All-Suite Resorts appoints Michelin Star COO

As our associate operator company, All-Suite Resorts Österreich GmbH, prepares to open All-Suite Resort Ötztal on 7 July, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Jürgen Weitzer as the new Chief Operating Officer for All-Suite Resorts Österreich GmbH.

Jürgen has had a distinguished career working for some of the most prestigious names in hospitality including El Bulli, Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsay, not to mention earning his very own Michelin Star on two separate occasions https://www.linkedin.com/in/juergen-weitzer-17946642/

Jürgen will oversee operations for All-Suite Resorts in Oetz, Fieberbrunn, Paznaun & Karwendel and develop the new aparthotel concept which in keeping with customer demand is moving away from the traditional Tirolean half-board business model towards a freer and more individual experience that today’s traveller seeks.

This desire to create their own more memorable experiences has resulted in a significant rise in the number of holidaymakers choosing Gewerbliche Ferienwohnungen or professionally managed apartments which is the fastest growing accommodation category in Austria with an 18% increase in bookings in Winter 2018 (source: Urlaub in Ferienwohnungen boomt https://tirol.orf.at/news/stories/2904521/)

Guests rely more on technology: with the opening of Delis, All-Suite Resorts’ new bistro and in-house shop, guests are no longer tied to a faceless half or full board experience and will be able to order breakfast, lunch or dinner in the restaurant, to be delivered to their apartment or by the swimming pool.

And the menus are quite a departure from the traditional fayre found in Tirol with emphasis on a wide choice of lighter and international cuisine … but the old favourites are in there too with some clever variations like the Tiroler Gröstl made with octopus.

The unspoken objective is to become the best restaurant in Oetz and hopefully the Ötztal valley.  Download Delis All-Suite Resorts sample menu.

More control and freedom: ingredients including organic fruit and vegetables can also be sourced through the Delis app and delivered to the apartment when guests want to cook in the privacy of their own kitchen / dining room.

“Today’s traveller wants more control and ‘me time’. The new aparthotel proposition pioneered by All-Suite Resorts gives customers more flexibility and breaks from the tradition of the standard hotel model,” said Jürgen Weitzer.

“I am delighted to be part of the story and help roll out these initiatives across the All-Suite Resorts locations: Oetz first and then Fieberbrunn, Paznaun and many other locations to follow. Flexibility and innovation is at the heart of our business,” he added.

About All-Suite Resorts Österreich GmbH:

All-Suite Resorts is a new but highly professional team with vast experience of international hotel operation, sales and marketing and rental management.  Their collective background experience spans leading hotel industry consultancies such as www.michaeler-partner.com to international hotel chain operation (e.g Falkensteiner) as well as numerous hotels and restaurants in Tirol.

It is their responsibility to deliver the maximum possible profit for apartment owners through careful occupancy management (i.e. renting to the highest possible number of guests in the most expensive / high demand holiday weeks) whilst ensuring a first-class customer experience.

Expert partners include hotelpartner-ym.com for yield management, Limendo (in-house Bistro / shop app) and Mindpark.at for demand generation.

Record snowfall in Tyrol

Back in late January 2018, nobody thought that the Austrian snowfall of 100 cm in 48 hours could be topped but this year, the Avalanche Warning Service (Lawinenwarndienst Tirol) is talking about the best snow conditions since measurements began in 1937.

In some parts of Tyrol, where they usually expect 6 to 7 metres of snow each season, they already have 5 metres.  Take Fieberbrunn for example at 962m where 451cm of fresh snow fell in 15 days.

While some of the press and social media are dramatising the wintry conditions and reporting a near state of emergency, hotel and restaurant owners and the ski lift companies underline the importance of these conditions: they grew up with snow like this, they can easily cope and it’s how it should be!


Current snow depth report in key Austrian resorts compared to mid-February last year:

St Anton
2018: 140 cm Valley / 415 cm Mountain
2019: 95 cm Valley / 345 cm Mountain

Hochoetz  
2018: 40 cm Valley / 220 cm Mountain
2019: 290 cm Valley / 260 cm Mountain

Fieberbrunn  
2018: 100cm Valley / 200 cm Mountain
2019: 110 cm Valley / 220 cm Mountain

Sölden
2018: 20 cm Valley / 325 cm Mountain
2019: 108 cm Valley / 420 cm Mountain

Ischgl
2018: 100 cm Valley / 170 cm Mountain
2019: 70 cm Valley / 150 cm Mountain

As the snow falls and the number of tourists coming to the Austrian Tirol continues to grow by 6% per annum, new beds are provided by developers such as Kristall Spaces and local councils can continually enhance their offer for the visitors.  

Further investment in infrastructure such as the additional lifts and ski runs between Kühtai and Hochoetz (55 Million Euros), the connection between the Pitztal glacier and Sölden’s glaciers or even the new TUI hotel in Fieberbrunn demonstrates confidence in the Austrian ski industry which has not had a recession in the last 100 years: a real safe haven for property investors.  (Over the past 15 years, more than 6 Billion Euros have been invested in new ski lifts and in the development of ski resort connections).  

If you are interested to hear more about our ski properties in Tyrol and/or would like to arrange a site visit and meet with one of our consultants, please do not hesitate to contact us:

AT: +43 676 962 7712

NL: +31 6 48 92 32 43

UK: +44 20 3735 8790

100cm of fresh snow in 48 hours

After one of the snowiest Januarys on record in the Alps with ski resorts in Tirol seeing 100cm of snow falling in just 48 hours, the outlook for February and the busiest skiing weeks of the year looks excellent.

Thanks to the snow storms of January which left road and rail access to St Anton, Ischgl and Kühtai cut off, there is a superb base in the ski resorts in Tirol.

The Lawinenwarndienst Tirol (Avalanche Warning Service for Tirol) cannot recall snowfall like this since 1999 and despite some blue skies in recent days, temperatures have dropped and there will be more wintry weather to come.

Current snow depth report in key Austrian resorts:

St Anton  140 / 415 cm
Hochoetz  40 / 220 cm
Fieberbrunn  100 / 200 cm
Sölden  20 / 325 cm
Ischgl  100 / 170 cm

Clearing snow in the Ötztal:

Bellevue Best Property Agents 2018

Kristall Spaces has been awarded the Bellevue magazine Best Property Agents 2018 seal of approval.  Only a select group of international real estate agents are awarded this title.

Branson Atterbury, Marketing Director at Kristall Spaces AG commented: “We had a compelling proposition for the Bellevue panel of judges.  We are the developer, agent and operator and thus provide a rare, end-to-end service: construction, marketing in German, Dutch and English, legal and financial advice to buyers and maintenance and a rental service on behalf of owners. Our key personnel are court sworn experts for the Bundesministerium für Justiz in planning, construction, engineering and property consultancy.”

It is this end-to-end proposition that allows us to understand all parts of the value chain and makes us even more effective at advising customers on acquiring their dream lifestyle investment.

Kristall Spaces AG has a current pipeline of developments worth in excess of €100m and an impressive portfolio of projects including:

  • All-Suite Resort Fieberbrunn (Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang / Kitzbühel Alps) All-Suite Resort Karwendel
  • All-Suite Residence Kühtai
  • Silva Peak Residences, Ischgl
  • All-Suite Resort Paznaun, Ischgl
  • All-Suite Resort Ötztal
  • Residenzen Gasthof Zwieselstein, Sölden
  • Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton
  • Mountain Lake Resort, Zell am See
  • Residenz Zwieselstein, Sölden
  • Residenz Sölden

Buying new build property in Austria

Austria is already the first choice for affordable ski properties, higher rental yields and authentic hospitality when compared to France and Switzerland but how does one decide on the type of property to buy: new-build or resale?

Here are some options to consider:

New-build or off-plan property in Austria normally comes with a higher price tag per m² and will further increase in value as soon as you take ownership.  Typically, we see a 4 to 5% annual growth on our ski apartments and this can be higher in some locations in Tirol thanks to scarcity restrictions to avoid the “cold beds” trends found in France and Switzerland.  According to the UBS Alpine Property Focus 2017, St Anton delivers best growth in the Alps at 8.2%.

So, you might have to increase your budget for a new-build but here’s a few reasons why it’s worthwhile.

New developments present an opportunity to buy into the project early increasing your chances of securing one of the best units at the lowest price and improving capital appreciation.  Note that developers can increase their prices year-on-year and as the project gains interest demand starts to rise.

Importantly, smart new build projects are carefully chosen by a developer for their location and access to ski lifts / pistes and restaurants and can command a rental premium over resale properties.

New property buyers aren’t in a chain and there is less reliance on the current owner / vendor which means less chance of the sale falling through.

Buying off-plan offers attractive payment schemes which don’t exist with resale properties: you pay for your apartment in stages.  The trustee will notify you in good time when each stage payment is due so you have time to prepare the transfer of funds – no need to transfer all at once.  This can be particularly advantageous when using a currency service.

There is also flexibility when dealing with the developer over factors such as parking spaces and choice of furniture packs and when there is joint ownership of the operating company for your apartments, it is possible for the developer to guarantee rental returns for a period during the operating agreement e.g. guaranteed 4% return on net purchase price for first 5 years.

When you buy off-plan in Austria, you get a certain amount of control over the interior of the apartment.  There is range of interior themes and styles to choose from and because you are dealing with the developer it is possible to make minor changes to the floor plans in the early stages of the project.

All new properties built in Austria use state-of-the-art, energy efficient methods and materials that you will simply not find in resale buildings.  Greener energy solutions, more efficient heating systems and some of the highest recycling standards in Europe not only reduce your carbon footprint but lower bills.

All Kristall Spaces’ developments use automatic central heating systems with air or water sourced heat pumps.  Energy is also captured from the spa and bathrooms areas to generate warmth in the underfloor heating systems via heat exchangers and our ventilation systems use the same heat recovery principles to pump fresh air into the apartments at the correct room temperature.  All this results in monthly heating cost savings for owners when compared to oil or gas and delivers a greener, more sustainable solution.

New properties in prime Austrian ski resort locations that come with a rental obligation when owners are not staying there themselves are exempt from VAT.  You can save a whopping 20% on the sales price when you opt for one of these apartments.

New properties come with building guarantees.  For example, we negotiate with tradesmen and suppliers for the following:

  • 10 years for the roof covering
  • 5 years for the mechanical systems (heating, electrics, lifts)
  • 5 years for the remaining works including the shell of the building
  • 2 years for electrical goods

Furthermore, Austrian Building Law allows for a 30-year Statute of Limitations for all hidden defects.

Please see our generic FAQ about buying and owning property in Austria or why not Contact us for advice on your Austrian property search.

Kristall Spaces Projects Update – Ski Properties in Tirol Winter 2017/18

Please click the links below for more information on each project.

St Anton – completion date December 2017.  Ready to occupy.  Over 70% sold out.  Award-winning ski-out apartments.   Some of the best views in the valley.  St Anton delivers best growth (8.2%) in UBS Alpine Property Focus 2017.

Kühtai – 2 apartments left. Ready to occupy now. Highest customer satisfaction in Kühtai on Booking.com: 9.6 Exceptional.  Ski in and out.  Highest ski apartments in Austria – 2,020 metres.  35 minutes from Innsbruck airport.

Ötztal – dual season resort. 100 metres to the ski lift. Full pricing and availability. 8% return on capital invested when taking out a 55% mortgage or a guaranteed 4% return on net purchase price for first 5 years.  25 minutes from Innsbruck airport.   Prices from 215.000€.  19 apartments sold.

Sölden – revised pricing post tendering.  Adjacent to family-run Gasthof Zwieselstein.   Guaranteed 4% return for the first 5 years.   Sölden and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl now offer a joint lift pass for 3+ days. 4 apartments left.

Fieberbrunn – 270km of pistes – will soon connect with Zell am See. Prices from 225.000€. Up to 8% return on capital invested when taking out a 55% mortgage or a guaranteed 4% return on net purchase price for first 5 years.  Some of the highest snowfall in Tirol.  Excellent off-piste skiing.  10 apartments reserved.

Ischgl – prices start at 5,000EUR per sq metre.  Full pricing available in April 2018.  Contact us today for a preview of the plans.  Already taking unbinding reservations.

Karwendel – pricing available in April 2018.  Contact us today for plans.  No rental obligation.  One of the most beautiful places you will ever visit.

Kristall Spaces develops and sells ski property in Tirol and now we manage and rent apartments on behalf our owners through our operator business, All-Suite Resorts.

Der Standard (Wien): Buy to let property in Austria is a “win-win”

A good analysis of the current buy-to-let model in the Austrian Alps and how many British, Germans, Austrians, Dutch and Belgian buyers are investing in Tourism Residences in Austria encouraged by returns of 4 to 4.5% and freedom to use their apartment and sell it in a market offering price growth.  (Knight Frank says property prices grew 4.6% in Q1 in Austria and Immodex is reporting a 34% increase in prices since 2010).

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy Leisure Residences in dual season resorts in Tirol and the buy to let model favours investors in these locations (Oetz and Fieberbrunn receive 45% of all their visitors in Summer) as well as the local councils.

Der Standard - 27 Juni 2017

Der Standard – 27 Juni 2017

According to the author, it is crucial that apartment owners and the Gemeinde (council) have an operator in place for at least 5 years to ensure year-round visitor numbers continue to grow and support continual investment in infrastructure and amenities.

According to Statistik Austria, professionally rented apartments are also the fastest growing category of accommodation sought by tourists at 9.4% growth year on year.

The management of Kristall Spaces has launched its own operator All Suite Resorts all-suite.com to provide an end-to-end management and rental service for buyers of our apartments.

All Suite Resorts is planning to offer guaranteed returns across all its project locations going forward.

Please contact us today for more information.

17 January: update on Kristall Spaces projects

The Austrian Alps are nicely covered with snow and as much 229cm in Sölden.  We at Kristall Spaces are busy handling dozens of enquiries each day and managing site visits for prospective EU and non EU based buyers.

We have 4 key projects with pricing & availability

St Anton apartment for sale – construction is underway and one of the buildings containing half the apartments has all the floors in place and the roof on.  It is possible to enter the building with one of our representatives and get a feel for the floor spaces and different views.  Of the 28 upper luxury apartments in this project, 14 are still available.  Voted Best Apartment in Austria & Europe.

Kühtai 2020 Residences – construction was completed last month. There are 5 apartments (out of 17) left but we expect them to sell in the next few months.  There are quite a few buyers who have reserved or are about to reserve in this development, the highest in Austria.  Come and look round one these fully furnished luxury apartments which are ready to occupy now.

Sölden – we will start construction after this ski season. 3 of the 8 apartments have been sold or reserved and there is good interest for the last 5.  It is easy to set up appointments in the Gasthof Zwieselstein where you can meet the developer and the Gstrein family who will manage the rental business of your apartment.

Mountain Lake Resort Ötztal – we have just finalised floor plans and pricing for this exciting dual season location. 100 metres from the ski lift and in a prime location to make the most of the Ötztal’s strong summer season facilities.  State of the art spa and choice of swimming pools for summer. Restaurant and bar on-site.  We already have 7 reservations!

Coming soon – new projects

We will soon release floor plans for Galtür (Ischgl) and Fieberbrunn, so keep your powder dry if you want your own apartment in one of these locations!

Galtür (Ischgl) – floor plans for Mountain Spa Resort Paznaun coming in February 2017.  We will update all our prospects with a newsletter.

Fieberbrunn – floor plans coming in February 2017 also.  Again, all our previous enquiring customers will receive a newsletter.

Karwendel – 28 leisure residences with no rental obligation although we provide a rental service if owners would like to rent their apartments.  Swimming lake & on-site wellness.  On-site brasserie restaurant & bar. 1 hour from Munich & 40 minutes from Mittenwald.

Register your interest 

Contact us today if you are interested in any of these locations and we will keep you updated with progress.

Austria shines in Savills report on Alpine properties

There are some useful data in this year’s Savills report on Alpine properties – here are the out-takes for buyers considering property in Austria.

Austrian ski property prices are 28% below other alpine countries but price growth is higher at 8%.  See the chart below.

austrian-ski-property-growth-savills-spotlight-alpine-property-market-2016-17

With ongoing infrastructure investment and growing international skier participation there is room for upward price movement in Austria.  Other sources (e.g. Tiroler Tagezeitung) recently highlighted a record first half in 2016 of apartment sales in Tirol with an average capital growth of 6.2% for the region.

Reassuring feedback then from separate sources on increasing asset values which will be sustained by careful town planning restrictions on over-development and therefore supply.

Austria is clearly more successful than France and Switzerland in developing its non-skiing attractions and summer tourism business which drives up rental yields, infrastructure investment and future resale values for Austrian property owners.

The report points to a 1.6% year-on-year decline in total ski visits to the top 8 global markets is reported (USA, France, Austria, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Canada and Germany).

Austrian property investors need to be careful and review local tourism figures in isolation.

The Tirol region has delivered a >10% increase in visits in the first 6 months of 2016 clearly bucking the trend of competitor ski markets.

Innsbruck airport is increasing its inbound capacity for German passengers by 180% this year and introducing new routes from British Airways.  The Tirol Tourism board and the ski resorts are again forecasting a year-on-year growth in visitor numbers.

One successful strategy paying off for the Austrians is their focus on the millennial generation (age 20 to 35).  The successful Alpine resorts of the future will be the ones which innovate and draw new visitors with different activities throughout the year.

Examples include Kühtai which boasts Austria’s biggest half pipe and nearby Area 47, one of Europe’s largest extreme sport adventure parks which even has a wakeboard park at 812m above sea level and Mediterranean water temperatures to boot:

Ischgl is one of the biggest ski areas with the longest season continually ploughs lift profits back into its dizzying array of slick infrastructure and glitzy / urban amenities, including 3 Michelin star restaurants.  In Ischgl you can even ‘fly home’ down the valley with or without skis at 85kmh on a dual zip wire – 2km long and 50m high (total investment €2m):

Incredibly, family-friendly Oetz has just reported a 30% increase in lift sales this summer thanks to new investment in family amenities in the Hochoetz ski area.   Astonishingly, Oetz draws 45% of its annual visitors outside the winter season.  Oetz has 80km of its own skiing and tourists can access Sölden in 20 minutes with its 2 glaciers but it has all-year round tourism status – not just in the Summer but through to early Autumn when the Acherkogelbahn makes a brief pause before the Winter season starts again on 16 December.

Hochoetz’s new adventure playground, Widiversum – parents can even leave children in supervised groups and head higher into the mountains for the day:

Currency impact:

In the wake of the UK’s EU referendum and the weakening of sterling, Swiss Alpine property has become 8.6% more costly to GBP buyers (May to Sep 2016), while French or Austrian Alpine homes have become 7.6% more expensive.  Despite the Pound’s fall, there are still some determined UK buyers who want to buy their Austrian property now and get into Austrian Land Registry before Brexit is finalised.

For US Dollar, Euro and Swiss Franc buyers, the picture is unchanged and the customer base is very international including non EU buyers as well as increasing numbers of Germans, Dutch, Belgian and Scandinavians.

Please read our FAQ about buying and owning an Austrian property or Contact us today with any questions.

Stanford University: hiking improves your mental state

Even without the snow, the Austrian Alps draw visitors from all over the world to hike through its stunning, majestic scenery.  The dual season of Oetz, for example, receives nearly as many tourists in summer as winter with the Acherkogelbahn starting up on 4 June and running through 9 October to whisk walkers up to 2,020m in just 8 minutes as a starting base to a choice of high alpine walks.

header_berggastronomie,method=scale,prop=data,id=2000-850

We all know hiking is great exercise which provides plenty of physical benefits, but recent studies have suggested it can have positive mental effects, ranging from improving mental health to enhancing creative thinking.

Hiking to Improve Mental Health

A recent experiment at Stanford University has provided evidence that walking through natural surroundings produces a measurable reduction of “morbid rumination” — brooding to you and me. Gregory Bratman of School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences divided his volunteers into two groups, one of which was sent on a for 90-minute walk through countryside, the other for the same distance through an urban area.

While it’s not surprising that the first group felt more relaxed, questionnaires before and after the walk also showed that they saw a reduction in their morbid rumination, a state which, in more extreme forms, can lead to mental illness.  The second group showed no reduction, even though they’d walked the same distance.

Bratman went further, though, and examined changes in a part of the brain called the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is known to control brooding. The volunteers who’d enjoyed the countryside walk had lower activity here after they’d finished, supporting the results of the questionnaire.

Other Mental Benefits of Hiking

Another study, this time by the University of British Columbia, demonstrated that aerobic exercise, such as hiking, increased the capacity of the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organising, and storing). This improves memory, both in the short term and by slowing down the loss of our memory power as we age.

At the other end of the life-span, a study by Frances E. Kup and Andrea Faber Taylor has shown that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) benefit from exposure to “green outdoor activities”. Their ability to concentrate improves, suggesting that this might also help anyone with attention problems.

A study by Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer suggested that hiking through a natural environment also improves mental creativity. Volunteers who spent several days hiking in the countryside with no technology to distract them scored higher in creative exercises on their return than before they started.

All-Round Benefits

There’s still plenty more work to be done on these studies, such as determining the relative importance of the walking itself and the surroundings, as well as whether it enhances the effects or detracts to have company.

It seems clear, though, that hiking through beautiful scenery is good for us both physically and mentally. And you don’t find hiking more exhilarating nor scenery more sensational than Tirol.

Check out the following websites for hiking inspiration in Oetz and Galtür.

oetz summer walk

There’s something about the combination of the mind-blowing landscape and the good humour and generosity of the Tiroleans that’s irresistible to walkers, from beginners to tough mountain-hurdlers.