Hotel staffed by refugees opens in Vienna

Hotel staffed by refugees opens in Vienna
A sample room inside Hotel Magda. Photo: APA/Neubauer
A hotel with a social conscience is opening in Vienna this weekend. The Roman Catholic charity Caritas is opening a budget hotel close to the Prater and providing jobs for people with a refugee background.

The Hotel Magdas, in Laufbergergasse, has been renovated at a cost of around €1.5 million and will have 78 rooms. From Sunday 15th February a double room will cost around €70 a night, and the hotel will also be available to hire for events and seminars.

Asylum seekers under the age of 25 will be able to work at the hotel as apprentices, alongside people who have refugee status. It will be run by Dutchman Sebastiaan de Vos, who will manage a staff of 27 – 80 percent of whom are refugees. Some of them have been in Austria for decades and may have been waiting years for a work permit.

Some of them will be working in the hotel to gain experience, having already successfully applied for work in other hotels. Others already have years of experience working in the hospitality industry.

Vos told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that many businesses have supported the hotel with donations of tablets, Wi-Fi and furniture, but that the hotel still needs donations of books and plants.

It has raised €60,000 through crowdfunding and will be run as a profit making business as it will not be supported by any government subsidies.