At Rogner Bad Blumau, the electronic room keys bear the inscription Ein Leben im Einklang mit der Natur - "a life in harmony with nature" - the driving philosophy behind this unique hotel and spa in Styria.
Built over a hot spring with the highest mineral content of any in Europe, it certainly offers visitors the opportunity to take advantage of nature’s healing properties, whether by bathing in one of its eight thermal pools or indulging in one of the many therapeutic treatments derived from locally sourced products such as pumpkin, grape, apple and elderberry.
But it is its holistic approach to sustainability that really makes it stand out. “The aim of the spa when it was conceived by Robert Rogner in 1993 was to integrate it harmoniously with nature and within the local communities,” says general manager Hannes Czeitschner.
Aiming to create a synergy between man, nature and architecture, its designer, the Austrian artist and environmental champion Friedensreich Hundertwasser, devised an enchanting, fairytale exterior and a wonderfully meandering interior where straight edges have no place and none of its 2,400 windows are the same.
As you might expect, its environmental credentials are second to none. The spa water, which reaches the surface at 110˚C, is used to heat the entire complex and to generate up to half its electricity. And all the products that it uses and its suppliers meet stringent criteria set by the Austrian Institute for Sustainability.
Before work began on the hotel, Blumau was one of the poorest villages in Austria. There were few opportunities for an emerging generation, so most people left the region to find work. Seeing a rural community struggling to survive, the visionary Rogner made a promise to himself that his new venture would invest in the local economy as much as possible, long before the term "sustainability" was in fashion.
Today his vision has become reality. 80 per cent of the food comes from local farmers and 90 per cent of the staff live within a 50-km radius. “It’s all part of the same idea really,” explains Czeitschner, “to integrate what we are doing here harmoniously, whether we’re talking about the architecture and the local landscape, energy consumption and climate change or the business and the local economy.”
For more information on Rogner Bad Blumau, please visit: www.blumau.com
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