In the bosom of the high Alps in Tirol, Austria, Kishore and Smita Iyengar discover the quaint, upper crust charms of ski haven Kitzbuhel, a heaven for the premium visitor, the prosperous adventurer, the affording guest, the discerning gourmand and the active nature lover

The picturesque Alps cradle it like an infant, fascinated by the wondrous sights and reflections around. In a seamless quilted carpet of a thousand greens, contrasted by affluent Alpine chalets, golf courses, wealthy farmlands and majestic snow peaks, Kitzbuhel is a discoverer’s passion. In appeal and attraction, it matches and often surpasses St. Moritz in Switzerland, Chamonix in France and Aspen in Colorado. For, Kitzbuhel is small, easy to relate to and most of all, very friendly.

Kitzbuhel, Tirol is for the premium visitor, the prosperous adventurer, the affording guest, the discerning gourmand and the active nature lover. In peak seasons, winter and summer, you will see different tribes of two-legged species here. The hot months attract big spenders who love to tee off on one of the many grand golfing links, go trekking into the slopes, bike with friends, to mountain climbing, try canoeing and kayaking. And by the evening, settle down to guzzling beer and savouring a five-course, fine-dining treat at classy hotels like the Schwarzer Adler and retire into a chic suite at the fabulous Weisses Roessl.

Ski season

The winter skiing period brings in the active snow-crazed cognoscenti. The slopes are their highway, the ski runs are their passion, the mountains beckon to them with magnetic mettle. These super-affluent connoisseurs of fine cigars, great wines and grilled delights would spend good time in Kitzbuhel and it’s premium dining addresses, shop at top brand boutiques, wear expensive Austrian or Welsh cardigans and be seen at the billiards tables with friends and cognac.

Kitzbuhel, Tirol is the exquisite playground of the very, very rich from around the world. And there are compelling reasons too. To get a feel of the platinum crest, dine at the much-awarded “Neuwirt”, the celebrated fine-dining outpost at the ultra chic Schwarzer Adler or make time to relish the fine calibrated magic of celebrity Chef de Cuisine Bobby Brauer and his culinary wonders at the swish “Grand Tirolia” in Eichenheim in the hills. Chef Bobby’s superb cuisine is inspired by Tuscany and the Mediterranean region…

Walk down the cobbled lanes into the Old Town precincts, look up designer names like Gossl and Swarovski and check out the latest offerings. Live it up in the plush classical retreats of the Weisses Roessl’s state-of-the-art apartment suites. Hire a limo to drive you to the Kitzbuhel Golf Club for a thrilling glass of Burgenland red wine and some real panoramic golfing action in time for the 11th hole.

Varied offerings

If spirits are your style, head up to Erber’s Edelbrand outlet for tastings of their signature Schnapps range — don’t miss out their Vogel Beer and Weichsel varietals. It would be an excellent idea to visit Josefin and Josef Aufschnaiter’s very special, exclusive designer glass and wooden craft boutique “Kunstraum” just outside little Jochberg. Their singular masterpieces in glass and wood will entice you with distinct class in avant-garde artistry.

Attractions of the countryside

If the wide open countryside is your take, cruise leisurely into charming Aurach and Jochberg where wealthy farmers with heritage Alpine chalets welcome you to sample out-of-the-world country Camembert cheese, home-made breads and herbal pastes. Explore quiet hamlets with onion-domed church spires, neat villas and well-tended greenscapes. And to top up the Alpine fiesta, ride up to “Rosi Sonnbergstubn” the fabulous Alpine gourmet address for a typical Tirolean lunch and beer, and have the effusive singing chef and owner Rosi strum up local ballads for your dining pleasure.

Kitzbuhel, Tirol. Happening yet quiet. Cosmopolitan yet Tirolean in heart. The Austrian Open Kitzbuhel, the 22nd Kitzbuhel Alpine Rally, The 7th Kitzbuhel Golf Festival and the Raiffeisen KitzAlpbike, Austria’s biggest mountain bike festival — they bring this little Alpine resort into world focus with passion and verve.

And while you sit yourself in the Terrace of the iconic Tirolean hotel “Zur Tenne”, enjoying butter soft cakes, Apple Strudel and Espresso in the heart of the Old Town with its brightly painted buildings, cafes and boutiques, you can tell yourself with pride that you are among the privileged and chosen few upper crust luminaries to have visited and absorbed the destination…Kirk Douglas, the Aga Khan, Coco Chanel, Bryan Adams, Prince Albert of Monaco, Demi Moore, Donna Karan.

KItzbuhel, Tirol in Austria. Decidedly not for everyone. But do go ahead, indulge your imagination to fly.

Destination Kitzbuhel

Reach Kitzbuhel from nearby Munich (two hours) on super highways. The most convenient, non-stop and direct connection to Munich from Mumbai is on Lufthansa German Airlines.

Things to shop: Shop for Tirolean handicrafts, crystal, glassware, choicest wines, designer apparel, cheeses and Schnapps.