Grand Hotel Zell am See – a Review

Zell am See is a classic Austrian resort town and it would be my base to get to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier for some summer skiing and it is also along the route to get to Munich from the Dolomites.

Entrance to the the Grand Hotel
Entrance to the the Grand Hotel

As a pretty small town, the hotel is quite easy to find due to its location by the lake shore right at the end of the Seegasse which is a pedestrian friendly main street. The hotel is also located right next to the train tracks so expect some noise and wait when the trains passes by in the day.

Entrance foyer
Entrance foyer

While the hotel has some parking spots right outside, they have a sheltered parking underneath that is charged at EUR10 per night. It is also worth noting the hotel has 2 buildings that I refer to as the main building where the restaurants are at and the casino building which houses a casino and a spa on the top floor.

View of the Main Building
View of the Main Building

I parked my car outside but had to help ourselves with the luggage as the bell boy was nowhere to be seen. It was busy in the afternoon when we arrived as there was some ‘Supercar Rally and Gathering’ that coincided with the day of our visit. The reception is located below the staircase on entry via the main porch. Once there, the stoic front desk agent assisted my check-in and provided me with the room keys as well as explaining the location of the facilities and our half-board program. When I booked this hotel, it includes both breakfast and dinner and the hotel uses the traditional room keys with large bulky keychains. This is meant to prevent loss and encourages guests to deposit them with the front desk when heading out for the day.

Hotel key
Hotel room key

Guests are also provided with a folio providing tourist information and times for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant as well as detailing all the facilities of this lakeside property.

Room No: 702 Category: Partial Lake View Room

For this stay, we were assigned 2 rooms in the casino tower. These rooms are not adjoining but they were on the same floor and separated by 2 rooms between us. As they are more or less similar, I will just review the brighter room at the corner. The other room receives less light though is slightly larger.

Hotel floor plan
Hotel floor plan

On entry, the room layout is standard with a closet on the left side and the bathroom placed on the right side of the door. Inside the bathroom is pretty basic with a free-standing sink with a ledge below the mirror where the cups and toiletries were placed at. The toilet stands beside the sink with the flushing mechanism located on the wall for a cleaner look. The shower is set within the bathtub with a glass partition common to European hotels though the glass partition shields only a section that results in water splashing out easily. There is a small stool for guests to use as well placed under the washbasin.

Bathroom overview
Bathroom overview

Amenities inside the bathroom was limited and in generic hotel branded bottles. I would have expected something more special but the whole bathroom did not feel grand.

The bedroom itself is kind of sparse as well with a wooden closet and a desk with a work chair by the wall. The main space is occupied by 2 adjoining Twin beds placed together to be a King – a common setup for beds in Europe. On both sides of the bed was a bedside table with easily accessible power outlets above the tables. Bathrobes and slippers for each guests were placed on the beds when we arrived.

Twin bed setup
Twin bed setup

As a lakeside retreat, the tap water here is potable and water is provided in a glass canister for guests on the table. The hotel also provides apples as a welcome amenity for guests. On the desk there was also a small bottle of wine with some snacks for purchase and several glasses for use. With all the stuff on the table, it does make it somewhat cramped for it to be useful to do work in. Though as a leisure resort, it should not be the main point of focus.

Desk and swivelling TV
Desk and swivelling TV

This corner room has a large floor to ceiling windows that overlooks the main entrance to the hotel and the front porch. While it provides plenty of light in the day, it can be noisy at night as we need to open the windows to let in some air due to the lack of air conditioning. The large windows also means it can get warm in the afternoon as the sunshine warms up the room without any air conditioning to cool it off.

Window in the room
Window in the room

All the rooms do not have any form air conditioning in the summer since the weather in Zell am See is cool with a nice breeze especially in the evenings. They are fitted with a heater though so visitors looking to visit in winter should not worry.

View from the room
View from the room

Spa Facilities

During my stay, I used the Grand spa after a day skiing on the glacier at Kitzsteinhorn and the spa only had one other couple inside which meant it was very private. The steam rooms and sauna are open to both male and female guests though there are separate changing rooms with lockers for both sexes. Lockers are available with the keys being obtained from the reception. In the sauna area, there are plenty of fresh towels and hangers for guests to hang their bathrobes.

Inside the spa
Inside the spa
Spa locker room
Spa locker room

Inside the spa, there was several enclosed steam rooms and sauna for guests to use. The first one seems to be a chamber with a motif on the wall and a heating cauldron in the centre.

Motif in the steam room
Motif in the steam room

Then there is another steam room which has a lot more steam and built-in chairs with a capacity for 4 persons.

Steam room with chairs
Steam room with chairs

The last room is the largest one with marble ledges and LED lighting strip that changes colour.

Aromatherapy room
Steam room with LED lighting

Finally at the end of the spa area, there is a Finnish sauna that has glass windows overlooking the lake. This is perhaps the nicest place to hang out in the Grand Spa since there is a special relaxing room beside the sauna with built-in tiled loungers.

Sauna chamber with a view
Sauna chamber with a view
Relaxing room
Relaxing room

Between the steam rooms and the sauna, there is an open shower area for guests to cool off in between treatments or to wash up after using the spa facilities.

Showers in the spa
Showers in the spa

And when guests are done with the spa, there is another relaxation lounge with more comfortable soft padded lounge chairs near the entrance of the spa. This are also overlooks the spa and is meant to be a space for guests to rest after the spa.

Relaxation lounge
Relaxation lounge

One great thing about the spa is that if guests do not intend to use the facilities, they could still come up to have some tea in the lounge beside the reception. During the warmer summer season, there is an outdoor terrace where guests could sip on tea or grab some snacks and enjoy the lake breeze.

Rooftop lounge at Spa
Rooftop lounge at Spa
Outdoor terrace
Outdoor terrace with a view

There is a selection of tea for guests to choose from in the spa lounge with fresh fruits and dried fruits as snacks. All of these are complimentary for hotel guests and fitting for a resort.

Teabag selection
Teabag selection
Fruits and mixed nuts
Fruits and mixed nuts

Even if guests have no plans to use the spa, they should still come up to the Grand Spa for its commanding view of Lake Zell. Since the other spa in the main building is located on the ground floor, I believe the Grand Spa has the nicer view. It should be noted that it is quieter as well considering it is only open to adults. Families with children were advised to use the Classic Spa in the main building. As I did not use the Classic Spa facilities, I would not cover that in my review.

Lake Zell
Lake Zell from the hotel

The hotel itself is not luxurious compared to Cristallo in the Dolomites. In fact the room rates here was around EUR230 per night including half board. That meant breakfast and dinner was included. Since the breakfast and 3-course dinner each night was pretty substantial, I will cover that in a separate review. With the inclusion of dinner, the room rate was pretty reasonable for a lakeside resort property. Compared to the other hotels in Zell am See, this is probably one of the nicest one in terms of facilities and location. While the room lacks a wow-factor, the excellent spa facilities and the old-world charm does make this hotel a compelling choice when choosing a place to stay in Zell am See.

Hotel exterior at sunset
Hotel exterior at sunset
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