Half the appeal of skiing is knowing that, at the end of a punishing day on the slopes, you are rewarded by an indulgent evening.
Half the appeal of skiing is knowing that, at the end of a punishing day on the slopes, you are rewarded by an indulgent evening. The thought of returning to this four-star traditional family hotel is a very warming one when caught in an ice-whipping white-out on the pistes.
The urge is even stronger at teatime when complimentary cakes are served in the lounge by the fire. Shocked muscles can then be eased in the spa that includes a series of steam rooms, a Jacuzzi and a small pool, all in a high Roman theme set off with artificial wisteria. But be warned - rules state you have to be naked when using the sauna. The hotel atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, but the place is smart enough for people to make the effort to dress for dinner, though a tie isn't required.
The food, a salapette-busting five courses, is impressive. In fact, I didn't know pork could taste so good. Sunday is the social highlight: an early-evening cocktail party is followed by a gala dinner.
The Gotthard Zeit Hotel (00 43 5256 62920; www.gotthard-zeit.com) lies just above the central Gaisberg lift, with immediate skiing from the hotel door. The vast terrace looks out over a piste and the end of the valley. It's a cunning spot for lunch as you're likely not only to get a table, but that all-important seat facing the sun. From the hotel, it's a three-minute walk down to the village.
Time from international airport: it takes just over an hour from Innsbruck. A taxi for four costs around €140 (£100). The public transport alternative is a slow trip by bus to Innsbruck station, train to Otztal and 80-minute bus to Obergurgl.
Yes thank you, but slightly sweaty (my room was so warm I had to open a window to let in the -20C night air). The Gotthard has 50 rooms in all. As well as standard and singles, there are 19 with a lounge area and balcony and 19 more spacious junior suites, also with a balcony, which overlook the pistes. The rooms are pleasantly furnished and panelled in light wood.
Freebies: standard white hotel soap and a multi-purpose "bubble bath shower shampoo" - not worth scooping into your washbag at the end of your visit.
Keeping in touch: All rooms have a phone, radio and television.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Double rooms range from €124 (£88) to €292 (£207), half-board. Lower rates are available as part of skiing packages.
I'm not paying that: Pension Mennecke (00 43 5256 6342; www.tiscover.at/mennecke) has a sauna and a steam room. Double rooms costs from €70 (£50) to €102 (£72), with breakfast.Reuse content