Professor Heinz Simonitsch is one of most experienced players in hospitality. For 40 years, he held the top job at Jamaica’s Half Moon, which he transformed from a perennial loss-maker into a world-class resort.
During his tenure he also played a key role in helping build Jamaica into a year-round destination and a favourite of the European market.
His current project is the Grandhotel Lienz in his native Austria. Following its successful launch last year, the hotel has just opened a wellness centre boasting the very latest in leading edge techniques. BTN finds out more from Professor Heinz.
BTN: How would you describe the Grandhotel Lienz wellness experience?
HS: Our 1,400m2 (12600 sq ft.) wellness center offers a great variety of treatments including cosmetic, massages, two sauna, two steam bathes, special saunas plus a number of specials. These include Cellocosmet – Cellmen; Tibetan Singing Bowl Ceremony; Lomi-Lomi-Nui; and East Tyrol Mountain Honey Massage.
BTN: What is your approach to wellness?
HS: Under Mrs. Obersteiner’s leadership the guest receive professional advice and treatments featuring St. Barth, the Caribbean Nature Product, as well as Ecocosmetic from Switzerland, plus East Tyrolean special herbal products.
BTN: What kind of guests will your new facilities appeal to?
HS: Our facility will appeal to the guests from an international background with high expectations to treat her or his body.
BTN: What benefits can your guests expect to gain by undertaking a wellness programme at the hotel?
HS: The guest benefits will depend very much on the individual’s requirements and expectations. This includes advice on special diets which our gourmet kitchen will prepare for healthy nutrition.
BTN: Will your key markets for your wellness programme be the same as those for your hotel?
HS: Yes, we also offer a medical centre under the Direction of Univ. Prof. Dr. med. Peter Lechleitner, a leading heart specialist. A complete annual check-up can be done after the guest return from day activities.
BTN: How has your first year in business for the Grandhotel Lienz been?
HS: The results of the first seven months are encouraging. Our product has already established a return clientele praising our facilities, ambiance, efficiency, large spaces and underground garage parking for every room.
BTN: How does launching a hotel in a downturn differ from launching during an economic boom?
HS: It certainly adds an extra challenge to launch a new enterprise during a financial crisis. However the clientele we are attracting still have enough time and desire to relax in a boutique hotel in a wonderful region. Dolomites, Grossglockner, the largest Alpine nature reserve, and an eco concept in a historical town offering wood fired heated water, our own solar heat exchange pump. Special insulation of the entire building allows us not to use any gas or oil as energy. Electricity is hydro generated. In addition we sort all waste, glass, plastic, metal, cellulose and bio for recycling.
BTN: Which experiences from your many years in hospitality did you draw upon to make the launch a success?
HS: The Grandhotel Liens is operated as a family hotel by the Westreicher and Simonitsch families. Our combined know how in the hotel industry has been an enormous assistance.
BTN: How do you see the wellness market evolving?
HS: The wellness market will continue to grow, however the health and medical sector will become more and more important. Our potential clients from all over the world are living longer and will require better medical care in an elegant surrounding with a hotel rather than hospital ambiance.