If you’re after snowy scenes and succulent dining, head to spa hotel Jagdhof in the Austrian alps
Despite only being a short flight from London, landing at Innsbruck Airport was like stepping into another, much more magical world. Just a few miles more, through the snow-drenched mountains of the Stubai Valley, was my final destination for a few days – SPA-Hotel Jagdhof – a traditionally Tyrolian family-run hotel. It’s full of curious corridors leading to hidden spa spots, relaxation rooms, and even a cellar down some winding stairs that housed wine so fancy I held my breath for fear of knocking over the bottles, magnums – and I think even a jeroboam!
It wasn’t a long holiday, but it was certainly luxurious.
While spa stays are often considered to be virtuous and fitness-focussed, from the moment we entered the wood-fired warmth of the pine-clad lounge, up until our very sated departure, we were spoiled with award-winning Alpine fare. Highlights were the gorgeous truffle and garlic cream soup, venison cooked just so, and a colossal cheese and dessert collection. All were served with genuine smiles from the highly entertaining and knowledgeable bar and restaurant staff (with special thanks to super helpful Kai and wine connoisseur Albin!)
Thankfully, there are plenty of energetic activities to justify all the feasting. We were soon kitted up to head out Nordic walking in the beautifully crisp air. With surroundings such as the stunning Stubai glacier, snow covered fir trees that seemingly spanned forever, and a lively stream, it was impossible not to surrender into simply savouring every moment of the walk with all of the senses. When done correctly – thanks to advice from our guide – walking in the snow with poles provides a glute-boosting, heart-pumping workout to boot.
Other snow-centered activities on offer include guided snowshoe hikes, skiing, tobogganing and curling, plus there’s a supervised gym, yoga classes, and a tennis court.
A dip in the pool on my return to the hotel was just what I needed – and most certainly my newfound favourite place. A little perspex door in the indoor pool automatically glides open when you’re near, presenting you with the scrummily warmed outdoor pool, creating a breath-taking contrast between the icy air outside. I could have bobbed along in the warm water, drinking in the awesome Alpine skyline for hours.
But, the spa beckoned. 3,000 square meters of it to be exact, with not only saunas, steam rooms and aromatherapy spots, but hidden relaxation lounges and cosy seats, with bowls of fruit, nuts and canteens of herbal teas and fresh juices dotted about.
I opted for the Stay Younger for Longer REN facial, which involved an extremely thorough inspection of my pores under the gaze of bright lights, followed by the application of bio-active serums and nourishing moisturiser.
I couldn’t go to the Alps without trying the Power of Nature Tyrolean Alpine massage, administered by the lovely Lenka, who had a vast knowledge of muscle groups and which ones I should be paying more attention to (hello desk-hunched shoulders!). It started with an exfoliation using honey and particles of stone pine to soften the skin, and ended with a full body massage using fragrant stone pine oil.
In-between all of this, I even managed to squeeze in a sojourn to Innsbruck, helped by the incredible accommodating reception staff, who advised me on which local bus to catch and where from. As the icing on the cake, fat snowflakes began to fall as I strolled around the postcard-perfect streets, affirming this destination’s status as a true winter wonderland experience.
All in all, if you’re after slightly a little more than what you fancy, then the service, spa and succulent food at Jagdhof will certainly do you good.
- The five star Relais and Châteaux Spa Hotel Jagdhof in Neustift is part of the Niche Destinations collection of hotels and retreats. The A Time to SPA! short break is priced from €2,144 based on two people sharing for four nights. It includes various activities and itineraries as well as the detox package featuring a 60-minute REN skin detox facial, an alkaline bath and self-exfoliation (35 mins) two 110-minute detox wraps and a yoga class.
Double rooms from €163 including breakfast. Half-board packages from €178.