Fabulous Hotel Gappmaier in Saalbach, Austria

Austrian Tyrolian Airlines (Lufthansa co-share) woke us out of a sleeping pill induced sleep at 11:30p with information that the suitcases were in Salzburg and would be delivered by 11:00a the next day. Right! Think closer to 3:00p but we could at last get out of stinky, clothes!

The wonderful Hotel Gappmaier is one of the best, if not the best, of all the three-star hotels we’ve ever stayed at in Europe for more than a few days; of course, room rates were a lot more than we usually pay. Mainly because exchanging U.S. Dollar into Euro adds 30% more to the bill. It’s no wonder that we were possibly the only Americans in the Saalbach region.

Our immaculate room was large, comfy and cozy — extra mushy pillows given on request; warm duvet; bathtub large enough to drown in with water hot enough to boil eggs; balcony, and great mountain views.

The Hotel Gappmaier sauna area wasn’t just a typical, small room off a corridor. It is seriously dedicated space with: Finnish Sauna; Turkish Steam Bath, solarium; all tied together by a large silence room to relax in afterwards (Do I have to bother mentioning the hotel also furnished bathrobes?) Lay back, sip a cup of tea and enjoy mountains views outside the floor to ceiling windows.

“silence room” next to saunas, Hotel Gappmaier, Saalbach


For us, a lengthy stay in Austria is all about the food. Hate this term, but Hotel Gappmaier’s food is “to die for.” Even with serious snowshoeing uphill, Weight Watchers may see us since we can eat up to, and beyond whatever calories are expended.

Our morning began with the gigantic breakfast buffet: bacon and eggs; Meusli and two different kinds of  yogurt; sliced meats and cheeses, including chunks of Brie; different cereals; my favorite breads and rolls, whole-grained with nuts and seed in them; jams, jellies, liverwurst and more small cheeses; fresh fruits (melons, bananas, pineapple, etc.); cut up fruit, lovely spooned into my Meusli/yogurt/honey combination; juice; coffee (even lattes and cappuccinos), tea; and a selection of pastries. Watch the video and drool.


Dinners? Unlike other hotels, they rotated selections daily and guests select from three choices; one vegetarian. Dinner always included, two different soups on the equally large salad buffet. Again, not an ordinary salad buffet. Hotel Gappmaier had: sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella; different pasta/rice salads; cole slaw and sauerkraut; fresh and roasted peppers; olives, beets, corn; different lettuces, tomatoes; and liver pate (whenever pate was on the salad buffet, at least three pieces of pate along with chunks of bread was added to our plate).

large salad and wine at Hotel Gappmaier, Saalbach

yummy entree at Hotel Gappmaier, Saalbach


Then, a starter, followed by your entree choice, ending with dessert. As if that wasn’t enough, buffets are served twice a week, usually on Saturday and Wednesday. We arrived on Saturday, Italian Buffet night. The two of us began by singlehandedly, demolishing the chafing dish filled with delicious garlic shrimp (Steve said he ate 12); worked our way through the salads, pasta, veal scallopini, and chicken, before hitting the dessert buffet.

Wednesday night was Austrian Buffet night: salad/soup on the buffet along with every kind of Austrian food imaginable. Venison, fish, chicken, pork, and so on; another dessert buffet. Two typical Austrian desserts that I adore happened to be on it: Kaiserschmarrn, a caramelized pancake with other ingredients added (nuts, cherries, plums); and thin pancakes that I topped with fruit sauce and ice cream! P-I-G is my middle name.

Another Saturday night here and we were primed for the Italian Buffet. Wrong! Tonight was a chow-down Barbecue Buffet with: Soups/salads; ribs, chicken, pork chops, turkey kebobs; three different kinds of potatoes including baked potatoes that I ladled spoonfuls of the hotel’s supremely wonderful sour cream; topped off by a new dessert buffet selection.

Darn. We left on Tuesday; Wednesday was Mexican Buffet night.

mountains of Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria


Wine is still the best deal in Europe, even with the overinflated Euro. A half-liter of house wine was 7.60 Euros, $10 u.s. A hell of a lot cheaper than two glasses of wine at home that usually costs, at a minimum, $7 U.S. a glass.

Now wouldn’t you think all that food would be enough? Ha, ha, ha… During the summer, we discovered the world’s best cheese strudel at Unterberger Backerei with stores in both Saalbach and Hinterglemm. We began buying, and eating, one strudel per person every day before calculating there must have been, a minimum of, 700 Calories in each piece x 10 days. No wonder pants were getting tight. Dawn broke in our pea brains, and we reluctantly began splitting one strudel per day. Life is just so unfair!

Summer rates at Hotel Gappmaier began at 116 Euro per night for a double room including everything written above (except the Cheese Strudel), and summer includes the Joker Card; all Joker Card details in Summer Saalbach Hinterglemm previous articles. Like the majority of typical Austrian hotels, the Hotel Gappmaeir is run by the family. Grandpa occasionally sat at reception while Granddaughter, Julie, who spoke excellent English, was our “go-to” person.

This rave review is totally unsolicited; Travels With Sheila does not receive discounts or freebies for recommending Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, or Tour Operators. Truth in Travel is the motto.


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