Zell am See is a pleasant, though busy resort, well-situated as a base location for exploring Austria's lovely Pinzgau region or as a stopover for north-south and east-west travelers. And, since it is on the main line between Salzburg and Innsbruck, there is frequent rail service.

The region has a multitude of hotels from which to choose as well as a substantial list of Frühstückpensionen (bed & breakfast) and vacation apartments. In fact, a booklet published by the Zell am See tourist office lists nearly 100 apartments for rent.

In winter, Zell am See is the center of a highly popular ski region. In summer the town still bustles, but the pace slows somewhat and hotel prices are lower.

Though the town itself has no special charm and can be seen in no more than a couple of hours, its location on the lake surrounded by mountains is quite lovely and nearby are two of Austria's most notable attractions. Visitors should take one day to drive the spectacular Grossglockner Road and another to cross the Gerlos Pass, stopping at the Krimml Waterfalls.

Hotel Berner

(Editor's Choice)

Top value among the hotels reviewed here. Chalet-style building in a residential area with flowered balconies and pleasant grounds. Most guestrooms have separate sitting areas and private balconies. Many have separate rooms for toilet and bath/shower. Restaurant offers a selection of vegetarian dishes. Very warm welcome. A sedate, comfortable hotel.

Address: Hotel Berner, Nikolaus-Gassner-Promenade 1, A-5700 Zell am See

Phone: 06542/2557

Fax: 06542/25577

Location: Residential area five minute walk from center

Rooms: 27 doubles, 3 suites, all with lake view, balcony, cable TV, radio, phone, hairdryer

Proprietor: Eric & Anita Berner

Prices: Singles 700 to 1350 AS ($69-$132), doubles 1100 to 2300 AS ($108-$225)

Facilities: Indoor/outdoor pool, outdoor terrace

Credit Card: Visa

Disabled Access: Not suitable

Closed: November

Parking: Free

Other: Free pickup at rail station

Rating: Above Average 14/20 G $

Hotel Feinschmeck

(Editor's Choice)

Recently refurbished with lots of mirrors, marble and brass, this family owned and operated hotel couldn't be more centrally located. Guestrooms are large and modern with the usual four-star amenities. Most appealing of the public rooms is the atmospheric, cozy Franz-Josef Stuberl, where, depending on the hour or the occasion, locals drop by for a glass of wine, a bowl of soup, afternoon tea or a late-night brandy. The welcome is lively and friendly from energetic and effervescent Phillip Prodinger, who has taken over the Feinschmeck's management from his parents, Gerhard and Frieda.

Address: Hotel Feinschmeck, Dreifaltigkeitgasse 10, A-5700, Zell am See

Phone: 06542/2549

Fax: 06542/254949

Location: Center

Rooms: 27 doubles, 2 singles with cable TV, radio, phone

Proprietor: Phillip Prodinger

Prices: Singles 870 to 1370 AS ($85-$134), doubles 1380 to 2280 AS ($135-$223)

Facilities: Sauna, solarium, two restaurants

Credit Card: All

Disabled Access: Not suitable

Closed: Never

Parking: Free

Rating: Above Average 13/20 G

Der Waldhof

Typical Austrian resort hotel with above average amenities and such guest activities as wine tastings and candlelight fondue dinners. Guestroom furnishings and decor do not quite match Der Waldhof's stylish, almost elegant, public rooms.

Address: Der Waldhof, Schmittenstrasse 47, A-5700, Zell am See

Phone: 06542/2853-0

Fax: 06542/2853-28

Location: Residential area, five minute walk from center. Free shuttle to train station

Rooms: 48 doubles, 5 singles with cable TV, radio, phone, minibar

Proprietor: Josef Loferer

Prices: Singles 1010 to 1740 AS ($99-$170), doubles 1820 to 3280 AS ($178-$322)

Facilities: Sauna, fitness room, Jacuzzi, heated outdoor pool, massage

Credit Card: All

Disabled Access: Not suitable

Closed: Nov. to mid-Dec., first two weeks in May

Parking: Free

Rating: Above Average 14/20

Hotel Heitzmann

Very good four-star hotel in town center. Refurbished three years ago. Several guestrooms, including the gorgeous wedding suite, come with private Jacuzzi. Hotel also offers vacation rentals on the lake's opposite shore starting at about 1100 AS ($110) per day for four persons.

Address: Hotel Heitzmann, Loferer Bundesstrasse 4, A-5700, Zell am See

Phone: 06542/2152

Fax: 06542/215233

Location: Central

Rooms: 30 doubles all with satellite TV, phone and radio.

Proprietor: Rudi Heitzmann

Prices: Singles 890 to 1260 AS ($87-$124), doubles 1480 to 2220 AS ($145-$218)

Facilities: Steam bath, sauna, solarium, massage

Credit Cards: All

Disabled Access: Yes

Closed: Nov. to early December, two weeks in April

Parking: Free

Rating: Above Average 13/20

Pension Alpenrose

Simple bed and breakfast. Earthy, friendly. All but two rooms have private balcony.

Address: Pension Alpenrose, Schmittenstrasse 22, A-5700, Zell am See

Phone: 06542/2570

Fax: 06542/2570-35

Location: Residential area 10 minutes walk from center

Rooms: 17 doubles with telephone, most with balcony.

Facilities: TV in rooms can be rented

Proprietor: Family Gruber

Prices: Singles 300 to 380 AS ($29-$37), doubles 600 to 720 AS ($59-$71)

Facilities: No lift, sauna

Credit Cards: Not accepted

Disabled Access: Not suitable

Closed: Never

Parking: Free

Rating: Adequate 6/20 $

May 1995