Austrians have a relaxed attitude towards life and pursue happiness in simple pleasures such as hearty food, quaint music, enthusiastic yodeling and dancing which sometimes borders on acrobatics. I decided to write this book because of my fascination with castles and my deep love of this scenic alpine country and its outgoing people. I also love hiking Austria's mountains and staying in comfortable hotels.
A unique feature of this book is that it suggests numerous walks, hikes and sightseeing trips hotel guests should consider. Despite being a comprehensive travel guide, the book is small enough to carry with you on the trail. In addition, this book discusses Austria's history and the factors that shaped her humanistic culture. A wealth of practical information such as travel arrangements, car rental, lodging, food, financial matters and health concerns are also contained within.
To my knowledge, this book is the only travel guide devoted exclusively to Austria's castle hotels, of which forty are described in great detail and their history summarized. There are color photos of most of them and their picturesque surroundings. They range in quality from three to five stars and in price from easily affordable to very expensive. Many are inhabited by their original owners.
The book is the result of our numerous vacations during which we visited each of these castles. It was not sponsored by anyone and was written at our own expense without ANY financial incentive from the hotels we recommended nor from the Austrian National Tourist Office.
The book was given a glowing review in Gemutlichkeit, a travel magazine for Germany, Austria and Switzerland published in Hayward, CA and was also acclaimed by the Austrian Cultural Institute in New York City.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
1. One of the walks recommended from a former hunting lodge that is now a charming, comfortable and inexpensive three star hotel. Pages 47-50
"Finally, there is a walk that all hotel guests should take at least once. A short time before sunset, take the footpath at the end of the parking lot and follow it as it climbs a small hill 5 minutes from the hotel. One side of the hill is covered with a thick pine and spruce forest and the other with grass. From it's top, a majestic view unfolds of the Alps with forests, pastures, jagged mountain ridges and plunging valleys. The snow-capped peaks and glaciers on the Stubai Alps at that time of day still glisten in the glare of the setting sun, but darkness has already enveloped the valley and gradually creeps up the mountain sides. Cows in the pastures are only barely visible, and even the distant clanging of their bells is dying away. Soon, perfect stillness reigns except for the soothing chirping of crickets which only enhances the awe-inspiring, unworldly quiet that pervades the air."
2. A small five-star castle hotel in the country, only a few miles from the just described hunting lodge. Pages 51-53
"It is a distinguished looking castle-like, white building that radiates quiet prosperity and restrained elegance. The hotel...has 20 splendid guest rooms and suites which like all the public rooms are airy, elegant, tastefully decorated and very comfortably furnished in the traditional style. A sumptuous Royal Suite is at this time nearing completion. The hotel boasts all the contemporary amenities including a spectacular indoor-outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center and a tennis court. Golfing and skiing are available in the immediate vicinity."
3. A five star castle hotel in the center of Vienna. Pages 145-147
"This is certainly not an ordinary hotel, nor even an outstading one, but one that falls into a category all by itself. Strickly speaking, it is not even a castle but a palace whose purpose from its inception was to display the immense power and wealth of the princely family that owned it, to enhance that family's social status, and to provide the family a life of elegance and luxury.
The palace is in an 18 acre park with an impressive fountain, beautiful lawns, trees, statues, and gravel paths. It borders on the Belvedere Palace park described earlier in this chapter. Like the Belvedere, the Schwarzenberg Palace is also a well-proportioned Baroque edifice whose elegant lines are in perfect harmony with its surroundings. It is a fine legacy of the 18th century, a time when sophistication in art, music, language, manners and attire reached its peak."
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