A Perfect Weekend at Castel Fragsburg, Merano
Tradition meets style just like heaven meets earth.
Set at the most magnificent spot in South Tyrol, right somewhere between the two most important hubs of the region - Meran and Bolzano - this five-star hotel calls itself to be the smallest of its kind in the Italian Alps, and is infamous for being the number one place to stay in entire South Tyrol. Well, latter one I was really eager to find out and therefore took our gastronomic critic aka Felix with me for a pretty intensive Michelin-starred weekend in and around the town of Merano, where there was the Merano Wine Festival too in addition to the seasonal closing ceremony of the Castel Fragsburg, the name of the Relais & Chateaux property to be tested for the weekend. It was time for a wow experience and we were in for some pleasant surprises in Italy.
The drive couldn't have been more scenic - starting on Lake Constance, passing historic Arlberg before heading over the Reschenpass to the area of Vinschgau, famous for the South Tyrolean apple export. I normally hate drives that don't include at least one five-star hotel to stop by and have a coffee, however I knew what was waiting for us so I was really excited to go to Merano as soon as possible. One of the most important remarks for Castel Fragsburg is the location, while some may think Merano is a compact town where you can walk everywhere, in fact it is not. The entire town is spread over the entire valley and you can easily end up staying in Schenna, Dorf Tirol or Marling - taking you 5-10 minutes to town by taxi. When staying at Castel Fragsburg, your journey into town may take 10 to 15 minutes by car. Now comes the big but: I mean you can already imagine what a location at a high altitude may bring in terms of benefits. Yes, it's all about the views at this magnificent hotel and this definitely pays off for the totally affordable 20 euros taxi fare (in a Porsche Macan or S-class) into town. Since Felix was driving with his car, we had no issues finding the hotel and after a windy ride up the hill, we arrived at one of my absolute favourite hotels in enture Europe. While the hotel was totally full with every room occupied, we were extremely lucky to have gotten a room and to all our luck we weren‘t just allocated a classy Junior Suite. Mr Ortner upgraded us to one of the most amazing suites in the house: the Adlerhorst also known as Tower Suite and yes, it was really located in the tower of Castel Fragsburg - which was once used to be a home for hunters of the nearby castle. The main Fragsburg castle is situated a little bit up from the hotel, however is not in use anymore and therefore could be an amazing opportunity to fulfill your dream of living „La Dolce Vita“ in the Italian Alps. But please don‘t try to compete with your soon-to-be neighbor, cause the Relais & Chateaux membership really shows it‘s prestigious reputation at the hotel Castel Fragsburg. Owned by Mr Alexander Ortner and his family, it‘s always been a place that represents all the surroundings in the design and details. So no wonder that after the slight refurbishment - that was done last year - the hotel shimmers like the one and only luxury hotel in South Tyrol.
From the moment you enter, an unusual feeling welcomes you and makes clear: this place has nothing to do with other hotels you have stayed at. Well, enough of talking about feelings and comfort. Our tower suite however seemed like a small work-out challenge since you can take the lift to the third floor and then change to a staircase up the suite. Once we entered we were welcomed by a light filled living room with wooden walls and classic furniture. I need to say you immediately knew you are staying in the Alps rather a usual hotel room in a city - that‘s the biggest difference we have in comparison to any other hotel in South Tyrol. Next to the living room was a small bathroom with wash basin and toilet as well as two sets of Aromatherapy Associates toiletries as well as the door to our AMAZING rooftop terrace overlooking the entire valley from Bolzano to Merano. Equipped with two lounge chairs, two chairs and a table - it‘s the right place to finish that bottle of Barolo and having a Cigar. On the way up to the bedroom with a comfy king bed and television as well as wardrobe was the super chic bath tub by Victoria & Albert that was cleverly turned into a perfect shower-/tub combo. Everyone following this blog knows how much I hate showering in the bathtub however this one was just perfect - also because of one of my favourite toiletries brand... While me and Felix were totally impressed by the suite already, the best was yet to come. So we got ready to dress up for dinner.
After the wine heaven of Merano Wine Festival I was definitely in mood for some relaxation and went to the Alchemist Spa - awarded one of the best destination spas, so another reason for me to try it out. There is a sauna, a steam bath and a infrared cabin along with a relaxation room and an outdoor pool that opens May until beginning of October... yes South Tyrol is known for the mild climate and long sunny days. Soon after a power-nap at the spa again we changed into Black-tie and hopped on the highlight of the weekend: the dinner prepared by the hotel‘s one michelin starred chef and one guest chef that has two michelin stars. Bear in mind that the hotel being the smallest five-star-hotel in the Italian Alps and a member of Relais & Chateaux there is a secret dresscode: men must wear a shirt and a dinner jacket is definitely recommended not to look underdressed. At least you want to adapt to the super elegant Orient-Express-like dinner venue. Women are best dressed with a black dress or business casual - actually to be on the safe site head to Maximilian in the center of Merano or Bolzano for a outfit revamp. Breakfast is served with plenty of daylight so you can dress more cozy, however forget about jogging trousers and t-shirts... this place is a luxury hotel that comes with style. Benvenuti in Italia - to say at least.
You can only imagine how decent this weekend was and fortunately it was not over yet, indeed we changed the location for another night to at least satisfy my desire to dine at the Oberwirt in Lana. Even tough the other hotel had the same star rating, it was nothing compared to Castel Fragsburg and it showed us once again: at a daily average rate of 350 euros for two including an amazing half board, a high quality breakfast, stunning vistas and gorgeous rooms - Castel Fragsburg still provides THAT excellent value for money it has always been known for. It‘s definitely a place to spend your anniversary, park your Ferrari after touring the alpine passes, heading your bed after the Merano Wine Festival or simply when in need for a Sweet Escape to one of the prettiest places in Italy. This place is and will still be one of my 5 favourite hotels in the world. It‘s a match!
We were exclusively hosted by Mr Alexander Ortner and the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Castel Fragsburg. All above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.