Facts about Magdas hotel
The idea of the hotel is to create a contemporary and cultural meeting spot for refugees, students and tourists from all over the world. It is an innovative project where refugees from different nations are integrated into the hotels operations and work together with volunteers and professionals from the hotel industry. Interculturality is the core of the project as long- and short-term guests, students and refugees live and work under one roof.
The integration of refugees from different nations into the hotels operations result from their lacking chances on the Austrian labour market and their disregarded talents and qualifications, as they can't do anything for months or years. There they can bring in their skills and cultural background, which strengthens the hotel and allows it to have an independent position on the hotel market. The Magdas Hotel will provide 30 training and work places for unaccompanied minor refugees.
Additionally to the social value the hotel offers 80 rooms, a garden, café, lounge, artists-in-residence, a library and manifold services like childcare, limousine service, bike rental outlet, co-working space, home cinema, cityjogging, wireless LAN, table tennis, laundry service, breakfast in bed and several events.
Bottom-up-cycling and participation were big issues from the start on. Existing resources from the inventory of the Caritas, donations and furniture from dissolutions of hotels are used to keep the investment costs low. Refugees, students and volunteers help to restore the furnishing and equipment of the rooms and the shaping of the garden.
The project was a finalist in the European Social Innovation Competition in 2013 and should be established in other european cities if it is implemented successfully.
Before World WarII the site used to be a villa of the musicians' family Harnoncourt. In 1956, the property was bought with the means of Caritas USA, to accommodate Hungarian students after the uprising against the communist regime. During that time around 50 students from 23 nations lived there. In 1971, the conversion into a rest home was approved. Since 1975 it has been used as a residential care home for the elderly named Josef Macho-Haus. Mr. Macho was the secretary of the Caritas and founder of the SOS help organization. Over the years it was transformed to a health care facility. Despite further investments and adaptations the building stock was in a bad condition and no longer up to date concerning the disabled access. Therefore the Caritas and the fund “Soziales Wien” decided to build a new home rest home in Kagran, near the SMZ Ost (Social medical Center East) and the retirees were relocated to this new building called St. Teresa, in early 2013. At that time the ground floor of the former rest home in the Laufbergergasse was adapted and converted to a temporary emergency shelter and day centre for homeless people, as the Caritas and the city of Vienna wanted to offer more places for the homeless in winter.
The Magdas Hotel is created by the Caritas Service Gmbh, which was founded by the Caritas Wien to establish new projects as social businesses. The idea came from Clemens Foschi and his Team and evolved after the relocation of the retirees. There was a study for a project like the Magdas Hotel for another building in the 2nd district which turned out to be too old and the renovation costs would have been too immense. The physical structure of the former rest home was beneficial because the rooms already existed and each contained its own wet room. So just a few adaptations and renovations were needed and due to other advantages like the central, green and easily accessible location, the subsidiary company Caritas Social Business was allowed to use the building for the hotel project which was approved for five years.
The Magdas Hotel is located on a very central point of Vienna. It is close to Vienna's Prater, which is an important touristic magnet and easy to reach with public transportation (also in reasonable distance to the Vienna airport). This location makes the hotel attractive for tourists for short-term stay, but also if you intent to stay longer. The leading institution who had the first idea to found a hotel like Magdas, where searching for a building structure which not only brought the internal advantages but also the suitable location and neighbourhood.
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