Gradonna Mountain Resort, Kals: The Gradonna Effect
An interview with Thomas Krobath, who manages the Gradonna Mountain Resort in Kals at the foot of the Grossglockner together with Brigitte Berger. The 39-year-old tells us why there are no fireworks at Christmas, how to promote sustainability in such a large hotel and he explains the Gradonna effect.
Mr. Krobath, how did you get into the hotel business and where does your passion for the profession come from?
I grew up on the Turracher Höhe. But my parents ran the Glocknerhaus directly on the Hochalpenstraße for years. I spent a lot of time there and therefore feel strongly connected to the area. The fascination for international guests, different cultures and customs certainly comes from my family. It has always fascinated me to get to know this foreign world. I attended the tourism school in Bad Gleichenberg and then worked in Switzerland in Lucerne, on the Arlberg and in London. I also spent seven years on cruise ships, was deputy hotel manager there and travelled the whole world. The great thing about the job – the whole world can be your workplace.
You’ve been running the four-star superior resort since autumn 2017 together with Brigitte Berger. What makes the Gradonna so special?
When guests arrive, they immediately feel the Gradonna effect. To build the hotel only regional materials of the highest quality have been used. Local spruce and pine wood, linen, loden and Kalser marble give the resort an exclusive and at the same time down-to-earth touch. You immediately feel the light-heartedness and the relaxed atmosphere. Guests quickly feel relaxed. In addition here in Kals the nature is unbelievably untouched. There is absolute peace, there is no car traffic up here – we are at the entrance to the Hohe Tauern National Park. It is a real power place.
The topic of sustainability is also of great concern to you. How is this implemented in the hotel?
We are constantly improving ourselves in this area. We have just replaced the coffee machines in the rooms and chalets. Now we only use sustainable coffee pads. In our delicatessen shop in the hotel we are switching from PET bottles to glass bottles. We try to make as little rubbish as possible. In our kitchen, which has just conquered another Gault Millau toque, we use as many regional, fresh and high-quality products from the surrounding area as possible. We have game meat from our own hunting grounds, but also meat from our own agriculture, which we process in our butcher’s shop. In addition we have homemade jams and pesto. Because we are such a large hotel, even small changes can have an enormous effect.
The winter season is already in full swing. What can guests expect? Do you have a secret tip?
We already have a dreamlike winter landscape here. When you holiday at the Gradonna your choices are enormously versatile. You can pamper yourself in the wellness area with treatments from our own cosmetic product line named Magdalena’s, enjoy the culinary delights and of course do everything from skiing to ski touring, from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing. The Großglockner Resort Kals-Matrei, on the south side of the Glockner, is the largest ski resort in East Tyrol. This winter a new 6-seater chairlift will be put into operation. A little tip: Don’t miss the restaurant Adler Lounge at the mountain station. Up there you have a breathtaking panorama of sixty 3000m peaks.
What can you expect at Gradonna for Christmas and New Year?
We approach this time very calmly and traditionally, in keeping with the quiet natural scenery. We’ve never had a firework – and the guests don’t miss it. The stars from sparklers have the same effect and bring a glow to the eyes of our guests.