Pioneers of sustainability: Inge and Yvonne Castlunger from Dolomit Homes & Hotel

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Green Pearls® regularly introduces leaders in the field of promoting sustainable development in tourism. In this part of the “Pioneers of Sustainability” series, everything revolves around the Castlunger family, and in particular, Inge and Yvonne from the Dolomit Homes & Hotel in Alta Badia in South Tyrol.

At home in the mountains

Inge Gögele, the current owner of the Dolomit Boutique Hotel, has spent her whole life in the mountains around Alta Badia. She grew up in this wonderful part of the world, overlooking the Dolomites and surrounded by untouched nature. Her parents owned a restaurant, the Haus Sayonara, which was run by her mother. Her grandfather had a traditional farm where Inge learned to ride horses. In 2006, Inge’s brother, architect Karl Heinz Castlunger, converted the former Haus Sayonara into the Dolomit Boutique Hotel. Inge took over the management and further developed the concept: the former Bed & Breakfast became a small boutique hotel. Her love for unique design was also incorporated during the conversion. The individual rooms are inspired by different spices, fruits and herbs which affect their names, furnishings and fragrances. From chocolate to honey to mint, every guest will find their own favourite room here!

Love for the environment

Since she herself grew up in harmony with nature, the environment has always played an important role for Inge. In addition to the furnishings, she also made technical changes to make the small hotel more ecological. The environmentally friendly construction of the “Klima-Haus A” certified buildings, the use of solar panels for water heating, renewable energy sources, ecological cleaning agents and natural cosmetics are just a few examples of the sustainable philosophy Inge has promoted in the Dolomit Boutique Hotel. “In the gastronomy and hotel industries, individual well-being should have a positive effect on the community. We live and work according to this principle”.

From workshop to restaurant

In 1999, Inge and her husband, chef Walter Gögele, converted the former joinery workshop into the restaurant La Tor. He was the driving force behind the expansion of the restaurant, ensuring a clearly sustainable focus: food is sourced almost exclusively from local suppliers and whenever possible from organic farms. Today the guests enjoy typical Ladin, South Tyrolean and Italian cuisine, delicious wood-fired pizza and Tuesday evening live Ladin music.

The influence of the next generation

When their daughter Yvonne returned from a stay abroad in Australia in 2017, she brought many green ideas for activities and initiatives for the hotel with her. All disposable plastic items have been banned, and the restaurant and bar have relied on biodegradable products such as straws ever since. In addition, the menu has been developed with a greater awareness of avoiding food waste and with a stronger focus on local products. Yvonne’s goal: to create awareness among guests and employees alike for more environmental protection and social commitment, thus enabling ethical and sustainable tourism. They have been able to gently and step by step encourage both guests and employees to make small positive changes and thus establish an even more sustainable corporate culture. She always has support from her parents Inge and Walter in here sustainable endeavors.

Plogging in the Alps

Since 2018, the Dolomit Boutique Hotel – thanks to Yvonne – has been committed to the environment with another exciting project: Plogging! The Swedish trend is to collect waste from nature when walking, cycling or hiking. After Yvonne initially did this during her own travels, she then founded an initiative at the hotel so that guests can also participate! Since last autumn, every guest receives a biodegradable garbage bag at the beginning of their stay in which their own and other guests’ waste is collected during the outdoor activities and can be brought back to the hotel. There the employees take care of the proper disposal. Further plogging events will take place in the Dolomites in the future in cooperation other European organisations.

Strong family ties

Alongside Inge, Walter and Yvonne, Inges’ brother Karl-Heinz and his wife Antjesusann continue to work for sustainability and show that the Castlunger family is all pulling in the same direction. For example, architect Karl-Heinz was responsible for the construction of the chalets Mi Amur, Les Viles, La Sajun, the outdoor pool and the Mi Chalet, which were completed in 2019. His wife Antjesusann was responsible for the cosy furnishings in the large Mi Amur chalet and the new Mi Chalet. Since 2017, all of the family’s accommodations have been united under a single name: “Dolomit Homes & Hotel – Creating Memories”, because offering guests unique experiences and relaxation in harmony with nature is the focus of all of their hard work.

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