How a dream of an eco-friendly hotel became a lifetime achievement

Legend has it that when God distributed scenic beauty, the Oetz Valley in Austria (Oetztal) queued up twice. Austria’s highest mountain, the Wildspitze, is located in the Oetztal, as is the largest glacial area in the eastern alps, the highest inhabited hamlet in Austria, and the Stuibanfall, the biggest waterfall in the country. I could add many more attractions to this list, but I want to talk about a green pearl we found there, the eco-friendly Naturhotel Waldklause.

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We are meeting Johannes Auer, Junior Manager of the hotel. The moment we pull up and take a first look at this resort, we know we are going to love this place. It is modern, contemporary, built with lots of wood and it just has this natural, welcoming atmosphere about it. Johannes welcomes us and while he gives us a tour he tells us about the fascinating history of this green hotel. In the beginning there was a small camp site just yards from where the eco-friendly hotel is today. People would come from afar and put up their tents and install their caravans to enjoy the breathtaking view onto the stunning mountains. In the 70s traveller’s habits changed and they didn’t just stay for summer health, they also came in winter. As the number of guests grew, so did the need for catering, gastronomically speaking.


In 1988 The Auer family built the restaurant Waldklause, which tragically burnt down to the ground five years later. The Auer family did not let this calamity get them down: only five months later they opened the “Pizzeria Waldklause”. It was a more beautiful and bigger eatery, with outstanding cuisine, its reputation reaching far beyond the boarders of the Oetztal and Tyrol. By now, current owners Edmund and Irene Auer took over the running of the restaurant, and began to formulate their dream – to create a resort that is a peaceful haven in full harmony with nature.


The impetus to turn their dream into a reality was the building of a thermal spa in nearby Längenfeld. Together with friend and architect Markus Kastl and management consultant and brother-in-law Josef Knabl, the Auers began to work on their project of a lifetime: constructing a green hotel in Oetztal. In 2004 it was done, their dream of wood, glass and stone had beome real: Naturhotel Waldklause.

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In the mean time, we have now arrived in kitchen. We’ve visited the spa area, which left us green with envy for not being able to just stay and relax, and we inspected the beautifully appointed rooms. Now it’s down to business in the heart of the hotel, where chef Patrik Schmidt creates tasty miracles made of local produce and freshly picked herbs. Regional as well as international dishes are presented on the menu, and since 2011 the Naturhotel Waldklause features what they call “innovital cuisine”: creating dishes for healthy eating while cleansing the body of unwanted and long stored toxins.

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To unwind on a spa weekend, have fun on a green skiing holiday and for a relaxing summer holiday in an eco-friendly hotel with charm, style and a unique atmosphere, we recommend the Naturhotel Waldklause from the bottom of our hearts.