At Alpenature, we strive to create sustainable holidays and one of the ways is to work with like-minded partners visit Go Green Beyond. Part of our responsibility as a ski travel planner, we are always in search for the highest quality accommodations in St. Anton. Our handpicked hotels range from a medieval castle to sleek modern retreats, offering a diverse selection of unique experiences. One thing they have in common – the determination to reduce their impact on the environment. Understanding these eco-friendly practices offers you more to consider while choosing your next holiday accommodation.
A big step away from the use of fossil fuels has led to the construction of a local heating plant NWSA in St. Anton am Arlberg, one of the best places to snowboard in Europe. The use of oil is completely replaced with forest wood chips, and untreated and pollutant-free wood waste. “Around 3,200 tons of CO2 are saved annually,” explains project manager Elmar Huter. “That corresponds to around 1.3 million liters (about half the volume of an Olympic-size swimming pool) of heating oil.”
Hotels Tenne and Schwarzer Adler take another step further by using electricity generated entirely from hydropower, while Hotel Alte Post installed motion sensor lights at their reception and corridors in efforts to conserve more electricity.
Waste separation is innate in the Austrian culture. Locals separate their waste (into various categories like plastic, carton, paper, white glass, coloured glass and metal) and bring it to the recycling stations for disposal regularly. However, reducing waste is a different story. Hotels Alte Post, Grieshof and Schwarzar Adler adopted the use of refillable toiletries and hand soaps. The latter two also use straws and cleaning products made of eco-friendly materials.
“It is more than being environmentally friendly – we are reviving an important tradition.”
“We have always been environmentally friendly, but there are constantly new approaches that we can adopt,” adds Klemens Tschol, Schwarzer Adler’s fifth generation owner, one of the few hoteliers who introduced the use of recycling printing paper. “We had time to think about more green practices during the coronavirus quarantine, but honestly speaking, other topics are in the foreground here. Unfortunately, due to hygiene, more disposable packaging is used than before.”
Hotel Tenne turns excess Kaisersemmel, a staple for breakfasts, into breadcrumbs to make the famous Wiener schnitzel. They also give other leftover bread to their neighbours to feed their animals.
A creative way to reduce waste is to transform it into useful products. At Hotel Alte Post’s reception, you will find a beautiful brochure display stand made from an old wine box, and at Hotel Tenne’s breakfast time, the buffet is built also using old wine boxes.
Hotel Grieshof turned an old baby crib into a beautiful rustic book and magazine stand while Hotel Alte Post took the effort to cut used champagne bottles and made them into candleholders. “This is the future. We just have to live more sustainably, not always bigger, better, and more,” says Sabine Schweisgut, Hotel Alte Post’s owner for many years. “Even though adopting some green practices can be costly and hard for people to change their habits, we can overcome it by simply making little changes at the time.”
Most of our hotel partners also work closely with local farmers and suppliers, for products like meat, baked goods, chocolate and dairy. Nothing can be as fresh as homemade products. Hotel Bergschlössl makes their own apricot jams, a favourite at their breakfast buffets, while Hotel Tenne offers a wide range of homemade goods like arnica creams, stone pine schnapps (Austrian liqour), all sorts of jams, teas and vinegar, and even dried porcini mushrooms to pamper the guests in winter.
“Our greatest challenge is to make sure that the harvest is timely and processed as quickly as possible,” shares the Huter family, owner of Hotel Tenne. “Every cranberry has to be pressed by hand, and it is hard work which requires time, discipline and organizational skills.”
Every beginning is difficult, but the Huter family stays persistent. “Our project was laughed at and not taken seriously initially. It is more than being environmentally friendly – we are reviving an important tradition.”