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Latest News • 2023-04-18

196+ forum Milan: the cōmodo in Bad Gastein, Austria, wins "Hotel Design Award 2023"

Other finalists are: Hôtel des Horlogers (Le Brassus, Switzerland) and Wilmina (Berlin, Germany)


Milan, 18 April 2023 - The winner of the "Hotel Design Award 2023" is the Hotel the cōmodo in Bad Gastein, Austria. The prize was awarded yesterday during the 196+ forum Milan.

Andreas Martin, jury chairman: "This year's winner, the cōmodo in Bad Gastein, convinced the jury by combining a preserved, vacant existing building with locally influenced contemporary interior design, complemented by modern art with a connection to the location as well as materials and furnishings that create a link to the history of the house. The existing property was enhanced by the addition of a sun terrace with an unobstructed view of the valley and a new wing of rooms with mountain views and designed in a new color scheme. The interior designers succeeded in interpreting locally anchored design with a modern touch, thus allowing a glimpse into the history of different design eras and the future of the hotel at the same time."

The cōmodo is a revitalization of an existing hotel building, the former Habsburger Hof, which was built by Friedrich Hirt in 1881, demolished and rebuilt in 1962, and most recently used as a spa for Vienna city officials. After three years of vacancy, Berlin-based architect Barbara Elwardt purchased it and converted it back into a hotel. The hotel's newly added rooms with mountain side view, are of wooden construction, and on the roof of the existing pool area, a sauna floor was built with views over the Gastein valley. Bad Gastein has a long wellness tradition. There, the cōmodo achieves the perfect balance between creativity and integration into the surroundings. While retaining the architecture of the existing building, a modern reinterpretation was created to continue telling the story of the house and the location. The result is a contemporary alpine design with a dash of 60's nostalgia, contemporary elements of eclecticism and Viennese coffeehouse atmosphere. The contemporary Berghaus now fuses history with innovation and modern technology. Cōmodo figuratively means cozy and comfortable. For example, a lobby with a living room feeling was created, where guests can meet and socialize at the bar or the various spacious seating areas. The conference room is a combination of co-working space and curated library with a terrace facing the mountain. The spa area features an artistically designed indoor pool and sauna area with terrace, treatment rooms, a yoga room and a fitness room. Attention to detail is evident throughout the hotel, whether it's in the furniture collection, with original pieces from different decades, the interplay of art accessories, most designed by Berlin artists, the carpentry work, or the natural building materials. The cōmodo has solar panels and its own water system, fed directly from a mountain spring.

From the 21 hotel applications from nine European countries, the interdisciplinary 12-member jury had selected 13 nominees. Of these nominees, the following three hotels were selected as finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Hôtel des Horlogers (Le Brassus, Switzerland)
  • the cōmodo (Bad Gastein, Austria)
  • Wilmina (Berlin, Germany)

Sven Rensinghoff, member of the management board at Bette and sponsor of the "Hotel Design Awards": "With their unique architectural and design concepts and the use of innovative materials and technologies, the three finalists of the 'Hotel Design Award 2023' have shown that the future of the hotel industry can be not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. The architectural quality of the buildings as well as their sustainability and the overall guest experience are other factors that played a role in the selection of the finalists. The cōmodo, the Hôtel des Horlogers and the Wilmina and impressed in all these areas and thus proved to be worthy finalists.

The criteria for the award concentrate on the originality of the architectural and design concept, the associated architectural quality of the building and facade, and the design of the interior. The focus is on the design approach and the associated story telling for a convincing hotel concept.

The new building of the Swiss Hôtel des Horlogers in the Vallée de Joux, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group in an avant-garde architectural style. The building follows the topography of the valley through the zigzagging walls that slope down to the meadow. The Minergie ECO® certified 4-star superior hotel takes a holistic sustainable approach from building development to daily operations to reduce its environmental impact. The hotel is a meeting place for local and international lovers of watchmaking, architecture and nature. The hotel has 50 rooms, including 12 suites, two restaurants, a bar, a spa and two conference rooms. The interior design by Pierre Minassian of AUM, the architect grew up in the region, pays homage to the surrounding landscape. For example, the roots in the lobby reference the area's vegetation. In the bar, the rock-like ceiling lights represent emptied lakes turned upside down. In the restaurant, large stone blocks pay homage to local stone walls. This creates a harmony between the hotel and the surrounding nature.

The Berlin Wilmina is part of a 19th-century justice ensemble under preservation order. On Kantstraße, the former women's prison remained inaccessible for decades, hidden inside the block of houses. From the street, only the former district court in the front building can be seen, which has been given a new lease of life as an art and cultural space under the name Amtsalon. A new penthouse floor was added to the four existing levels. In the cell wing, several of the former prison cells were connected and converted into comfortable hotel rooms. To provide a view, the small cell windows were extended downward, while the grilles in the upper window section were retained. The former sluice yard was converted into a restaurant hall, and the existing urban wilderness in the central garden courtyard was complemented by a landscaped perennial garden and green roof areas. The concept aims for sustainable use of materials and follows the overarching strategy of preserving authentic traces of the past throughout the building to create spaces for the present. 44 guest rooms were created from the former prison cells: they range from sleeping bunks (11 square meters) to the Garden Loft (75 square meters), located in the former meeting room. All guest rooms combine historical authenticity with modern comfort and offer soothing retreats through light colors, soft textures and warm, high-quality materials.

Finalists "Hotel Design Award 2023" in alphabetical order:

Hôtel des Horlogers

©Hôtel des Horlogers, Le Brassus, Switzerland. Source: Hôtel des Horlogers

Location: Le Brassus, Switzerland
Owner: Audemars Piguet
Operator: Hôtel des Horloger SA
Project developer: CCHE, Lausanne
Architect: BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)
Interior designer: AUM Pierre Minassian
Type of business / Category: Boutique Hotel / 4 stars
Construction period: 54 months
Number of rooms: 50

the cōmodo

©the cōmodo in Bad Gastein, Austria. Source: the cōmodo

Location: Bad Gastein, Austria
Owner: Barbara Elwardt
Operator: the cōmodo Bad Gastein Hospitality GmbH
Project developer: Barbara Elwardt
Architect: Barbara Elwardt, IOO Architekten
Interior designer: Piotr Wisniewski + Barbara Elwardt, weStudio
Type of business / Category: Resort Hotel / 4 stars superior
Construction period: 12 months
Number of rooms: 70


©Wilmina, Berlin, Germany. Source: Wilmina

Location: Berlin, Deutschland
Owner: 2. Jeonie GmbH & Co. KG
Operator: Wilmina GmbH
Project developer: 2. Jeonie GmbH & Co. KG
Architect: Grüntuch Ernst Architekten
Interior designer: Grüntuch Ernst Architekten
Type of business / Category: City hotel / No classification
Construction period: 100 months
Number of rooms: 44

The 13 nominated hotels in alphabetical order (detailed overview with pictures attached):
  • Adina Hotel Munich (Munich, Germany)
  • b’mine Frankfurt Airport (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Estación Canfranc a Royal Hideaway (Canfranc, Spain)
  • Hotel des Horlogers (Le Brassus, Switzerland)
  • Hotel Luc, Autograph Collection (Berlin, Germany)
  • MOOONS Vienna (Vienna, Austria)
  • Palazzo Rainis Hotel & Spa (Novigrad, Croatia)
  • Parkhotel Mondschein (Bolzano, Italy)
  • Revo Munich (Munich, Germany)
  • The Amauris Vienna (Vienna, Austria)
  • the cōmodo (Bad Gastein, Austria)
  • THE FLAMINGO Timmendorfer Strand (Timmendorfer Strand, Germany)
  • Wilmina (Berlin, Germany)

Image material is available at the following link: Images Press.
Please refer to the copyright information for photo credits. If no information is available, the hotel name must be given in each case.

More information about 196+ forum Milan:

Milan as one of the big four cities for hospitality in Italy will present itself during the global trade show Salone del Mobile from 18 to 23 April 2023. This week spotlights the city as a center for design and furniture. 196+ forum Milan takes place during this international well-recognized week. Investors, developers, real estate companies, hotel operators, consultants, and architects from around Europe come together to exchange and discuss insights of the hospitality industry. 196+ forum Milan was first hosted in 2014 and is the benchmark event in Italy for hospitality investment & design. A full day of interesting panel discussions, inspirational keynote speeches and presentations of innovative design projects will keep the community up-to-date. This day and especially the extra-ordinary dinner is a crucial opportunity for networking to create valuable business relationships.

196+ forum Milan

Media contact:
Martina Rozok
T +49 30 40044681
M +49 170 2355988

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