Tips from the travel expert: Indian Summer in the mountains: These are the most beautiful wellness hotels for autumn
The summer of 2021 was rather mixed, so we deserve a nice autumn all the more. Extensive hikes through golden forests, saunas with a view of autumn-colored leaves and a cup of tea in front of a crackling open fire. Wellness hotel tester Andrea Labonte explains where this works particularly well.
1. The “Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort” in South Tyrol
The “Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort” is favored by nature in many ways: Mainly because of its location, surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sexten Dolomites, the peaks of which are glistening in the water in the outdoor pool.
With its relaxing bubble loungers, it not only invites you to swim, but also to relax in the aquatic environment. The outdoor pool is connected to the 14 x ten meter large ozone indoor pool by a sluice. Thanks to the large window fronts, I also swim here in the face of the mountain giants
In addition to the first-class location, the hotel has another trump card up its sleeve: namely its own sulfur spring that flows directly into the hotel from the Fischleintal. It forms the heart of the 2500 square meter hotel spa and seems to be an all-rounder. With its mineral-rich components of sulfate, fluoride, magnesium, calcium and iron, the spring water acts like a health-promoting elixir for the whole body.
The hike that I go on after my morning swimming ritual is also invigorating. The “Bad Moos Dolomites Spa Resort” is exactly the right address for all mountain enthusiasts. Because I can set off directly from the hotel on picturesque hikes, bike or mountain bike tours, walks and even skiing and cross-country skiing adventures.
About the expert
Andrea Labonte has an extraordinary job that many envy her for: She is a wellness hotel tester at the online guide Wellness Heaven. In this capacity, she not only collects splendid spa experiences, but also carries the most bizarre incidents from her everyday work in the regularly published column “From the life of a hotel tester” together.
With more than 400 tested wellness hotels, Andrea Labonte has a broad base of comparison and knows what the discerning traveler is looking for. Her professional background: she is an international graduate in business administration with a double degree. She completed her studies at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences and at the Ecole Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur in Paris.
I am particularly enthusiastic about the hike from the hotel through the Fischlein Valley up to the Three Peaks Hut. But the Alpe-Nemes-Hütte, the Kreuzbergpass and the Kreuzberg are also worthwhile excursion destinations and add color to my everyday vacation life. For all climbers who want to look down at the bright colors of the autumn world from high above, a visit to the “Drei Zinnen” alpine school is recommended. Interested visitors receive training on all aspects of mountaineering, surefootedness and climbing technique. The steep rock faces of the Sexten sundial, but also the Dreischusterspitze, are ideal terrain for experienced climbers.
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After my hikes in the Dolomites, I use the hotel’s diverse range of saunas in the afternoon. And that’s huge: From the Finnish sauna to the organic sauna to the textile sauna made of larch wood, I experience autumn sauna happiness with varied infusions. The 60 degree warm lady sauna, made of spruce wood, is reserved only for women. The vapor steam bath attracts with a humidity of 100 percent and a slightly milder one temperature of 45 degrees.
In case of muscle tension after strenuous mountain tours, we recommend a visit to the hotel’s infrared cabin, which gently strengthens the immune system at 35 degrees. After visiting the sauna, the cool rain shower refreshes me with its sulfur spring water and a walk in the hotel garden. I switch off at the fireplace in the relaxation room and in the relaxation grotto while listening to the soft rustling of the sulfur spring.
Info and prices: One night in a double room style from 180 euros per person. You can find more information here.
2. “The Kranzbach” in Upper Bavaria
Even the driveway to the “Kranzbach” is unique. Because the Elmau valley, in which the hotel is embedded, can only be reached via a small private toll road. This leads through an enchanted forest section, past meadows to directly in front of the hotel door, which is lined by an imposing fountain.
It is precisely this privileged secluded location that has always made “Das Kranzbach” a sought-after place of refuge for me and many others. Especially for stressed city dwellers but also for all outdoor fans who long for nature, seclusion and peace: the Wetterstein massif in the south, the Karwendel mountains in the east, plus the idyllic alpine meadows and forest around – when autumn does not know how to inspire with its concentrated luminosity, it will probably nowhere in the world.
The golden season reveals itself to me in all its beauty while swimming in the six different hotel pools. Whether a sports or brine pool, onsen or cold water pool, indoor or outdoor pool, “Kranzbach” has them all. Of course, always with a view of mountains, meadows and forests tinged with autumn.
And yet another experience enriches my personal vacation biography in the five-star hotel about an hour and a half south of Munich: a Zen meditation. Even the place of meditation is overwhelming: The “Meditation House”, which was designed by the Japanese star architect Kengo Kuma, stands in the middle of the shimmering autumn forest and seems to form an almost symbiotic unit with nature.
And on my hike to the Elmauer Alm, I also learn to appreciate the Bavarian autumn idyll that surrounds the hotel. Past humpback meadows and brooks, surprised by the golden yellow rain of leaves that floats down on us in the silence of the forest and finally rewarded by breathtaking views of the sunlit Wetterstein. Here autumn shows me its most beautiful side.
Info and prices: One night in a double room Mary Portman House from 224 euros per person. You can find more information here.
3. The “Alpbacherhof” in Tyrol
Another insider tip for all wellness and autumn lovers is the Alpbacherhof. Nestled between alpine meadows, golden forests and the mountain peaks of the Kitzbühel Alps, the Tyrolean wellness hotel is located on a sunny plateau in the Alpbachtal.
When I enter the picturesque mountain village of Alpbach, I have the feeling that time has stood still. Because the hereditary farms of Alpbach still appear in the rustic architectural style of past centuries. And so Alpbach is even officially known as “Austria’s most beautiful village”. I am not only enthusiastic about the intensity of color with which autumn wraps the valley in a colorful dress, but also the luminosity of the geraniums, dahlias and zinnias that make the houses of the village shine and that have earned Alpbach the reputation of “Europe’s most beautiful flower village” .
No wonder that Alpbach is not only popular with nature lovers. Since 1945, the tranquil place in Tyrol has also achieved international renown thanks to the “European Forum Alpbach”. Every summer, scientists from all over the world meet here and discuss current issues of our time.
In October, when the forests turn yellow, orange and red, calm returns to the Alpbachtal. The traditional cattle drive, which heralded autumn at the end of September, is also over and there is reverent silence. And it is precisely this silence that I enjoy on my hikes. A walk through Alpbach, past the picturesque wooden houses, is a pleasure.
Ambitious hikers climb the Gratlspitz, Alpbach’s local mountain, which leads directly from the village over the Steinweg to the Höslijoch and from there over the ridge to the summit of the Gratlspitz. A total of 900 kilometers of hiking trails and 30 managed huts attract visitors to nature trips in the Alpbachtal. A hike to the Berglsteinersee or a trip to the Matzen Castle Park is also ideal for families. This park, built according to the English model, scores with two large ponds and exotic trees, which shine in full splendor especially in autumn.
After a busy day in nature, the 1600 square meter spa of the “Alpbacherhof” awaits me in the afternoon. The new panorama sauna lives up to its name and I also sweat in the Tyrolean style in the herbal and stone pine bio sauna. The Finnish old wood sauna, the infrared cabin “Zirbentherme” and the herbal steam bath Tyrol are also authentic.
Info and prices: One night in the comfort room Alpin from 146 euros per person. You can find more information here.
Delicious plum cake with sprinkles: seasonal and tastes good for the whole family