Considered la crème de la crème when it comes to luxury lodgings in the Italian Alps, the family Rainer-Schölzhorn have worked hard to create unforgettable experiences for all those who visit. What started with the Berghotel, right next to the Ratschings-Jaufen skiing and hiking area, gradually evolved into the stunning property portfolio that it is today.
Boasting a guesthouse, apartments, a chalet and, of course, the ultra luxe Tenne Lodges, guests of the Rainer-Schölzhorn can expect something fantastic every time they visit South Tyrol.
With the founders’ children growing up around the hotel, it felt only natural for son Daniel Schölzhorn to join the family business and continue with their fantastic legacy.
Now Executive Manager, Daniel Schölzhorn speaks to FOUR about the latest addition to the hotel, the 5* Tenne Lodges.
Tell us a bit about the history of Tenne Lodges and what inspired its opening…
For a long time, my mother has been looking for an architect to create a truly innovative five-star hotel. When she found Martin Gruber, it felt like the two of them spoke the same language and had the same vision. This is when the idea for Tenne Lodges was born, where intricate design elements meet South Tyrolean history and culture.
The region’s typical materials such as wood and silver quartzite were used in innovative ways to create something truly new in the area: lodges that offer the luxury of a 5-star hotel and represent parts of the region’s cultural heritage at the same time. All lodges are furnished with kitchenettes because the idea is to provide the guests with everything they need, then additionally we have a small gourmet restaurant in the house.
When our family met chef Mike Bräutigam, who had already cooked in many Michelin star restaurants, we decided to bring our love for fine cuisine to Tenne Lodges full time – from rich breakfast choices, intricate lunch specials to amazing dinners. Thanks to Mike Bräutigam the culinary delicacies of the hotel have become a highlight and one of many reasons why our guests return.
How did you find your way into hospitality management?
I grew up in Berghotel Ratschings – a four-star hotel that my mother has been running with my uncle and grandfather. Spending time with our guests soon turned into a normal childhood experience for me. Going on guided hiking tours with my uncle and our guests was a typical summer activity as well as helping out my mother watering the flowers on the terrace. Of course, soon I started to do more in the hotel, especially when the family later acquired a neighbouring hotel and turned it into the Wellness-Sporthotel. I liked working in the family business and I always loved creating unique experiences for our guests – many of whom had already turned into friends. During my adolescence the wish to have my own hotel or restaurant became stronger and stronger. In order to get more experience outside of South Tyrol I spent some time working in restaurants in London and at the Michelin star restaurant Überfahrt at Tegernsee. Amazing experiences that helped me grow professionally and personally. Managing Tenne Lodges is a unique opportunity and every day I learn more about the hospitality industry that still excites me and shaped my personality over the past 25 years.
Can you describe the hotel’s design and concept and the influence behind its aesthetic?
Elegant, free and archaic were the words that inspired the hotel’s design and concept. The lodges do have a loft character with a bed in the middle of the room facing the sun, semi-open showers, a dark dining area that resembles the old South Tyrolean ‘Stubn’ (dining and living room) – all built in high-class materials. We wanted everything to be unique, from the wall that is constructed completely with silver quartzite from the neighbouring valley, to the wooden tiles covering the hotels roof and the infinity-pool walls.
What makes the hotel so special in your opinion?
We really care about the details. Sure, the design of the hotel still amazes me and our head chef creates 12 to 14 extraordinary new dishes every single evening but what makes us stand out are the little things. My staff and I create unique and unforgettable experiences for our guests, from wine tasting in our beautiful wine cellar, to a morning hike to a mountain cottage with breakfast while enjoying the sunrise, to wedding ceremonies in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. I am convinced that these unique experiences are what make our hotel truly special to our guests. Additionally, they continuously tell us that they feel like coming home when arriving at Tenne Lodges – I think that’s an accomplishment that our team and I can be very proud of.
Can you tell us about your favourite highlights of the hotel, including accommodation, facilities and amenities?
I simply love wine, all about it: tasting it, talking about it, choosing new wines for our wine list, recommending the perfect combinations between wine and food, or exploring new wine regions. I’m proud of the wines we already display in our bar area in an especially crafted wine closet and I’m especially appreciative of our wine cellar that I helped designing and building with our stonemason.
Additionally, I enjoy the culinary delights my head chef Mike Bräutigam creates. He not only loves creating fascinating dishes from local produce and a mix of traditional recipes and postmodern nuances, but he also has great ideas of how to present the dishes in the most elegant and extraordinary way. Quite often we search for specific types of wood in the forest or other natural materials in the surroundings, in order to satisfy Mike’s aesthetic needs. This allows for truly marvellous dishes we offer throughout the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
We have our own spring water that is used in the entire house for drinking, cooking and even in our infinity pool. Our barkeeper Klaus must have been sent from heaven – his cocktails are legendary and it’s simply wonderful to see how our guests enjoy his creations. Generally, I admire the quest for excellence in my team from the reception team to housekeeping – I’m grateful that I can work with such dedicated people. This dedication also shows in the ideas my team comes up with, an example is the new Phyto Art massages and treatments our wellness team just introduced – the philosophy and treatment process as well as the products have been developed in our region, South Tyrol.
What do you think is the most important thing for guests when they book accommodation and how do you factor this into the Tenne Lodges experience?
I think our guests are looking for an extraordinary experience. They expect the high standard in culinary offerings and hospitality they are used to from our region South Tyrol.
They then are positively surprised by arriving at an elegant hotel that offers them a little extra, directly next to the ski slopes in winter and the hiking area in summer.
What differentiates us from other 5-star hotels is that thanks to our young and ‘easy-going’ team we developed a more casual style, that is very personable and approachable but still professional and attentive.
Have you seen a difference in what guests are looking for from their travel/hospitality experience over the years?
Of course, many things have changed especially in the process of how guests make a reservation, compare prices and communicate with us, even the length of their stay has changed. It’s definitely a continuous process of adapting to new technological possibilities and the continuous change of customer needs. What I love about the hospitality industry is that it never stands still, there are always new innovations, new ideas and new things happening. In my opinion, guests look more and more for unique experiences in extraordinary places and lots of flexibility from our side.
Additionally, we notice that our guests highly appreciate our focus on sustainability and our partnerships with local producers. It’s nice to know that you’re staying at a hotel that actually knows the people it buys its food from in person and cares about the environment it operates in. I’m glad that this focus on buying from local farmers and taking care of nature will be industry standard soon.
What do you think will leave the biggest impression on guests who visit Tenne Lodges?
I think it depends on the type of person you are. Wine connoisseurs won’t forget the wine cellar while cocktail lovers might still dream about our barkeeper’s creations. Mike Bräutigams À la carte evening menu is also always a hit as it offers our guests a vaster choice to a standard menu and it includes some extraordinary delights.
When I read our reviews, I notice that even though the design of the hotel is very appreciated, the friendliness and kindness of our staff leaves the biggest impression. People always matter the most in my opinion.
Any upcoming developments that visitors can look forward to?
In our Tenne Chalets, we will soon start silver quartzite treatments in collaboration with an expert in this field: exclusive retreat weeks for regeneration and relaxation. Additionally, we are in the midst of planning our own herb garden as well as our little fish farm in order to provide our guests with high quality fish. Fishing in the local rivers has always been a hobby of mine and cultivating fish ourselves will be an exciting new learning opportunity.
Find out more about Tenne Lodges and their fabulous offerings at www.tenne-suedtirol.com