48 Hours at the Alpenpalace in South Tyrol
As one of the latest additions to the five star luxury hotel segment in South Tyrol the "Alpenpalace" in the Ahrn Valley is the only potential candidat to be a member of the world renowned "The Leading Hotels of the World".
Having stayed at the "Hotel Castel" in Dorf Tirol and at the "Castel Fragsburg" in Merano, the two competitors of the Alpenpalace haven’t had so much potential to be a real Leading Hotel. While we missed the warm heartening customer care at the "Hotel Castel" and a huge spa at the "Castel Fragsburg", there was absolutely nothing we missed at the Alpen Palace.
After a picturesque drive through the beautiful south Tyrolean scenery, we found ourselves in a calm century old valley, full of ancient castles. Having thought we took the wrong road we were surprised to find a hotel of such caliber in this remote location.
Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by no one else than the owner himself – Mr. Mairhofer. We were served a nice aperitif while we waited for our room to be ready. In addition to the nice welcoming chat with the owner the very kind receptionist showed us to our room and gave us a brief introduction to the in-room facilities.
The Suite upgrade, the bottle of Moet et Chandon as well as the enormous fruit basket made our arrival even more pleasant than it already was. With a separate entree, a huge and light filled living room with sofa, writing desk, dining table and fire place, a very nice bedroom with heavenly bed sheets (Loved them!) and a bathroom with a single vanity, separate shower, toilet and bidet as well as a Jacuzzi tub with built-in television. Beside this TV in the bathroom,we also loved the Bulgari amenities, and the floor heating. At turn-down service they even prepared the sofa bed, due to the fact that we requested twin beds and they only have king bedded rooms. During the day, the housekeeping put the sofa bed away and we had a very comfortable seating area.
The most amazing part of our stay was the "Alpine Spa", the real heart of the Alpenpalace.
What we liked best was the heated outdoor swimming area including a vast outdoor pool as well as a hot Jacuzzi at comfortable 32°C. The 2000 m² indoor Spa area offers a wide variety of saunas and steam baths as well as a relaxing salt bath. Fortunately, the brilliant weather made our stay even more unforgettable. Think of swimming in a wonderfully warm pool under the stars in the night, while the snow falls in your face. Can it get more romantic? Yes, probably with a perfect treatment by the so kind and excellent therapists. The product range of La Prairie rewards this spa with a very luxurious touch. Although the hotel was fully booked during our stay, we always found an available lounge chair, and there were always plenty of towels. Throughout our stay, the Spa was in perfect condition.
Worth a special mention is the excellent service – every staff member has been kind, attentive and personal all day long, especially our waiters. They have been the same throughout the whole stay, Salvatore (the server at the evening) and Maggy (the breakfast waitress). Both knew all our preferences since the first day. Every time we sat down at the table a bottle of sparking water at dinner and Cappuccino at breakfast were already prepared for us without even asking. This is the kind of service you should receive in every leading hotel of the world, which this one is unfortunately not part of yet. Of course, this is not the case in all member hotels e.g. the Grand Hotel Stockholm.
The best way to start the day is of course with an extensive breakfast buffet. So we started our day with one of the best breakfasts in the region, offering a live cooking station and a vast selection of breads, croissants, ham, cheese, and fruits. The cook Martina has always been very kind to us and prepared excellent scrambled eggs, served directly to our table. A very nice idea is also the etagere with a smoked trout, prosciutto and slices of brie cheese.
On the second day, we were ready to ski. After breakfast, the Alpenpalace brought us to the nearby Speikboden resort - only 5 minutes by VIP Shuttle Service (included in the room rate and departing upon request). Due to the fact that this ski resort is less popular than the "Kronplatz" in Bruneck, there were nearly no waiting times on the lifts. The slopes were nearly empty and we could enjoy the day at its fullest. The weather was brilliant, which also gave us the opportunity to overlook the whole Dolomites area. When we were finished with skiing, we simply called the hotel and they immediately sent a shuttle again to pick us up.
All in all we would say that the "Alpenpalace" is a truly luxurious Ski and Spa resort in a serene area of South Tyrol, one of the most beautiful areas of Europe. The room rates are completely fair for what you get. At 300 Euros a night, the rates includes a breakfast served all day in-room, a light snack and cakes in the afternoon as well as a 8-course dinner.
A very special thanks to the owner of the Alpen Palace, Mr. Mairhofer and Mr. Colin Service for organizing our stay. The test stay was completely sponsored by the Alpen Palace Deluxe Spa Resort.