Hotel And Spa Der Steirerhof is perhaps the most welcoming hotel I’ve had the pleasure to stay at during my many years of traveling.
Located an easy 75 mile drive south from Vienna in the Austrian state of Styria, this lovely region is filled with historic towns, beautiful landscapes, numerous castles, orchards and vineyards. All in all, this picturesque hilly landscape has a rather Mediterranean feel that is far different from the Tirol region that my husband and I often visit.
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Der Steirerhof is located on a hilltop just outside the village of Bad Waltersdorf. The village is known for its healing thermal waters and has been voted one of the most beautiful flower villages in Europe. As you drive through the gates of the resort you see that it is surrounded by acres of gardens. Walk inside the stylish, traditional hotel and you see that Frau Gunda Unterweter, the gracious owner of Der Steirerhof, carries her love of plants and flowers indoors as well.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Frau Unterweter and her lovely daughter Anna with a glass of sparkling wine and shown to the hotel’s restaurant for a light lunch while our luggage was placed in our room and our car parked in the hotel’s garage.
All meals are included in the room rate and you can’t help but be impressed with the restaurant’s food. In the morning, you can enjoy is fresh coffee and pastries by the pool. Freshly prepared eggs as well as meats, fish, cheese, cereals, and freshly baked breads can be had from the breakfast buffet. There is even a specially cooled fresh fruit room where you can select fruits to juice yourself or take a piece as a snack anytime during the day.
At lunchtime, there are a variety of salads, soups and a hot dish available from the buffet. In the afternoon, you can enjoy strudel and cake in the dining area or at the poolside bistro. Dinner features salads from the buffet and then you have a choice from four different five course dinners. The ingredients are natural, organic and come from the region which has led to the restaurant being awarded the Grünen Haube (Green Toque) designation.
After lunch and getting settled in our room, we headed down to check out the pool and spa area and it is lovely. Der Steirerhof is ranked as one of the best 5 star hotels in Austria and has been awarded the best possible rating of 4 lilies and 20 points in the Relax Guide, the most respected wellness (spa) guide for Austria and Germany. The hotel’s spa area is the perfect place to relax in one of the seven indoor and outdoor pools or ten saunas. There is even a separate lady’s spa.
Each day after breakfast, we went out for a drive to explore different areas of Styria which is called the “green heart of Austria”. Fields were filled with pumpkins and sunflowers, orchards had trees loaded with apples and many of the vineyards had grapes just waiting to be harvested. Absolutely beautiful scenery was around every curve in the road as we explored the region.
One day we drove a portion of the “castle route” and visited Castle Riegersburg, an impressive medieval castle perched on a steep volcanic rock hill. It was interesting and had magnificent views in all directions. If you visit the town of Riegersburg, you might also want to stop by the Zotter chocolate factory which is considered one of Austria’s best chocolates. In the same region there are also wine and apple routes to explore and if you are more adventurous then we were, there are hot air balloon rides to see this region from a bird’s eye view.
Another scenic drive took us to the pretty market town of Pollau. The town’s main attraction is Schloss Pollau, a former Augustinian monastery. The huge St. Veit’s church, which was built in the early 1700’s, is part of the complex and is decorated with wonderful trompe l’oeil frescoes.
At the end of a day’s explorations, it was always nice to return to the hotel. You could enjoy a drink or snack on the beautiful terrace or by the fire, play a game or read a book in the lounge or change into your bathrobe and relax out in the spa garden or at the pool and watch a hot air balloon drift on the horizon just as the sun set. It doesn’t get much better than that as far as I’m concerned.
Der Steirerhof, with its tradition of warm hospitality and high level service, is a hotel that creates an environment that makes you want to return to year after year. I do hope that my husband and I will be fortunate enough to return, perhaps next year.