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PLATEAU PIONEER
Kathrin Ebenhoch

von Kathrin Ebenhoch

May 29, 2024

PLATEAU PIONEER

Lärchenhof Natur - The Holzer Family

At Lärchenhof Natur, the name says it all. It inspired the Holzer family, who were already very connected to nature, to think even more about conservation and species protection. Sustainability, reduction, biodiversity, and a strong connection to nature and the region are not just marketing strategies or rational decisions in changing times. They are deeply held beliefs that the family has been living thoughtfully and consistently for decades.

Since then, every time we make a decision, we ask ourselves ‘what does it do to our environment’

Kathrin Holzer

Kathrin Holzer

"About 30 years ago, we wanted to expand our hotel name because there were several Lärchenhofs in the area," says Kathrin Holzer, who has been responsible for the family business for 25 years. Together with friends, they thought about what would suit the family and the hotel. "Natur" quickly remained, as Kathrin, her parents Waltraud and Günther, and her sisters Claudia and Jacqueline were known to everyone around them as being connected to nature. "Yes," laughs the 45-year-old. "For me, there's nothing more beautiful than running barefoot through alpine meadows." It's no surprise then that since 1971, when her parents opened the hotel, many decisions were made with respect for the environment. From the moment they added "Natur" to the name, it became their guiding principle. "Since then, we ask ourselves with every decision, 'what will this do to our environment,'" Holzer explains.

Lärchenhof Natur - Außenansicht

You won't find any major changes, big renovations, or signs pointing to sustainability or environmental protection at Lärchenhof Natur. The changes happen in small, often quiet ways, almost unnoticed but very impactful. All renovations and additions to the house are made with natural materials, mainly wood, stone, and sheep wool. "I would like a house that just decomposes when it falls apart," says Holzer with a smile. She also tries to choose products, producers, and craftsmen as locally as possible. "My limit is a radius of 100 kilometers." The same applies to food. "We are not organic certified or strictly vegan, but we pay close attention to getting regional, sustainable, and organically grown products. I know some producers and many farmers and keep an eye on where my products come from and how they are grown." Holzer always prefers the local cucumber over the long-traveled organic one, as long as the growing conditions are right. "I would love for all local farmers to work organically; certification doesn't matter to me." The breakfast buffet is seasonal, almost everything is homemade, including the afternoon coffee treats with cakes baked by Kathrin's mother, Waltraud. In winter, when fresh fruit is scarce, Holzer uses nuts and dried fruits, sourced from her sister's nut shop in Telfs – organic if possible, only from Europe, and unpackaged. The honey comes from her nephew, Ferdinand Schot. Some jars even contain honey from the hotel garden and the surrounding area. Some of Schot's beehives live in the large, colorful natural meadow behind the hotel, enjoying the delicious things growing there along with the guests.

Speaking of the natural meadow – besides the breathtaking view over the Inn Valley, it is certainly the highlight of Lärchenhof Natur. It blooms in all imaginable colors from spring to autumn. "We let nature take its course here," says Holzer. "And we only mow once." The flowers and herbs are native, self-seeding, and naturally regulate what grows, when, and how much. Preserving this natural diversity is important to Holzer, and she would like to extend this idea to the entire municipality. The first step has already been taken: the order for targeted planting and housing of traffic islands was submitted through the local association, and the municipality of Telfs has agreed. The next step is a professionally developed concept that will also include the preservation of the natural meadows and forests around Lake Möserer.

Enzian-Ansammlung auf grüner Wiese

The garden in front of the terrace, where the swimming pond and panoramic sauna are located, is naturally mowed a bit more often. Still, it is lovingly planted with native shrubs, small trees, and flowers, giving guests a sense of a pristine piece of earth. Many birds, butterflies, wild bees, and beetles frolic here, making this carefully preserved natural treasure even more valuable.

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At Lärchenhof Natur, it's not only nature that is preserved but also what has always been in the family. "You don't always have to buy new things; we prefer to work with what we have." With her father Günther, they repair and craft. "Whether it's Easter or Christmas, the decorations are homemade; broken items are gladly glued back together, and we curiously see what becomes of them." Preservation and thus reduction are second nature to Holzer. Yet nothing in the house seems old-fashioned or tacky. The deliberate, minimalistic use of old, well-kept crochet doilies, silver plates, and a simple white candle is elegant, cozy, and calming. This atmosphere is appreciated by many guests who have been coming back for years.

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The quiet and steady development that has always shaped Lärchenhof Natur is set to continue in the future. The hotel will not grow any larger, and the sauna will only be turned on upon request to keep the gap between genuine sustainability and luxury as small as possible. In 2023, parts of the heating system were converted to solar energy. Holzer would also like to encourage guests to use public transportation for their arrival. "This year, we even had guests arrive on foot and by bike – I would like that too," laughs the hotel manager. Ideally, she would like to involve the entire region in a nature-friendly, gentle living and tourism model. To this end, she is active in local politics, with the Plateau Pioneers, and several associations. Some village projects are currently being developed in Mösern, and Holzer is convinced of the path of the Plateau Pioneers: "We are all moving in a direction that makes sense and creates a future." Moving forward and involving many more businesses and people will be the task of the coming years.

We are all going in a direction together that makes sense and creates a future.

Kathrin Holzer

Kathrin Holzer

An interview with Lärchenhof Natur: The plateau pioneers of the Region Seefeld - Sustainable holidays

You can find the facts in compact form in the fact sheet. Further information about the Plateau Pioneers can be found here.

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