Just a few quick comments before moving on to the reviews. Almost all the accommodations along the Wine road are in small pensions usually attached to a vineyard or restaurant or both.
To give you an idea of the quality of the wineries discussed here, the Austrian food and wine critics, Christoph Wagner and Klaus Engle, rate the area's best wines as follows: Willi Sattlerhof 20/20; Alois Gross 19/20; Hans Harkamp 19/20; and Erich and Walter Polz 19/20. A winery near Polz, Manfred Tement, also scored 20/20.
Finally, Morillon is a local Styrian name for Chardonnay.
This small luxury-style hotel is run by two gifted brothers - one who makes excellent wine, the other prepares the sumptuous meals that do it justice. Together, they run a very pleasant hotel. The Sattlerhof's best feature is that it manages to be upscale without being pretentious. The presence of the two families and the congeniality of the brothers themselves are sure to make most guests feel right at home.
The hotel is located in a cluster of yellow rural manor-style buildings with enormous red tile roofs on the quiet side of a small green hill outside Gamlitz just west of Ehrenhausen. The hotel doesn't have the views of some of the others mentioned here, but it makes up for it with extra comforts and its excellent wine, made on-premise.
The Sattlerhof's 29 rooms are in the same buildings as the restaurant and the winery which is nestled in the vineyard a few steps away. The spacious double rooms have comfortable furniture, wooden floors and separate sitting rooms. Marble baths have terra-cotta tile floors and both bathtub and shower with separate toilet. All come with either a balcony or terrace and the use of the hotel's small swimming pool.
Contact: Hotel Sattlerhof Sernau 2a, Gamlitz, A-8462, tel. +43/03453/44 54 0, fax 44 54 44,
Daily Rates: Doubles €116-170; suites from €142
Rating: Quality 14/20, Value 15/20
Located just north of the Sausaler wine road, this combination restaurant, pension and vineyard is the friendliest and most down to earth of any reviewed here.
The 20 rooms range from simple to surprisingly elaborate. What doesn't vary is the feeling of being in the spacious home of a friendly relative who has a talent for wine-making. The large rooms have rustic furnishings, wood floors, tile baths with showers and separate toilets, and each is decorated in its own individual style. The best is Number 18 with a sunny wintergarden overlooking the valley. The more recently renovated rooms are on the top floor, while the ground floor has one room reserved for disabled guests.
Contact: Hotel Harkamp Flamberg 46, St. Nikolai i. S., tel +43/03185/2280. Open April through October.
Daily Rates: From about €23-25 per person.
Rating: Quality 13/20, Value 14/20
The Kästenburg is just one of the many small family-run pensions strung along the old wine road. What sets it apart is its superb location on the highest point of the vine-covered hills overlooking Slovenia. The owner, Frau Jakopé, is a vivacious person who seems intent on making the most of what she has - which is quite a lot.
Guestrooms are tucked away in different parts of the property. Most are recently remodeled with antique furniture, bright fabrics, tile baths and laminated wood floors. All are nonsmoking and have either a balcony or terrace with views of the woods or the faraway hills. The rooms on the upper floors have attractively sloped ceilings and the suite's steam bath is encased in a large wine barrel.
Daily Rates: Per person rates are from about €21-39
Rating: Quality 12/20, Value 13/20
For those who prefer to stay in a castle, the Seggau is an option. Located at the busy gateway to the Sausaler Weinstrasse, this sprawling complex houses a 100-room hotel, two museums (one concerning the castle's history and another with old wine-making equipment), a large courtyard, a wine shop, an enormous grassy field with an outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a large conference hall that can accommodate over 700.
Guestrooms are either cramped dorm-style or chic, ultramodern with large balconies.
We normally would not recommend such a large conference hotel, but this one's unusual collection of the historic items and its grounds make it the exception.
Schloss Seggau is probably best suited to families needing space for children to roam.
Contact: Schloss Seggau Seggauberg 1, A-8430 Leibnitz, tel +43/03452/82435-29, fax +43/03452/82435-10,
Daily Rates: Singles €120-172; doubles in dormitory style rooms are €60 and €94-146 in the modern rooms.
Rating: Quality 12/20, Value 13/20