Aufberg 1113 is an architect-designed holiday home with two apartment rentals featuring amazing views over the surrounding Alpine landscape.
How would you describe Das Regina Hotel in a nutshell?
Das Regina in Bad Gastein, Austria is probably the most glamorous hotel in a small Alpine village. Come here to experience an urban atmosphere right in the breathtaking scenery of the Alps. It is a century-old luxury hotel with a modern, young spirit, something truly unique. The hotel's 32 rooms will be filled with international guests, there is a bar and a restaurant and events such as club nights are very sought-after. However, for those looking to spend time away from their fellow travelers, you'll find yourself in an excellent ski-region. After a long in the snow you can then come back and take full advantage of the hotel's luxurious amenities, with a finnish sauna, spa treatments, or even just a good read in front of the fireplace.
You seem emotionally connected to Bad Gastein. To you personally, what is so special about the village?
When I was 8 years old I first came to Bad Gastein and was I instantly thrilled by the place. At that time there was also a man who bought a few of the old Grand Hotels, trying to bring back a little bit of glamour to Bad Gastein. The village used to be a place where kings and emperors came at the turn of the 19th century. Many of these hotels are still there and only some of them have been modernized or renovated. Together with the futuristic congress house from the 70s, they create that particular charm of Bad Gastein. And this is also why it attracts so many creatives. There are still many empty nostalgic houses where you could do something artistic, it’s great! This place releases fantasies, which inspires many people to visit or even to move here.
You moved from the big city to Bad Gastein. Was it always your motivation to open a boutique hotel?
At the age of 20 I already tried to do some projects in Bad Gastein but that didn’t work out. I then moved to Hamburg, opened up a bar which I then sold in 2003 to come back here. Numerous objects in the city centre had already been bought by an investor from Vienna. But unfortunately many of them are still empty even though they are fantastic houses. We tried to attract the right investors to do something with these houses but that turned out to be a bit difficult.
So we had to go a different way. It was always my dream to open up my own boutique hotel. So when Das Regina crossed my way by chance, I decided to take it.
You brought something new and modern to traditional Bad Gastein. Was that a big struggle?
Yes and No. I’ve been struggling for a long time to realise my ideas but they seem to work out pretty well now. Now people know me, they know what I’ve done. At first they couldn’t understand why I voluntarily left the city to live here but this is what has given me a bit of an advantage.
We even managed to open up a bar in 2161 metres height in the ski area Sportgastein. I had to struggle for 10 years until the mountain railway finally decided to give it a shot. The bar is open in summer and in winter whenever the weather allows. It has a big terrace with panoramic views. People talk a lot about it and now the locals love it as well – it is a sensational place!
What was it that motivated you to keep fighting for 10 years for a project like this?
It just kept pushing me. No matter whether I was in Berlin, Hamburg or New York, every time I discovered something cool I said to myself: wow, we could do that in Bad Gastein, as well!
The combination of urban ambience in the middle of nature has always fascinated me. Obviously none of the houses really fit in here. Their architecture is more North Italian or they could just as well be in Vienna. And this is what inspired me to keep pushing. You know, even while I took time out I never stopped believing in the idea. And as you can see now, it is going the right direction.
You also organise different events in Bad Gastein. Please tell us a bit about them.
This summer we are proud to host for the second time the art festival ‘Sommerfrische Kunst’, which we initiated here in Bad Gastein. Eight artists who already exhibit in big galleries in Berlin or Hamburg are going to work in the old power plant down at the waterfall for four weeks each. Then at the end we will have an exhibition with the created artwork and a collectors’ dinner. We also have another festival, called ‘Shining’ where three artists stage light objects all over Bad Gastein.
What are your plans for the future?
We definitely want to continue developing Bad Gastein! We, along with other partners, want to try to give the place a new face and try to fascinate more people with it. We are not Kitzbühel, nor Ischgl and not St Moritz. Bad Gastein has the chance to establish itself in a completely new way.
We want people to come here and be creative again. There are people who want to open up their own bar or shop – we want to bring all the nice things you usually only find in the big cities to Bad Gastein.
Looking back over the past view years, to you personally, what has been most rewarding about running Das Regina Hotel?
Before we took over the hotel we organised a big event in one of the Grand Hotels which had been empty for 10 years. Around that time hoteliers from all over Austria came to Bad Gastein for a congress. We were allowed to bring the hotel back to life for just one night. So for two weeks we passionately renovated a whole part of the hotel and repaired much of the furniture. All of that just for this one night. During this work the whole of Bad Gastein came together: many wanted to help, it created a real community feeling!