A Trip for the Soul: Gradonna Mountain Resort
Dani and Michael are Flowers On My Plate and absolute epicureans when it comes to food. On their Green Pearls trip, they first visited a family oasis in Tyrol and headed to Gradonna Mountain Resort afterwards. In this guest blog, they share their personal delightful stay at the resort in East Tyrol.
Arrival with many picture perfect moments
We are on the way to the Gradonna Mountain Resort & Spa Hotel in Kals near the Großglockner and thereby drive through the beautiful Zillertal. We pass by many picture perfect moments, which always make us stop once more. The camera is continuously on the lap and we soon have the feeling of being in an infinite loop of grazing cows, sheep, clear glacial streams and waterfalls – it is beautiful!
Slowly, we were getting worried, if we would arrive on time before sunset, but it is too hard to take the eyes off this Alps panorama and not to stop after the next curve. After the drive through the Felbertauern tunnel, weather and landscape suddenly change. It is more rugged and stony, but therefore with low-slong clouds and wildly romantic.
Gradonna: a reflection of nature
A few curvy-rich kilometers later, we drive through Kals am Großglockner in East Tyrol. A small, picturesque place that lays peacefully in the valley. At the end of our drive we see how the spacious grounds of Gradonna Mountain Resorts lay against the mountain. Small chalets peak out here and there from the green, but fit pleasantly into the landscape.
Its wooden construction, combined with natural stones and materials in the interior, harmonize impressively well with the imposing mountain landscape.
The exterior as well as the interior are supposed to reflect the landscape and nature. This demand is met through modern architecture, which can be seen already upon entering the lobby. High pillars, wide window fronts, open stairs and the ever-present Swiss pine, combined with local spruce wood, linens and loden create a unique atmosphere. And even when you are in the interior area, you always have a view of the imposing landscape. The clear construction pulls nature inside into the lounge and living areas.
Arriving and feel comfortable
We get a beautiful Junior Suite in the tower of the main building. It towers over the whole grounds and offers a great round view onto the valley and mountains from all the rooms.
From our suite, we have a view onto the surrounding mountains and the valley, we love the comfortable seating area best, which turns into an outside balcony. The room numbers in the tower reflect the height over sea level and so we sleep on over 1350 meters.
The scent of Swiss pine has a relaxing character and gives the premises a easy and well-feeling atmosphere. Next to a very modern room layout, indirect lighting is also a focus, which we find very attractive.
A small hiking rucksack is offered, as well as felt slippers, cuddly bathrobes and a carafe for drinking water: Gradonna has an own drinking water well with very delicious and nice, soft spring water. One can enjoy it all the time.
Gradonna Spa: a mecca for wellness seekers
With half-board, the use of the spa and wellness area is included (excluding bookable treatments). This is easily accessible for us by elevator. The inside pool for adults and a separate area for children including a water slide offers gorgeous views onto the mountains thanks to floor long windows.
In addition, a heated outside pool with many laying and seating possibilities and a natural pond, which invites to a refreshing bath in cool water in the warmer months. In the inside area there are different saunas, a fitness room and a room for yoga and pilates courses (also included in the room price).
After a round tour, we test an excellent couple massage (Gradonna is a mecca for wellness seekers and has rightfully won the Green Luxury Award at ITB Berlin) and we are excited about the natural cosmetics line. Everywhere in the hotel’s operations, it is paid attention to the environment and sustainability and the employees are educated accordingly.
One of our highlights during our stay is the dinner that is already waiting for us.
Culinary art at Gradonna: tradition and modernity
A look on the menu says that again, tradition and modernity are connected. There are two menu variations, one with meat/fish and one vegetarian option. Along with it, there is a wide appetizer and a not smaller opulent dessert buffet.
Starting with a prime boiled reef soup, antipasti from the buffet, Tyrollean ham and bacon specialties, followed by Tyrollean Alp Beef, a cheese selection and finally dessert. We have arrived at food paradise and can hardly keep up with all the sampling.
Latest at the time of dessert we are slightly overwhelmed: from pralines to petit fours, tiramisu, creme caramel, mousse au chocolat to fresh fruit and a chocolate fountain, it is simply a pure festival for eyes and palate.
The food is accompanied by an extensive international wine menu, regional and international kinds of beer, juices and non-alcoholic drinks and of course the omnipresent spring water. For dessert, there are coffee specialities and a large cocktail bar with a separate smoker’s lounge invites to stay after dinner.
As we traveled between the seasons, not all areas are used for the food, but we can see that the kitchen is well-equipped for peak season and that the personell is attentive, communicative and work very well together.
Herbs from the forest into the kitchen
The peacefulness, which arrives during this season, gives us the chance to discover the hotel in detail and to be taken to other highlights as well. A morning yoga class with Alp panorama belongs to this, as well as a beautiful hike including collecting herbs.
Here, Irmgard from the hotel accompanies us, who does not only know the area like the back of her hand, but also everything what grows here and is edible. A round tour of the valley and an enchanted forest later, we have collected enough herbs to make ourselves tea right away.
The remaining wild herbs go to Michael Karl, head chef and cap-chef at Gradonna, who cooks for us in a private kitchen in one of the chalets. Here we can look over the master’s shoulder and learn lots of things around sustainability and culinary art at Gradonna. Details such as the direct contact to local producers, the farmer’s butter from next door and the freshly baked bread from the town make Gradonna a true green pearl in East Tyrol.
For lunch, Michael serves us roast venison from chamois, tortellini with ricotta wild herb pesto filling, served on sauteed seasonal vegetables with pears. Simply amazing and a real delicacy.
At the end, Dani quickly takes a photo of both Michaels and with happy, round tummies we say goodbye again.
A well-rounded breakfast for the start into the day
The breakfast is also amazing by the way, for which we take extra time in the morning. But you actually need this extra time, in order to have tried all the delicious things at least once. For the meat-lover, there are Tyrollean meat specialties and for the health-conscious naturalists there are many fruits and vegetables, even fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be pressed.
Eggs, omelettes with bacon or vegetables can be ordered, milk products (including a large cheese platter – of course, we are in Tyrol!), pancakes, cereal and nuts, dried fruit and sweet things complete the large offer.
There is also an extra area for the hiking groups, here guests can pack their food for on the go in small bags.
Simply take a break
We spend much time outside, enjoying the clean, fresh air, but do not say no to a bit of quiet time in the room. Especially, because the view from the reading corner invites to read a book, listen to music or just simply let the eyes wander over the with cloud hung mountains.
In the evening, the only thing missing is a fireplace in the room. A real wooden oven is available in the chalets, wie enjoy a special television program with a crackling fireplace.
Time goes by much too fast and we therefore head to the wellness area one more time before heading home, with the heated outside pool, clear mountain air, hanging basket swings and hot tea.
Relaxed and happy, we leave Gradonna Mountain Resort & Spa Hotel in Kals and on the way back already think about, to which season we want to come again, in order to collect even more impressions and simply take a break again.
Text and photos by Flowers on My Plate.