The Austrian Alps are a dichotomy. Even in winter, the air is sweet, and in warmer months the grass grows lush and green, peppered by delicate flowers . But the formidable mountains tower constantly. In the shadow of one these stately beasts, the Wilder Kaiser (‘Wild Emperor’) mountain, lies Puradies, a four-star luxury spa hotel newly rebuilt from reclaimed wood, slate, and a dash of cool, modern concrete.
Puradies is in Leogang, part of the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn and about an hour’s drive from Salzburg. The tourist board at Saalfelden Leogang invited us to spend four nights at Puradies, so that we could experience the tail end of this year’s ski season. I’ve posted about our family ski trip here.
There’s been a hotel at Puradies since the 1950s, and an organic farm has operated on the site since the 17th Century. We stayed in the brand-new hotel building, built over the site of the old cow barn. The cows were on holiday in Maria Alm while they were waiting for their new home to be built. This is what their barn looks like now:
The swish, sleek Freiraum Bar was slap-bang at the front of the hotel, next to the reception. As a first impression, it didn’t do too badly. Guests wandered, welcome drink in hand, around the wood-scented, three-floor atrium. A spiral staircase wound its way up to the mezzanine lounge library, where the books were all in German. Non-linguists could instead sink into the comfortable sofas, and gaze out of the floor-to-ceiling windows onto the mountains.
All over Puradies, quirky pieces of art left us guessing about the mischievous genius that put together this stylish, playful hotel.
Puradies has five restaurants, but we only ate in one, where we had our own table, laid out ready for us every morning and evening.
Guests who expected Germanic winter stodge would be surprised. Our six-course evening meals, included in the hotel’s half-board package, were a cornucopia of light, delicate flavours and balanced textures. On some nights there was an Asian theme, with salted wonton soup followed by tiger prawns in a light dusting of breadcrumbs. On others, the chef produced a medley of locally sourced organic ingredients, dressed in a smooth cream, some frothy foam, or piquant jus.
Breakfasts could be taken from a seemingly never-ending organic buffet, which you can see in the video clip below. After such a large evening meal, it was tricky to find the space next morning for eggs, cured meats, cereal, pressed juices, organic teas, pastries…..but after a couple of days’ skiing, we soon got into our stride.
Puradies is a spa hotel, with a wellness centre where quests can book massages and beauty treatments. The relaxation complex is free to all guests over the age of sixteen. We unwound after a day on the slopes in the three saunas and one steam room, all with views onto Alpine scenery. We didn’t try the natural plunge pool, with its stunning mountain backdrop, but I did perch for a while on one of its deckchairs, basking in the spring sunshine.
We stayed in a 55m² premium suite, which slept 2-6 people and had more than enough room for our family of four. I’ve made a video of the suite, if you’d like a virtual tour.
The highlights were the phenomenal views from our balcony (guests are provided with blankets to snuggle under while star-gazing), and the walk-in waterfall shower, which I didn’t catch in the video. There was a fridge, and buckets of storage space for luggage, clothes and walking or ski gear. Puradies left a welcome pack with robes, slippers and towels for the spa, as well as some chocolates from the hotel’s Greisslerei gourmet wine and food shop.
In winter Puradies is a ski-in ski-out hotel. When there’s not enough snow in the valley to ski directly to the hotel, guests are bussed between the two nearby ski lifts, Steinbergbahn and Asitzbahn, which both take passengers up to the Skicircus and are five minutes away from the hotel. You can hire ski equipment at Sport Mitterer shops at either of these lift stations. Leo’s Kinderland, a children’s practice area with a ski school attached, is at Asitz.
If skiing’s not your thing, you can try guided snowshoe hikes, tobogganing or sleigh rides. In the summer months, Leogang has a full programme of family activities, including horseriding, cycling, and hiking (you can take a cablecar up to the Leogang mountains all year round). The hotel itself runs a kids’ club in peak season, with the kids’ clubroom being available all year-round. The only downside was the lack of a swimming pool, although I was told that plans are afoot to build one in future years, and the natural pool is popular with families in summer.
We stayed in Austria as the guests of Hotel Puradies and Saalfelden Leogang. All views are my own. Prices for a premium suite begin at €91 per person, per night. The nearest airport is Salzburg, with Innsbruck and Munich also close by. There are more details about getting to Saaldelden Leogang on their website.
If you’d like to find out more about the area, I’ve also posted here about our ski trip to Saalfelden Leogang.
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