Austrian Wellbeing in Amongst the Slopes
With the approach of the ski season, discover Fiss – a perfect family resort in Austria
Article by Mark Nicholls
Finding a ski resort that suits all the family is not always that easy. Some want to ski all day, others want a couple of runs and a hot chocolate, while mum may just want to spa and pamper. We’d not been to Fiss before but soon discovered that the resort, an hour’s drive from the Austrian city of Innsbruck, turned out to be the perfect destination for a late winter/early spring break in the snow for our family.
With an appealing diversity of ski terrain and easy access to the slopes, the resort is part of the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Tirol Ski Dimension. We had checked in to the lovely five-star Schlosshotel, which sits majestically just above the small alpine village. With 135 rooms and suites, excellent restaurants and bars and a mouth-watering cuisine, the Schlosshotel has an irresistible appeal in that it seamlessly combines luxury, service and style with wellbeing and a family environment too… not always that easy for a five-star establishment.
The Schlosshotel has all that you need for a luxury ski break, from the snow falls of early December through to sunshine spring skiing in April. Not only is there ski-in-ski-out accessibility, but the Schlosshotel – at 1,456m above sea level – has its own ski rental centre, meaning that skiing becomes ever more effortless.
We skied out of the hotel, down the slope to the lift interchange at Fiss and took the Moseralbahn up the mountain before switching to the Sattelbahn lift and up to a selection of red runs which sweep across the mountainside. With 76 lifts and cable cars and 214km of pistes – with the highest ski point from Masnerkopf at 2,828m above sea level – the terrain ranges from delightful blue runs through to invigorating reds and challenging blacks, as well as off-piste opportunities.
This, however, is also a ski region where young children can learn to ski on nursery slopes and move up to blue runs once they gain confidence and technique. For us as a family with two teenage daughters and my wife, the wider appeal of the Schlosshotel was its 5,000-square-metre spa. The architecture is stunning with huge panes of glass sucking in the natural light with panoramic views across the slopes. The Aqua Monte panorama pool is 37m long, leading into the heated outdoor pool from where you can watch the skiers zip past.
There are jacuzzis (including one beside the slopes), saunas (including the Finnish panorama spa) and aromatherapy and salt steam rooms, plus the Splash Waterworld for kids with slides and splash pools. Yet amid all the exuberance, there are quiet areas; spaces for calm and relaxation… wellness lounges with open fires or a pavilion with heated waterbeds. Of course, this is where the Schlosshotel excels – in balancing luxury and adult relaxation with a family environment.
One of the benefits of a wellbeing hotel is the therapeutic treatments available, from facials and specific detox treatments through to specialist therapies and hands, feet and full body massages – often a welcome antidote for an energetic day on the slopes. And there is also a private spa suite and a designated family spa area.
Food is an integral part of the Schlosshotel experience; from an endless breakfast buffet, lunch, through to an exceptional evening dining experience. Meanwhile, for those seeking a culinary thrill on the slopes, the Crystal Cube close to the “Z1” viewing platform at 2,600m offers breakfast, lunch and high tea. With an exterior of mirrored glass, the location offers 360-degree views of the mountain you ski down after dining. There are plenty of other places to eat on the mountain too, such as the Leithe Wirt Restaurant, the Masner Ski Hut or the Moseralm Mountain Restaurant.
Whilst a number of the hotels in Fiss are geared towards families, some aim to specifically appeal to couples, such as the intimate Hotel Tirol. It has undergone a summer transformation, modernising its rooms with a contemporary feel with Swiss pine, wooden floors and grey stonework. Food is also an important aspect of a stay at this hotel too, from “kitchen parties” where guests can choose what they want to eat and talk to the chefs, to wine tasting evenings and culinary surprises. Hotel Tirol, however, does not have a ski room. But this is simply because – like a lot of hotels in the resort – it does not need one. The ski lift interchange at Fiss where the Sonnenbahn Ladis-Fiss lift meets the Schonjochbahn and the Moseralbahn, has literally thousands of ski lockers meaning no-one has to haul skis and boot around the resort any more than necessary.
Accommodation: Mark and family stayed at the ski-in-ski-out 5-star Schlosshotel Fiss (www.Schlosshotel-Fiss.com/en /+43 5476 – 6397 0) where deluxe double rooms start from €275 per person per night. They also stayed at the newly-upgraded 4-star superior Hotel Tirol (www.hotel-tirol.net/en / +43 5476 6358) where a standard double room costs from €105 per person per night with a one-week stay priced from €743 per person including luxury-board accommodation and a 6-day lift pass.
Both hotels are family-owned and part of the Niche Destinations portfolio (www.niche-destinations.com ).
Lift pass: A 6-day lift pass is €217 per adult.
For more information about skiing in the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis region, visit www.serfaus-fiss-ladis.at/en
Flights: EasyJet and Ryanair fly frequently to Innsbruck from UK airports.