It takes a lot to be savvy. It also takes a lot to be compassionate. It takes a whole lot to be both. But Magdas Hotel does it with modern flair and welcoming comfort.
The unconventional mission statement of Magdas, the social business subsidiary of Caritas Austria, is to tackle social and economic problems with a sense of hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit. Profit margins are only worthwhile if they can go directly to giving back and helping marginalized people move forward. When Magdas promises it’s “a hotel like no other,” that doesn’t mean they have a fancier hot tub or some gimmick setup.
It means the hotel exists for a damn good reason: social business. Most of the staff are refugees who live on-site. For the 25 young refugees who fled to Austria without their parents, this is home, at least for now. They escaped war and hunger and the unimaginable beyond. They’ve lived in the hotel’s two residential units supported by Caritas since November 2014, and they’re able to earn a living doing so. Roughly all but five of them have been granted asylum by EU member Austria after escaping war and/or persecution in their countries. They now work at the hotel as receptionists, cooks and technicians.
It’s rare to find a hotel this slick that’s also this warm and inviting. The owners cultivate a tremendous atmosphere of inclusion and respect, with a ground floor open to anyone, whether they be guest, customer, or refugee.
The best way to support what they do is to spend a few nights in Magdas
HOW CAN I GET THERE? The hotel’s easily reachable by car. Otherwise, the hotel is located just a 5-minute walk from the station Praterstern. Once there, you can take all rapid transit, underground - metro, tram, and bus lines.
Image Credits: AllesWirdGut Architektur / Guilherme Silva Da Rosa
"From chefs the cuisine to emigrants – people from 14 different nations with very different biographies work at magdas HOTEL. Each and every one of them makes this place so unique. Once you have been here you will understand what we mean by that.
The pulsating heart of magdas HOTEL is the bar with its extra-large lounge area – the salon. Here you’ll find everything that a bar can offer. It’s the ideal place to gather and probably the only one in the world, where you order your tequila in Pashto, raise your glass in Somali and ask for the bill in Albanian."
Just imagine hosting a gathering surrounded by this colorfully charming and cultural setting.
Once a retirement home, dating back to the ‘60s, the building was preserved for decades. After some refurbishing by AllesWirdGut Architects (kept to a 1.5 million Euro limit), the structure was adapted to modern safety standards. In the process, to keep to budget, everyone involved was expected to present creative solutions, not just in financing but design as well.
Following a crowdfunding campaign and sponsor recruitment, building help came from contractors, suppliers, locals, and the refugees themselves. Right from the rebirth, the place was built on community, and it shows at every turn.
Pillow Talk: 78 new rooms piece together vintage chic and minimalism for a stylish stays that only costs US$67. Many rooms offer up grand views of the Prater Park landscape.
Think of how tricky it can be to cook up a new meal out of leftovers. But if you do it right, that first bite hits every craving you have kicking around. The hotel grew–evolved, really–into the sleek, wild spot it is in the world with the same mastery of utilizing tokens of the past to conjure a future.
After the huge outcry of support and money raised in crowdfunding campaigns and the employment of refugees from over 16 different nations at the hotel. You will also find yourself surrounded by impeccable decor to boot!
All spaces within the hotel were designed with existing pieces, found objects, and a mix of elements. Thrift store goods and left-behind or donated furniture fill the lobby, restaurant, bar, rooms, and apartments. But it didn’t stop there. The conservative built-in closets transformed into tables, nightstands, and coat racks. Heck, even work tables with “tags” from students of the St. Pölten New Design University were adapted for use. Most of the designer decor including furniture, plants and books were donated from the local Viennese residents! Luggage racks were gifted from the Austrian rail company and vintage suitcase installations are in the lobby as reminders that everybody has arrived here from a nomadic journey. The fix-up wrapped in February 2015
Throw a Fair Trade Fête! Hosting an event here would be very special. Each drink you purchase, every meal you eat and every night you sleep, helps support this important social cause. So go a step further and decorate your event with fair trade items in the poppy and punchy color palette of this well-designed hotel. Mellow but sophisticated palette of whites, blacks, and grays holds the hotel together with periodic bursts of magenta or olive livening things up when a room needs it.
1. Hand Embroidered Namaste Pillows: Namaste... the traditional way of saying both 'hello' and 'goodbye' in India, and translates as 'bowing to you', would be perfect throw pillows for your event. This pillow was hand embroidered by an artisan in India. How fitting for this special venue setting, not to mention the company was launched by the two wedding photographers behind Woodnote Photography! Each purchase that you make at Elephant Landing helps mothers in India to support their families.
2. Fair Trade Textiles: Wrap your event in these hand woven textiles from artisans in Mexico. Give Perf is "A collection of simple and inspired goods that celebrate the ritual of enjoying every day life". They support artisans and donate 15% of their profits to programs that help women and children.
3. Handwoven Basket: We are going gaga for this handmade punchy pink fringe basket. How gorgeous would this be on your table setting filled with florals.. or nothing at all! When you buy this basket from Indego Africa, all profits fund educational training programs for the women who handcrafted it!
Inside ScoopHow did the idea for Magdas come to be? Well Magdas means motto, and the motto of this hotel is “Stay open-minded”. Thus, the idea was born out of a 2012 hunger strike in Vienna, where refugees occupied a central church. They merely wanted to be able to stay, work and start a new life in Vienna.
- Dogs are allowed.
- Reception is available 24 hours a day.
- Guests can enjoy pétanque in the hotel’s garden.
- Concierge is happy to book tickets to concerts, operas, and theater performances in the area.
- Guests can rent tablets from the front desk for free.
- Just staying there helps the cause.
Intricately designed by famous contemporary Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the KunstHausWien is the only museum in the world to host a permanent exhibition of his work. Also be sure to visit the Hundertwasserhaus, a famous apartment building in the city designed by the artist.
Vienna’s largest garden, it offers locals and tourists alike tennis, swimming, jogging, field hockey, and bowling. You can also bet on horses. And there’s even a Ferris wheel. Honestly, it has everything, and it’s right near Magdas. Photo via Wien
Take a stroll through the city’s beautiful park, taking in the monuments dedicated to famous Viennese artists, writers, and composers. While there, check out the Kursalon. Its terrace is a popular spot for waltz concerts. Photo via Wien