Whilst our teams are settling into their resorts the first guests of the season have been welcomed into Italy, Spain and Austria. The snow is melting back from the highest of peaks and the wildflowers are taking over, reintroducing the summer paradises that we have come to know and love.
We are excited to be welcoming two newcomers to Collett’s this year. Emma and George, who will be known to many of our returning guests from their time in the Dolomites as resort managers, are now parents to be! This little walk organiser in training is expected to arrive in August and the team can’t wait to welcome him or her to the Dolomites – what a place to grow up!
The new arrival
Just a few hours up the road and over the border into Austria another new arrival is just taking its first steps! I travelled north from Corvara to spend some time with the team bringing it all to fruition.
The journey started a year ago when Lynne and Rushy (long-time Colletts team members) headed out to Austria in search of a new location. With a huge amount of experience walking in the mountains with our guests they knew exactly what they were looking for.
A new location needs to live up to the standards of our other resorts. The landscape needs to able to offer a variety of walk difficulties and local activities as well as outstanding beauty. It also needs to be accessible yet not touristy. It can be a tricky combination to find. Usually a place that ticks all of these boxes will be flooded by day trip coaches and holiday homes –something we actively try to avoid.
Searching for the perfect location
The pair of them searched for this idyllic location high and low and eventually, in the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park, walled steeply either side by dramatic peaks and nestled in meadows of long grass, they found Matrei.
Remaining largely undiscovered by British holidaymakers, Matrei sits at an intersection of valleys, leading in each direction to over 300 peaks that exceed 3000m. This makes it a draw for mountaineers and climbers in summer and ski tourers and snowshoers in winter. The lower hills are home to traditional farmsteads and ancient forests making it a perfect destination for a walker to explore.
Just a short distance from Matrei, the highest of peaks (including the highest peak in Austria the Glossglockner, 3798m) are capped with glistening glaciers and raging waterfalls that spill over the valley walls into teal lakes and rivers. The ringing of cow bells drift through the meadows accompanied by the squeaking of marmots.
It was perfect and so preparations began, finding the best accommodation, walks and attractions.
The grand opening of Matrei
A year later Lynne and Rushy have returned with walk organisers Clare and Robyn to open Matrei to its first guests. Clare and Robyn are new to Colletts this year and are full of enthusiasm. With a whole summer ahead of them to explore such an extensive area it’s no doubt at all that their first experience with Colletts will be one to remember! With Lynne and Rushy leading the way this team of four are sure to share in some great adventures. For the past few weeks they have all been busy exploring the area, creating brand new ideas and information files with over 40 walks of all levels for guests to try and that’s just the beginning! The opportunities for new walks seem endless and the team can’t wait to get out and reccy more locations.
Our base in Matrei is the three-star Hotel Hinteregger, an impressive fusion of traditional Tyrolian style and sleek, modern architecture. Boasting an outdoor pool and health spa the hotel offers an excellent breakfast, a four-course meal each night with locally sourced ingredients and complimentary wine. It sits in the centre of town, just a short walk away from local shops and bars and hosts great views of the surrounding mountains. The Hinteregger is proudly owned by Katharina, one of a long line of family who have run the hotel for generations. She is just as excited to welcome the new guests as the Colletts team and with our first arrivals just through the door it won’t be long until we take to the cosy Stube for Matrei’s first ever office hour.
It will be a season of firsts and we can’t wait to get started. So without further ado we would like to welcome you to our newest summer home, the Hohe Tauern, Austria.