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How to Book a Hotel in Bad Gastein
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Hotels of Bad Gastein
A hotel in Bad Gastein is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Bad Gastein hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Bad Gastein are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Bad Gastein hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Bad Gastein hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Bad Gastein have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Bad Gastein
An upscale full service hotel facility in Bad Gastein that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Bad Gastein hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Bad Gastein
Full service Bad Gastein hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Bad Gastein
Boutique hotels of Bad Gastein are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Bad Gastein boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Bad Gastein may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Bad Gastein
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Bad Gastein travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Bad Gastein focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Bad Gastein
Small to medium-sized Bad Gastein hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Bad Gastein traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Bad Gastein hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Bad Gastein
A bed and breakfast in Bad Gastein is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Bad Gastein bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Bad Gastein B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Bad Gastein
Bad Gastein hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Bad Gastein hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Bad Gastein
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Bad Gastein hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Bad Gastein lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Bad Gastein
Bad Gastein timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Bad Gastein often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Bad Gastein on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Bad Gastein
A Bad Gastein motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Bad Gastein for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Bad Gastein motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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Bad Gastein (formerly Badgastein) is a spa town in the district of St. Johann im Pongau, in the Austrian state of Salzburg. Picturesquely situated in a high valley of the Hohe Tauern mountain range, it is known for the Gastein Waterfall and a variety of Belle Époque hotel buildings.
Bad Gastein: Geography
View of the upper Gastein valley
Bad Gastein is located in the historic Pongau region, the municipal area of about 171 square kilometres (66 sq mi) is the largest in St. Johann im Pongau District. It stretches along the upper Gastein Valley following the course of the Gastein Ache creek, a right tributary of the Salzach river. The valley separates the Hohe Tauern Ankogel Group in the east from the Goldberg Group in the west.
The town centre is located at the Gastein Falls, about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level. It is characterised by numerous historic multi-story hotel buildings erected on the steep slopes.
The Gastein municipality comprises the cadastral communities of Badgastein, Böckstein, and Remsach. Its southern parts belong to the Hohe Tauern national park.
Bad Gastein: Transportation
The Gastein valley is accessible by the Tauern Railway, a major railroad running from Schwarzach-Sankt Veit in the north across the Alpine crest through the Tauern Tunnel to Spittal an der Drau, Carinthia in the south. Frequent EuroCity and InterCity trains going along this route connect Bad Gastein with many Austrian cities like Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Graz along a single circuit.
The B167 Gasteiner Straße highway also passes right through the Gastein valley. Through traffic from the northern branch-off at Lend in the Salzach valley passes the lower municipalities of Dorfgastein and Bad Hofgastein before reaching the Bad Gastein centre. However, in Böckstein at the head of the valley, the continuation southwards to Mallnitz in Carinthia requires cars to roll onto a shuttle train (Autoverladung) for a short trip through the Tauern Tunnel.
Bad Gastein: Spa and therapy
Grand Hotel de l’Europe
The name "Bad" means "spa", reflecting the town's history as a health resort. The local Heilstollen (literally 'healing tunnel') thermal spring water earned the town its early fame. Theophrastus Parcelsus (1493–1541) had studied the spring water to discover its secrets. Marie Curie (1867–1934) and Heinrich Mache (1876–1954) helped to discover that it contained radon and as a result radon therapy began in the town.
Radon inhalation therapy at the Gasteiner Heilstollen began as a result of further investigation into the anecdotal experiences of silver miners who noticed improvements in symptoms from various ailments including arthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bekhterev's disease), in particular, has seen positive results from treatment at the Heilstollen. However, there is very little empirical evidence of any benefit to inhaling radon. For example, one of the few studies to test the efficacy of spa treatments for Ankylosing spondylitis found no statistically significant difference between a group that spent three weeks at Bad Gastein and a group that spent three weeks at a different spa without radon inhalation therapy.
Bad Gastein: History
The remote valley was settled by Bavarian peasants in the 9th century; field names in the highest-lying southern parts also denote a Carantanian (Slavic) colonization. Gastein is first mentioned as Gastuna in a 963 deed, when the area belonged to the German stem duchy of Bavaria. It was originally an alpine farming and gold mining area and the site of an ancient trade route crossing the main ridge of the Central Eastern Alps. In 1297 Duke Otto III and his brother Stephen I, both highly indebted, sold it to the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. Already about 1230, the minnesinger Neidhart von Reuental had referred to the hot springs in his Middle High German poem Die Graserin in der Gastein; the spas were visited by the Habsburg emperor Frederick III as well as by the Renaissance physician Paracelsus.
In the 19th century the waters of Bad Gastein became a fashionable resort, visited by European monarchs as well as the rich and famous. Some notable guests of the past included Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) and the German Emperor Wilhelm I with his chancellor Otto von Bismarck as well as Subhas Chandra Bose, a leading Indian nationalist, Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, King Faisal I of Iraq, King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia and Iran's last king Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, industrialists like Wilhelm von Opel and artists like Heinrich Mann, Robert Stolz and W. Somerset Maugham. On 14 August 1865 Bismarck had signed the Gastein Convention with Austria concerning the joint administration of the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein after the Second Schleswig War.
The composer Franz Schubert composed his Piano Sonata in D Major in Bad Gastein, and was once believed to have sketched a Gmunden-Gastein Symphony (D. 849) during his stay in August and September 1825. Though no score appears to have survived for the latter, it is often identified with the Symphony No. 9 in C major (D. 944).
Mass tourism was pushed by the opening of the Tauern Railway station in 1905. From the 1960s on the resort lost some of its former notoriety and many former hotels sit empty. During the past few years, Bad Gastein renovated its Felsentherme and the Congress Center.
Bad Gastein: Places of interest
Nikolauskirche (Article in German)
Gasteiner Heimatmuseum im Haus Austria
Bad Gastein: Traditions
Bad Gastein has vibrant pagan traditions that have been slightly assimilated into Roman Catholic tradition. One example of the pre-Christian Alpine traditions is the Krampus, now adopted as one of the Companions of Saint Nicholas. The Krampus is an elemental, horned and demonic character, playfully re-enacted by bands of male revellers during December and also once every four years during a Perchten event or Perchtenlauf. The Perchtenlauf happens every four years at Bad Gastein. The most recent was in 2014.
Bad Gastein: Sports
View from ski slopes of the valley with Bad Gastein in the bottom-right
Beside its water treatments, the town is popular for winter sports. Bad Gastein hosted the 1958 World Championships in alpine skiing and regularly is a scene of the snowboarding and boardercross worldcup. The Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein ski resort is part of the larger Ski Amadé network, it contains moderate to good skiing/snowboarding, with plenty of chairlifts and gondolas. Many establishments on the slopes offer warmth, food and strong drinks.
Since 2007, the town also annually hosts the Gastein Ladies tennis tournament, an International event on the WTA Tour, attracting top players like Julia Görges.
Bad Gastein: Notable people
Thea Hochleitner (1925–2012), alpine skier
Hans Eder (1927–2008), Nordic skier
Franz Xaver Franzmair (1901–1988) hotelier and builder, Freeman of Bad Gastein
Hermann Greinwald (1927–1990) doctor and mountain rescue doctor
Fritz Gruber (born 1940) local historian of Gastein alley and botanist
Franz Schubert (1797–1828) composed after a holiday in Bad Gastein the "Gasteiner Symphonie"
Karl Straubinger (1855–1924) mayor (1882–1917), freeman of Bad Gasteins
Georg Thomalla (1915–1999) German actor
Karl Heinrich Waggerl (1897–1973) author, freeman of Bad Gastein
Erwin Wexberg (1889–1957) individual psychologian, doctor, student of Alfred Adler
Eckart Witzigmann (born 1941) Austrian master cook, freeman of Bad Gastein
Maria Zittrauer (1913–1997) lyrician, Trakl-Price-winner 1952
Bad Gastein: Notes
Statistik Austria - Bevölkerung zu Jahresbeginn 2002-2016 nach Gemeinden (Gebietsstand 1.1.2016) for Bad Gastein.
New Mexican (Newspaper), Santa Fe, NM, January 8, 1988, p. 8, The Daily Register (Newspaper) Shrewsbury, New Jersey, February 3, 1976, p. 12, The Daily Colonist (Newspaper), Victoria, BC, August 29, 1909
van Tubergen et al., "Combined spa-exercise therapy is effective in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: a randomized controlled trial." Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Oct;45(5):430-8, http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/85515153/HTMLSTART
, p. 127: Quote: "He spent a month and a half-from November 22, 1937, to January 8, 1938-with Emilie at his favourite resort of Badgastein."