Gradonna Mountain Resort, Kals, Austria: sustainable by nature
Anyone visiting this place will discover nature at its most beautiful – at the Gradonna Mountain Resort Hotel and Chalets in Kals am Großglockner, nature and sustainability are simply a way of life.
The landscape flickers past rapidly before the train starts to slow down with a groan, as if it is reluctant to reduce its speed. We’ve arrived at the station in Lienz, and we grab our seven bags and step out onto the platform. A train journey like this has its advantages. Rather than putting your foot flat to the floor and racing off on holiday, it allows you to glide away in a leisurely fashion accompanied by a good book, happy conversation or simply your own thoughts. A friendly member of Gradonna staff is waiting to greet us at the station, and they drive us almost silently in a hybrid car to Kals, where the fresh, clean air almost overwhelms us – the resort is a car-free zone.
"We feel indebted to the power of the region and to sustainability",says Martha Schultz in response to the question as to why it was important to orient their corporate philosophy towards sustainability, regionality and nature-inspired architecture from the very beginning.
The multi-award-winning, car-free mountain resort at the gateway to the Hohe Tauern National Park is home to the hotel, 41 timber-frame chalets and 12 exclusive suites, and is guaranteed to delight nature enthusiasts – be it with the food and natural cosmetic products from local mountain farmers, carbon-neutral bio heat produced by its own wood pellet boiler, charging stations for electric cars and electric bikes, or its own fresh spring water sources.
Cheerful marmots and invigorating mountain air
Even during the construction of the resort, 85% of the total investment was spent within a 50-kilometre radius and invested in local materials. Furthermore, all of the timber buildings were built using wood from local forests, and the roofs of the chalets were planted with regional species, meaning the structures merge into the forest and can barely be seen from Kals.The architecture impresses with its clean lines, while materials such as spruce, arolla pine, linen, loden cloth and Kals marble bring nature into the interior. The view to the outside shows that wherever nature remains untouched, you’ll be able to see animals. During a guided hike with a ranger in the Hohe Tauern National Park, we encounter cheerful marmots, discover chamois and even spot a golden eagle.
Back at the resort, we indulge in a mountain fresh body peel that makes use of the hotel’s own line of vegan cosmetic products, Magdalena’s, which contain herbs from the Hohe Tauern National Park and pure mountain spring water with a balanced proportion of minerals. But the region doesn’t just get squeezed out of a tube – it’ll also land on your plate. From the breakfast buffet with East Tyrolean specialities to midday snacks and the à la carte evening menu or buffet of local delicacies – regional produce will be a treat for your taste buds all day long. At the end of the holiday, we jump into the natural bathing pool one last time and soak up the panoramic mountain. By the way, the bathing pool in the garden is heated using solar energy as well.