I had heard many stories about wonderful summer vacations in the Alps but other than seeing the Sound of Music as a kid, I had no ideas on what summer in the mountains could be like. Staying a long weekend in Hotel Das Central in Sölden, Tirol, has changed everything!
It was my first Summer trip to the mountains and family owned and operated Hotel Das Central in the Ötztal turned out to be a wonderful place. Sölden is the best known town in the area. It’s high elevation of almost 1400 meters above sea level (4500 feet) have made it a famous skiing destination, but there’s much more to do and enjoy, even in summer: beautiful lakes, spectacular water parks, amazing spa’s and of course, every outdoor sport imaginable.
But first, the hotel: we stayed at a spacious, bright and cozy suite, with a very comfortable bed, large size bathroom and a view over the valley. I loved how the balconies were covered in the most beautiful flowers.
We had the chance to check out the presidential suite which was a real stunner: 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, private gym, private sauna, jacuzzi on the second private terrace, steam bath, a fully equipped kitchen, wine cellar and the most spectacular view in Austria.
The Venezia Water World at Hotel Das Central features about 10 saunas and steam rooms, with the ‘ice room’ and the Asian room as the two that stand out the most. I enjoyed a heavenly massage at the Spa in the adjacent building, making the hotel almost a destination in itself.
Das Central makes an effort to go the extra mile in its restaurant and offers a varied menu of international cuisine and extensive wine list, all with an Austrian touch. Dinner was a 5 course meal every night, with at least two choices per course to keep it light, varied and fun to share. It was among the best meals I’ve had in any 5 star hotel. And the breakfast buffet, often an overlooked required number without much inspiration, is a fest in itself at Hotel Das Central, with various freshly squeezed fruit juices and a wide range of buffet choices in bread, cereals, yoghurt, fruit, eggs and sweet waffles, cooked fresh by the chef per request.
A special highlight was the lunch at Ice Q, the gourmet restaurant on top of the Gaislachkogl, at 3048 meter or exactly 10,000 feet above sea level! You may have seen Ice Q in the latest James Bond film SPECTRE, where it’s portrayed as the hidden lair of the villain. We had a lovely 4 course lunch, which was luckily light enough to digest at that altitude and proved to be extremely photogenic. I highly recommend visiting Ice Q, it’s only a 15 minute ride up the mountain with the efficient ski lift system in Sölden. And once the new lift opens, that can take 4600 people up the mountain every hour, a world record, it will probably be even quicker.
All in all, this was a truly memorable stay and I can not wait to go back to the mountains, but then in the winter time! With the Electric Mountain Festival and the Gourmet & wine Festival Wein am Berg, there is more than enough going on that makes me want to return – even if it turns out I’m a klutz at skiing.