The village of St Anton, situated on the Arlberg massif in the Tyrol region, is widely regarded as one of the finest Alpine resorts. It is picture-perfect year round; from radiant blossom in summer to idyllic winter wonderland. Its 1,350-metre altitude guarantees bountiful snow, which lasts for longer than in lower areas. It is also well connected to a number of other resorts, which offers plenty of skiing at every level and an almost endless supply of off-piste terrain.
Austria’s friendly and sociable atmosphere is a special draw for many skiers, in particular the Tyrol, where English is spoken almost universally. Hotel Tannenhof has been a favourite destination among elite visitors to the area ever since it was built in 1925. In 2010, it was acquired by Axel Bach and his wife Judith Volker, who had 40 years of experience in high-end hospitality. What they found in St Anton was perfect – a location rich in heritage but also with plenty of potential.
Axel and Judith completely renovated this elegant building, transforming its 30 bedrooms into just seven spacious suites. “Even though we are a superior five-star hotel, we keep the atmosphere easy and relaxed,” says Marketing Manager Brigitta Rainer. “Our guests are treated as family, and there are no imposed dress codes.”
The hotel’s design incorporates local wood and stone, combining modernity with a traditional Tyrolean flavour. Minute attention has been paid to the details – including a pillow menu, which offers a choice of eight handmade variations. There is a fireplace in every room, and each one has a balcony facing the ski slopes.
“Our spacious, airy spa can lay on a range of treatments, and we have a well-equipped gym and a huge indoor pool with a jet stream,” says Brigitta. “After a day’s skiing, guests can choose between our indoor and outdoor saunas, or enjoy a herbal steam bath and a dip tank, then relax beside the fire.”
Hotel Tannenhof’s head chef, James Baron – an alumnus of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant and a number of other Michelin-starred kitchens across the continent – focuses on Alpine cuisine, with ingredients sourced locally. For guests who wish to enjoy a full, seven-course gourmet dining experience every day, the hotel guarantees that they need not be served the same dish twice. There is, however, also more simple and casual fare for those who choose to save the haute cuisine for special occasions. “We are happy to take individual requests from our guests,” says Brigitta. “With a bit of notice, if people would like something special – such as a fondue or schnitzel – we can easily accommodate them.”
Hotel Tannenhof is a 15-minute stroll from the village of St Anton, and also has a fleet of sporty and luxurious Maseratis to drive guests anywhere, any time. “Whether it’s to ski in another town, go shopping or have an evening drink in the village, we’ll drive them there and back,” says Brigitta.
In addition to the 340 km of slopes within easy reach of St Anton, there is an abundant selection of available activities. Off-piste and heli-skiing are popular, and there is provision for cross-country skiing, horse sleigh rides, ice-skating, snow-shoeing and every other winter activity.
“We have the peace and privacy that comes with being a little further up the mountain, as well as a lovely view of the village,” says Brigitta. “Tannenhof is on the sunny side, so it’s hard not to be in a good mood when you’re here.”