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Sonnhof, Tyrol
Ayurveda retreats Austria

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Retreat

Friendly Ayurveda retreat in a pretty Austrian village

The Quick Read: This warm and friendly 30-roomed family-run Ayurveda retreat in the pretty village of Hinterthiersee opened its doors to English speakers in 2012, and now offers all manner of healing Ayurveda programmes. A step away from spectacular forest walks, the retreat was run as a regular hotel until 12 years ago until the family discovered Ayurveda and fell in love with it. One of the daughters, Christina, is now a committed practitioner, who oversees all the ayurveda programmes alongside an Indian doctor. We love its gentle ambiance. Find out all about ayurveda.

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One of the new Veda Spirit suites at Sonnhof - other rooms are older and more traditional

One of the new Veda Spirit suites at Sonnhof – other rooms are older and more traditional

Who it’s best for: This is a friendly, homely place for a proper retreat where you’d feel comfy alone if you’re stressed and need proper rest or with a companion.

What you do: Beauty treatments and western food are available here, but you don’t come for them: ensure you’re on an ayurvedic programme so you can enjoy the wonderfully moreish ayurvedic meals and indulge in a range of authentic treatments to de-stress. Ayurvedic treatments are extremely nourishing and were excellently carried out on our visit – staff are less expert at conventional beauty treatment such as pedicures, so don’t come for them.

Choose 7 day, 10 day, 14 day and 21 day programmes of ayurveda, or you can just come for a few days to relax. Yoga and meditation are on offer with different teachers. There’s a good spa too, where the vata, pita and kapha saunas are all set at different temperatures to help get you back into balance. Take lovely mountain walks from the door, or if you’re here in the Winter and not on a full on detox programme, you can get to the nearest ski area, Wilder Kaiser, in about 40 minutes by car.

The ayurvedic restaurant at Sonnhof

The ayurvedic restaurant at Sonnhof

Where you stay: The Spirit lounge and restaurant, and the Veda Spirit bedrooms, have been renovated in a lovely local timber with contrasting rich Indian coloured fabrics – decor elsewhere is a somewhat quirky mix of India and the Tyrol, where you’ll see a buddha in one corner and a rural oil painting on a neighbouring wall.

How was it for us: It was a joy to discover this little place. The Mauracher family were efficient, warm and kind, and I spent three days being oiled, pummelled and fed into a de-stressed state. I loved the spacious garden, my balcony filled with bright red bougainvillea, the moreish meals and the massages –  Damith the Sri Lankan therapist in particular had excellent hands.

The greatest joy  was to get out into the pristine Austrian air each day – there’s an hour’s walk from the hotel door up a steep track, through forest and open land – enjoy stunning views over hills and mountains, majestic trees and  rushing waterfalls. I felt very safe and private in my comfy room – they put a yoga mat in there at my request. Highlights included an inspired and calm meditation session with Tanou – he’s now left to puruse his own travels, but they have replaced him, I’m told, by someone equally good. I would happily return.

Queen of Retreats crown What’s queenly: The moreish ayurvedic meals.  The fact it’s family owned and run.

What’s lowly: The pool is tiny, just about ok for a warm little dip. Older rooms are pleasant but a little old fashioned – ask for one of the renovated rooms if that’s important to you.

Insider tip: Remember that in Austria you go naked in the saunas – but for the prudish among you, don’t worry, you can always wrap a towel around you.

Costs: From €1,858 per person staying alone for a 7 night ‘Light’ Panchakarma Cure, including accommodation.

Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones

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Sonnhof ayurveda retreat