Preidlhof - The one to watch this summer
Preidlhof is in Naturns about 16km southwest of Merano in South Tyrol. Transfers can be arranged from Innsbruck Airport in Austria (2 hours) or Verona Airport in Italy (21/2 hours). Preidlhof offers a free shuttle service from Naturns Train Station.
A microclimate that guarantees over 300 sunny days a year is reason enough to visit this slice of wholesome Alpine hospitality, care of the Ladurner family who opened Hotel Preidlhof over 50 years ago. Built into the hillside of Naturns, Preidlhof is undoubtedly South Tyrol at its finest, enjoying spectacular views of the lush Vinschgau Valley, overflowing with orchards, vines, olive trees, a catalogue of subtropical plants and the purest mountain air. Central to Preidlhof’s wellness philosophy is the promotion of the Mediterranean way of living ‘La Dolce Vita’ and days can be as gentle or demanding as you wish, from yoga, Nordic walking, biking or swimming in the morning, followed by your prescribed treatments and some quiet time in the numerous super comfy relaxation zones. Most people visit to lose weight, get fit, relax and recuperate.
Look and feel of accommodation
Traditional South Tyrol meets contemporary sleek in the guest rooms with a recent €6 million upgrade of 41 of the 70 guest suites overseen by renowned Austrian designer, Reinhard Köck. The new Scandi-style suites in the Stammhaus building feature hot tubs and glass-fronted saunas on the terraces, while the penthouse suites have whirlpools and mini outdoor cinemas. Preidlhof’s latest addition is the advanced Dream Well Suite featuring a highly complex ceiling element that minimizes reverberation time and echo in the room, thereby creating the optimal conditions for restful sleep, with touchpad-controlled colour LEDs to simulate sunrise and sunset.
Where to start? If you choose to venture beyond over 5000m²of spa facilities with an expansive menu of face, body, doctor-led medical and Ayurvedic therapies, swimming pools (5 outdoor, 1 indoor pool and 6 whirlpools) and six floors of dedicated sauna and steam experiences, you can also enjoy daily yoga, functional fitness sessions, kettlebells, ropes, HITT TRX acronyms by the dozen to tone and mould every muscle. For a wholesome taste of the outdoors there are guided Nordic walks, hiking and biking (both electric and mountain bikes) or you may choose to whizz around the vineyards, orchards and local villages on a classic canary-yellow Vespa. The medical diagnostics are led by Dr. Angerer and focus on tailored assessment and treatment plans including the complete Preidl MediCheck, Vital Age & Rejuvenation and genetic screening, amongst others. The computerized state-of-the-art HRV measurement gives a fascinating insight into the overall state of your body as it analyses the energy efficiency of the heart and its ability to regulate overall stress and body function. A series of treatments and natural supplements will be prescribed based on outcomes. The cutting-edge Spa Tower features 16 steam and sweat areas with the most extensive range of relaxation pods and experiences I have ever encountered, including the trailblazing Deep Relaxation Zone that brings chilling to a new level. Hailed as the ‘future of relaxation’, in this hermetically sealed room guests are guided through the vastness of the universe engulfed in light, sound and vibration with 12,500 LED lights dancing across all corners of the room.
The heat rooms are clay-lined and scented (with aromas ranging from lavender and eucalyptus to olive, wine and more), with a Chinese medicine-inspired 5-Element Sauna, eucalyptus and mango-infused steam and shower zones, daily herbal, fruit or chocolate infusion body scrubs (tasty enough to eat) and not-to-be-missed meticulously contrived daily theatrical sauna ceremonies with a certified sauna master. The rooftop pool and hot tub is the spot for magical stargazing at the day’s end.
The Preidlhof gourmet cuisine has been awarded two Gault-Millau toques and one Michelin star. Think the freshest and finest quality ingredients bursting with local herbs and Mediterranean spices for every taste and desire. From superfood smoothies, vitamin-infused slushies and a colourful menu of the freshest seasonal fruits, homemade yoghurts, home-baked bread lathered in local butter (with a dedicated mini menu here), home-made honey and jams from their fruit orchards and an enticing choice of local meats and cheeses - that’s just for breakfast! Lunch is very much as you wish with much of the above plus an irresistible menu of pastries (the apple strudel is the best ever and always at the ready), while dinners include succulent mountain lamb, the freshest seafood, home created pasta dishes, numerous vegetarian choices and a menu of sorbets, ice creams and home cooked pastries. A lighter calorie-controlled Vital menu is available for guests on a Detox or Weightloss programme, served in a separate dining area.
My Preidlhof experience was well beyond initial expectations in every way. This is not said lightly, as I have been fortunate enough to visit some glorious spas in pristine locations, and this haven in the South Tyrolean mountains is up there with the best. That warm nurturing feel comes in part from the resort being family run – as in my opinion many medispas are overly minimalist and clinical - but Preidlhof has a soul and to me that speaks volumes. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and considerate and attention to every detail was assured, from the spa to the saunas, restaurant and beyond. In essence, my stay was time just for me, with a healthy fusion of movement, fresh air, rest and pure soul nourishment. What more do we need?
I didn’t rate
Preidlhof’s website. It does the property little justice (hence my initial expectations). This needs to be updated. Guest bath towels in bathrooms were small, thin and lacking in coziness. Recycled water bottles would be a lovely touch for guests to carry through the day refilling at the numerous water fountains and elderflower and lemon-infusion stations, and of course to keep as a memento.
Honestly everyone (16+) caught up in the daily stresses of our always-on world, craving time out and the chance to kick-start a better way of living. Preidlhof is nurturing time-out that we all so desperately need.
Always-on Bootcamp types who need a more rigid type of routine to push themselves beyond their natural limits. This said, folk like these need it most!
Ensure you have enough time to just be still in the numerous relaxation areas – both poolside and in spa tower, as we now know that herein lies the path to balance. I didn’t get to try the relaxation pods in the indoor Fifties pool area but those in the Spa Tower and poolside are amongst the best I have come across. The HRV assessment is a real insight into the inner workings of your body and well worth booking. Schedule time in your day to enjoy the thermal experiences in the Spa Tower. Remember that locals generally like to bare all in the saunas so if you are not ready for this, time your visits during the quieter periods of late morning or early afternoon.
Therapists to note
All therapists are highly trained under Claudia Köllemann’s expert eye, but being picky, Daniel is the man for massage and Ramona for facials.