In addition to the choices mentioned below, Werfen offers rooms in simple guesthouses or even in private homes. The tourist office (tel. +43/06468/5388) can outline the options.
Formerly known as Gasthof Lebzelter, this stylish place is run by two brothers. Karl Obauer does front of the house duties, while Rudolf reigns supreme in the kitchen. As you'd expect from four-stars, all fixtures and fittings are of high quality. The 10 rooms are variable in proportion and in decor. Their modern and elegant ambiance belies the old fashioned, somewhat nondescript exterior of this gabled building. Within the rooms, touches of elegance are manifested in the most surprising places, such as in decorative light fittings hand-crafted by Karl Obauer senior. Rooms have shower or bath, toilet, cable TV and usually a balcony. I enjoyed having a radio in the bathroom, so that I could wallow in the bath to some musical accompaniment.
Daily Rates: Singles $70-128, doubles $128-195; add $55 per person for four-course dinner.
Rating: Quality 16/20, Value 13/20
Run by the sister of the Obauer brothers, and just a few doors from their place, you'll find this attractive B&B, a cheaper yet similarly stylish option. Approaching the comfort and elegance of its sibling, Erzherzog-Eugen has 11 modern rooms graced by subtle lighting, warm colors, and striking design flourishes. The rooms also have the usual four-star trappings of bathroom, TV, mini bar, safe and direct-dial telephone. Additionally, most rooms have a balcony providing views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The house was built in 1961, though with its traditional chalet design, flower boxes and dark brown window shutters, it slots comfortably alongside the much older buildings on the street. An enjoyable feature is the rear garden, equipped with a sundeck and sun loungers.
Daily Rates: Singles $48-88, doubles $88
Contact: Hotel-Garni Erzherzog-Eugen, Markt 38, Werfen, A-5450, tel. +43/6468/5210, fax 75523.
Rating: Quality 15/20, Value 15/20
This three-star hotel boasts several famous former guests, including Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton they even hosted Margaret Thatchers security men when she stayed in the region (though not the former British Prime Minister herself). It's a large, three-story chalet run by the hospitable Gschwandtner family, and has been so for three generations since 1935. Rooms vary in facilities and size if you get one of the better, more expensive rooms you'll have private shower, toilet, satellite TV and balcony. Multi-bed rooms are available for people with families in all, 50 beds are on offer. Rooms have standard Austrian-style fixtures and fittings, and are perfectly adequate if somewhat uninspired. If possible, go for one of the rooms facing the back of the building or in the rear annex, as those facing the front can be noisy from traffic on the main road. Another reason for locating yourself round the back is the proximity to the relaxing guest garden, with its terrace overlooking lush lawns and shady trees. The hotel offers plenty of parking places, including a garage for bicyclists and motorcyclists they get a few of those dropping in, as the Tauern cycle path runs past the building. Though it's two kilometers south of the center, you don't have to drive or hike into town to get your meals, as they have a satisfying restaurant serving up home cooked Austrian food on the premises.
Daily Rates: With shared shower/WC: singles $26, doubles $42. With private shower/WC: singles $35, doubles $58
Rating: Quality 12/20, Value 14/20
Restaurant zur Stiege (mit Zim)
Though mostly lauded as a restaurant, this place offers a handful of reasonably comfortable rooms. From the outside, the 16th century, chalet-style building makes an immediate impression. Colorful window boxes vie for the attention, alongside the front façades relief designs and elaborate central mural. The front door is reached via a few steps up a double-approach stairway which has inspired the name of the restaurant. Within this setting, the four rooms on offer are a slight let down. They're simple and uncluttered, with white walls and dark-wood furniture the standard sort of two-star rooms you'll see all over Austria. They would almost be austere, but for the colorful curtains and the occasional painting (depicting mountain scenes and the like) breaking up the bare walls. On the plus side, the beds are comfortable, the rooms are a reasonable size (though all the four rooms have different dimensions), and all are equipped with cable TV, en suite toilet and WC. Two rooms face the quiet main street, and two overlook the rear garden.
Daily Rates: Singles $36, doubles $58
Contact: Restaurant zur Stiege, Markt 10, Werfen, A-5450, tel. +43/06468/5256-0, fax 5256-4.
Rating: Quality 11/20, Value 13/20