Like most other Antipodean expats, a certain someone and I love a weekend city break. In fact, when the Brits ask me why on earth we would ditch gloriously green New Zealand for a life of grey in London, I often say it’s because of the ease of the city break. A leisurely entrance on a Friday, immersing ourselves in the local sights and food on a Saturday and Sunday, followed by a speedy exit on a Monday; we’ve got our routine mastered. I like the pace of the city break, the sensory assault from all angles suits my short, scatty attention span just fine. But you know what? It can be a really exhausting way to travel.
I always knew this but it took a glass of champagne and a hotel balcony with views of snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and blue skies, for me to really accept that sometimes it’s ok to go away for the weekend and just relax… We ditched the lists of ‘things to do and see’ and ‘places to eat’ in exchange for a few days of sunshine, fresh air, and absolutely no plans at the beautiful Alpenpalace Deluxe Hotel & Spa Resort in South Tyrol. Nestled in the Ahrntal Valley and surrounded by the Dolomites, this was the ultimate place for us to take a much needed breather…
Checking In – Suite Alpenpalace
This five star hotel has a range of luxurious rooms and suites to suit all guests from single explorers to families to couples so there’s no excuse not to visit. Our home for the weekend was the extremely comfortable Suite Alpenpalace which boasted a separate living space, a huge bathroom, and not one, but two balconies! I loved the classic wood finish throughout the hotel; it gave our suite such a cosy cabin feel and was the perfect homage to the natural surroundings.
The rooms are equipped with everything you’d expect from a luxury hotel: beds you want to sink into, huge fluffy pillows, tea and coffee, designer toiletries, and more television channels than anyone ever needs. All guests are also provided with a Wellness Basket containing slippers, robes and flip flops, and welcomed with a bottle of champagne and sweet treats when they arrive! Both are such thoughtful touches which really ensure you feel relaxed from the moment you step through the front door!
Wellness Facilities – Spa Alpin
The next step in our quest for total relaxation was a snoop around the hotel’s spa facilities. Alpenpalace is one of the exclusive group of Best Alpine Wellness Hotels in Austria and South Tyrol so I had no doubt that the onsite facilities would be top notch, but I was actually blown away by what was on offer. We mainly alternated between the indoor and outdoor pools, depending on what the sun was doing, then relaxed further in either the outdoor jacuzzi or specialist salt bath. But they’ve also got several saunas and steam baths, as well as Spa Alpin where you can choose to indulge in one of the many treatments on offer.
Exploring the Surroundings – Ahrntal Valley
When you are surrounded by landscape as stunning as this, it would be foolish not to go out and explore… In the winter, this is the perfect spot for anyone into their skiing or snowboarding. There are several ski-fields in the area and the hotel will conveniently shuttle you to and from any of them! However, if you end up going in the warmer months as we did, you’ll will want to bring your walking shoes so you can venture out on a few of the well-marked walks in the valley.
We aren’t exactly professional hikers so we stuck to shorter routes which took around three to four hours for a round trip, but that didn’t mean they were a walk in the park, or that the scenery we encountered was any less spectacular. During these morning walks we wandered through beautiful forests, were mesmerised by waterfalls, and stumbled upon the best views across the valley. I usually find myself in awe of intricate architecture and cityscapes, but this reminded me that nature is rightfully awe-inspiring too!
So Make A Move…
I can honestly say that this was one of the most relaxing weekend getaways we have ever had and it’s inspired us to trade in the pavements for dirt paths more often. Alpenpalace provided the perfect base for a weekend dedicated to taking it easy – our suite was so comfortable, all the facilities were fantastic, and the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming!
- Double rooms are priced from €158/pp which includes breakfast and dinner. The food was excellent and very generous, more on that soon…
- The easiest way to reach Alpenpalace Deluxe Hotel & Spa Resort is to fly into Innsbruck Airport and arrange for the hotel driver to pick you up. The drive to the hotel is nearly two hours but it’s smooth and scenic all the way!
- Visit the nearby Tourist Information Centre (head left out of the hotel and walk about 5 minutes down the road) to pick up maps with marked walking trails. We did the Ahrntal Sun Trail to the Schwarzbach Waterfall and the walk to Burg Taufers, taking in the Pojen Waterfall on the way.
Are you a fan of the weekend city break? Have you got a favourite destination for a relaxing escape?
Thanks to Alpenpalace Deluxe Hotel & Spa for hosting our relaxing getaway, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
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