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10 good reasons to be a regular guest in Ötztal

Why are we always attracted to the same place, valley or even accommodation? Why do we swap our home for a second one for a few days or weeks? And sometimes stay true to our holiday destination for life? Our author knows the reasons for this phenomenon: she was and still is a regular guest in Ötztal's family-run accommodations of all kinds, for a long time and every year.

Sölden Walweg

1. Finding the new in the familiar

I know many trails and quaint huts. I'm familiar with most of them, and that's exactly why I keep coming back. Because I don't have to spend a lot of time working out exciting places and how to get to them - as I do when traveling to new destinations - but I just have to effortlessly follow my memory. Nevertheless, there is always something new to discover. I follow insider tips from locals and guests. But I maintain my rituals. Like the walk to my favorite hut, the hike up to the summit with the best view, the visit to the little angel with the cute face in the mountain church.

Hochoetz Bielefelder hut

2. Cultivating friendships and rituals

I already know where to enjoy the best apple strudel, where it's most comfortable to drink a small beer called "Pfiff" (whistle - 0.2 l) or when and where which music is played. "Hello, back again?" or more recently: "Did you get through the pandemic well?" The welcome back is correspondingly warm. Favorite places, favorite people. Rediscovering both is part of my personal holiday happiness, it stands for a gentle massage of my soul.

3. Being part of the regular guest community

The percentage of regular guests is unusually high in Ötztal. Anyone who went hiking or skiing here together with the parents as a child usually returns as an adult with the family – across several generations. The connection between locals and visitors is strengthened by regular guest meetings. Embedded in a colorful side program, "returners" are honored in a ceremony.

Gurgl Kirchenkar hut

4. Experience community also symbolically

As an expression of strong solidarity, a 450 meter long iron chain has been stretching up the rocky slope of old Burgsteiner Straße near Längenfeld since 2004. Provided with small badges featuring the engraved names of all regular guests and their places of origin. "The chain links symbolize the strong bond between us and our guests," explains Ewald Schmid, inventor of the chain and Längenfeld's former tourism board director. And not only a few guests walk to this chain every time they stay in Ötztal just to make sure that their name tag is still there.

Dirndl Ötztal

5. Feeling boundless connectedness

Regular guests were also invited to Oetz every four years until the beginning of the pandemic, and tourism professionals and innkeepers regularly visited the main places of origin of their guests. "Around 700 regular guests accepted the last invitation to Oetz in 2019," reports Christoph Rauch, Destination Manager of Lower Ötztal. "We organized hikes and visits, evenings at lake Piburger See and in the big marquee." I joined such meetings a couple of times, both in Oetz and in Hamburg where I live. In contrast to some female Ötztal fans, however, without wearing a dirndl.

6. Finding friends for life

I have often exchanged ideas with other regular guests about why we feel so magically attracted to Ötztal in addition to the varied landscape, the huge range of sports and the deeply rooted traditions. The answer is always the same: "Because we quickly connect with the locals." Many friendships for life have already been made here, with mutual visits. "I never felt like a tourist here," a holidaymaker told me recently, "but as a friend." That's exactly what hospitality means.

Ötztal local heritage museum

7. Embedded in traditions

Hospitality has been cultivated here since the priest Franz Senn made the beauty of the mountains accessible to everyone by building trails and mountain huts in the 19th century, since the first "foreigners" came to spend the summer in the valley. In Ötztal, this flexible term is not just an empty phrase. Entries in guest books bear witness to this fact. Or the Facebook entry of the Ötztal Museums: "Time for a little tourism nostalgia: memories of a holiday in Obergurgl in 1974. We would like to thank the Karthaus family in Düsseldorf, who regularly shares with us their decades-spanning holiday memories of Ötztal."

8. Enjoying hospitality at eye level

In order to make it as comfortable as possible for these "foreigners", water was already brought into the rooms for warm baths in the former post office. "Today, hospitality means treating our guest as equals," says Philipp Haid, who runs Posthotel Kassl together with his brother Tobias: a building with fabulous historic façades and a recently renovated interior. The way to the heart is through the stomach - Philipp's sister Alex and the kitchen team focus on regional roots, on original recipes, "using all parts of the animal from head to tail". Scenic Posthotel Kassl invites regular visitors to its private regular guest week. Hospitality is probably in their genes, inherited from their parents Waltraud and Anton Haid. The senior bosses are still involved in the sideline today.

Posthotel Kassl
Johannes Hotel Bergwelt Längenfeld

9. Belonging to the family

As well Hotel Bergwelt in Längenfeld is a family-run accommodation. Johannes Grüner, head of the hotel, also has a high percentage of regular guests. "Our software is the lifeblood with which we run the hotel. Be it employees or guests – everyone is part of the family." Johannes is always on site: "We all sit in the bar area. We are happy to invite guests to do so and ask how their day was. And it automatically creates an interaction." Today's regular guests are different from his parents' generation: "They are more independent and want to organize their day accordingly, without guided hikes or big programs".

Gastgeber Pirpamer Vent

10. Exploring the mountains in good company

The three generation Pirpamer-Moser family at Hotel Post in Vent is also close to the guest. "The well-being of our guests is also directly related to the environment, the mountains, nature," states Caroline Moser, who runs the hotel together with her husband Gerhard. "We often hear that our guests feel like they have a second home here with us." The previous generations, Caroline's parents Adolfine and Luis Pirpamer, made a significant contribution to this development. Many regular guests have climbed their first three thousand meter high mountain together with the legendary mountain guide. Tours are still offered today - on snowshoes in winter. "Additionally, the in-house Alpinclub Similaun offers the great opportunity to explore nature together in a safe way." The secret of the high number of regular guests: "With our own authentic enthusiasm, we can easily introduce our guests to the natural paradise in which we live."

Dagmar Gehm

Guest Author Dagmar Gehm

The renowned journalist and sporty globetrotter from Hamburg has a great passion for the Ötztal and its manifold contrasts and activities:

  • Action – Isolation
  • Thrill of speed – Peace and relaxation
  • Ancient rituals – Trendy hot spots