With hundreds of eco-certifications and greenwashing rife in tourism. Behind the Green takes it back to BASICS. Back to storytelling and human connection. Meet the visionaries and inspiring teams behind the world’s leading sustainable and regenerative travel experiences.
Meet owner Klaus, his wife Manuela, and kids Emma and Willi, all enjoying the pristine lake nestled on the banks of their 23-room sustainable hotel in South Tyrol, Italy.
Proud to be named the smallest 4-star hotel in South Tyrol, it’s a happy, quiet place. Providing guest experiences inspired by the way they like to spend their own holidays, this family has a big heart for nature and well-being.
Learn more about Weihrerhof, one of Italy’s best sustainable hotels here.
Which eco-practice are you most proud of to date?
“I would have to say first and foremost our very own, certified organic BergSea products. BergSea is our personal line that incorporates a lot of the beautiful things we can find in the forest and meadows around the lake. Or in the lake itself! Promoting healthy skin, guests can enjoy BergSea in both their room and in the Spa.
We are so proud that BergSea is made from ingredients found in our very surroundings, for example the water from the lake, the hay, chestnuts, and stone pine. Made with 100% recycled plastic we also save on packaging by simply eliminating it entirely.”
Which areas of sustainability and regeneration would you like to evolve in 2022 and beyond?
“One of our 2022 goals is to engage more guests into the ’refill your bottle’ programme. This is really important to reduce and eliminate the use of plastic bottles. It’s a really important step to reduce littering in the surrounding area too.
Another important evolution for our hotel is the change to our menu. We want to offer far more vegetarian options to inspire guests.
As well as reduce portion sizes to help reduce food waste, and review every aspect of our supply chain. We would like everything to be sourced locally from South Tyrol.”
Can you tell us more about the 3 hectares of meadows and 7 hectares of forest at your sustainable hotel in Italy?
“Yes I’d love to! What happens when you refuse to add fertiliser or chemicals to a piece of land and simply give it back to nature? Well, a whole host of beautiful species start thriving.
By simply letting these meadows and forests rewild for the past 20 years we have seen a transformation occur. This natural approach has been instrumental to the incredible water quality of the lake.
It’s the perfect place for wild swimming, it’s all possible because we don’t use fertiliser. Excess fertiliser runoff contributes to aquatic dead zones and brings pollution.
By working with nature, not against it, we benefit through our well-being and health.”
Regarding the pristine lake on your doorstep, is the water quality really one of the best in Italy?
“Yes. Some describe the lake to be of drinkable quality. The lake water is tested every two weeks by the province of Bolzano.
We support the protection of the water quality by not fertilising the land, and avoiding the use of essential oils in the saunas. If guests went for a swim after a massage, covered in oil, this would negatively impact the water quality here.”
As the owner, what do you see as the most challenging aspect of running a genuine sustainable hotel?
“It is always a challenge to find a balance between being sustainable and providing maximum comfort to our guests. Rather than seeing this perfect balance as a target or goal, it’s best to see it as an ever-evolving journey.
It’s important that every guest feels comfortable, relaxed and can forget about their everyday worries when staying here. Balancing this all with staying true to our ethics and values is essential. Sharing with our guests our sustainablity ethos and eco-conscious lifestyle is designed to inspire them long after they leave us and return home.”
What’s the best way for guests to get on board, reduce their impact and become a part of the bigger picture?
“The Weihrerhof hotel is without doubt the perfect destination for those eco-conscious travellers who want to ditch the car. We are very well connected with public transportation here. Our guests can use public transport for FREE during their stay.
It’s a great way to lower their carbon footprint, reduce pollution, traffic noise and help us maintain good air quality in the area. Using peddle and people power, through hiking and biking to get around, or train or bus for further afield; is one of the simplest things our guests can do to help the local environment.”
What’s next for Weihrerhof hotel?
“What’s next… We will keep moving forward, innovating and improving every aspect of our sustainable and regenerative approach. Most importantly, to continue to enjoy what we are doing here as a family. Striking a balance between giving our guests an unforgettable holiday experience, whilst giving back to nature by treating it well. I hope more people will look to an eco-friendly holiday in 2022 and beyond.”