First with Financial Comment from Arabia

Reporting live from Seefeld, Austria

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No this is not the Winter Olympics from Vancouver but your editor has left Dubai for a week of winter sports in Seefeld, Austria. Usually when ArabianMoney is away from our home base in Dubai then the markets change direction. Who knows if this time will be different?

This is now the third season of recession-hit hospitality for European ski resorts. Seefeld is no different. The ‘zimmer frei’ signs should not be there in peak season. The slopes are pretty empty and the mountain restaurants not full at lunchtime.

Recession bonus

Of course it is great news for the consumer. We booked a pre-season hotel rate at a 50 per cent discount, and unbelievably this rate came with half-board and the chef is some kind of Austrian Gordon Ramsey. We had booked and paid up before realizing that dinner came as a part of the deal.

Seefeld is a delight. Buried in the beautiful Austrian Alps there is everything you could need in one of the original Alpine ski resorts. Traditional Tyrolian architecture, sunshine terraces, great views, a lot comes for free. The rest is not very expensive.

You can enjoy a glass of good local red wine for AED18 here. Compare that with the AED135 ArabianMoney paid in Dubai recently. Food is also much cheaper.

And it is not as though you have to compromise on quality, far from it. Austrian hospitality exudes value-for-money, cleanliness and high standards. Nothing is too much trouble. The service is excellent.

Summer escape

If the winter sports are not your thing then Seefeld also looks a great place to escape the heat of Arabia in the summer. In a mountainous region there is no risk of 40C temperatures that can hit you in July and August in Southern Europe.

There is also plenty to do: from designer shopping to cross-country walks, even an indoor skating rink and naturally swimming pools. The scenery is also glorious and free.

ArabianMoney has not yet booked an apartment for the summer but it looks on the cards. Austria is a really pleasant option for Gulf citizens and expatriates and offers easy access to Bavaria, Italy and Switzerland. We think it is quite a find.


Written by Peter Cooper

February 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Culture, Hotels, Travel

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