An unexpected stroke of luck
How the story of the Hotel Engel all began
When Cortina was still a long way away
The first tourists to stop in the Eggen Valley were usually just passing through. With the increase in trade along the Brenner axis, the link between Bozen and Cortina acquired greater importance: these were now two lively trading centres in the Southern Alps, with the quickest way from one city to the other via the Eggen Valley. Once a large farm stood where nowadays the Kohler family welcome their guests to their outstanding resort. A short distance downhill ran the main road through the Karer Pass towards the Fassa Valley, thence on to Cortina. Travellers needed a bed, somewhere to stable their horses and a hot meal. Mr Kohler had some spare rooms on his farm and thus, back in 1852, began what would eventually become a long tradition.
Brussels can wait
Everyone in the village knows the story. Even in the 1970s the Hotel Engel was regarded as a true pioneer in the hospitality trade in the Eggen Valley and an institution in its own right. At that time the young woman had just one thing in mind: to leave the valley and South Tyrol and discover the world. She had inherited this ambitious spirit from her mother and her passion had always been for foreign languages and cultures. Studying law, economics and business or even medicine was for her absolutely out of the question. Simultaneous interpretation in Brussels was her true goal, one that was fully within her grasp. She knew that she would have to find a way to make her dream come true, so in summer 1976 she started working to save enough to fund the journey.
In the hot summer of 1976 the Kohler family had in fact got a vacancy for a trainee. There was certainly no lack of work to be done. In the late 1970s it was all hands to the pump, as these were hard times. Interest rates were extremely high and inflation had brought many a hotel to its knees. All of the Kohlers therefore had to work hard to keep the business going: the young intern was impressed by the positive energy that surrounded the family business. She also wished to make her own contribution by showing a total commitment to her duties.
Summer was now over. Despite the difficult economic situation, it had been a successful year for the village’s leading hotel. In the following months new projects arose and the young intern knew that she could never leave the family.
Her dream of working in Brussels was fading with every passing week. Her passion for the hotel proved a great inspiration for this ambitious young woman and, together with her now husband, Ms Kohler – now a junior manager – improved matters each day in ways large and small, as well as introducing more substantial innovations. Looking back at the past, the single-minded proprietor still cannot explain how her dream of moving to Brussels could have vanished so quickly. The story of the Hotel Engel quickly taught Ms Kohler one thing, however: it is the women’s strength that has always been the establishment’s driving energy. She herself has helped to consolidate this tradition: not a day goes by without her evaluating new projects that will ensure continued growth. Her hope for the future is that an enterprising daughter-in-law will decide to take over the reins of the business with the same passion that possesses her – because this location has the power to enchant, as Ms Kohler knows only too well.