"Standing on the top floor of the hotel on the first day of construction and peering down to the cellar, I said to myself: you might as well knock this house down, because it's never going to be finished."
Did Cora and Matthias Pasquali know what they were getting into when they dreamt up their plan to renovate the Oberhof country estate? "Not in the least," they both laugh today. But are quick to add, "Good thing, too, because we might have backed out."
The Landsitz Oberhof in Muggendorf has been around for over 560 years. Nestled at the end of a valley basin, it's encircled by extensive forests providing lovely pristine air. Only an hour away from Vienna, you can enjoy genuine country living here. Matthias Pasquali's father managed to acquire the architectural treasure from the family of the Barons Christiani in 1955. During the war years and afterwards, the Oberhof had served as a military camp for the Russian occupiers. When the Austrian State Treaty finally cleared the way for the occupying forces to leave sooner than expected, the site was returned to its former use. "By then, of course, a lot had been destroyed or was in a state of disrepair. Over the next few decades, my family restored the old estate bit by bit, keeping the Oberhof's original charm intact," relates Matthias Pasquali.
"When you nervously hand over the room key to your first guest and then receive fantastic feedback when they check out, of course that gives you a huge boost."
'Petit hôtel' was awakened from its slumber
"We used to live in Tyrol and I had been working in the industrial sector in Eastern Europe for a long time. Since I travelled a lot and often stayed in hotels, and my wife and I also had seen a lot of the world privately, we understood what it takes to run a successful hotel – what hospitality really means. So when we inherited the Oberhof estate, the question soon arose of what we were going to do with the vacant rooms. The estate consists of several buildings. We both live in one of them. But the others were unused except when one of the children dropped by or when we threw a party. The idea for the 'petit hôtel' came from our daughter, who thought that her parents were always particularly good hosts at family events, so why not open a nice little hotel? The basic concept was quickly drawn up, and Matthias' doubts were pushed aside by all the drive and enthusiasm in the air. As he recalls, "Standing on the top floor of the hotel on the first day of construction and peering down to the cellar, I remember thinking to myself: you might as well knock this house down, because it's never going to be finished." But the contractor and Cora kept his spirits up. And in a record time of only six months, construction was completed and the historic walls were awakened from their long slumber.
The first guests
Cora Pasquali was careful to preserve the distinctive style of the house while subtly updating it with modern amenities. "And our guests will tell you that the hotel has succeeded in this balancing act." For example, the quality of the bathroom facilities and mattresses is absolutely impeccable. Although the hotel's opening coincided with the first year of the Covid pandemic, they were optimistic. And rightly so, because the vacationers arrived - and were absolutely thrilled. "When you nervously hand over the room key to your first guest and then receive fantastic feedback when they check out, of course that gives you a huge boost." Cora and Matthias like to give their guests special treatment – when they arrive, they aren't whisked through check-in, but are first given a tour of the house. "We want to share some of the spirit of this place and invite them into our home. We don't put on an act – we let people share our life for a few days when they stay here. At the same time, we give them as much space as possible, because after all they are on holiday."
Though originally conceived as a simple bed-and-breakfast, requests for half-board soon started piling up, so Cora and Matthias started showing off their cooking skills: "What started out as barbecue evenings with cold cuts has now become a select menu of fine dishes made with the best ingredients. An absolute highlight is our Schneeberg beefsteaks. Their high quality is appreciated even by our guests who rarely eat meat." Here at Landsitz Oberhof, you can really feel our affection for craftsmanship and quality in every piece of furniture, every bottle of wine, every dish, and everything we do for our guests. You can enjoy the long summer evenings here, where peace and quiet are the rule, and everyone can simply show up and be themselves. "Mutual respect is important to us. Everyone is welcome to – even expected to – make themselves at home here."