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Parkhotel Holzner

Promenading on a sea level of 1,220 metres. Immersing in the classy flair of 1908. Surrounded by Art Nouveau originals. The Parkhotel Holzner in Soprabolzano.

Soprabolzano, Rittnerbahn, Renon, summer holidays, Art Nouveau, original furniture, reading room, family hotel, Parkhotel Holzner, Monika Holzner, Wolfgang Holzner

Hosts Monika and Wolfgang Holzner on rattan chairs made in 1908. In the light-flooded reading room of Parkhotel Holzner, they talk about promenading on the Altopiano del Renon, an epiphany at the Panhans Hotel south of Vienna, and Mitzi the treasure guardian.

Historic: What is the best way to become immersed in the vintage flair of Parkhotel Holzner?

Monika and Wolfgang Holzner
Hosts at the Parkhotel Holzner

Monika Holzner: Just be. Be here in the building, enjoy the rooms. This bright, sun-flooded reading room, for example. It is basically unchanged, still as it was.

Wolfgang Holzner: The original furniture is what makes our hotel special. Our 250 original lamps dispersed across the building alone make for complete immersion in the Art Nouveau era. Another thing that would bring back the old days is to go promenading on the Altopiano del Renon¾you won’t be able to do that anywhere else in Central Europe on this sea level.



Where is the furniture from?

Wolfgang Holzner: The well-known Meran architecture and engineering bureau Musch & Lun built the hotel in 1908 on commission by the Rittnerbahn corporation. Musch & Lun even had their own cabinet makers and produced many pieces inhouse, such as all the furniture in the rooms. Selected pieces from Vienna were added, such as the Thonet chairs in the dining hall and the Art Nouveau lamps.

Surrounded by Art Nouveau originals. The Parkhotel Holzner in Soprabolzano.

Who were the first guests at what was then called Hotel Oberbozen?

Wolfgang Holzner: They were mostly Viennese. There was a direct train service from Vienna to Bolzano. Rittnerbahn had just built the first rack railway up here to Soprabolzano from Bolzano, which made the place an option for tourists in the first place. It started in downtown Bolzano, on Waltherplatz, as a tram, so passengers could switch onto the Rittnerbahn right at the station. It then ran along the entire Rittner Straße and ended at what is today the bottom station of the funicular. They then latched onto a rack-and-pinion engine that pushed the tram uphill.

Monika Holzner: Whenever the train didn’t run for some reason, the Renon boys came down to the valley and carried the ladies up.

Wolfgang Holzner: They actually improvised for a while in the early days when there were problems with the direct current, hauling what they could and using frame rucksacks.

Why would a railway company build a hotel like this at all?

Wolgang Holzner: Investors from Bolzano, Innsbruck, and Vienna smelled a chance for good business.

Monika Holzner: The hotel was one of the first buildings in the village. Before, there was nothing but a few farmyards and a couple of summer houses in the Maria Assunta district owned by wealthy merchant families from Bolzano. They were not pleased about the new hotel.

Wolgang Holzner: The writer Hans von Hoffensthal, who was born here in 1877, even wrote a wistful text entitled ‘Farewell to Soprabolzano’, when the hotel and the railway were launched. He was sure mass tourism would come upon us.

And how did your family end up owning the hotel?

Wolfgang Holzner: An important figure in those days was the Merano-based judge, politician, South Tyrolian tourism pioneer, and founder of the Association for Alpine Hotels in the Tyrol, Theodor Christomannos. Knowing my great-grandfather as a fellow Meranian with experience in the hotel business, he must have recommended him as manager of the Oberbozen. Three years later, in 1911, the corporation sold the hotel to him.

»The original furniture is what makes our hotel special. It makes for complete immersion in the Art Nouveau era.«

Wolfgang Holzner
Hosts at the Parkhotel Holzner

Parkhotel Holzner

Up goes the hill over venturous serpentines or inside an elegantly floating cable car: 1,200 meters above sea level, the Parkhotel Holzner sits proudly above the South Tyrolian capitol, offering amazing views onto vast skies, woods and willows, lovely hills, and craggy mountaintops.

Parkhotel Holzner

»Our target audience is families as a whole, from the smallest kids to the grandparents. That’s what makes our hotel so charming: how lively it is.«

Monika Holzner
Hostess at the Parkhotel Holzner

How come both the building and the furniture survived the wars almost intact?

Wolfgang Holzner: We have to thank my Great grandmother Mitzi for that. During the wars, the hotel was used as a military kitchen. Usually when this happens everything is gone afterwards. But Mitzi was a very attentive landlady. She made sure everything was safe: the furniture, the lamps, the linen.

Monika Holzner: Mitzi must have been quite a unique personality who radiated a certain authority. Once a week, she took the Rittnerbahn to run errands in Bolzano. The train would not leave before Mitzi came on board. Never mind the schedule!

What happened after World War II?

Monika Holzner: In the 1960s and 1970s the lamps and terrazzo floors were completely covered. Art Nouveau was still associated with hard times, nobody wanted to see that.

Wolfgang Holzner: The fact that everything remained intact is my parents’ lives’ work. My father started to run the place as a bed and breakfast in 1969, my mother joined in 1974. The building was all but a ruin by then, everybody told them to sell it. But then they had an epiphany: During a trip to Hotel Panhans on the Semmering, they discovered some furniture in the lobby, all beautifully lit and labelled with plaques. My mother said, ‘Hansi, our cellar is full of furniture like this!’ They realised how invaluable those pieces were and dug them out again.

Isn’t it unusual for a hotel of this history to be as family-oriented as yours is?

Wolfgang Holzner: That’s also my parents’ merit. We were six children, and there was no supply of hotels for families at all in the southern Alps region back then. My father and some fellow entrepreneurs understood this and established Family Hotels South Tyrol. Today the association includes 25 places. Many have a strong focus on children, but our target audience is families as a whole, from the smallest kids to the grandparents. Right now, we have many large families here. That’s 15 or 20 people joined together at one table.

Monika Holzner: Some of them are patchwork families in all kinds of combinations¾you know how families are today. That’s what makes our hotel so charming: how lively it is. The holiday tradition is handed down to the next generation with subtle changes every time.

Wolfgang Holzner: When you liked a place as a child, you will come back again and again.

Monika and Wolfgang Holzner
Hosts at the Parkhotel Holzner

Parkhotel Holzner
Via del Paese 18
39054 Soprabolzano, South Tyrol
+39 0471 345 231


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