Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Getaway

The last weekend before Christmas is coming soon and if you did not yet get the full feeling of Christmas mood, then this might be the places to be before the 24th December.

1. Head to a Christmas Market
Austria, North Italy, Germany and Switzerland as well as the Czech Republic boast some of the most beautiful christmas markets you can find. My top favourite christmas markets are the one in Kitzbühel, Vienna and Salzburg in Austria, Munich and Prague. I more prefer the small christmas markets instead of the oversized ones - they have a more charming style with good quality food and drinks.

2. Plan a relaxing trip to a wellness resort
Do like I do and find yourself again at a luxurious five-star property in the alps. Go swimming under the stars while the snow is falling and the air is fresher than ever. Some dazzling examples are the Arosa Grand-Spa Resort and the Grand Tirolia in the area of Kitzbühel, Schloss Fuschl near Salzburg, as well as the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa, Switzerland.

3. Stay at home and escape for New Year's Eve
Relax in a peaceful surrounding of your own home. Pack your bags on Christmas Day and reserve your seat for a long-haul flight bringing you to an exotic destination such as the Maldives, Seychelles, or the Caribbean. If you prefer to stay within Europe, head to Greece, Sicily or Portugal. My favourite place for an Italian Escape to the Aeolian Islands is the Therasia Resort on the island of Vulcano. Rooms start at 150 Euros including an excellent dinner and lavish buffet breakfast with stunning sea views.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hotel Check - Kitzbühel Part I

Just returned back from a very relaxing stay at the Arosa Grand-Spa Kitzbühel.  The weather outside was perfect for a pre-Christmas getaway, lots of snow and a picture-perfect scenery. The arrival at the Arosa is more than stunning, driving through a tunnel until you arrive at the main entrance.

We were greeted very friendly with a hot welcome drink, before we were accompanied to our perfectly situated room.  Located on the 6th floor of the “Mountain Wing”, our room boasted beautiful views over the resort to the city centre and the world-famous “Hahnenkamm”.

The room was clean and bright with a warming atmosphere. A very nice touch were the welcome amenities, which included homemade Christmas pastries, macarons and complimentary bottled water.

Behind the generous wardrobes, we found ourselves in a sleek bathroom with no-named toiletries, a separate toilet and large shower with three different kinds of shower experiences.  In general, the room came up to our expectations and we were really surprised by the beautiful welcome amenities.

The main reason for staying at the Arosa Kitzbühel is the Spa area, which boasts two floors of pure relaxation. I really loved the enormous indoor pool from which you could swim outside to the outdoor pool without leaving the pool. You can feel snowflakes falling into your face while swimming in hot water and exploring the beauty of the Austrian Alps and the surrounded winter wonderland scenery.
All staff members were very friendly and helpful and they even brought us drinks to the lounge bed on the pool.

We had the opportunity to have dinner at “Monte e Mare”, the restaurant on the hotel’s own golf course. This was a great possibility to have the best duck I’ve ever had.

A perfect day always starts with a heavenly breakfast! The buffet was varied and large, while the choice of bread was simply enormous. The service at breakfast was good and personal, too.

In total I was very satisfied with the service, the design and the provided facilities. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Restaurant Check - Innsbruck - Part IV

The restaurant „Das Schindler“ is situated next to the main entrance of the shopping center “Kaufhaus Tyrol”. The atmosphere is casual and the service is average. They have a lunch menu at a set price of about 13 euros for two courses. There are also 3- and 4-course menus. The menu is changing every week and I go there very often with friends to have breakfast as well as for lunch. 

Last Friday I went there with a colleague and I ordered thinly sliced Carpaccio followed by risotto with mushrooms. In addition, my colleague had mixed salad and thai chicken with risotto. 

The quality was good and the portions not large but enough as a lunch menu. The best about the set lunch menus is that they are served fast and the price is reasonable.

Restaurant “Das Schindler”
6020 Innsbruck


Monday, November 25, 2013

Insider's Getaway

If you ever wondered which part of Italy is unknown to the most of us, then this might be your place to be in summer 2014. Take a look on the following picture and you will immediately think of an exotic destination such as Greece.

In fact, it is a small beautiful island in front of the northern coastline of Sicily in Southern Italy - Lipari. Lipari is the largest island of the Aeolian Archipelago, which consists of eight small islands.

If you are fine with the accommodation offered in Lipari - there are no luxury hotels and resorts - then it's alright.

In addition to Lipari there is also the wonderful and picturesque Island of Vulcano, which is famous for its National Park. 

If you cannot make holidays without staying at a super-luxurious property then you should book a room in the Therasia Resort & Spa on the island of Vulcano. This hotel is by far the most luxurious in the whole area of the Aeolian Islands and I can warmly recommend this unique place on earth. 

They have also a private access to the turquoise sea including lots of sun beds with beach service. I also like the design of the rooms which are 100 per cent authentic with a touch of modern design. 

Rooms start at 275.00 Euros per room and night including the lavish breakfast on the wonderful terrace. Contact us directly, if you would like to book a special offer including dinner and special amenities for 40% off the standard rates.

So why not book your dream vacation immediately? Oh, that's the point - the arrival. If you would like to go to the Aeolian Islands, a long journey awaits you:

First you have to fly to Palermo, Catania or Reggio Calabria, from there you must take the bus or an expensive taxi, which brings you to the harbors of Palermo, Cefalu, Milazzo or the Port of Reggio Calabria. Hydrofoil boats or ferries bring you to Paradise between one-and-a-half hours to two hours. From the small harbor of Vulcano, a complimentary shuttle bus bring you to the Therasia Resort.

Therasia Resort & Spa

Localita Vulcanello, 
Isola di Vulcano 98050
Sicily, Italy
Telephone: +39 0909852555

Monday, November 18, 2013

Insider's Getaway

The weather in Austria turned immediately to winter, without having a long autumn time. Despite the summer was great and the weather was still okay, I am really looking forward to the Christmas time.

Although I am really looking forward for white christmas, there is nothing to be said against a trip to the warm South. That's why I decided to go to South Tyrol in Northern Italy to enjoy a sunny Saturday, while it is navy and rainy in North Tyrol. 

There is no other place to start the day then at a cool bar with a capuccino and a croissant with a cream of vanilla - if you are lucky you might have your Italian breakfast on Piazza Walther in the heart of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol. Afterwards, it's time to stroll throughVia Portici, next to Piazza Walther. The Via Portici is famous for its alcoves, where you can find all major brands. If you reached the Market, turn left and finish your walk by going back to Piazza Walther, along Via della Mostra. This street is famous for its high-class shops, like Armani, Tod's, Bogner and Furla. 

If you want to continue with shopping then you should definitely go to Merano, which is about 20 minutes North-West of Bolzano. The best place to have an excellent lunch or an exclusive dinner is the Restaurant Oberwirt in Lana - a completely new one-year old restaurant in an old landmark building on the old town square of Lana, a small village just 10 minutes before Merano. Not only is this restaurant the Number One in Lana by Tripadvisor, it serves the best of the Italian cuisine and is member of Slow Food, which stands for unique products and the highest available quality.

Restaurant Oberwirt
Piazza Gries 2
39011 Lana, BZ, Italy
Closed on Sundays


We have always been regular guests at the Hidalgo Restaurant in Burgstall, which is next to Lana. The reason for our visits was not just the food, more likely was it because of Traudi and Renato, which made us feel welcome and they always made sure that we had a great dinner or lunch. When they left the old restaurant, we did never come back to Burgstall. 

Today, at the Oberwirt, we can combine the exceptional hospitality of Traudi and Renato with outstanding food and Italy's best wines, recommended by Renato himself. The idea to only serve dishes influenced by slow food is great and you really can get dishes, you would never get in any other restaurant in South Tyrol. 

My absolute favourite dishes (to be honest, I love everything I've had there!) are "Tagliata" of White Piedmont Beef and the Saffron risotto! Another course, worth to-die-for and not to be missed is the dessert: Beside finest choices, my favourites are by far Crème Brûlée and warm Chocolate Soufflé. If you are not in a hurry, make sure to order a typical Italian "Espresso" accompanied by a glass of Grappa at the end of a gorgeous lunch or dinner. 

Of course everything has its price, but I can only proof that this is one of South Tyrol's best restaurants and the setting is just that perfect for a sunny Saturday midday or a special occasion for just the two of you! You really get what you pay for. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Restaurant Check - Innsbruck - Part III

Today me and my colleague tested one of Innsbrucks finest restaurants high above the city, more exately on the top floor of the town hall, which also accommodates a high-class shopping center. 

In general, the atmosphere is a kind of sophisticated and the interior stylish with great views of the Tyrolean capital. For such a high-price restaurant, the servers are not dressed adequate - they wear sport sneakers and a black shirt.

The first course was a soup of chestnut with a lot of foam and orange zests on top. All in all the soup was quite good at a reasonable price of 4,50 euro. The bread served with the soup was a bit dry and there was no butter on-site.

For main course we choose chicken breast with mushroom risotto and green salad with beef filet. The chicken was very good, spicy with a nice sauce and a risotto which was cooked perfectly. The salad and the beef filets were very good, too.

For 38 euro for two, this is an expensive venue for lunch in Innsbruck, but in my opinion it was worth the money for such atmosphere and quality of food. It really has to be a special occassion if you want to go there for dinner, because the prices can be twice compared to the set lunch menu.

  • Restaurant Lichtblick
    Maria-Theresien-Straße 18, 6020 Innsbruck
    T: 0043 (0) 512 566550

  • Monday, October 21, 2013

    Insider's Getaway

    If the bad weather caught you, too, and you are ready for another breath-taking trip to Italy, then you should definitely head to the Piedmont – the really northern heart of Italy! While other tourist areas just finished the season, the Piedmont – more precisely the region around the town of Alba – just started with the Peak season. Want to know why? We will now explain you why they are celebrating and why everyone is going to Alba now. Of course we will add some recommendations for a perfect trip.

    1. Alba is a really small town – you can even run through it within 20 minutes – in the heart of the Italian region Piedmont. The area around Alba is so famous for its original white “Alba Truffles”, which belong to the most expensive group of fungus. The most famous attraction in the time from end of October until the mid of November is the world famous “Truffle Fair”, which is held annually and where all gourmands of this planet are meeting at one place! Be aware, just a half kilogram of White Alba Truffle can sum up to more than 3.000 Euros!

    2.  If you are in Alba for the truffle fair, don’t miss a dinner in a typical-farmhouse-looking restaurant and remember that you are doing this just once in ten years, when you see the bill for some truffle dishes. An “Antipasti” with some white truffle will cost you 20 Euros, while the Spaghetti with White Alba Truffle as a “Primi Piatti” is around 40 Euros, not to forget the thinly sliced beef with slices of white truffle are really expensive at 60-70 Euros. My best restaurant recommendations follow up in the last paragraph.  My favourite menu consists of a “Vitello Tonnatto”, followed by a creamy Truffle risotto or Truffle “Tagliatelle”, and a typical piedmonts’ beef filet.
    3. Do stay in a typical "Castello” - a romantic and charming castle converted in a hotel. Although it is peak season, the prices for hotel rooms in the Piedmont are human for what they offer. A stylish four-star hotel is available from 120 Euros up to 250 Euros, while the two most luxurious and most expensive accommodations (Il Boscareto and Relais San Maurizio) are available from 310 Euros. A room at a castello is available from 80 Euros, but be aware that the rooms are not state-of-the-art! All rates are given per room and night and include a light breakfast. Believe me, you won’t need a lavish breakfast as you will take every opportunity to eat truffles, may it be for lunch or dinner or for both!

    4. Plan a day trip to Turin and the Eatly food market. Turin is a wonderful city and famous for its chocolates as well as Fiat. The best and most traditional address for having a hot chocolate is the Baratti & Milano Café next to the castle in the centre. After a tour through the centre and the fashionable shopping street (which is crowded by Louis Vuitton, Guess and Prada shops), head to the Lingotto buildings – the old Fiat company grounds – and stroll through one of the world’s most amazing supermarkets. It was very hard to leave this place as it is a magnet for all gourmets, you can find a huge are for every department of food and beverages.

    Now I will show you my favourite places to be in the Piedmont:

    TURIN - the chocolate capital:
    -          Golden Palace Hotel: from 150.00 Euros,
    -          Hotel Principe di Piemonti: from 175.00 Euros,
    -          Baratti & Milano Café: make sure to try the Gianduja,

    LAGO MAGGIORE - love at first sight:
    -          Hotel Villa Aminta: from 144.00 Euros,
    -          Hotel Castello dal Pozzo: from 140.00 Euros,

    ALBA REGION - where the truffle comes from:
    -          10 km: Hotel Casa Pavesi: from 160.00 Euros,
    -          17 km: Hotel Castello Di Sinio: from 185.00 Euros,
    -          15 km: Palas Cerequio: from 190.00 Euros,
    -          17 km: Il Boscareto Resort & Spa: from 330.00 Euros,
    -          14 km: Relais Villa d'Amelia: from 200.00 Euros,

    REST OF PIEDMONT - feel the magic region:
    -          Albergo L'Ostelliere: from 150.00 Euros,
    -          Palazzo Righini: from 130.00 Euros,
    -          Relais Sant’Uffizio: from 130.00 Euros,
    -          Castello di Gabiano Suites: from 190.00 Euros,
    RESTAURANTS - focused on truffles:
    -          Il Vigneto, Roddi d'Alba:
    -          Trattoria i Bologna, Rocchetta Tanaro (Asti):

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    Insider's Getaway - your perfect Spa Resort

    The nights are going to be longer and the days shorter and colder. Therefore, we reccommend some days where you are just looking after your inner mind and soul. The best place to come down from the hard everyday life is heading to a spa resort, where they completely let you feel relaxed.

    Our favourite places to go for some relaxing days, not to miss the excellent food and of course perfect service with a touch of elegant design, are following resorts:

    1. Grand Tirolia Golf- & Spa Resort, Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria
    2. A-Rosa Grand Spa Resort, Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria
    3. Interalpen Hotel, Telfs, Tyrol, Austria
    4. Schloss Fuschl Resort & Spa, Salzburg, Austria

    If you really prefer some holistic and wellbeing holidays we highly recommend these places:

    1. Schloss Elmau Luxury Hideaway, Elmau, Germany - High-Class Wellness
    2. Spa Resort Lanserhof, Lans, Tyrol, Austria - Holistic Spa Center
    3. Alpenresort Schwarz, Mieming, Tyrol, Austria - All Inclusive and Family friendly

    With pleasure, we are at your entire disposal for any requests or further recommendations.

    Please feel free to contact us whenever you want!

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Insider's Getaway - Cool London

    The summer will no longer be with us in Middle Europe and so we have to see the fact that fall arrived. Although summer was nice and even not too short, it's time for planning your next city trip. We have got 94 days until christmas, so you can afford another trip before the annual christmas weekend travels. 

    Today we present our top places to be in London, United Kingsdom. The temperatures fall down to 15°c and the sun is coming though. So why not heading to a cool capital to shop some new winter clothes and tasting through the world's most luxurious perfumes.

    Corinthia Hotel London
    Absolutely one of my top favourite hotels in the world. I am a big fan of the 24 hours check-in/check-out policy which is in my opinion a big advantage for the discerning traveller. The Spa is amazing, too, with indoor pool and separate hydro pool – as well as floor heating everywhere. The prices are moderate for the huge offer.

    The Savoy London
    This is Londons most traditional hotel and it really shows that it wants to be the Best property in town. In my opinion it is very hard to be unique in London as there are nowhere else so much hotels to choose. I did not enjoy the stay as the price for a River-View room is very high and everything is extra at high prices.

    The coolest of all department stores, is directly located next to the Regent Street and sells nearly everything from skincare to clothing. They have also their own products and textiles, as well as some luxury brands.

    More beautiful than the famous Harrods and less crowded (except peak hours). They sell really every high-end brand, like Tiffany&Co, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Prada. If you’re looking for a unknown designer brand, than this place might turn you off.

    Covent Garden
    One of the most beautiful parts in London with cool shops, small restaurants and boutique hotels, as well as theatres. When you are around there, make sure to see Covent Garden Market, with the Ladurée Store and acoustic musicians singing for free.

    What to take away? Jo Malone, Molton Brown, and Espa are just a few brands for the best of best skincare products. There are some less known brands as well, such as Noble Isle, Temple Spa and Bamford. So, when you go through Liberty, Harrods or Selfridges, you will find every available brand, while the non-available ones can be found on Regent Street or around Great Marlborough Street.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Restaurant-Check Innsbruck - Part 2

    Yesterday evening I tried a completely new dining experience in Innsbruck, the new Adlers Hotel and Restaurant situated in the top floors of the new PEMA headline tower next to the main station! 

    We took the elevator to the top floor and I was standing in the middle of the new and very cool bar! The wife of the owner greeted us personally and guided us together with the server to our table! She also made sure that we got the best available table - and it was an amazing table directly on the window with Innsbrucks best views!

    The server was nice and efficient and brought us the menu immediately! He also asked us if we need help how to use the ipad menu, but we wanted to try it by ourselfs. It is really amazing if you can choose the meals on the ipad espacially for a town like Innsbruck!

    The only problem with this system is that you cannot choose the dishes and sent them to the server immediately. You first have to choose the dish and swipe it to the Favourites and he collects them!

    I ordered a Capuccino of pumkin, which was not yet perfect but above good! 

    Afterwards I took the roasted duck breast with a duett of puree. The duck breast and the Bergamot sauce were very good, the carrott puree good and the green puree was not my taste!

    As the portions are not on the small side we had no more space for an kind of excellent-sounding desserts. Next time I will let space for one of them!

    At half past ten, we asked for the bill and paid about 34.00 Euros for these two courses, a small sparkling water and tip!

    Conclusion: It is a luxurious place to dine, not cheap but the views come up to it!