Review – Hotel Edelweiss, Zurs, Austria

Watching the progress of our journey on my phone map and looking up towards our destination, Zürs, it was difficult to imagine how our transport would manage the near vertical ascent to our hotel from the valley floor. The traverse of twists, turns and tunnels brought us up and over the Flexen Pass and to our final destination in Austria. Considered one of Europe’s most prestigious skiing destinations, and a favourite of Princess Diana’s, Zurs, is home to the enchanting Edelweiss Hotel, our home for the next four days.

The hotel is the oldest building on the small and rather exclusive Zurs resort in the Arlberg Region of Austria and as the highest village in the area benefits from greater and longer snow cover. Snow cover when we visited early March was at least 2m  – right in the village. Since the winter of 2013 the villages of Lech, Oberlech, Zeus and Zug have been linked to the Waerth-Schrocken ski area which makes Ski Arlberg the largest connected ski area in Austria.

On arrival we met hotel manager  Karl ‘Charly’ Wiener and colleague  Irmgard Wiener in the relaxed, warm and friendly hotel bar; full that evening hosting the weekly meet of the Ski Club Arlberg, Austria’s oldest ski club. A very enjoyable start to the social side of the hotel, should you wish to mix and mingle.

The Hotel

Elegant, luxurious, welcoming and fun. Edelweiss Hotel, nestled into the snow capped peaks of the stunning Austrian Alps.

For over a century, Edelweiss Hotel has brought many skiers, and travellers to Zurs, having evolved over the years it has recently undergone an extensive renovation throughout, boasting an array of uniquely designed rooms. The interior is stylish, colourful, imaginative and designed to a high standard. Every room has a breathtaking mountain view which adds to the charm.

Chatting with a fellow guest it’s clear that many are repeat visitors – this was her 11th time and a scan over the number plates outside the hotel suggests visitors from all over Europe.

Our suite was extremely luxurious and included a separate dressing area, private hall, bath and shower room with separate toilet and a spacious living and dining area. Nice touches throughout, heated bathroom floor, TV screens throughout including the bathroom, high quality fittings etc. Every room is adorned with thick, warm curtains, the opening of which in the morning was a real treat as the breathtaking view of the mountains welcomed us once more.

Throughout our visit we were aware of perhaps one family with a small child and although the hotel is prepared for families, it would not be my first choice to go with small children. Now that my kids are older I would be very happy to take them but on this occasion I was very happy to go without. The lack of screaming kids is very welcome.

The management team runs a tight ship and are hands on and present throughout the day and night ensuring everything is just right.

The Food

Given that skiing is a significant reason for staying at the Edelweiss Hotel, you would be forgiven for assuming that food might not be part of the main attraction. Oh how wrong I was. 

On our first night we booked into the vegetarian restaurant, TIAN am Berg. The restaurant is a sister restaurant to the Michelin starred TIAN in Vienna. Paul Ivic is the imagination behind both restaurants and Paul Lehner, head chef has helped Achieve an impressive 15.5 Gault & Millau points and three toques.

After our dinner in TIAN I was slightly reluctant to eat at Edelweiss Restaurant, there was no way that the previous evening’s dinner could be matched, and whilst to an extent this was true, Edelweiss Restaurant was by no means second best. My truffle pasta was outstanding and led me to buy every truffle product I could find. Other highlights included wild boar, venison and sole for two filleted at your table. The resident sommelier guided us through the sizable wine list to some unexpected treats to pair with our dishes.

Breakfast was also superb with cooked options and a proper full buffet, an excellent relaxed start and a chance to fuel up for the day.

The Skiing

Edelweiss is entirely geared up for the skier and only operates in the winter season. Ski tech and hire is on the lower ground floor where we were well looked after and provided with experienced advice on hire kit. The whole process took minutes, once you have chosen your kit you can either head to the slopes or leave to find it in your allocated locker later. Effortless. 

One of the least appealing things about a ski break is the walk from hotel to slopes – especially at the end of the day. Ski boots are not designed for walking and a long trudge home in them never appeals. The Edelweiss is less than 100 yards to the bottom of the access gondola, chairlift and ticket office, handily it is also possible to ski to the hotel, a huge bonus at the end of the day.

De Weisse Ring (The White Ring) is an energetic half day  22 km ski circuit taking in all the towns in the area Lech, Zürs, Zug, and Oberlech. It’s a fantastic way to see the area from all different viewpoints and altitudes.

The pistes were in tip top condition in early March tended by the army of nocturnal piste bashers roaming the mountains each night. Any skier no matter what level, will love the first few morning runs on the freshly groomed piste – makes you believe you are a much better skier than perhaps you are.

Heli skiing is available on Mehlsack (2.652 m) and Schneetäli (2.450 m) and this is unique in Austria to Lech Zürs. The lifts are fast and highly efficient, it doesn’t take long to get up the mountains and long queuing rarely happens. The longest I queued was no more than five minutes – pretty good for an early weekend in March.  

The heated chairlift seats were a nice bonus too. Transport to the interconnecting towns, via the regular hop on buses, is included in your ski pass – so no worries if you’re at the bottom of the area at the end of the day, just hop on the bus.

Our ski instructor, Eva Lemmerer, prefers to ski during March and April as there is plenty of snow and the days are longer, giving many more hours in the sun. She recommends the Valluga in terms of the best view in the area – the gondola uplift is within 100 yards of the hotel. 

My non-skiing partner had a morning lesson with local instructor Eva Lemmerer who grew up in the mountains and started skiing before she started school, this makes 50 years of skiing experience. continues to ski in Zurs as she says there are very few ski resorts that have the quantity and quality of snow that can be found here in the Arlberg.

We found Eva through the hotel, she teaches all ages, all levels, is extremely experienced and knowledgeable.

Ski Passes

For the whole interconnected Ski Arlberg region a six day pass is 400E daily for Adults, 241E for children or daily passes at 75E and 45E. Hourly/1/2 day and taster tickets are available for less committed skiers or those just wanting to reach the high alpine restaurants/views via the cable cars  Automated ski pass machines all work efficiently so no tiresome queuing for your pass on the first day


If crazy nightlife and partying all night in noisy bars is your thing then Zurs isn’t for you, you can do all that in the neighbouring towns but Zurs it is unapologetically not that sort of place. To get your fix of that if required head to St. Anton. The infamous Mooserwirt or the Krazy Kanguruh, however, I still cannot see past our night at Restaurant Flexenhausl. This is a charming small wood cabin a short taxi ride from Zurs. We weren’t really sure what to expect from such an unassuming place but once we had enjoyed the excellent salads and cold dishes and cook your own meat fondue – the chairs were cleared and the dancing began – with everyone in the place up and dancing before long.  Dance floor too small? Not a problem, use a table.

Getting There

We flew via KLM Edinburgh to Zurich via Amsterdam – the single airline negates that stress of missing the connecting flight which appealed much more than involving longer bus or train journey options. The Arlberg Express provided transfers in a brand new spotless luxury and extremely well driven coach and/or private transfers from a fleet of new Mercedes 4×4’s. The 180 km trip takes just over two hours. 

We loved the hotel and Zurs. I would say Zurs’ appeal is its old world sophisticated charm, pretty with no raucous bars but enough very good and civilised bars and restaurants to have a really good holiday.  

Book direct with the hotel to secure favourable rooms

Transfers from

Fly via KLM from Scotland via Amsterdam to Zurich –