There are few countries with more scenically situated hotels per square mile than Austria. So for this post — part of Spot Cool Stuff’s series reviewing the best hotel room views in various locations — we had to bend our own rules a little:
First, instead of considering hotels across the whole of Austria, we decided to limit our search to countryside. (In the future, we’ll write-up the hotel with the best room views of Vienna — follow us on Facebook, Twitter or email to be updated on that.)
Second, instead of only reviewing one hotel, we’ve chosen two. The Berghotel Schafbergspitze is our choice as the best views from a hotel room, but the quality of rooms (as well as the hotel in general) is otherwise rather bland. Those who want their amazing room view to come along with some amazing luxury should check out the Ferienhotel Fernblick instead.
Austria’s oldest continually-running Alpine hotel is also its most dramatically located. The Berghotel Schafbergspitze sits perched on the edge of a cliff on the summit of the Schafsberg, 1,780 meters above sea level. On cloudless days, the views are spectacular (especially at sunset and sunrise). The way up to the hotel from the town of St. Wolfgang is rather spectacular too — guests either hike the 6 km up or, more commonly, take the 35-minute long SchafbergBahn cogwheel train ride.
The catch is that “on cloudless days” modifier. The view from Schafsberg is obscured semi-often, especially outside of the summer months. When the weather prevents you from hiking and enjoying the view, there’s not much else to do at the Berghotel Schafbergspitze. Except for a restaurant, the hotel offers nothing in the way of amenities. The rooms, while clean and moderately comfortable, are not the sort of place you’d chose to hang out during waking hours.
Fortunately, rates at the Schafbergspitze Hotel are very reasonable by Austrian standards. A room with breakfast costs €48 per night, or €73,50 with a round trip train ticket included.
Planning your Schafbergspitze Hotel stay
When: The hotel is open from May through October.
Selecting a room: Though all rooms have views, the southern facing ones have balconies. Definitely request one — they aren’t any more expensive than non-balcony rooms.
If you go: Though the room and train ticket can paid for with a credit card at the Salzkammergutbahn station in St. Wolfgang, all purchases up at the hotel are cash only.
Family friendly? Yes, though there’s not much in the way of activities for kids (or adults for that matter) up at the hotel. Children 14 years and under get discounted train tickets and hotel rates.
For your bookshelf: Salzburg, Lake District & The Sound of Music
[ ALSO ON SCS: Reviews of the Best Wheeled Carry-On Luggage]
Whether the Ferienhotel Fernblick offers the best view from a hotel room in Austria is a matter of debate. Whether the hotel has the best view from a swimming pool in Austria — not so much.
The Ferienhotel Fernblick’s Sky Pool juts out over a green meadow framed by an alpine landscape that’s so classicly Austrian that you’d expect to see some singing Van Trapp kids swirling around at any moment. The pool is part of the hotel’s “wellness area” that includes a massage room, facial treatment place, spa, steam room, sauna, “quiet room” (see photo below) and Jacuzzi. You had us at massage area.
Add to that a gourmet restaurant, friendly service and plush rooms and it is no wonder that many guests at the Ferienhotel Fernblick never leave the hotel grounds during their stay.
For those who can pull themselves away, the hotel makes it easy for guests to partake in the year round outdoor activities of the surrounding Montafon Valley. Mountain bikes, hiking poles and day packs are available to rent free of charge. In the winter, showshoes are available for a fee; there are 65km (!) of marked shoeshowing paths accessible directly from the hotel. There’s also a free shuttle to the Montafon ski resort.
Nightly rates depend on the length of stay and time of year. Expect to pay in the €130 to €220 range.
Planning your Ferienhotel Fernblick stay
When: The hotel is open year around. Note that there’s an indoor pool too.
Selecting a room: South facing rooms have the best view. For €20~30 extra you can upgrade to a larger room with a balcony — well worth it, we think.
If you go: If you arrange it with the hotel in advance, they’ll provide complimentary transportation to and from the Schruns train station.
Family friendly? Very much so. The hotel has a special menu for babies, and another for older kids. The Montafon Valley as a whole has a range of activities for children.
For your bookshelf: Snows of the Kilimanjaro ← Hemmingway wrote this (or other) short stories in the Montafon Valley not far from the Ferienhotel Fernblick.
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