Whilst the ‘Winter Break’ concurs with imagery of skiing down the slopes, or sipping a hot chocolate by the fire, a new breed of seasonal holidays is becoming increasingly popular, ‘The January Blues Blaster’. In other words, a mini-break with enough time to relax that all the woes and worries a new year brings are instantly forgotten.
Recently, I was lucky enough to have a short break in between my University exams/lectures leaving me with a long weekend to venture off to stay at the Reiter’s Supreme Hotel in Bergenland, Austria. Situated an hour and a half’s drive from Vienna airport, the hotel is far enough away from the hustle and bustle of city life to feel overwhelmingly relaxing, but similarly – not too far from the nearest towns/cities so that if you did fancy a day trip, you could (but I can assure you, once you arrive you won’t want to leave).
The Reiters chain are very famous in their native, Austria, for being luxurious (without being overtly pretentious), well made and well run. Although I won’t profess to be a hotel expert (although I do watch The Hotel Inspector religiously, and have stayed in a fair few myself) the Reiter’s Supreme Hotel was above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. Whilst most hotels have a distinctly ‘hotel like’ feel to them, this one felt like a home away from home, with staff being on hand and attentive without feeling intrusive and the rooms large and luxurious enough to be exciting, but not too much so that you feel like you can’t relax or move as so not to dirty anything.
Every little detail, even the drive leading up to the hotel, which is dotted with staggered starry lights, seems to be focused on ensuring every guest has a lovely stay. Although Winter season is one of their quietest (although the pool, outdoor heated pool, spa and golf facilities are still available to use), according to the staff and the guests – even during the summer periods, the hotel still has a very chilled, relaxed and quiet feel to it. Even if it’s frantic behind the scenes, getting ready for the guests, this isn’t ever evident – and the staff honestly do seem genuinely happy to be working there.
Based on the ‘all-inclusive’ style of holidaying, the Supreme Hotel offer Breakfast and Dinner included in the price of your stay, in addition to the use of a juice bar (where you can select whichever fruit takes your fancy and have it blended to make a delicious juice) and welcome drinks. The breakfast buffet offers a large selection of breads, cheeses and meats (traditional European breakfast) in addition to pastries, porridge, eggs and bacon.
The evening meal, which really out does itself, follows the same premise (with little ‘stations’) but offers a whole host of well cooked, well made foods, rather than an overwhelming selection of mass produced goods. The main station, where chefs await your order and make your food up fresh, features a different selection each night but tends to have veal steak, salmon, trout and mussels freshly made – along with sides such as gnocchi, risotto and saffron cauliflower.
Although during Winter, the sporting facilities are available (for those of you who may wish to brave the cold), the main feature and focus of the hotel is on ‘wellness’. I’ve visited around 20 spas in my rather short stint writing about travel, and none of them have quite lived up to what the Reiter’s Hotel provided in terms of facilities, relaxation and service. I was lucky enough to be able to try a few of the treatments on offer, however the list featured spa treats from around the world including the Shaolin Monk massage and a visit to the Yin Yang pool.
The beauty (or cosmetic as they refer to it) therapist was called Juliet, and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was so focused on relaxing me and providing the best service possible. Nothing was too much to ask (offering me champagne and eye brow shaping whilst my masque set – which was well overdue) and my skin has never felt better. I was able to review the ‘Shellac’ manicure, which I think was probably the most thorough and most neat I’ve ever experienced in addition to the deep cleansing facial.
The majority of guests at the hotel were native Austrians, or German speakers so the hotel didn’t have too much of a ‘touristic’ feel which was refreshing, however I do think it is a shame that not everyone knows about Reiter’s Supreme as I feel it’s ability to relax and refresh it’s guests should be shouted about from the rooftops. January and the winter season in particular can leave you feeling a little blue, so to have a ‘refresher’ break to re-invigorate you for the year ahead in my eyes is invaluable. It’s not a ‘cheap’ break, but then again – what you receive is certainly value for money. I’ve visit again in a heart-beat, whether that’s for a summer break (just to test out those amazing pools) or for another relaxing long weekend away.