In the heart of the Austrian Alps is the medieval town of Kitzbühel. Rows of charming boutiques line the cobblestone streets. A picturesque gondola leads skiers and hikers to the magical, snowcapped peaks. At the entrance of the village is the historic Hotel Weisses Rössl. It resembles a palace with graceful residences lined with chandeliers, classical pillars, and balconies showing off magnificent vistas. Guests recline on beds overflowing with silk and satin. They indulge in bathrooms made entirely of glittering marble. One suite comes with a private cinema for eleven. In the lobby tranquility reigns. Leather couches line wood-burning fireplaces. On the terrace, homemade marmalade, farm bread, and fruit juices are served under the sunshine in the morning. The spa holds the key to relaxation. The aroma grotto wraps you in scented oils; the Laconium lets off heat through ancient stone floors.
The oldest part of the hotel can be found underground, where the stone walls date back to the 15th century.
The hotel was updated with many of these grand touches in December 2017 when it opened after a full renovation. But it was also the playground for luxury-seekers centuries before today.
The building at Bichlstrasse no. 5, the hotel’s famous address, served as an old coaching inn where valiant horses, fated to draw carriages, were changed on the way from Salzburg to Innsbruck. In the late 19th century, when Kitzbühel became a renowned ski town, the quaint stop was transformed into luxury a getaway. It took the name Weisses Rössl, meaning white horse.
In all those iterations, aristocrats, politicians, artists, and titans of industries used this gem as a hideaway, a place to escape into the vast mountains. Sure, they didn’t get to enjoy all the modern amenities like the spa that we have today. But they, as we do now, had a grand time frolicking through the country retreat.
The oldest part of the hotel can be found underground, where the stone walls date back to the 15th century. They were part of a tower that warded off the attacks of Kitzbuehel’s many enemies who clamored for the city’s precious supply of silver and copper. These walls are now protecting something else valuable: the hotel’s vast and rare wine collection. Journeying into the vault is a visit into an exclusive world of wine. Bottles from the best wine houses in the world like Chateau Mouton Rothschild line the walls, their colors getting deeper with age. Labels from bottles created by local wine makers, using grapes like the Grüner Veltliner, only grown in Austria, are lit up by candlelight. This vault is at guests’ full disposal. Journey through the cave with a sommelier who will regale you with tales while you savor vintages you can’t find anywhere else. Stage a private dinner in the dim space with a loved one; let the world slip away as you cozy up in the protective, ancient vault.