Yet the occasional change of perspective does broaden the horizons. That's why we're not just setting our sights on a relaxed future, but also taking an enjoyable peek over our shoulder into the Karnerhof's past, for a story that's as exciting as it is entertaining.
The history of the
4-star Hotel Karnerhof
The Karnerhof is a family-run establishment that is deeply rooted in Lake Faaker See and the province of Carinthia. Its history: an eventful, moving, and successful one.
The history of the Karnerhof is as exciting as it is varied. The name itself most likely goes back to the Celts, when a tribe of Karners or Carinthians settled in the region around 50 BC. Linguists have discovered the Celtic terms for "loving" and "fertilising" in the tribe that lends Carinthia or Kärnten its name. And in keeping with this notion, this unique spot on the northern shore of Lake Faaker See became the location for many things to bloom and grow over the next 2,000 years.
First documented in 1633, today's Karnerhof looks back on almost 100 years of history as a guest house. Our grandfather Johann Melcher ran an inn with simple guest rooms. As a true pioneer on Lake Faaker See, he developed the house as a destination for summer holidays on the lake up until the outbreak of World War II. After the end of the war, the house was occupied by the British, but in 1949, the inn resumed operating once again.
In 1972, the Karnerhof was taken over by Hans Melcher, who, together with his wife Adi, gradually remodelled and expanded the hotel.He left his mark on the hotel with his sense of art and an upscale, refined style that runs through everything from the cuisine to the interior design. In 2012, Ursula Karner and her husband Alfred took over the management of the business, and have also made a wide variety of major and minor renovations, adaptations and additions. The 2022 renovation raises the Karnerhof to a new level, with the aim of creating a holiday oasis full of your favourite places, brimming with an abundance of LAKE-SOUL.
Around 50 BC, Celtic people settled in the region. Among them was a tribe known as the Karners. Linguists have discovered the Celtic word root for "loving" and "fertilising" in the tribal name by which Carinthia or Kärnten is now known. Many other place names point back to these origins, including the Karnburg, the Carinthian Alps and the Carnia region of Friulia.
In 1633,the site of today's Karnerhof is first officially recorded in the Book of Honour of the Rosegg Dominion, where "according to the temporal inheritance of Mathias Karner, the elder son Paul Karner is graced with the Karner Hube zu Egg".
In 1699 the Karner Hube is "honoured as a Freystift," meaning that the Karnerhof is now considered its own independent property.
In 1811, after the death of her father, through a transfer of title, Maria Karner becomes the owner of the Karner Hube zu Egg. She marries Johann Melcher. This is the first time the name Melcher appears and the farmstead retains the "vulgar name" Karner. Eleven children were born of this marriage. After the death of his wife, Johann Melcher marries her sister, and this marriage is blessed with another six children.
In 1930 the small farmhouse is converted into an inn. The first guest, Alois Navratilaus, arrives from VIenna on 14 June with his wife and two children.
In 1941 Johann Melcher marries Maria Warum, and in 1942, 1943 and 1947 Hans, Luise and Christa are born.
In 1944, on 10 October, Hilde Zechner travels back to Judenburg as the final guest of the year. At the end of that 1944 season, no one suspects that the house will be closed to guests for a very long time. After the end of the war, English troops occupy the Karner Inn until 1949.
In 1949, following the occupation, Mrs. and Mr. Scheiner from Mistelbach are the first new guests, after extensive renovation and repair work to the guest house.
In 1969 the farm is completely rebuilt. All of the animals are relocated and feel at home in their new quarters.
This marks the beginning of a large-scale and long-term era of expansion. In 1973 a new main building for the hotel, including indoor swimming pool and sauna, is constructed. The exceptionally generous 36 sq. metre rooms with bathtubs and separate toilets are far ahead of their time. With the opening of this striking new gabled building, the Gasthof Karner officially becomes the Hotel Karnerhof.
Between all of the renovations and additions, private life also continues. In 1966, Hans Melcher marries Adele Schneeweiß. The family is joined by Hans in 1968, Andreas in 1972, Peter in 1980 and Ursula in 1982.
In 1982 the original guest house is replaced by the Faakersee building.
With the construction of the sauna and the Health, Beauty and Vitality Centre in in 1986 the Karnerhof is a pioneer in wellness.
In 1990 the the outdoor bathing area with pool and whirlpool follows. State-of-the-art technology and the size of the facility set new milestones in the development of the house. As part of this, all rooms in the Karnerhof portion of the house are also renovated this year.
In 1994 the guest houses I and II are replaced by the Mittagskogel house. With this, all guest rooms reach a unified, modern standard. Andreas is now studying in Graz and Klagenfurt and gaining experience abroad in Abu Dhabi.
The early years of the 21st century were dedicated to the redesign of the hotel's public areas: In 2000 the expansion of the indoor pool, whirlpool and relaxation area, in 2002 the Karnerhof is expanded to include a waterbed room, fitness area and laconium as well as a covered connection to the outdoor pool. In 2006 and 2007 the redesign of the hotel lobby, spa area and sauna follow. In the meantime, Peter has landed in Berlin after his studies in Vienna and Krems and time spent abroad in Paris, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
After her studies in Vienna and time abroad on the Côte d'Azur and in Chicago, Ursula is now gaining experience at a 5-star hotel in Vienna.
In 2011 a major renovation is carried out, including the redesign of all rooms in the Faakersee section of the house and almost all in the Karnerhof building. In addition, the existing fire alarm system is greatly expanded and brought up to state-of-the-art standard. In May - in picture-book weather - the Melcher family celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Hotel Karnerhof with guests, partners and staff. At the end of this year, Ursula returns to the Karnerhof and takes over the management of the hotel at the beginning of 2013.
In 2015 Alfred, Ursula's longtime partner, joins the family business. On the agenda for this year are the redesign of the hotel forecourt, the acquisition of the electric boat "Seerose" and the purchase of a new guest rental car. In addition, eight rooms in the Mittagskogel portion of the house are redesigned. The restrained style with oak parquet flooring, oak furniture and a reduced colour palette is designed to take a back seat to the impressive natural surroundings. It bears the signature of the new generation and will go on to define the new architectural style of the Karnerhof.
In 2017 the staircase in the Faakersee portion of the building is redesigned and adapted into the art walkway. Its centrepiece is a lovingly restored, nostalgic rowing boat with a very long history - but we'll save that story for another time... On 30 September 2017, Ursula Melcher and Alfred Kubec are married. The couple decides to jointly adopt the family name "Karner", which had been lost 206 years earlier.
In 2018 the second main entrance gets a completely new look. Direct access is enabled, the entranceway gets a roof, a new fountain splashes, and a new garden area invites you to relax and linger. In addition, three charging stations for electric cars are installed. Ten rooms in the Mittagskogel portion of the house are redesigned, along with four rooms and two additional barrier-free rooms in the Karnerhof building.
In 2020 two panorama suites are introduced, offering a unique view over the pool landscape, Lake Faaker See and the Karawank mountain range from the very top floor of the hotel.
In 2021 8 more rooms in the Karnerhof section are renovated. Their spacious bathrooms, oak parquet floors and walnut furnishings set a new style for this section of the house.
In 2022 large portions of the property are expanded and renovated: a new wellness and spa area is created, including spacious relaxation zones with infrared loungers, swinging loungers, an infinity pool, a warm whirlpool, a new sauna area with a relaxation area for adults and the Seefit room for sports and exercise programmes. The entrance and reception area are enhanced with a terrace and a completely new look in shades of grey and turquoise, with walnut furnishings and stylish lighting. The Seeblick restaurant and its lakeview terrace are also part of the renovation.
The future is starting today. Our specific plans? They'll remain a surprise for now. What we can say for sure is that the Karnerhof will continue to be a lakeside holiday oasis for guests from near and far. It's a location that has been entrusted to us. A property that we'll work to preserve, with a warm hospitality that we'll continue to live by. A gently grown business - with soul and character.