Based in the idyllic Austrian village of Lech, the Hotel Haldenhof is the perfect base after a long day spent on the slopes – though it truly delights in its peerless dedication to a personalised service. After the hotel was recognised with the ‘Award for Excellence in Outstanding Guest Services’ in the 2019 Global Luxury Hotel & Spa Awards programme, we spoke with Michael Schwärzler who, alongside his wife Claudia, have served as the flawless hosts of Haldenhof for the last sixteen years.
In at least one way, the Hotel Haldenhof feels very traditional. In this fast-moving, technologydriven world, traditional feels refreshing, almost – paradoxically – new. It is perhaps most traditional in its dedication to the perfect guest experience, realising that this can be the key to enduring success in an ever-changing hospitality industry.
“One of the key philosophies I work to was installed in me by my father: ‘Always walk in your customer’s shoes’. This is how I approach guests services every day”.
But, for Haldenhof – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – this focus on hospitality has been the crucial ingredient from the very start, shaping its growth and driving its popularity, as Michael explains. “The hotel is family-run and had been handed over to the “next generation” about sixteen years ago. Over the last sixteen years we have made efforts to continue the hotel’s special guest and service relationships.
Our guests visit from all over the world, and many of them do return every year to enjoy their family vacation. However, we work primarily through positive word-of-mouth -for seven years in a row we have been the #1 small hotel in Lech.” This achievement is made even more impressive when you consider that Lech, though small, has become a thriving hotspot for tourists, eager to experience its quintessential rural Austrian charm, and for winter sport-enthusiasts alike. It’s a competitive market – and it is only going to get more competitive over the coming years.
Yet, despite this, Michael remains steadfast in his belief that comfort and personal dedication remain the hotel’s greatest weapons. Indeed, in every way, Michael, Claudia and the rest of team Haldenhof go above and beyond the expected when it comes to ensuring that guests enjoy only the very best when staying at their establishment. “This much we know is certain: comfort and personal dedication make the greatest contribution to rest and relaxation. Our hotel provides both: an enveloping feelgood atmosphere created by attentive service and tastefully appointed rooms. The whole thing is wrapped in a tradition-conscious and family ambience – bringing you closer to the country and people, making your experience of the Arlberg culinary region that much more intense.”
Naturally, Haldenhof’s team play an essential role in ensuring this guest-centric ethos is carried throughout the hotel, in every interaction and every moment. “Every single member of our team will go the extra mile for the guest and for us. They treat the house like their home and they see a friend in every customer. Many of them have been with us for many years.”
As briefly aforementioned, Haldenhof remains a paragon in the vein of luxury hotels of years passed, embracing a thoroughly fivestar approach to the guest experience. Here Michael takes a moment to emphasise the importance of ‘slowing down’ in the modern age, especially when it comes to enjoying a hotel stay. “Today’s hospitality industry is all about short stays and hunting for the best bargain. A holiday is becoming something that is consumed rather than being enjoyed. In media and advertising, hotels are becoming defined only by superlatives, easy to digest phrases: highest infinity pool, biggest spa, largest restaurant, large skiing area. The online marketplace has become a wall blocking people from talking to each other.”
In his closing comments, Michael summarises the Haldenhof’s defining mission statement, offering some insight into the future of this extraordinary establishment. “Our philosophy is always to keep everything up to date, with a focus on keeping the heart of the hotel whole – it will always be about personal service and contact.”
Company: Hotel Haldenhof Open: Summer & Winter Name: Michael Schwärzler
Address: Tannberg 347, Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg, 6764, Austria
Telephone: +43 5583 2444 0
Email: [email protected]