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FANCY THE 5* SKI TREATMENT? - Petra Shepherd, the Tirol
Friday November 3, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI's Petra Shepherd reports from the Schlosshotel in Fiss in Austria. It's a ski area barely heard of the in the UK. NEW

1,200m to 1,400m above sea-level, the three mountain villages of Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis offer unobstructed views of the summits of the Samnaun mountain range and the Ötztaler Alps in the Austrian Tirol.

The region has invested more than €200 million in the past 10 years.

The result:

162km of ski slopes - 80% of which can be covered in artificial snow - 68 lift systems, 112km of cross-country skiing trails, toboggan runs and free-ride slopes.

But still the resorts are relatively unknown among British skiers.

On mentioning where I was heading for a late ski break at the end of March this year, my reply would always be met with blank expressions. 

Surprising when such an impressive and well connected ski area is on offer within easy reach of Innsbruck and has some top notch hotels. 

High on the list, Schlosshotel, Fiss - my home for four nights.

Schlosshotel FissSchlosshotel Fiss

It was built in 1940 as a hunting lodge and is the only hotel in Fiss with direct access to the slopes.

The 5 star hotel is just 2 1/2 hours from Zurich, Munich and Bolzano.

It's 1 hour from Innsbruck and 30 minutes from Landeck train station.  

It's the sort of grand-dame hotel that envelopes you with warmth, genuine hospitality, a first rate spa.

Not to mention the number of activities on offer.

So much so that it's difficult to tear yourself away and head for the slopes.

Harder still, the daily lunch buffet on offer.

For those enjoying the spa, you don't even need to get dressed for lunch with a Wellbeing snack buffet that can be enjoyed in your bathrobe.

Pool viewPool view

There are 135 contemporary Alpine style rooms and huge suites, all with panoramic views.

The hotel is particularly geared towards families with family rooms and suites.

It offers daily supervised childcare in the Kids' Club, a Teenagers' media room with pool table, table football, surf stations, consoles and games and air hockey.

- Actually this part is the sort of place that plenty of adults I know would also enjoy.

And then there's the Splash Waterworld with a 48-metre double loop tube slide. 

More grown up adults will enjoy the 37m long indoor-outdoor pool.

Ski-in, ski-out and swim in and out...

Or just relax in the outdoor saltwater Jacuzzi and take in the views. 

This is the sort of hotel that Austrians do particularly well, complete with wellness facilities, spa treatments and gym equipment.

I, on the other hand, are more of a trencherman and was blown away by the nightly buffet and a la carte selection. 

The slow food philosophy is the bedrock of cuisine at the Schlosshotel -regionality with international standards.  

The salads from the buffet (a meal in itself) were followed by four courses and cheese.

Some highlights included roasted Tyrolean duck, local wild garlic risotto and an apple, lemon grass and sparkling wine shot.  

Ski in, Swim out pool at SchlosshotelSki in, Swim out pool at Schlosshotel

The 'Morning Mail ' was delivered to your room each morning with the weather forecast, a list of the day's events and activities, starting with "Belly-Leg-Bottom" - the best exercise for a tight body - along with a few words of wisdom:

"Believe in miracles", was one...

Rather apt with the amount of calories consumed the night before.

My only complaint as someone who grew up in one of the UK's coldest houses, was that I found the hotel impossibly hot.

With the exceptionally warm spring weather, air conditioning as opposed to heating would have been more beneficial.  

For the more active, there's also:

  • night skiing
  • night tobogganing
  • a dedicated carving run
  • a high-speed run with velocity measurement
  • mogul pistes
  • permanent race courses
  • a Trailpark
  • Skimovie track (I had to look this one up, not a run with a cinema screen at the end but a parallel track with special video cameras)
  • a children's motor sledging course
  • several fun areas for beginners and advanced learners with bag jump, rails and kickers
  • 100 km of maintained winter hiking trails (in large part suitable for buggies) with 19 feel-good stops.   
What you might ask are feel-good stops?
Basically, a chance to linger and unwind in the most beautiful view points in a comfortable deck chair, hammock, wickerwork beach chair or in a pavilion playing classical music.

All very civilised if you ask me.

Schlosshotel FissSchlosshotel Fiss

Serfaus-Fiss- Ladis isn't boring when it comes to food, either.

There's no shortage of rustic mountain huts and panoramic restaurants. 

Try Kaiserschmarrn - shredded pancake with sugar and raisins - Kiachln  - doughnuts.

Or hearty traditional dishes like Tyrolean Speckknödel - bacon dumplings - Gröstl - a fried dish of grated potato, bacon and onion - and Brettljausen -Tyrolean ploughman's lunch.

Schlosshotel Fiss Waterworld AquamonteSchlosshotel Fiss Waterworld Aquamonte

Picturesque village centre FissPicturesque village centre Fiss

With roughly 1,000 inhabitants, Fiss is extremely picturesque, mostly traffic free and steeped in history.

The 600-year-old village centre with its distinctive house entrances retains the genuine charm of a Rhaeto-Romanic "Haufendorf" - a village made up of irregular plots of land.

The access road to Fiss wasn't built until 1928.

Until then, there was only a man-made cart path.

With the Kinderschneealm children's entertainment centre, Murmli Park and Berta's Kinderland, excellent ski schools, all-day childcare and separate children's restaurants, it can safely be said that Serfaus-Fiss- Ladis is also one of the most family-friendly resorts in the Alps.  

"Fisser Blochziehen" a unique pre-Lenten carnival event that takes place once every four years is set to take place on 28th January, 2018. 

Over 10,000 spectators are expected at this fantastical event with the leading role of  "the Bear" played by an exceptionally burly and strong young lad from Fiss.

I look forward to seeing some photos.


British Airways have increased their flights to Innsbruck this winter, making the area even more accessible.

Last season saw a 1.5% increase in overnights and a 3.2% increase in arrivals from the UK, the best winter result ever, proving that ski holidays in Austria remain a firm favourite with us Brits. 

Myself and my companion who has years of ski experience were very pleasantly surprised with Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. 

For families and those who love their ski holidays with a touch of luxury and lots of sunshine, I doubt that it will be long before these resorts also hit the Austrian radar with a stay at Schlosshotel Fiss coming highly recommended.
Another feel-good view pointAnother feel-good view point

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