The White Horse Inn is a legendary and historic spa hotel beside the crystal clear Lake Wolfgang, one of Austria’s most beautiful locations. It celebrated its 100th anniversary last year—and its marvellous peace and serenity takes guests back into another era.
For much of the rest of Europe, Lake Wolfgang itself is an undiscovered gem of a resort, not only for summer holidays but also for winter ski and snow boarding, for hiking and Nordic walking, for botany and cycle rides, water sports and boating trips—and for lovers of amazing train journeys.
The hotel is right on the shores of the lake, a delightful four-star superior hotel with panoramic lake and mountain views, two good restaurants and a unique spa area with a heated lakeside pool in which guests can swim year-round, even when the mountains are covered in snow.
The idea of being able to swim in pure lake water (fit for drinking) in summer and within the lake in winter, and to see those magnificent views as you do so, year-round, certainly adds to the pleasures of a holiday. Added to which, the 1,500 square metre spa includes a floating hot tub, steam bath, large sun terrace, fitness room and relaxation room, again with panoramic views.
The village of St Wolfgang itself, once an important place of pilgrimage, is one of Austria’s most enchanting, and surprising, lake resorts. Prettily painted houses and shops line narrow cobbled streets, and as you stroll along you suddenly come upon the Schafberg railway. Michael Portillo, writing recently of his train travel for the BBC, wrote, ‘Of all the railways I rode, the most memorable was in Austria: new territory for me, with lakes and mountains of astonishing beauty.
‘From the resort of St Wolfgang I took the steam-powered rack railway up to the Schafberg (Sheep Mountain). The locomotive is a strange-looking beast, built at an angle to the track to ensure that the water in the boiler can be kept as level as possible. You soon see why: in 40 minutes it travels just over three-and-a-half miles, but in the process it climbs 3,930ft.
‘There’s another surprise at the top. From the station is a walk of about 200 yards up to a hotel, and what you don’t realise until you reach the hotel is that it stands on a sheer cliff, 5,870ft above St Wolfgang. You feel as though you’ve come to the edge of the world.’ This, the steepest steam cog railway in Austria, takes you to 1,768m, from where you have a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding Salzkammergut region and your hotel, far below you on the lake.
The nearest airport is Salzburg, 45 kilometres away. On arrival you can hire a car, go by bus or take the White Horse Inn shuttle service.
International Hotel: The first Members to book will enjoy a special Blue Ribbon rate at this lovely hotel. For full details of up-to-the-minute rate deals, please call Member Services on 020 7399 2960 or follow the link below.
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