Kitzbühel, the Tyrolean village made famous in the U. S. by ABC-TV's Wide World of Sports, offers more than a renowned ski race. There's much to do in the summer and it's less expensive.
Kitzbühel is an upscale ski resort that attracts a crowd similar to the Swiss resorts of Gstaad and St. Moritz, but with a bit more country charm.
The Kitzbühel-Kirchberg ski region consists of more than 60 cable cars and lifts and more than 100 miles of ski trails in a variety to suit every level of proficiency. The town's apres-ski activity is considered the most lively in the Tyrol.
But Kitzbühel is also a pleasant place in summer. There are three golf courses; first-rate tennis facilities; mountains to explore by cablecar, ski lift and foot; and plenty of places around this agreeable old village to relax for a couple of hours of reading, sipping or just watching.
As with every Alpine mountain town, the most popular fair weather activity is walking or hiking and there are miles of trails. A good example of an easy, safe jaunt is the Hahnenkamm Panorama. The walk from the top station of the Hahnenkamm cable car to the St. Bernhard Chapel, is only slightly uphill, rising 150 meters. Another easy stroll is to the Schwarzsee, a lake with extensive recreational facilities about 20 minutes from the center. Registered hotel guests are eligible for the Kitzbühel Guest Card which, among other advantages, allows free participation in guided walking tours three days a week.
One suggested family outing is to the Wildlife Park five miles away in Aurach and open year-round.
On summer evenings the town's brass band marches to the center of the village where it gives informal, outdoor concerts. (We found an outside table at the Big Ben Café where we were able to hear the band while enjoying a glass of our favorite beer, Budvar from Czechoslovakia.) The band plays every Friday at 8:30 p.m. from June to mid-September and also on Tuesdays during July and August.
Kitzbühel has a good selection of hotels in all price categories and finding accommodations is usually not a problem in summer.
On a hillside opposite the village is Kitzbühel's best hotel, the Tennerhof.
First-time arrivals know they are on to something special the moment they pass through the entrance gate and begin winding their way up the hill through the lovely grounds to the hotel. The weathered façade, and three-story high roof peak that rises above the modern structure beneath it, is testament to the Tennerhof's simple beginnings in 1679 as a farmhouse.
The Pasquali von Campostellato family, who have owned the property since 1927, have not allowed its origins to be fully erased. Under their stewardship, the Tennerhof has become one of Europe's most elegant farmhouses. The place is strewn with antiques. Intricately painted bed frames and armoires, thick rope banisters and ancient lamps are echoes of the old homestead. But shiny marble floors, vaulted ceilings, good pictures and oriental rugs remind guests they are in a very posh hotel.
The beautifully decorated guest rooms, all different, are a perfect meld of traditional Tyrolean ambiance, top-class luxury and comfort. They are among the most inviting we've ever seen.
Gault Millau places the Tennerhof's restaurant among Austria's top 10.
Naturally there are cozy bars, fireplaces, indoor and outdoor pools, quiet corners in which to hide with a book, and flowers everywhere.
The very best hotels exude an air of quiet confidence and competence, and that's what you'll breathe at the Tennerhof.
• Romantikhotel Tennerhof, Griesenauweg 26, A-6370 Kitzbühel, phone 05356/31 81, fax 05356/31 81 70. Singles 870 AS to 1,220 AS ($73-$103), doubles 1,580 AS to 3,380 AS ($133-$284). Major cards.
* Romantikhotel Tennerhof: IV G
The Sporthotel Reisch is in the heart of the village. Despite rather dull guestrooms it offers a good level of comfort.
Of the Reisch's five restaurants, the most noted is Kupferpfandl, though we prefer the rough wood elegance of the Hubertusstube with its arched Gothic windows and blue table linen.
Most chambers offer a separate room for toilet and shower and a separate sitting area with a sofa that folds out as a third bed.
A typical double is Room #112 on the back of the hotel. It has a balcony and rents for 1950 AS ($160) in the high summer season (more in winter).
• Sporthotel Reisch, Franz-Reisch-Str. 3, A-6370 Kitzbühel, phone 05356/33 66-0, fax 05356/32 91. Singles 900 AS to 1,950 AS ($76-$164), doubles 1,200 AS to 3,300 AS ($101-$277). Major cards o.k. except MasterCard.
* Sporthotel Reisch: II
Another centrally located luxury choice but a better value is Hotel Tiefenbrunner. its guest and public rooms are at least as appealing as at the Reisch and at slightly lower prices.
Ordinary doubles and singles are well maintained and comfortable enough for an extended stay.
We saw two outstanding rooms: Number 117 is a gorgeous suite featuring a tile stove in one corner and a shiny, elegant marble bathroom; Number 501 at the top of the house is less formal, but with slanting ceilings, exposed beams and dormer windows, it has more charm.
• Hotel Tiefenbrunner, Vorderstadt 3, A-6370 Kitzbühel, phone 05356/2141 or 2142, fax 05356/58 57 80. Singles 520 AS to 1,350 AS ($44-$113), doubles 1,040 AS to 2,560 AS ($87-$215). Major cards.
* Hotel Tiefenbrunner: II
Hotel Schwarzer Adler
This oversized tourist catcher, located on the edge of the village, tries hard to be an authentic Tyrolean gasthof but succeeds only in being ersatz and slightly tacky. Ordinary double rooms are fairly small and quite plain. Some larger guestrooms have a private sauna. All rooms have a connection for cable TV but in some there is an extra charge of 100 AS ($8.50) per day for TV. Every other hotel reviewed here offers better value. Be advised that two other Kitzbühel hotels are under the same ownership: the Hotel Goldener Greif and the Hotel Maria Theresia.
• Schwarzer Adler, Florianigasse 15, A-6370 Kitzbühel, phone 05356/22 86, fax 05356/50 01. Singles 460 AS to 1,250 AS ($39-$105), doubles 920 AS to 2,500 AS ($77-$210). Major cards.
* Schwarzer Adler: Not recommended
This is an outstanding mid-priced golf resort hotel. While it won't make you forget the Augusta National or Pebble Beach, the Ramushof's little nine-hole layout is very pretty and nicely maintained. Most of the guestrooms have balconies with good views of the golf course. Though in winter the hotel has to put away the tee markers and flag sticks, during the second week in January guests have a front row seat for one of the world's most important ski racing events, the Hahnenkamm. its finishing line is right in front of the hotel.
But the Ramushof doesn't need golf or ski races. It is an excellent hotel and can stand on its own. Such features as slanting ceilings, skylights, canopied beds, in-room fireplaces, balconies with fine views and a judicious use of weathered wood, give many of the guestrooms great appeal and warmth.
Room Numbers 124 and 222, both two-bedroom suites, would be ideal for two couples on a golfing vacation. Both rooms overlook the golf course. Number 124 has a particularly spacious living room and the skylights and slanting ceilings of Number 222, on the top floor, make it especially cozy. For a couple alone, the best room is a small suite, Number 114.
Other notable features are a sparkling indoor pool and a bright, airy garden room where breakfast is served in summer.
The golf course is open May to October. Weekday green fees for guests are 180 AS ($15) during the week and 280 AS ($24) on weekends. Carts are available for 250 AS ($21).
• Golf-Hotel Ramushof, Ried-Ecking 16, A-6370 Kitzbühel, phone 05356/52 52, fax 05356/5252-49. Singles 1,280 AS ($108), doubles 1,840 AS ($155), small suites 2,750 AS ($231). Major cards.
* Golf-Hotel Ramushof: III
Hotel Haus Christophorus
The very best value we found in Kitzbühel is the Hotel Haus Christophorus. In a residential area, about a five-minute walk from the village center or ski lifts, this spic and span, typically Tyrolean charmer, has family management, quality guestrooms, pretty grounds and a snug, rustic stuberl.
Room Number 18, a corner double with a small balcony, has light pine furniture and walls, gleaming bathroom, color TV with cable and built-in wood table with padded benches. It rents for 700 AS ($59) in summer and 1,100 AS ($92) in winter.
It, and other rooms in the house, appear to have recently been renovated. Winter ski guests may want to inquire about one of the hotel's five apartments. The largest rents for 2,200 AS ($185) and can accommodate six persons.
We found the Kühr family particularly welcoming and helpful.
• Hotel Haus Christophorus, Marchfeldgasse 3, A-6370 Kitzbühel, phone 05356/27 83, fax 05356/27 85. Singles 250 AS to 650 AS ($21-$55), doubles 500 AS to 1,300 AS ($42-$109). No cards.
* Hotel Haus Christophorus: III G $
A Good Kitzbühel Restaurant
Restaurant Chizzo, outside the town gate but only a couple of minutes walk from the center of Kitzbühel, is an informal, bright, almost California-style bistro.
The menu is moderately-priced and the recipes a little lighter than traditional gasthof fare.
We started with good mixed salads, followed by breast of chicken that had been flattened and cooked like schnitzel leaving a crunchy, grease-less crust and juicy, tender meat; and zwiebelrostbraten, a small, pan-fried steak served under a thin brown sauce and fried onions. Accompanying potatoes had been cut into bite-size chunks and sautéed in butter and herbs. Everything was very fresh and cooked to order.
Salad and entrée for two persons was 390 AS ($33).
• Chizzo, Josef Herold Strasse 2, A-6370 Kitzbühel, telephone 05356/24 75. Moderate.
* Restaurant Chizzo: 1 star
Elevation: 2,500 feet
Approximate distances from:
* Innsbruck 100 km 62 miles
* Munich 120 km 74 miles
* Salzburg 80 km 50 miles
* Vienna 400 km 248 miles
* Zürich 400 km 248 miles
* Hinterstadt 18
* A-6370 Kitzbühel
* Telephone: 05356-21 55
* Fax: 05356-23 07
A one week adult ski pass is 1,650 AS ($139) in high season and 1,490 AS ($125) in low season. A daily adult pass is 340 AS ($29) in high season and 320 AS ($27) in low season. Kids pay half the high season prices at all times.