September 26, 202350th Anniversary Forsthofalm

50 Years of Forsthofalm: The Story of Our Wooden Hotel

The magnificent alpine meadows were our paradise in the time before Forsthofalm. Here, we found a place in nature where we could rejuvenate.

For half a century, our Forsthofalm has stood on the hills of the Austrian Alps. With our unique history and sustainable concept, we have become a special luxury accommodation.

The Birth: 1972 - Company founding and construction with the help of many friends - 40 seats and no guest rooms at the time.

Our story began in 1973 when our family acquired the property, laying the foundation for what is now considered one of the most sustainable hotels in the world. Our family has a passion for nature and the forest, so it was no surprise that we decided to transform the hotel into a true wooden paradise, but more on that later...

A Wooden Hotel Takes Shape: The 80s and 90s

In the 1980s and 1990s, our Forsthofalm Hotel was constantly expanded and modernized, creating an inviting and cozy atmosphere appreciated by our guests. The ski shop outside the door brought guests into the restaurant and onto the terrace.

In 1980, the access road was built on our behalf, and shortly thereafter, the idea of an illuminated natural toboggan run was born.

In 1982, the Forsthofalm was expanded to include a second restaurant with an additional 120-160 seats, mostly through our own efforts but with the support of an external construction company. A bit later, the first guest rooms, with 25 beds, were gradually built through our own efforts.

In 1996, we had to endure a fire catastrophe. What wasn't consumed by the fire was destroyed by the extinguishing water or smoke. During the following summer, our Forsthofalm was completely rebuilt.

The Ecological Transformation: The New Millennium

Entering the 21st century, we took a pioneering role in sustainability. We began implementing rigorous environmental standards and increasingly relied on renewable energy sources to minimize our ecological footprint.

Franz Widauer was already committed to this cause and founded an organization that facilitated the networking of farmers and restaurateurs. The gastronomy, tourism, and local farmers are so closely interconnected through the use of the same areas that greater cooperation became necessary.

The association still exists today, known as the "Vermarktungsverein Saalachtaler Bauernprodukte" (Marketing Association of Saalachtal Farmers' Products).

2008: Construction of the 1st Thoma Wood Hotel in the Salzburg region, a special addition to the "original alpine chalet."

After a 5-month construction period, the hotel opened on December 4, 2008. During the construction phase, the hotel was mentioned in regional media in over 150 newspaper articles in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the Benelux countries. This helped establish a high image that attracted guests with very high expectations from the beginning.

About the Thoma Philosophy:

The hotel is entirely constructed from "Mondholz" (moon wood). This refers to solid wood walls that are metal- and glue-free, representing a biological construction method. Thoma wood comes from Styria and is only harvested during the winter and the right moon phase.

The wooden hotel offers a unique living atmosphere, and our guests repeatedly confirm that they sleep exceptionally well in a wooden hotel.

Completing the Vision with New Construction and Expansion in 2013 with SKY SPA

In the spring of 2013, the second construction phase followed, aligning the main building with the overall concept. After four months of construction and an addition of a 1,200 cubic meter wooden structure, the reopening of the Forsthofalm Wood Hotel took place on August 1, 2013. Surrounded by alpine meadows and forests, the hotel blends gently into the landscape, bringing nature inside through the use of wood and panoramic orientation. "Nature is freedom" is not only the guiding motto of the Widauer family but also a way of life reflected in architecture, culinary concepts, and spa offerings.

For the hotel's expansion, Markus Widauer adhered to the ecological construction method using locally sourced moon wood, as done in 2008. Instead of glue and metal, 210,000 beechwood dowels hold the solid wood walls together. Warm, earthy colors in the furnishings harmonize with regional natural materials such as spruce, pine, and stone pine wood, green slate, linen, jute, clay, and leather. An outdoor rooftop pool was a special request for the spa expansion. 25 units with 35 square meters and six units ranging from 51 to 70 square meters were added. The Forsthofalm Wood Hotel now boasts a total of 56 rooms and suites.

Additionally, we celebrated the opening of our SKY SPA, a unique wellness area that immerses our guests in nature. Here, you can not only enjoy relaxing treatments but also take in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain landscape.

Sustainability in Focus: Today

Today, our Forsthofalm Hotel stands for sustainability in its purest form. The entire hotel is a prime example of ecological responsibility, from using local wood for construction and furnishings to offering organic and regional foods in our cuisine. Our hotel has received numerous awards for our environmental efforts, and we remain a pioneer in the industry.

Looking to the Future

Over the past 50 years, the Forsthofalm has transformed from a small ski hut at 1050 meters into a magnificent wooden hotel. Throughout this journey, a consistent commitment to sustainability and the use of wood as the primary building material has been maintained. While the hotel has been expanded and modernized over time, the use of wood has remained constant, giving the hotel a rustic charm and a cozy atmosphere.

In the new millennium, the Forsthofalm took a leadership role in sustainability and environmental protection. They increased their reliance on renewable energy and provided the entire hotel with power from their own hydropower source. In 2010, they opened the unique SKY SPA, allowing guests to immerse themselves in nature.

Today, the Forsthofalm represents sustainability in its purest form. They use regional wood for construction and furnishings and offer organic and local foods in their cuisine. The hotel has received numerous awards for its commitment to environmental protection and remains a pioneer in the industry.

The history of Forsthofalm is an inspiring example of how a small family business can evolve into a global icon of sustainable tourism. With their unique wooden hotel, they have preserved their connection to nature and inspire guests to appreciate and protect the beauty of the natural world. In the next 50 years, they will undoubtedly continue to write many more stories and inspire generations of guests to live sustainably and protect nature.



1972: Construction of the Forsthofalm ski hut at 1050 meters by Franz and Katharina Widauer.

1982: Construction of the current main building. It features a large restaurant and 30 guest beds.

1996: A significant portion of the original building was destroyed in a fire (the Widauer family's residence). In 1997, that part of the Forsthofalm was rebuilt.

2008: Addition of a new hotel wing with 42 beds. This hotel was built as a "Holz 100 Project" for bio and eco reasons, meaning 100% of the walls and ceilings are made of wood, and no nails or glue were used. Only beechwood dowels provide the necessary support for the house.

2012: Construction of a staff housing facility for approximately 35 employees directly adjacent to the hotel.

2013: The old guest room wing is converted into a "Holz 100" hotel, and the Forsthofalm can accommodate approximately 120 guests after the expansion. Following the expansion, the operation employs 35 staff members.

2023: The wooden hotel now has 46 rooms and 10 suites. Since the hotel was completed, the wood has evolved over the years. It changes in color and texture, reflecting shifting moods.

The Opening Party 2013 - a special Moment!

On Thursday, August 1, 2013, at 6:30 PM: The sun shines from a deep blue sky, the temperatures are summery, sparkling drinks are served, and the gentle sounds of the alpine horn player enhance the idyllic atmosphere. The first guests of the opening ceremony gather at the white-covered standing tables on the terrace of the new Forsthofalm.

With the words, "We did it! Applause for everyone involved in the construction!" the host Isabella Krassnitzer kicks off the opening ceremony. Distinguished guests from the media, culture, business, politics, art, and the first hotel guests – the Forsthofalm is already fully booked – attend the event.

The first member of the visionary owner family to speak is a beaming Markus Widauer. He talks about the new Forsthofalm motto, "Nature is Freedom": "For us, nature means grounding, new energy. Freedom as the choice of possibilities, to unfold oneself, to discover a new way of life."

The next interviewee for Isabella Krassnitzer is Claudia Widauer, known as the "Herb Fairy" of the Forsthofalm. She emphasizes the significance of herbs in the hotel's operation, which she gathers herself in the alpine meadows and are used in all hotel departments – from the restaurant and kitchen to the spa and shop as souvenirs.

Father Franz Widauer then provides a glimpse into the family's history. Alongside his wife Katharina, he laid the foundation for the Forsthofalm 40 years ago. The family's gastronomic journey began at an altitude of over 2,000 meters in a mountain hut. Then, a ski hut was built to serve guests, followed by the first guest room wing after ten years. Father Franz Widauer also instilled a sustainable way of life in his children and, in turn, the Forsthofalm. He co-founded the "Bio-Paradies Salzburger Land" and is considered the family's bio pioneer.

Emmi Widauer, who hails from Finland, explains the name of the restaurant, KUKKA, which translates to "the flower." It symbolizes diversity and freshness. It is colorful, diverse, and natural like an alpine meadow, representing the culinary concept of the new Forsthofalm.

Architect Alfred Waltl from W2 Manufaktur provides insights into the architectural concept of the Forsthofalm: "The Widauer family's requirement was a puristic design that opens up views of nature. Architecture that doesn't distract but allows room to breathe and a sense of freedom. The architecture is subservient to nature and the experience." His highlight and favorite spot in the new Forsthofalm is the rooftop pool.

Erwin Thoma of Thoma-Holz summarizes the well-being atmosphere of the Forsthofalm: "Anyone who sleeps in a room at the new Forsthofalm sleeps with 4,000 fewer heartbeats. Trees help us sleep better. Trees help us wake up in the morning and recharge health and vitality. The Forsthofalm is the world's first and only seven-story solid wood hotel with a rooftop pool. This is a global sensation!" Erwin Thoma also emphasizes the uniqueness of the overall concept: "The Forsthofalm offers its guests a unique sense of well-being in a pure wooden environment combined with stunning nature and breathtaking views – you couldn't ask for more from a vacation!" And he adds: "The Forsthofalm is on the right path – and it will continue because, in the case of the Forsthofalm, it's very successful."

After the official part of the event concludes, guests indulge in the natural culinary secrets of the new Forsthofalm and take a behind-the-scenes tour. On the "Sky Spa" rooftop terrace, they sample the new alpine cocktails, while bread baker Roswitha Huber bakes fresh bread live, Annemarie Foidl, President of the Austrian Sommelier Association, leads wine tastings from the Iby and Jurtschitsch wineries, and DJ Kiri provides musical entertainment.

A successful start for us! We are proud and excited about the outcome!


We're celebrating our 50th birthday, and what would this celebration be without our dearest friends and family? That's precisely why you must not miss this special weekend!


Thursday: Welcome with a walking appetizer tour through the hotel & Night Spa.

Friday: Enjoy the Jagdstube with a traditional menu.

Saturday: Indulge in a dinner served in sharing style with wine pairing, followed by a celebration with music and drinks to commemorate 50 years of Forsthofalm.

Sunday: Conclude the weekend with a special breakfast.

Save 10% on your accommodation price for this special weekend!

Special Promo Code: forsthofalmgeburtstag

In addition, you'll experience breathtaking mountain panoramas at 1050 meters, rooms and suites made from moon wood, daily yoga & fitness classes, guided hikes and bike tours (weather permitting), and our dinner from the Essential-Elements-Kitchen served in sharing style.