Rural Hotel Surrounded by Mountains in Alpine Valley
In August 2007, adventure tour guide Roman Erler stumbled upon a hidden hollow in the towering Hintertux Glacier. Inside, he found an icy cave with 23-foot ice stalactites, frozen waterfalls, and a frozen glacial lake. After the glacial ravine was deemed safe for public viewing, it became another feather in the cap for the pale-blue Hintertux, which also serves as year-round ski destination. Located just a few minutes from the glacier, Gutshof Zillertal Hotel offers a free shuttle bus to the lifts at Hintertux. It's just one way the hotel fosters exploration of the alpine-studded Mayrhofen valley: it also sets guests up with a Chevrolet Lacetti Kombi station wagon with navigation so visiting groups can maneuver through the mountaintops.
With its gabled rooftops and hanging boxed flowers, the Gutshof itself resembles a classic alpine ski chalet in its architecture, and there are nods to the rural way of life throughout the building, from its centuries-old wooden entrance to the kitchen's large mason stove. Balconies adjoined to most rooms and suites look to the mountains of Zillertal as well as the placid stream of the hotel garden. The restaurant Mei Tirol uses locally sourced ingredients to prep its regional cuisine. Seasonal fruits and Tyrolean grey cheese appear in breakfast dishes, and dinner fare features freshwater trout and house-made pastas, all served in a lounge decked out with stone pine furniture.
Many of Gutshof Zillertal Hotel's facilities are designed to help guests to unwind after long days skiing, hiking, and digging through ice for preserved dinosaur toys. Technicians at the Figura Anti-Aging Center and Day Spa specialize in massages, facials, and medical-grade cosmetic treatments. Alternatively, one can take a dip in the mountainside swimming pool, which is enclosed by a roof and warmed from the inside during the winter.
Mayrhofen, Austria: Outdoor Adventures in Glaciated Zillertal Alps and Mountain Trails
The town of Mayrhofen is split among three separate valleys in western Austria, surrounded by more than 50 mountain peaks and filled with alpine pastures and rivers. Gutshof Zillertal Hotel resides at the entrance to one of these valleys—just a short walk from the village center and only minutes from year-round outdoor activities. In the winter, skiers converge on the glaciated Alps, including Ski Zillertal 3,000, where the year-round Hintertux Glacier can be found amid more than 140 miles of slopes. The trails cover a wide range of terrain types and difficulty: the steep Harakiri has a downhill gradient of nearly 80%, and some trails are designed as racetracks to foster quick escapes from local James Bond villains.
In the summertime, visitors take to the area for mountain climbing and downhill mountain biking. In another fair-weather activity, paragliding, travelers are strapped to a parachute, either by themselves or with an experienced pilot, and float high above the valley to get a bird's-eye view of the area.