In the 19th century the waters of Bad Gastein were visited by European monarchs as well as the rich and famous. Now, it’s becoming a playground for creative hoteliers and visitors. We were allowed to check into Haus Hirt, probably the most beautiful refuge in the place.
As always a little history up front, because only those who know the history of this region, can understand what’s going on here: In the 19th century Bad Gastein belonged ultimately to the “glamour girls” of mountain- and spa tourism. The rise of Bad Gastein began with the discovery of the mineral spring (Heilstollen), which still exists in the town today. Palaces were built, huge grand hotels that were normally only to be found in Nizza or Rome. They ensured a quite distinguished clientele. Even the Shah of Persia dipped his spoilt feet into the healing water, in order to play the big shot at the casino tables in the evening. Finally the place was given the name of “Monte Carlo of the Alps” and the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy had its prestige object.
However, the crash came with the 2nd World War. Hotels became ruins and then, to top it all, speculators tried to turn the real estate into money. Because of this, three of the former magnificent buildings are still standing empty. The ironic thing about this: Especially this place does offer what a lot of people are looking for nowadays: wonderful old buildings with lots of space for creative ideas and a beautiful natural landscape.
All the same, there is actually a group of hoteliers who believe in the power of this destination. For example, Evelyn and Ike Ikrath. They run the “Haus Hirt”, which is a Pretty Hotel if ever there was one.
Even the reception is perfect. It’s as cosy as your own living room. And that’s about how it continues. You sleep in a comfortable room (we liked the ones on the first floor best, because they still boast the style of the old buildings), and have a view either over to the magnificent buildings of Bad Gastein or downwards into the Valley of the Pongau.
In addition “Haus Hirt” has a kind of continuous catering. Breakfast until eleven, lunch time buffet from 12 till 5 and dinner from 6 pm, which mostly begins with a kiddies table, at which all the kids staying at the hotel dine together (and this is usually quite a few).
What we like
The building is colourful and not perfect. It’s located on a slope, there is always someone scurrying along the corridors and the guests are mostly made up of families who – if they were neighbours – would invite each other to a barbecue.
Middle aged families, from 30 – 50, with children, who like to stay in a building on a slope with sensational service. Boss Evelyn is nearly always present in the house and takes care of your every need, even personal ones.
Double room from 91 euros per person including meals up to 181 euros depending on the season. Here’s the link to all price ranges.
Booking & Contact
Bad Gastein / Austria
+43 6434 27970