Maria Alm is a pretty village with a good variety of shops. The Hotel is well situated on the edge of the village and although near the main road, our room which was nearest the main road was not affected by traffic noise.
The hotel is half traditional, half modern with the recent addition of a new bar, reception and lounge area. The dining area is very attractive and welcoming (although in the vaulted part the windows were very draughty). We found the new areas of the hotel very clinical and without atmosphere. The lounge is surrounded with walls of glass and is situated between the front door and reception, so it feels a little as if you are sitting in a shop window.
Our bedroom was a basic room (booked through Inghams) with balcony. This was clean and functional although the bathroom was fairly small with a shower and no bath.
We were on half-board and the quality of food was good with no complaints but the food wasn't exciting or memorable. At breakfast, sparkling water and other fizzy drinks were on tap and free, at all other times all drinks (water, coffee etc) had to be paid for. We found that we didn't build a rapport with any of the hotel staff as, whilst attentive, they weren't particularly communicative. One exception was the chef at breakfast who was very amiable and showed an interest in the guests.
Being frequent visitors to Austria, we have found that hotels usually lay on some form of entertainment throughout the week, even if only for one or two nights. However, the Thalerhof had no evening entertainment - e.g. no zither player, no music, no dancing. There was a bar underneath the hotel (the Dengl Alm) which provided lively apres ski and evening karaoke. This however, was mainly full of young people from the village and was extremely smokey.
The small swimming pool was adequate for a swim, although a little chilly and was popular with lots of children. The spa area was next door to the pool area and children under 12 were not permitted. The saunas, steam rooms etc were good but the relaxation area was very small with only 6 loungers and was not peaceful as children could be heard in the pool and adults conversed loudly.
The heated boot room had plenty of space for boots and skis and was secured by entry using your bedroom swipe key. However, this was the first time in over 10 years that a pair of our boots disappeared leaving an identical pair two sizes smaller in their place. We are sure that this was purely a mistake on the part of someone with boots now too large for them!
We were very disappointed with the way we were treated on our departure. Our coach was due to collect us at 6:15am on the Saturday. We were advised that the hotel would not be able to provide us with breakfast; instead they handed us each a "packed breakfast" consisting of a basic sandwich and an apple as we left dinner on the Friday evening. We were not provided with any drink and no facilities were available on the bedroom for drink making. We were also locked out of the dining area on Saturday morning so had no access to the drinks on tap either. It felt as if they had supplied us with what they were obliged to and as of Saturday morning we were no longer the hotel's responsibility.
Saturday morning we left our bedroom to find that the stairs, reception and lounge area were in darkness and no staff were around. It was difficult to manoeuvre all our bags, boots and skis in the pitch black!
We were also lucky that we didn't get locked out of the hotel when we took some of our luggage to the front steps of the hotel. The automatic doors allowed us out but not back in. If we had both gone outside at the same time we would have had a major problem.
We were a little unsure whether to visit Maria Alm as we have been used to ski in/ski out hotels. We found that the free ski buses were frequent and the journey time to the nearest lift, short. However, we found that by walking down a short footpath from the hotel (no more than 3 minutes walk in ski boots) it was possible to take a short drag lift which got you onto the whole of the ski area. The ski area is extensive and suitable for beginners to expert skiers. Would we go to Maria Alm again? Yes. The hotel? Let's just say that it may be good to experience something different next time; we noticed that all other English visitors stayed in the hotel next to the main ski lift.
One not to miss is the weekly evening ski display set to music with fireworks performed by the ski instructors with a little help from a few ski students.