Hsame things are not in the nature of South Tyrolean hoteliers. Especially when it comes to sustainability and nature conservation. At least that’s what Stefan Fauster thinks. The boss of the nature hotel “Drumlerhof” in Taufers, a market town in the heart of the Ahrntal, is a visionary.
He particularly likes to dream of a self-sufficient South Tyrol, in which everything grows what people need for life: “South Tyrol currently only produces milk, wine and apples, but it could become the pantry for the region again.” He and five colleagues have it therefore leased half a hectare of land. Here they grow vegetables for their hotel kitchens – without chemicals and with a flower meadow for birds and insects.
Fauster knows that his dream of plant diversity only has a chance if you start. A gardener helps the six hoteliers; Even neighbors without their own gardens are allowed to use a piece of the land and weed for it. The result of the efforts is impressive – once a week the participating hotels receive a delivery of seasonal vegetables from their own fields.
The hotel “Drumlerhof” is CO2-neutral
The hoteliers are already running their Taufrisch project for the third year, creating a topic of conversation in the valley dominated by maize fields. “The farmers smile about it,” says Fauster. “Some say: look at the idiots from tourism, but they can afford it.” It doesn’t bother him.
Nothing less important to Stefan Fauster than the preservation of the earth. He’s following the concept of grandchildren’s suitability so as not to leave his patch of the planet in a worse condition than what his forefathers gave him, he says. His “Drumlerhof” has been certified for the common good since 2015 and is CO2-neutral. That means, at the end of each year, Fauster draws a co2-Balance and equalize the emissions – currently there are still around 120 tons of Co2 – through donations to a drinking water project in Uganda.
In order to get this far, Fauster made many changes to his hotel, the 37 guest rooms, for example, are heated with biomass, spring water flows from the pipes, which is also used to generate electricity, the employees’ dirndls are hand-sewn and the furniture is made by local craftsmen . The interior is by no means old-fashioned, but combines alpine decorative objects such as antlers and traditional materials such as loden with modern accents.
Almost everything is made of wood: floors, walls, doors and cupboards. “When my children don’t enjoy the hotel anymore, they can take the chainsaw, take everything apart and burn it,” says Stefan Fauster happily. But so far nothing indicates such plans – daughter Franzi runs the service, Emma the reception.
The kitchen under the direction of Ruth Fauster also works with regional products from species-appropriate husbandry and ecological cultivation. There are no convenience products. Thousands of kilograms of jam are made each year from their own and purchased fruit. The meat also comes from happy grazing animals, and when they are slaughtered, everything except the eyes is used, as Fauster emphasizes.
Sustainability is nothing new in the South Tyrolean Ahrntal
The “Drumlerhof” has been an inn since the 16th century. However, early tourism can hardly be compared with the level of today’s hotel industry. “Up until the 1970s, hunger and poverty were the main guests,” says Stefan Fauster.
He and his wife Ruth have been running the hotel that they took over from their parents for 25 years. Fauster himself grew up with five siblings on a mountain farm on the Renon above Bolzano. “Our family had three cows and three pigs, and we lived on them. We had nothing materially, but security and love for nature in abundance, ”he remembers.
He didn’t miss anything in his childhood when his family, like many South Tyroleans, was largely self-sufficient. That is why his eco-concept is not a marketing strategy, but a matter close to his heart. “We have always been like this,” he says. “We do not want to exploit nature or people, but rather produce as much as possible ourselves and support the small producers in the area.”
Regional products and organic quality
Michael Steiner is one of them. After completing his training in Austria and an internship in Switzerland, the 26-year-old took over his parents’ cheese dairy Eggemoa in Mühlwald. With the milk from his own fifteen cows, which graze on the pasture from April to October, as well as the milk he buys from neighbors, he makes a dozen award-winning raw milk cheeses that are refined with spruce bark, juniper berries or local herbs.
Steiner does not use spices that do not grow in South Tyrol, such as pepper and paprika. Fauster thinks the concept is good, just as it is important to him “that I know the people and the stories behind the products”.
Guests don’t have to forego any comfort as much as scrambled eggs, Tyrolean bacon and ham for breakfast. The water in the pool is not as warm as in the thermal bath. Instead, the open fire flickers, and the mountain panorama in front of the windows warms the heart. Finnish and bio sauna, steam bath, a jacuzzi on the roof and a spa are available.
There is also coffee, although naturally it is not grown locally, but only roasted here. “We’re not a monastery,” says Fauster, “we also have chocolate and exotic fruits, but fair trade, organic quality and from small producers.” After all, he wants to make his guests happy. “I’m not a revolutionary, I just want to show that there is another way.”
Recommended eco-hotels in the Alps:
That portrayed in the text „Naturhotel Drumlerhof“ in the South Tyrolean town of Taufers offers double rooms with half board (also gluten-free) and afternoon coffee table from 108 euros per person (drumlerhof.com; wanderhotels.com/hotel/wanderhotel-drumlerhof).
Biologically optimized rooms with pine beds and regional cuisine based on products from controlled ecological production await the guests at “Hotel Mattlihüs” in Oberjoch in the Allgäu Alps. Only organic products are used in the spa, too. The double room with half board and afternoon snack for two people costs from 240 euros; in winter from 288 euros; the ski pass is included (mattlihues.de).
Im Biohotel “The Daberer” In the Gail Valley in southern Austria, cooking has been done in an ecologically correct manner – and has been doing so since 1978. In addition to organic products, the rooms, which are furnished with natural materials from wood to loden and felt, and a bioclimatic design in the family-run hotel ensure natural well-being. The double room with half board costs from 142 euros per person (biohotel-daberer.at).
That „Biohotel Grafenast“ in Schwaz above the Inntal is the first ecological CO2-neutral hotel in Tyrol ambitious. The rooms are equipped with natural materials such as larch wood, free from earth radiation and electrosmog and do not need a television or other radiation sources. The double room with half board costs from 126 euros per person (grafenast.at).
That „Chiene Huus“ in the Bernese Oberland relies on biological construction and the avoidance of electrosmog in the rooms and offers courses and retreats with a focus on yoga, Ayurveda and fasting. The predominantly vegetarian cuisine is based 70 percent on organic products from the region. The double room with full board costs from 366 francs for two people, the equivalent of around 340 euros (chienehuus.ch).
Participation in the trip was supported by the “Drumlerhof” hotel. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit.