Many travel far and wide to discover the bounty of beauty that is jagged and rugged Kaiser Mountain Range in every season. Set against the impressive backdrop of legendary climbing peaks, like the 2,344-meter summit of Ellmauer Halt, this scenic region oozes charm while putting visitors on the doorstep of Tirol outdoor adventures. Sure, there’s superb skiing at one of Austria’s largest ski resorts but this is truly a wonderful four-season destination. Lodging and dining options run deep here, too, so choosing where to stay and where to eat might be the hardest part. Read on for my favourite Wilder Kaiser hotels and restaurants, tried-and-tested of course!
A beautiful hotel from outside and overwhelming when inside the soaring lobby lounge for the first time. “Wow” moments everywhere you look! This is definitely not your ordinary “Alpine Lifestyle Hotel”, this is truly a place that separates the extraordinary from the ordinary. With plenty of space, all bathed in natural light, imposing amenities and exquisite furnishings throughout, this amazing hideaway delivers nothing short of mountain luxury.
Why: Style and contemporary design, spacious amenities, a haven of peace, the epitome of discreet luxury.
Who’s it for: For the discerning traveller looking for style and substance.
Strongly Recommend: Book one of the lakeside suites in the summertime – it comes at a price, but is worth every penny.
Hotel Greil, Söll
Through three generations of family ownership, Hotel Greil has been welcoming guests to the heart of Söll. Sepp and Karina are gracious hosts, just waiting to pull out all the stops for in-the-know guests together with their long-standing staff. And the food is just as gracious — with multiple courses and a sophisticated selection of wine to accompany dinner. Slide into their brand-new Riedel Room for a most complete wine experience through Riedel’s prized Sommeliers series of finest, thin-blown crystal stemware and an exquisite wine list, set in a refined, elegant lounge.
Why: Warm and authentic hospitality to the fore, wining and dining at its best.
Who’s it for: For epicureans and those appreciating the good live to its fullest.
Strongly Recommend: Wine lovers shouldn’t miss out on a wine tasting at the new on-site Riedel Room.
Hotel Waldhof, Scheffau
At the Waldhof Hotel, you don’t have to go far to find world-class eats. Located right here in the hotel, you’ll find a restaurant that serves up chef-inspired dishes in a unique mountain ambiance. Located right next to the base of the gondola, talented Executive Chef Stefan Glantschnig, winner of the “2017 Young Wild Chef” Awards, creates approachable local flavours with a modern, innovative twist.
Why: If you opt for the breakfast & dinner food plan, your stay will include Stefan Glantschnig’s inspired dishes. Moreover, the Hotel offers an exceptional location, placing you right next to the base of the gondola for a quick lift up the mountain.
Who’s it for: Avid skiers who are looking for a place where the food is as good as the slopes.
Strongly Recommended: You just can’t beat the Dry Aged Beef at Waldhof, which is stored in a dry-aging cooler by Executive Chef Stefan.
A short drive up a narrow mountain road, Jägerwirt possesses a stunning lookout position high above Scheffau. Discover finest local cuisine as personalized and approachable as their service. If I would have to rate this place for feel-good factor, I would give it 100 points straightaway. Eat here just once and you’ll want to return again and again. Jägerwirt is also strongly recommended as a wonderful place to spend the night – they have only four rooms and the isolation allows for a backwoods feel, which makes it a haven for foodies in search of peace and silence.
Why: Jägerwirt offers a genuine dining experience of mouth-watering regional dishes with the freshest local ingredients and a commitment to personalized service.
Who’s it for: For foodies who love exceptional standards of service and want to get away from it all.
Strongly Recommended: Visit in the wintertime – its less busy than during the summer months, which makes it even more enjoyable and “gemütlich”.
Restaurant Föhrenhof, Ellmau
Deeply rooted in tradition, this is a wonderful “Tiroler Wirtshaus” (“Tirolean Inn”) in Ellmau. However, Föhrenhof is not only famed for serving wonderful quintessential foods of Tirol, it also serves as an original filming site for the popular German/Austrian TV series “Der Bergdoktor” (The Mountain Doctor).
Why: A genuine and authentic dining experience in a wonderful setting with great service.
Who’s it for: This is a local gem for foodies and fans of the TV series.
Strongly Recommended: Request the tiny table where the Mountain Doctor kissed Susanne :-)
Restaurant Auf da Mühle, Söll
The open dining room is contemporary in design, casual and bathed in natural light. The menu ranges from international classics to the best comfort food around. You will be pleased with anything you order, but the top-cut steaks and our special tip (see below!) are not to be missed!
Why: Ample and spacious Restaurant, contemporary design, attentive service and an extensive menu to choose from.
Who’s it for: For casual eaters who want to enjoy great food without much ballyhoo.
Strongly Recommended: Wagyu Beef specialties are the kitchen’s calling card—and a must-taste!
Restaurant Schulhaus, Söll
Its name is a clue—housed in a beautiful historic building that once was the local schoolhouse (“Schulhaus” in German), this Restaurant offers one of the most relaxed, enjoyable surroundings in which to eat. The ambiance is more of a stylish living room – it even resembles a gym. Pretty cool! Attentive service and a wide range of dishes are among Schulhaus Restaurant’s bragging rights. A wonderful fusion of international flavours awaits you here, from Asia over Italy to the New World, including innovative and creative experiments.
Why: A hip haven of casual and cool vibes and Asian-Mediterranean-American-inspired dishes.
Who’s it for: For those searching a laid-back dining spot where the food and the service are excellent.
Strongly Recommended: Enjoy your Burger and save room for their desserts… they are worthy!
Small and Beautiful Specialty Shops
Eismanufaktur kEISer, Going
This tiny ice shop is housed inside an old farmhouse and has been making small-batch ice creams for one year. Since then, Silvia has been making her ice cream fresh each day for all to enjoy. A popular choice among locals, the ice cream shop offers up to 12 different flavours in the summer and 4 in the winter, all made on location, as well as homemade cakes and pastries during the cold months. The quality ingredients are sourced locally and then carefully prepared with passion.
Why: Because nothing beats a trip to your local ice cream shop for handmade gourmet flavours – and Silvia’s lovely ice cream shop is a great place to spend some time over delicious ice creams.
Who’s it for: All those ice cream lovers who want to enjoy a sweet treat all year long.
Strongly Recommended: Try popular flavours like berry, cream cheese, orange, red currant, pear … and more inventive flavours like marzipan ice cream with chopped pistachio nuts, chocolate chips and a dash of sweet Amaretto liqueur.
In the heart of Scheffau, set like a gem in a ring of craggy mountains, is a small grocery store that will have you squeaking over its delicious produce. Set inside an old farmhouse, Innkeepers Martin and Andreas from Jägerwirt Restaurant offer finest handmade food like jams, jellies and bread along with quality produce from handpicked suppliers.
Why: This is a wonderful store stocked with a proud mix of locally sourced delicacies and with great finds to bring home with you or give to your loved ones.
Who’s it for: For true foodies at heart who like locally sourced products.
Strongly Recommended: The Jägerwirt chocolates are a must-taste! They take a creative approach to chocolate and are manufactured by a Chocolatier in East Tirol.
What would you add to the list? Comment below and share your favourite hotels, restaurants and shops around Wilder Kaiser Region! I can’t wait to try new ones :-)