Salzburg Spa & Wellness Hotels & Holidays
Whilst the city of Salzburg is popular among international visitors all year round, the province or Salzburger Land had two very clearly defined seasons: One during summer, when thousands of tourists come to enjoy the Salzburg Festival alongside with the picturesque mountains and lakes of the Salzkammergut.
During this period most tourists come for hiking. In winter, however, skiing is the main reason for a vacation in or around Salzburg. In order to become a bit more independent of the weather and be attractive for tourists off season, many hotels have extended their offers to "wellness vacations".
A lot of places that used to be simple ski hotels until a few years ago are now modern spas, often near thermal springs or the major skiing areas. The basic faculties of a decent wellness hotel consists of the following pieces: A spa sauna (although most wellness hotels have several of them at varying temperatures), pools and Jacuzzis, massage staff, beauty farm, Turkish-style steam saunas, solarium (tanning studios) as well as health- and fitness training staff.
Fancy Spa Facilities
Bigger hotels often have large swimming pools, tennis courts and sometimes even access to golf courses. They often try to make themselves unique by coming up with something fancy and original - Tai Chi lessons, acupuncture, certain diets or mud treatments, aroma baths or Ayurveda oil massages.
These offers can vary a lot. In order to provide a good wellness infrastructure, many large hotels in Austria took up enormous mortgages in the 1990ies, and many tourism experts are worried about this development - as it seems that the expectations in the "Alpine Wellness Industry" were too high. For the tourist, however, this is actually an advantage: The large number of wellness hotels and spas mean a lot of competition, which keeps the fares relatively low.
Spa & Wellness as a Tourism Trend
If you consider booking a vacation in a wellness or spa hotel, look for the area in which it is first: What else do you want to do beyond beauty treatments and spa activities? If you are a skier, take care to be in the South, near the skiing areas. If you are into sightseeing or cultural delights, then spa hotels near the city of Salzburg will be more suitable for your needs.
If wellness is all you are keen in, the large spas near the main thermal spas in the Gasteinertal Valley will most likely meet your wishes. If you travel with children, family hotels will be better than places that attract a young and hedonistic crowd - they will offer child care services, which is crucial for having enough time for wellness treatments that children won′t find appealing.
If you want to choose from a variety of spa hotels, get information material from the Salzburg Tourism Council. Here you will find lists of appropriate places with detailed description of the facilities they offer. Packages are usually the most economic solution; but be careful with you booking - sometimes spa treatments are not included, sometimes they are. Quality hotels should have at least four stars (the stars are assigned by the appropriate section of the trade union and not a natural law, but good guidelines) and the basic spa facilities described above. Good food is another crucial factor. The best deals are available for the low season - fall and spring.
Spas in Austria Links
Information on Wellness Holidays by the Tourism Council
A co-operative of Wellness Hotels in Austria
Thermen or Spas of Austria: A review with travel information