“It looks like a train set,” I say to my friend as we gaze at the hills across the valley below. Looming above the dainty village of Grossarl, Austria, these hills don’t just resemble the ones Julie Andrews spins and sings atop in The Sound of Music; they are those actual hills, just an hour outside of Salzburg, where the classic film was set.
After a week of summer rain, the hills glow an electric green so striking it seems fake, as if a toddler colored them in with a hue more exciting than realistic. From this distance, the velvety smoothness of
the ground reads more like a felt blanket than real grass. The trees, nearly uniform in shape and height, form perfect lines across the distant landscape. If children’s train sets are modeled after any specific hills and mountains, it must be these.
Speaking of children, they’re here, but I rarely see or hear them. We’re currently luxuriating on a submerged bubble bed in an adults-only pool at the rooftop hydrotherapy zone of Das Edelweiss Salzburg Mountain Resort. Below and behind us, five floors of spa facilities include an adults-only sauna collection with seven distinct saunas ranging from Finnish and bio saunas to infrared chambers, steam baths and a panorama sauna overlooking the village. Beyond the self-styled “sauna world,” an outdoor cold plunge, hot tub and sundeck beckon, all with enviable views. Over the coming days, I’ll find myself here repeatedly — between meals, after hiking and biking in the surrounding hills, before a massage. It’s an oasis amid an already idyllic panorama.
It would be easy to escape to a place like this with the intention of doing absolutely nothing for days — and some do — but Grossarl more often attracts an active crowd. It’s a ski town in winter and a paradise of paths and trails for hikers and bikers in warmer weather. Visiting in late summer, we grab e-bikes one morning from a hut in front of the resort and tackle an allegedly moderate, scenic trail. It turns out to be a steep ascent and requires a full hour of uphill pedaling and a serious dose of willpower, but we make it to the top of
a hill that now seems very real. By the time we return to Edelweiss, we’re both in need of massages.
I opt for a lomi lomi nui treatment of gentle pressure and stretching facilitated by what seems like an ocean of scented oil. I’ve experienced lomi lomi before in places like Tahiti and Hawai‘i, but never has it been as luxurious or indulgent as this. Afterward, I’m not ready to return to any sense of reality yet, so I slink off to a cavernous relaxation room furnished with plush loungers and daybeds piled high with pillows. Encouraged by the low, ambient lighting that enhances the silence of this hidden oasis, I quickly doze off.
At meals I see plenty of families and wonder how I’ve managed to spend so much time in total peace, even when I’m not luxuriating in adults-only areas, and I discover Edelweiss features several child and teen zones, too. Curious, I make my way through a system of corridors and elevators I haven’t encountered before and find an epic indoor pool reflected back down on me from a dark glass ceiling. Fascinated and a bit disoriented, I feel strangely like I’m suspended in space. Adults sway in nest-like chairs hanging from above, but only a few kids are in the pool, so I continue on. Just beyond, I finally find them and instantly understand why they’ve been so otherwise absent. This is Edelweiss’s multistory, indoor waterslide park, and it’s a beauty. Despite the premise and its extreme popularity, it seems orderly and pleasant in here — far from the scenes I’ve witnessed at other resort waterparks. There’s cheering, but no shrieking. There’s excited commotion, but no chaos. I’m happy to find there’s no age limit on the slides, either.
In yet another collection of rooms previously unknown to me, I find a teen zone packed with gaming equipment ranging from virtual reality to an interactive iWall; a pre-teen zone including a bouldering wall, a combination trampoline and digital sports screen, and a suspension bridge; a children’s zone featuring highlights like Playstations and a dedicated kids’ cinema; and a baby and toddler zone dressed in gentle spa hues rather than the vibrant circus tones I typically find elsewhere. With these four dedicated age zones, each so thoughtfully appointed with engaging entertainment and sophisticated design, it’s clear the resort invests as much in its under-18 guests as its adults. The experience at Edelweiss proves premium at any age.
Once an abandoned 1923 constructed warehouse in Asheville, North Carolina, it took a creative group of designers, artists, musicians, chefs and business folks to transform a neglected, 100-year-old structure into one of Asheville’s most interesting and daring hotel projects.
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In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention remains an indispensable platform for business travel industry professionals seeking to make the most of the power of face-to-face connections. Taking place August 13–15 in Dallas, the 2023 GBTA Convention provides the unique opportunity for professionals and companies to join visionaries, thought leaders and industry experts for meaningful networking, cutting-edge insights and inspiring innovation.
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