The Hotel Bergland and its founders
The story behind
People are always at the center of our actions. We live the hospitality of our founders with heart and soul and continue it in a modern way. We look forward to welcoming you with us!
Elisabeth & Sigi
How it all began ...
On 10 August 1916, a son is born to the married master bakers Jakob and Stefanie Falkner in Sölden. He is baptised with the name Johann Jakob Falkner – known as Buggls Hans.
As the eldest of ten children, Hans develops his own approach to life and often puts his father’s nerves to the test. He also learns an economical way of living from him, however, and, even in his early years, the lad proves himself to be unconventional and far-sighted.
Almost ten years later, on 16 April 1926, there is exuberant joy in Zwieselstein when a little girl is born to the married couple Valentin and Notburga Gstrein, the landlord and landlady of Gasthof Post. They have her baptised Margarete. As the third of four children, Margret has a sheltered life growing up in Zwieselstein.
As the first-born son of a master baker, Hans is also meant to become a baker, of course, to continue managing his parents’ business. But this doesn’t really give him much pleasure. The price of flour is controlled, people don’t stop by for a chat and the beloved wine is missing, too. One day, 14 year old Hans is meant to go to see a cow up for sale and returns with five purchased animals, to his father’s great anger. But he enjoys his side job as a cattle trader and demonstrates great talent for it.
After the death of his father during the Second World War, Hans is allowed to return from the front to Sölden, to take care of the family with his mother, Stefanie.
When the only ski lift in Sölden goes bankrupt in 1948, Hans takes it over. To keep the peace within the municipality, he involves two more families, laying the foundations for today’s cable car empire. The friends Hans Falkner, Hermann Gurschler and Martin Riml, also known as “the three hussars”, demonstrate entrepreneurial skills and a special gift for improvisation at the beginning of Tyrol’s tourism wonder. For instance, coal from their own business is exchanged for cement to be able to build a lift, and the engine of a discarded tank serves as a drive unit. In 1955, they found the Seilbahnen Sölden-Hochsölden ski lift company. Although Buggls Hans lives his whole life according to Churchill’s motto “No sports”, he realises his vision of winter tourism in Sölden.
1948 also sees the opening of Café Bergland by Hans and his brother Dr. Valentin Falkner. The small inn, which has no accommodation facilities at first, gradually becomes one of the leading hotels in the aspiring winter sports metropolis of Sölden. The historical Bergland is the first hotel in the municipality to have an indoor swimming pool, for example.
The meetings of the three partners often last a long time. The official part is usually short and unanimous, but the follow-up meetings in the restaurant frequently seem to have no end.
Hans is never short of ideas. In 1972 he proposes to build a road up to the glacier in order to make skiing on the glacier possible. Here, once again, his long friendship with Regional Governor Eduard Wallnöfer – with whom he shares a passion for fine wine – is of benefit when it comes to realising this ambitious plan. Wallnöfer approves of the idea with the words: "Hans, make a start. One way or another we'll get it done." He would be true to his word.
Hans also proves to be persistent with women. It’s not love at first sight for Margret, but Hans doesn’t give up and shows up in the restaurant in Zwieselstein increasingly often. The actual reason for his visits is not immediately apparent, so Hans and the landlord Valentin first have a few glasses at the restaurant table before Hans looks around for the pretty daughter. At last, he’s rewarded for his courting and Margret says yes.
The two are very different, but complement each other magnificently. They both have a passion for playing cards in good company, for example. Margret likes to go hiking and is always given “permission” for this from her husband.
The wedding takes place on 19 June 1956 in the parish church in Sölden. The wedding feast is then celebrated in Hotel Bergland.
Margret gives birth to four children: Michael (*1955), Jakob (*1956), Angelika (*1959) and Elisabeth (*1966). While the mother becomes the haven of calm in the family, Hans is a strict, but also proud and generous father.
The portly Hans simply can’t resist Margret’s good home cooking. Although he travels to take a cure by the Baltic Sea every year to fast for 14 days and lose excess kilos, his diet plans are quickly put on ice again after his return.
Short outings on his bicycle help him to keep in shape – if Margret’s delicious meals weren’t waiting for him at home…
Four Children – Four Stories
Michael Falkner (*1955)
Interior minister of the family, dolce vita man and "favourite son". Attended boarding school in Feldkirch during which time his father Hans would often say to him: "Remember, Michael, only spend the money you have." But, despite his father's words of wisdom, he was often short of money and would ask his mother for help. "Mike" has now been running the Fleischhof Oberland farm (founded by his father in 1969) since 1973. He is the chairman of the Ötztal Classic Car Club, is married to his second wife and has three daughters.
Jakob Falkner (*1956)
Known as "Jack since his school days, Jakob is the foreign minister of the family. He is a freedom-loving bachelor with a flat in the Hotel Central (owned by his sister Angelika). From his father he inherited a passion for newspapers and travelling, as well as vision and determination. After his schooling at the Gymnasium Paulinum in Schwaz, Jack worked for the Bergbahnen Sölden ski resort and is today the co-owner and manager of the resort. One of his favourite mantras is: "Tourism never stands still."
Angelika Falkner (*1959)
"Geli", as she is known to the family, likes to sleep in and was famous as a child for missing the school bus to Längenfeld. Nevertheless, she is determined and after completing her schooling at the Villa Blanka hotel school she worked as a volunteer and completed several internships in Austria and beyond. Today Geli is the manager of the five-star hotel in Sölden, "Das Central", which was opened by the Falkner, Riml and Gurschler families in 1969.
Elisabeth Falkner (*1966)
"Lilli" is the youngest of the family and a shopping queen. After completing her schooling in Innsbruck she did internships in places including New York and Italy before joining the team at the Hotel Central in 1989. She worked a reception for a few years and then switched to marketing, with a particular focus on events. It was to prove a good preparation for the task which would await her a few years later...
What you least expect is what often happens...
At Herbert Gurschler’s wedding in 1998, Elisabeth meets the nature lover Sigi Grüner. After growing up on a small sheep farm in the locality of Plör, he spends the first twenty years of his life far away from the centre of Sölden, skiing and mountain biking. At the age of 16, he begins a carpentry apprenticeship, and at 20 he takes the opportunity to work as a ski instructor in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Japan. In addition, his achievements include becoming the world champion in the Canadian Powder 8 five times and Synchro Ski World Cup winner twice with his friend Christoph Brugger.
After ten years of adventure, Sigi returns to Sölden to film a TV advert. He meets Elisabeth in the Hotel Central and it is love at first sight. Somehow we didn't run into each other for more than 30 years. It's funny – when you travel the world you don't expect to end up marrying your next door neighbour!"
However, before the wedding (registry office in 2001 and church in 2003) the two have plenty to do. In 1999 they take over the running of the Bergland Hotel from Elisabeth's parents and have two daughters named Sara (*1999) and Anna (*2001).
Elisabeth's uncle Valentin always wanted the hotel to stay in the family after his death. For Elisabeth it is a spontaneous decision to take over the 170-bed hotel, but one she has never regretted. Although Sigi has no experience in the hotel business, his time spent travelling the world helps him settle in quickly. The hotel's somewhat old-fashioned design is, however, one thing the duo want to change…
After a planning phase of two years including a call for tenders won by architects Wimreiter Partner GmbH the old building is demolished to make way for a brand new Hotel Bergland. This radical step enables Elisabeth and Sigi to create their own atmosphere and look in the new five-star "design hotel" – the first business in the Ötztal to be awarded this title.
Always in search of ways to improve guests' holiday experience, Elisabeth and Sigi decide to expand the restaurant in summer 2017. "Black Sheep" opend in October 2017 and offers space for 40 more diners.
And what about the other members of the family? Sadly, Hans Falkner was not able to see the completion of the new Hotel Bergland. He died on 25.6.2009 at the age of 93 in Sölden. On 16 April 2016 Margret celebrated her 90th birthday in the hotel. We have put together this brief history of the Hotel Bergland to honour her.
The Bergland Team
100% for you
With us at the Casual Luxury Designhotel Bergland Sölden no of your wishes shall remain unfulfilled. Around 70 team members are there for you with warmth and joy. Let us share your wishes, because our top Bergland commandment is to give everything to see the happiness in your eyes. Because only then we are also happy and satisfied.
Active vacationers also need relaxation in order to really enjoy the many impressions and experiences. That's why we say that you actively relax in and around the Bergland and enjoy it 100%!
The 5* Team
#humor #respect #honesty #responsibility
Hotel Bergland hosts Elisabeth and Sigi ...
- will do everything they can to make sure you have a great time at the Hotel Bergland.
- enjoy sharing the ancient customs and traditions of the region with staff and guests.
- have committed to using produce from their own farm as well as delicious local lamb (cuisine), aromatic hay (spa) and cosy sheep's wool (slippers) at the hotel.
- have their finger on the pulse and have succeeded in preserving over 60 years of hotel tradition while at the same time adding their own modern twist.
HR manager Kathrin ...
- is responsible for staff and recruitment.
- is a master of coordination and does a huge amount to keep our guests and staff happy.
- helps out in the back office with finances, wages and admin.
Wine & dine
Our "wine & dine"- kitchen team…
- takes pleasure in offering guests a fine dining experience to remember.
- uses mainly seasonal ingredients sourced from the local region.
- is famous for exquisite sweet treats.
Reception & marketing
Our reception team ...
- will be happy to help with any questions guests have about the Ötztal Valley.
- helps organise special surprises during your stay and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Our marketing team ...
- shares the Bergland Sölden with the worldand is responsible for all press relations as well as marketing material for the hotel.
- present the hotel on social media,keep people up to date about the latest news & offers, fosters online friendships.
- loves being creative and promoting the Berghotel Sölden.
Our team of service staff...
- is not only friendly and professional but also a font of knowledge about fine wines.
- serves creative cocktails at our legendary bar where James Bond a.k.a. Daniel Craig drank.
Our Sky Spa team …
- will be happy to advise you on the best training, treatment and relaxation tips.
- will reserve an appointment for you during your stay.
- will show you the right way to use the cardio and strength equipment in our gym and help you design workouts and meditations.
- takes into account the specific needs of each guest.
- supplies plenty of great snacks and drinks in the Sky Bar.
- keeps the spa clean and hygienic at all times and ensures a calm ambience.
Sky Spa Active
- looks forward to making you feel at home in our hotel.
- has lots of great ideas when it comes to fitness and exercise.
- sees exercise as one of the most important factors in health and wellbeing at all ages.
- adapts their yoga, pilates, hikes and sauna sessions to suit the needs of guests.
Our housekeeping team ...
- responsible for cleanliness and hygiene throughout the Bergland
- always with smile on their face
- discretion and perfection are their top priorities
Wine & dine
Our "wine & dine" service team …
- welcomes you to the traditionally decorated restaurant.
- serves local dishes with a Mediterranean twist.
- does everything to make sure you have a great meal.
- will be happy to let you try a selection of fine wines to go with your dinner.
Our kitchen team …
- loves local ingredients fresh from the market chosen according to the season.
- maintains close relations with local farmers and producers in order to ensure the best quality.
- enjoys brainstorming to come up with ideas for new dishes.
- offers delicious delicacies from early in the morning to late at night.
- cooks with skill, experience and a healthy portion of passion to make sure people from all over the world find the food they like at our hotel.
Our decoration fairy Josy ...
- you will find her creativity throughout the hotel
- loves the colorful world of flowers
- finds her inspirations through the love of nature and sports