Twas the month before Christmas and Cheeky and I were heading out to Austria to start the winter in style on a trip through the Ötztal region. We were staying in the five star Hotel Bergland right in the centre of Sölden, a hotel that has a secluded main entrance hidden away from the bustling high street. We pulled off the main drag into the front courtyard where ultra modern architecture of glass and timber awaited us. The expansive lobby was welcoming with its wall water-light feature, fireplace and various designer furniture along with vintage Austrian furniture. Once checked in, we were shown to our room; along the way we passed various James Bond posters until we arrived at a door with a sign that read ‘James Bond Suite’. Now this is the style I could get into for the Winter season, living the life of an international spy holidaying in the Alps! We had one of the three separate bedrooms that when combined with the central lounge make up the ‘James Bond Suite’ that can house six people in total and allegedly our room was the very room that Daniel Craig lived in whilst filming Spectre! Our bedroom was of a good size with floor to ceiling windows that faced south giving spectacular views of the mountains. In the middle of the room was a roll top bath so one could unwind whilst taking in the Alpine views of the Ötztal. I particularly like the mix of modern meets vintage with the classic Austrian Farmhouse style bed. The bathroom is particularly well thought out with twin sinks opposite each other, so Cheeky can set up her bucket of makeup and cosmetics on one side and I can cause a mayhem of a mess on the other side without her seeing it. The shower that doubled as a steam room was rather impressive too, this is one design feature that I will be stealing and building into my home.
The 1,700 m² Sky Spa situated on the very top of the hotel is particularly impressive, the indoor pool and outdoor whirlpool overlook Solden and onwards up the valley; the relaxation areas also share these fantastic views of the mountains. The various saunas and steam rooms also have views of the surrounding mountains. The Gym is fairly well appointed and there is an extensive schedule of Yoga, Pilates, Nordic walking and Winter Hiking Tours, and along with the outdoor meditation area the hotel should fulfill most of your fitness and health requirements. Once your body has been fine tuned to perfection the Fireplace bar can provide everything that you require to relax even further. Make sure to check out the house-made signature Lillet cocktail ‘Bergfrische’ translating as ‘fresh from the mountain’ the cocktail delivers a fresh and lively taste, certainly a drink that one could not get bored of.
The à la carte restaurant provides light dishes spread over six courses with locally sourced ingredients under the head chef Roland Auer. In classic Austrian style the salad buffet provides all the ingredients required to make a multitude of different salads that one would wish for. Chef Roland’s use of textures and flavours are rather impressive, some of my favourites include the Tyrolean Speck ham with mountain cheese and chicory salad, the venison patty and the smoked duck with beetroot served with a sweet cold sorbet to compliment the salty smoke of the duck. Cheeky particularly liked the Char, fennel and pomme puree a delicious and delicate she could have eaten a whole plate of just this! Johannes the sommelier, who grew up locally, has a great knowledge of the wines in the Bergland cellar. He is very good at bringing something new to the table and championing small unknown wines that stand up just as well as the bigger house wines. Many of the wines are from Austria and the South Tyrol, a lot of these wines are organic and bio-dynamic so make sure to let Johannes lead the way and help you explore the regional wines with Roland’s fine menu. We enjoyed staying at the Bergland, the surroundings and environment are very important when I am spending a lot of time somewhere and the Bergland certainly satisfies my aesthetic requirements from the suites to the entrance to the bar the hotel is spacious and welcoming.