Everyone knows what mountain accommodation means in Austria – hotels, guesthouses and the odd chalet, right? If you think about self-catering apartments, two phrases tend to come to mind: “French purpose-built resorts” and “rather cramped”.
However, times have changed. Not only have apartments all over the Alps changed significantly for the better, but Austria is leading the way with the new school of self-catering accommodation – and Sunweb has a selection of the best of them.
Not only is there plenty of floorspace and, importantly, storage in the bedrooms, but bathrooms tend to have a lot more room for manoeuvre than you might expect, kitchens are easy to work in and separate dining and lounge areas are spacious too. These are no rabbit hutches; these are true homes-from-home in the Alps.
The decor ranges from contemporary urban chic to traditional chalet style or contemporary Alpine style (local wood, stone, leather and fabrics but with minimalist clean lines).
Facilities and services are impressive these days, too. Some apartment complexes have pools and saunas, playrooms for children (and sometimes adults) and even a lounge and bar. Wi-Fi comes as standard and many are equipped with equipment such as HD TV and Nespresso machines.
In terms of food, apartments give you complete flexibility. You’re not limited to a set meal all week but can explore the local restaurants and taste Austrian specialities.
However, as delicious as Tirolergröstl (potatoes, meat, onion and spices) and schnitzels are, the local food can take a toll on the waistline (and doesn’t offer much variety to vegetarians). So it is great to have the option of cooking, or (in some developments) to order in pizza or barbecue. And a bakery delivery service, available in many of Sunweb’s properties, means fresh, warm bread and pastries every morning.
Apartments in St Anton
The Vaya Resort in St Anton is a prime example of of the new school of self-catering accommodation. Sunweb is the exclusive agent for this luxurious development which opened in 2016 and is self-catering taken to the next level.
There’s a concierge desk in the lobby lounge, where guests can gather around a fireplace, and a traditional Stube bar. The spa area has a sauna and an infrared cabin, providing deep heat to weary muscles; and there’s a children’s playroom too. St Anton’s pedestrianised centre, with its world-renowned bars and restaurants, is a short walk away.
The Vaya Resort is located 400m from Nasserein’s nursery slopes and the gondola. Long known as one of the Alps’ most formidable resorts, St Anton is even more of a draw since the Flexenbahn lift has linked St Anton to its Arlberg neighbour Lech to create an exciting 305km area. Accommodation from £324pp (including lift pass).
Apartments in Serfaus
Another luxurious Vaya Resort, St Zeno in Serfaus, offers an extensive spa area (with a pool, sauna, a gentler bio-sauna, an infrared cabin and Turkish bath) and, in addition to a bar, an in-house restaurant for convenience.
Serfaus is an underrated resort in the UK but a family favourite for Austrians. It sits on a sunny shelf in the Tirol and accesses a 212km (132m) area shared with Fiss and Ladis, with high-altitude slopes for all standards and a large children’s area at the centre of it all. Accommodation from £313pp (including lift pass).
Apartments in Mayrhofen
With four bedrooms and capacity for 10 guests, Chalets Brugger in Mayrhofen offers tremendous value to extended families or groups of friends. The resort in the Zillertal has excellent children’s facilities; teenagers regard the Vans Penken Snow Park as a place of freestyle pilgrimage; and Mayrhofen is one of the great party destinations.
For a chill-out, these apartments are in a tranquil, traditional building. The luxury apartments even have a private sauna to help relax further. Accommodation from £299pp (including lift pass).
Apartments in Zell am Ziller
The bright and spacious Feriendorf Joggler in Zell am Ziller is another collection of apartments in traditional Austrian chalets, suitable for large groups of family or friends. The resort is part of the linked 143km (89m) Zillertal Arena area created in 2000 and offers a range of fun après activities including tubing, paragliding, curling and ice climbing. Accommodation from £309pp (including lift pass).
Apartments in Ischgl
When it comes to après fun, though, it’s hard to beat Ischgl, where nightlife starts at 4pm and doesn’t really stop till breakfast – it’s known as the Ibiza of the Alps. It is also a great area for avid piste hounds or freeriders, with a great snow record and ultra-efficient lift system. The cool and contemporary Ischgl Suite couldn’t be better located – a two-minute walk from the village centre and lift base. Accommodation from £679pp (including lift pass).