HOTEL SCHWAIGERHOF IN SCHLADMING
Event planners will agree that the phrase ‘luxury tourism’ has been one of the most exploited and overused terms in the business. This is mostly due to the numerous factors that influence the perception of luxury, which is certainly not connected only to the number of hotel stars. Organisers of luxury events have their work cut out for them, as they are constantly stumbling upon new tastes and perceptions of luxury. Event planning is a constant fluctuation between the clients who swear upon tradition on one side and the technology, design and modern cuisine devotees on the other.
In my experience, despite their different principles, they are all moved and convinced by the same thing: authentic stories. Stories that are deeply rooted in the lifestyle of the host are like a theatre performance, where every single detail has been taken care of, and the only thought in mind is how to provide the guest with maximum enjoyment. On a visit to Schladming, we stayed in a hotel that personifies the modern perception of luxury.
Hotel Schwaigerhof is situated in a village called Rohrmoos above Schladming with gorgeous views of the Dachstein massif. A former farmhouse, the hotel started to grow in 1958/59 when the first guest rooms and a private ski lift were built. It could be said that the hotel is a prototype of Austrian luxury tourism, based on family hotel businesses. Surprisingly, 95% of all Austrian hotels are family owned. The entire Stocker family takes care of its guests; Annemarie and Gottlieb along with their children Martina, Toni, and Hubert. They are all in some way involved the hotel’s management; a perfect example of how the younger generation is breaking through with fresh and new ideas. The parents understand the importance of education; thus, all three children have finished tourism studies at respected universities. This shows in all of the aspects of hospitality and the family spirit; fresh knowledge and philosophy have been successfully carried on to 40 other employees.
The hotel has seen many expansions and renovations, but has never spoiled the natural beauty of the surrounding villages. The architecture follows the Austrian alpine style, blending seamlessly with its surroundings. Wood is dominant throughout the interior, creating a pleasant living environment. The old constantly intertwines with the new, especially in the excellent wellness centre, where scenic views, fresh air, and a hedonistic experience innovatively meet. The enchantingly arranged surroundings of the hotel tell a story of the family philosophy, where guests are always first. A hotel garden with fresh herbs and two rabbits enjoying their neat rabbit house round off the experience.
Walk as you talk
While walking around the hotel with Hubert, he mentions that a lot of thought has gone into sustainability. Everything you put in your mouth is local, and the menu is, therefore, distinctively seasonal. Herbs that go into their lemonade come from the garden by the hotel entrance. The sustainable thinking does not stop there. There is a natural pool, styled like a pond, where water is biologically cleaned. Innovative glass straws replaced plastic ones, as the family is aware of the problem of the global plastic waste. Details like this can be seen all around and they truly make the hotel special. The hotel also makes for a strong connecting link in the community, helping to develop the tourist offer and infrastructure.
More than just skiing
A common misconception people have of Schladming is that it is exclusively a skiing resort. Upon further inspection, Schladming reveals all of its assets. In summer, there are tons of active and culinary experiences for congress guests, and the Schweigerhof has quite a diverse selection on offer. There are even a small sports hall, a climbing wall, fitness centre and loads of green areas for team building activities. Particularly interesting is a small conference room that functions as a living room, where guests can get inspired and relaxed. Hubert also mentions some other activities in the area, like the classic ascent of the Dachstein glacier, tours with electric bikes, golf, or more innovative experiences in one of the 100 mountain huts around Schladming or a race with electric go-karts.
Respecting local tradition
It seems logical that a family hotel is so tightly involved in the local environment and is actively shaping it. Every guest that stays for more than one night can ask for a Sommercard, which guides you across different activities in Schladming. Caterers, hoteliers and tourism workers try to send guests in all directions and not just keep them in their resort. This kind of tourism is sustainable and does not interfere with the Alpine landscape. The entire family is full of innovative ideas, constantly taking inspiration from abroad and implementing it in their own way. What impressed us was the attitude towards the local environment, along with sustainable mobility.
It is fascinating that the Stockers invest all of their extra profits back into the product. This is visible at every step, in tiny details and numerous surprises that await you as a guest. Another important component of such an experience is the top-notch cuisine. Even after a short one-night stay, you get a sense that you already know the hotel very well and you are bound to come back. It is an experience where quality is at the forefront and where the emphasis is put on tradition, natural resources, and sustainability. These kind of experiences are priceless, and I am confident that this is where luxury tourism is heading.