an a la carte menu or a well priced buffet.
The Leogang area is ideal for beginners and experts alike, with an excellent range of tree-lined pistes that run down to the village. Hinterglemm is bigger, but still relaxed and right in the heart of the Ski Circus. From here you can get lifts up to either side of the valley, then ski in either direction.
Saalbach is the biggest and liveliest place with plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants in the cobbled streets around its onion-domed church. Its location, towards one end of the main circuit, make it perfect for heading over to Leogang.
The Ski Circus is great for skiing from one warm, traditional mountain restaurant to another – and there are more than 40 to choose from. The whole circuit takes a full day – and if you don’t manage the complete round, it is no problem as there is a free bus back.
The area is renowned for its spring skiing with great conditions in warm weather – guaranteed by the presence of 450 snow guns that cover 90 per cent of the area. In the evening try the floodlit pistes of Leogang and Hinterglemm, or the four toboggan runs.
There are plenty of places to eat and a few select bars to drink and dance the night away in. Leogang offers torchlit walks, romantic horse-drawn sleigh rides and snowshoeing.
Ski Circus offers extensive skiing, from a freewheeling day out, cruising on one side of the Glemm Valley and then back down the other, taking in Saalbach and Hinterglemm and nipping over to the fast, north-facing slopes of Leogang – there is something for everyone and with a hotel that offers five star luxury at affordable prices suddenly that end of season holiday may not seem so out of reach.
When it comes to travelling to the resort this is one area we don’t suggest doing it on the cheap, EasyJet and RyanAir may appear to save you money but once you’ve paid to check yourself in, added the cost of your bags (not to mention ski equipment) you’ll find that British Airways flies to Salzburg Airport offering a far more enjoyable journey.