History Arlberg Hospiz Present Arlberg Hospiz

Without the Hospiz at the summit of the Arlberg massif, travellers of this East-West passage of the Austrian Alps were lost.

Arlberg Hospiz

The heraldic motto of THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD is "Hospitium Gaudium Maximum Est", which casually translated means: "hospitality gives great pleasure".
Talking about hospitality, the Arlberg Hospiz is one of the original places of hospitality in the true sense of the word.

ski club sta anton, hospiz, famoushotelsAn early hostel (a harbourage or hospice = archaic a lodging for travelers, esp. one run by a religious order), this one is today a retreat for skiers and seekers of the winter sun of the mountain "Arlberg", in the Western part of Austria, the republic of Sound of Music fame in central Europe.

The original "Arlberg-Hospiz", and the chapel which belonged to it, was built in 1386, after countless people had died of accidents or froze to death in blizzards and storms on their way over the Arlberg mountain. The first Hospiz refuge was funded by the Brotherhood of St. Christoph and during its first winter, the innkeepers were able to save seven people from certain death in the snow.

After the construction of the Arlberg railway tunnel in 1884 the house was left to fall into ruin, as only the poorest, who could not afford to use the railway, would trek over the Arlberg after that time. As early as 1898 the first skiers discovered the Arlberg. In 1901, the Arlberg Ski Club was founded within the venerable walls of the old Hospiz. It is the oldes ski club in the world. All the others, from Aspen to Zermatt, came later.

At Christmas 1959 it was re-opened as the new Hospiz,  at that time the smartest and most modern hotel on the Arlberg. All rooms were fitted with a bath, shower and toilet. The hotel was thus the impetus for the Arlberg becoming viewed, in the eyes of the world, as the ski region with the most attractive, comfortable hotels and the best lift facilities. Today the hotel is oepn during the winter season and offers rooms for special interest groups during the summer.

The original "Arlberg-Hospiz", and the chapel which belonged to it, was built by Heinrich the Foundling of Kempten in 1386. Heinrich, who was working as a swineherd at Arlen Castle in St. Jakob, found he was no longer able to stand idly by as countless people met with accidents or froze to death in blizzards and storms on their way over the Arlberg. In 1385, during an audience with Duke Leopold III of Austria while he was visiting the Arlberg, Heinrich was given a piece of land up on the Arlberg Pass.

There, in 1386, he established the first Hospiz refuge. With the approval of Pope Boniface IX, he founded the Brotherhood of St. Christoph in order to be able to collect the necessary funds for his work. Even during his first winter, Heinrich and his helpers were able to save seven people from certain death in the snow.

Over the six centuries since that time, the Arlberg-Hospiz has had an eventful history. After the construction of the Arlberg railway tunnel in 1884 the refuge was left to fall into ruin, as only the poorest, who could not afford to use the railway, would trek over the Arlberg after that time.

Carl Ganahl, the State Governor of Vorarlberg and the great-grandfather of Arnold Ganahl, the subsequent owner of the Hospiz, succeeded in persuading the people of Vorarlberg and the Tyrolean state parliament that the old building should be listed as an historical monument and a watchman was appointed for its protection.

As early as 1898 the first skiers (customs officials from Lindau) were seen on the Arlberg. Then, on 3rd January 1901, the Arlberg Ski Club was founded within the venerable walls of the old Hospiz. On the first good day after New Year's Eve 1900/1901, eight brave skiing pioneers from St. Anton trekked on skis to St. Christoph in order to launch the "Club des edlen Vergnügens", the "Club of Noble Amusement".

ski race arlberg famous hotels
A ski race in the 1950s

In the summer of 1955 Arnold Ganahl, the grandfather of Florian Werner, bought the old Hospiz inn and began the restoration. However, just two years later, during the night of Epiphany from 6th to 7th January 1957, the Hospiz and the church were burnt right down to the foundation walls during a fire caused by an electrical fault. Nevertheless, Arnold Ganahl had the Arlberg Hospiz Hotel rebuilt, and at Christmas 1959 it was re-opened in all its renewed glory.

The new Hospiz, with its traditional steep roof, was at that time the smartest and most modern hotel on the Arlberg. All rooms were fitted with a bath, shower and toilet. The hotel was thus the impetus for the Arlberg becoming viewed, in the eyes of the world, as the ski region with the most attractive, comfortable hotels and the best lift facilities.

Managed by: Florian Werner
88 Rooms

Kapellen Stube Bruderschaftsstube Restaurant Skiclub Stube Hall

Google Map

Our Select Member Hotel

Arlberg Hospiz
Country: Austria
City: St. Christoph
Opening date: 1959

Note from the Host

General Manager

Florian Werner


Coordinates

Austria, St. Christoph
Tel: +43 (0)5446 2611
Fax: +43 (0)5446 3773

Google Map

Book a Room

Click on the link below to start your trip (no booking fees)!