After a full day of reenacting The Sound of Music in Salzburg (that’s not a joke), our hotel for the night was yet to be booked. So I pulled into a McDonalds and hopped on their wifi and booked the legendary InterContinental Berchtesgaden for the next two nights. InterContinental and IHG’s first of two mountain resorts.
45 minutes from Salzburg we were winding up the steep road to the InterContinental Berchtesgaden in no time.
It was our second time at the hotel and my mom’s first. Although admittedly it was so cloudy and rainy our first time, I didn’t see a single peak, which kind of defeats the purpose of being at a mountain resort, in my opinion.
Why is this hotel awesome?
1) It’s in the alps.
And while this area is very quiet and may not appeal to more sporty mountain dwellers, the peace is wonderful. The views in the area are incredible.
For the fellow adventurers, I’ll warn you. The hotel is pretty far away from the small, quiet tourist town (although they do give you free cards for the public transport down the mountain). The skiing near the hotel makes the bunny slopes in even Virginia look like Black Diamonds. And there’s basically nothing of extreme adventure otherwise (that I know of).
But I’m defining adventure as extreme sports. Like Queenstown, New Zealand is a capital for adventurers. Everything fast and extreme is there. But it’s similar scenery without the parachutes and jet skis all over.
There are a bunch of gondolas (though kind of expensive) to incredible peaks, small boat cruises across the little lakes, and beautiful views everywhere.
2) Because it has a heated outdoor infinity pool.
Okay, the hotel is swank in many ways. For example, the floor in the bathroom is heated. Really, the entire thing is 5 star on any country’s standard… Well, 6 stars for Germany’s hotel standards.
But I can’t stress enough how awesome it is for the snow to be falling on all the green and white trees below you, and to be floating at the edge of the pool watching it.
For a number of reasons I would recommend the hotel for a honeymoon. There’s something awe inspiring about the hotel. Yet, it’s incredibly slow.
If it’s ever on PointBreaks I’ll probably book a month and work on projects there.
If it’s only a 3 day stay, I would rely on the bus to get around and hike around the area.
If it’s a week stay I would totally rent a car… or leave after 3 days. Though there’s plenty to do if you rent a car. And don’t underestimate how far things are. Like a trip to Innsbruck, Vienna, or Neuschwanstein appears to be not so far… but is really at least 4 hours each way.
Things that are 1 hour or less away:
However, the area around Konigssee, Berchtesgaden National Park is not really drivable. Long hikes or boat trips in are possible. Gondolas to the peaks around are possible too.
Then there are things to do in shooting distance of the hotel, like with buses:
- Hilter’s Eagles Nest (viewable from the hotel lobby)
- The salt mines
- Berchtesgaden main square and restaurants
- And hiking trails begin at the base of the hotel.
Truthfully you can bus really easily to Konigssee or Salzburg. But really there are just tons of hikes and gondolas.
And there are three restaurants in the hotel, although not all of them are always open. The Bavarian restaurant, which is tasty and pretty reasonable, is only open on weekends. Truthfully, the prices are a little high, but it’s not necessarily far from the typical range for the area. It’s just more than I normally spend.
The minibars are free for everyone! However, they pretty much only include juice and water. This may be a disappointment for most, but I prefer fruit juice to liquor anyway.
I mean, can you believe this picture from the room? It’s not edited. There are no polarizers on the lens. (#nofilter!) It’s just a picture from the cheapest, old used SLR I found on ebay years ago. And that picture with the lodge below is beautiful.
Just had to point that out (although the first picture in the post is indeed edited slightly).
How to get it for free
The hotel is 35,000 points a night. In my opinion, that’s relatively low considering how nice the hotel is, the value per night, and how they generally charge 50,000 points for hotels of that caliber.
1) Credit card
There is a credit card that gives 80,000 points. It’s kind of unofficial, but I posted on a recent post and someone commented confirming they were approved for 80,000 points, as well as numerous people on FlyerTalk. Details here.
I always want to stress that hotel cards are very secondary to airline miles. And one should never transfer from Chase to IHG (unless there as an IHG PointBreaks!).
2) IHG’s Best Rate Guarantee
If you’re unfamiliar with IHG Best Rate Guarantee, you could be missing out on a completely free night. Click and read more.
If you haven’t read my post on Earning IHG Rewards Points on Steroids… you’re really missing out big.
Feast your eyes on the following picture, and meditate on it:
I earned that many points and Gold status from one stay… pre Big Win bonus.
And if you didn’t see the value in the Big Win, then. Well. I don’t know what to say, other than the combo is absolutely killer.
I kid about it being close to Hallstatt, but Hallstatt is 1.5 hours away and is stunning. The drive is stunning. Read my post on Hallstatt, Austria. But I love a lot of the area.
It’s a bit slow but very cozy. Summer is their peak season but being there in the snow is magical. Being in the outdoor infinity pool in the snowy sunset is freaking sweet.
My dream is that it will be on the next PointBreaks since I’ll be in northern Italy in Feb. One can hope.
My only complaint is IHG. They were completely undersold when we were there and despite being Royal Ambassadors, they gave no suite. I normally wouldn’t care but 1) I was with my mom. and 2) IHG is a con program. Everyone else at least claims to give unsold suites. But IHG doesn’t honor their crappy terms and conditions on award stays. It’s a bit backwards.
But the hotel was saying how empty they were and yet, they explicitly said that they wouldn’t give us a suite because we used points. IHG is the best thing that has happened to Hyatt and SPG.
Anyways. It’s simply unique to have a mountain resort. Can’t wait to visit the one in Davos for sure! So it seems to be that a lot of points collectors go there, no? Most people outside of the community haven’t heard of it, and I’m guessing a large amount of people on here have?
What did you think Mom? (This is a test to see if she’ll read past all the points talk).
A few pictures to end with…