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The Krallerhof And Its New Spa Temple

People know it, the Krallerhof in Leogang in the province of Salzburg. For decades one of the most renowned hotels in Austria and most popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts, golfers and hikers. And one of the first to focus on spa: in the early 1970s, with what was then the largest private indoor pool in western Austria and a Bisazza-tiled sauna area. From farm to five-star retreat, the family-run hotel continues to demonstrate vision and set standards: now with “Atmosphere by Krallerhof”.

Atmosphere by Krallerhof“? Behind it is a spa temple that immediately takes you to other spheres. And has a very special atmosphere. It was designed by Hamburg star architect Hadi Teherani and his team. Not that the previous wellness area with its 1720 square meters had to hide. But it lacked water areas. It was to be a natural bathing lake, along with outdoor facilities. And so an international competition was launched, resulting in an ambitious project.

The proposal by Hadi Teherani, who had his vision in mind the moment he stepped onto the terrace at Kraller Hof, was convincing: He wanted to open up the view, into the mountain world. And: The new building should not be a foreign body, but should integrate itself into this landscape. Therefore, a hut had to give way and massive earthmoving had to be carried out.

Atmosphere by Krallerhof: integrated into the landscape

It was worth it, because the integration into the landscape has succeeded perfectly: If you look at the spa complex from said terrace, the green roof looks like the continuation of mountain meadows. And the path leading over the roof appears like hiking trails winding up a mountain. The illusion will surely become even more perfect if, as planned, sheep will graze on it one day.

Viewed from the front, the building of the Krallerhof Spa looks like a hill with a cave, in whose glazed front the sky, the mountains and the mountain railroad are reflected, making the whole thing almost disappear visually. Also the view on the back, which one has from the yoga room, the panorama sauna and the rest area: It leads in the direction of the Pinzgau Grasberge mountains and proves that Teherani was right: a normal building would have blocked these wonderful views into and over the meadows and mountains.

Virtual infinity

The view into infinity is central to Tehrani’s architecture: thus, even in the building, it repeatedly lands from the large to the small, as the ceiling is vaulted and follows the line down to the floor, where plants take over the interior and bring the calm, stylish ambience in beige and gray with green to life.

The transitions from inside to outside are fluid in the Krallerhof Spa, because the glass front can be completely sunk into the ground. In front of it is a 1,000-square-meter sun deck, from where you can enjoy the view of the mountains and the impressive natural lake on deck chairs or lounge loungers.

In the middle of the 5500 square meter natural lake is a heated stainless steel infinity pool with Olympic dimensions. Spectacular also in the evening, when it is illuminated and provides exciting light reflections to the water landscape. Opposite the building, a new view opens up again: Small sun islands are placed in the bathing lake, which can be accessed via stones placed in the water.

Ice grotto with a swing

An underground connecting corridor leads from the new spa directly into the hotel. The narrow corridor consists of wooden slats on one side and mirrors on the other, creating width and opening up interesting changes of perspective in the curves. Halfway down, the corridor passes a spiral Zen garden. It continues to the lower area with the changing rooms, through which you can get to the sauna area. Here you’ll find a blue grotto with whirlpool, an ice grotto (with swing!!!), a dry salt room with infrared loungers, a steam room, and a separate ladies’ sauna. And of course the large panoramic sauna, which is covered with curved wood both inside and out.

Organic shapes and materials dominate the interior of the light spa cave of the Krallerhof. Wooden optics, as in the large panorama sauna, also dominate the rest of the building on the level above: as, for example, by the lime wood slatted ceiling made of 6500 individual parts, which extends over the entire building. And even the concrete parts, which repeatedly provide a purist look, have organic appeal: the cladding was made of wooden boards that transferred their grain to the concrete.

And what about sustainability?

In fact, the question remains: Is such a project at all sustainable in terms of sustainability? Well, already in the construction phase, for example, it was ensured that the excavated material was not simply transported away, but, if not needed for filling and shaping the landscape, was used by a neighbor to fortify his meadows. The natural bathing lake was filled once from the on-site spring – the water level now regulates itself through the natural cycle of evaporation and precipitation. The newly created plant belt in the lake supports the biodiversity of flora and fauna.

The Krallerhof also has photovoltaic systems with a total of 140 kilowatt-peak – more are planned, so that during the summer months about half of the total electricity demand is covered by them. The built-in cooling ceiling in the new spa supplies thermal energy for heating the outdoor pool eight months of the year, and further energy is obtained via waste heat from the hotel’s refrigeration production. If this is not enough, the hotel relies on wood briquettes from the neighboring timber construction company.

The focus was also placed on regionality in the finishing of the Krallerhof Spa: The majority of partners and craftsmen come from the area, as do the materials – such as the lime wood, the Salzburg alpine marble or the glass produced in Salzburg for the fronts – which gives the “Atmosphere by Krallerhof” its authentic atmosphere.

Krallerhof, spa

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