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Schloss Velden in Austria Reopens Under
Horst Schulze's Capella Hotel Brand

By Andreas Augustin, Austria, 28 May 2007
 
It is always a great moment when one of the sleeping beauties, dormant Select Members of The Most Famous Hotels in the World, wake up again. Horst Schulze, the former COO of Ritz-Carlton who is far too busy to consider retiring, is the architect of the latest awakening. A luxury brand called Capella Hotels is his new Rolls Royce, driven by dedicated service and a love of details. On Monday, 28 June, Schloss (Castle) Velden in Austria was reopened by one of the last true hoteliers in the world.

Does anybody in Austria realize that there is one of the greatest hospitality philosophers working among them? Over the past years there had been rumours about Horst Schulze, who was quietly planning a new luxury hotel chain. This week he kissed a sleeping beauty. The fairy-tale romantic Castle of the small city of Velden at the Lake Woerth (Schloss Velden, Woerthsee) in Austria is now A Capella Hotel. The man who grew Ritz-Carlton from a one-hotel operation to a company with 40 properties, is again on his way to shaking up our usual way of thinking. On Monday we were all treated to champagne, oysters, goose-liver, the house-beer Schlossbräu and hours of generous hospitality. 
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The philosopher and his general: Horst Schulze and his General Manager of Schloss Velden: Henning Reichel (right) at the opening ceremony. Photograph: Martin Rauchenwald

The orange-yellow castle of Velden in Austria has been revived as a luxury hotel, the modern marina and its trendy restaurant are its latest additions.

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The good news in brief: 

Schloss Velden (the V is pronounced as in ‘fell’, not ‘Vail’ ) overlooks the scenic Woerthsee, or “Lake Woerth”, famous for its distinctive transparent blue-green color. The lake is the largest of the Alpine lakes in the Carinthian region of southern Austria, and has inspired writers, from Somerset Maugham to Ian Flemming, musicians from Brahms to Mahler. 
 
It was not before the 1870s that Lake Woerth firmly established itself as a tourist destination. Hotels provided new means of income. Families like the Moro, Ulbing, Wrann and Bachmayer were among the first to offer accommodation. 

In 1881 a devastating fire destroyed most of the village of Velden. The Veldeners rebuilt their village with light, pretty architecture. In 1890 the Viennese industrialist Ernst Wahliss bought the remains of the castle of Velden and rebuilt it following old views of the original castle. Four towers and three floors were added. First he christened it Etablissement Wahliss, later it became commonly known as Hotel Schloss Velden.
 
Today nicknamed ’Monte Carlo’ of Austria, Velden features a fully licensed Casino, a remarkable collection of fine dining restaurants, access to four-season attractions ranging from extraordinary skiing to Alpine hiking, golf, boating, swimming, horseback riding and - yes! - shopping. And Italy is a short drive across the border. 

The hotel, a former castle dating back to 1590, has a history of over 100 years as one of the most famous hotels of Europe. Between 1891 and 1991 it was a legendary hotel, home to stars and stories (to be published by The Most Famous Hotels in the World® this September). 

After closure it was bought by German millionaire Gunther Sachs and - in due course - sold to the successful KHBAG (Kärntner Holding Beteiligungs-AG), the development daughter of the Austrian Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG, who invested into the hotel’s renovation and expansion to a 105 rooms property a sum in excess of Euro 100m. 

New extensions among hundred years old trees in the park of the castle (view of the facade facing East, at the ground floor you can see the fitness gallery). The celebrated architectural team Jabornegg & Pálffy planned the hotel expansion and residences (apartments are sold separately).

Hypo Alpe Adria boss Wolfgang Kulterer put two driving forces into charge: Kurt Mahnert, manager of the Schlosshotel Velden company, and formerly Hong Kong based hotelier Willi Kollmann, to develop the project. 

Kollmann found Horst Schulze to take over the management at a point when Schulze was seeking fitting properties to take them under the wings of his new management company. 

The new company is called Capella, after a white double-star, representing ‘the dual relationship and intimacy between hotel and guest’. Capella is the 6th brightest star in the sky. And it’s about 6-stars that Horst Schulze is dreaming, thinking and doing. 

Schloss Velden has 105 suites, a trendy lake-side all day restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, the largest and clearly the latest MICE facilities of the region.

A 3500 sqm Spa offers treatment rooms, salt aroma steam room, a Finnish sauna and a chill-out room with real snow, falling all year round (there are only three in the world, one of them in Dubai). And, yes, there is this 16.5 km long lake with drinking water quality right in front of the hotel. 
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The hotel around 1900

The snowroom of the spa is unique. It is a healthy experience to inhale the cold air after the sauna.


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The hotel sports the best marina at the lake, top class facilities with beach, heated outdoor and indoor pools, cabanas for undisturbed privacy at the lake (all equipped with 55-inch flat screens offering 50 TV programmes, from CNN to Chinese news). 

A 185 square meter fitness studio offers a scenic view of Lake Woerth (Woerthsee) as you exercise. 

Henning Reichel - former resident manager at Germany’s Brenner’s Park, spa legend and Select Member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World, is at the helm of the historic hotel. 

Weeks of intensive training produced a wonderful team of highly inspired and truly caring people. This will catapult the region into new dimensions of hospitality. 

On Sunday, 27 May, the hotel was opened to the public for the first time in over 15 years. 7800 (yes, seven thousand ...) people marched on a red carpet through the public areas of the hotel, gasping at the sights of its stunning 400 years old walls, sparkling in new luxury. On Monday, 28 May, the hotel welcomed a select group of 300 invited guests for its official launch. 

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Contact:

The Most Famous Hotels in the World
Glasauergasse 36
1130 Vienna
Austria (Europe)
www.famoushotels.org

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Also See: In the Shadow of the Great Pyramid - The Mena House Legend / Andreas Augustin / December 2006
RAL Companies Selects Capella Hotels and Resorts to Operate a 148 unit Hotel and Residentail Property in Telluride, Colorado / November 2006
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