In a highly unusual situation for the normally solvent tourism industry in the Austrian Tyrol, the village of Moesern, located in the municipality of Telfs but forming part of the Seefeld plateau is the unlikely backdrop of a contemporary five star hotel being petitioned for bankruptcy only a year after its completion.

The anglicized appellation of the For Friends Hotel perhaps stems from the Peace Bell also situated in Moesern, a symbol of cordiality between Alpine nations and holding the distinction of being the largest bell in the Tyrol. In 2012 the site of the former Moesererhof hotel was taken over by the previous owners’ daughter, the property having been under Freninger auspices since 1982. The clean lines, futuristic architectural and minimalist chic that form the cornerstones of  the ‘For Friends’ ethos can today be found in many Austrian resorts, often only loosely sympathetic to their sylvan surroundings but in Moesern’s case demonstrating the crossing of a fine line between alpine luxury and a vanity project of leviathan proportions.

The insolvency of the hotel could potential affect 60 jobs and whilst tourism roles in the Seefeld region are presumably abundant, the absorption of so many redundancies would stretch even the most affluent region. Incredibly, the €7 million project overspend accounted for 29% of the total cost of construction meant this was far from being the case of many large schemes that overreach their initial budgets but are able to make efficiency savings or, dip into a sensibly proportioned contingency fund. There will always be an element of flexibility when initial costings for the basis of a planning application are estimated but there can be no surprise that such wanton extravagance has resulted in bankruptcy proceedings being initiated in Innsbruck’s Regional Court.

Despite a failed request by the hotel’s management to stay proceedings in an effort to undertake debt restructuring outside of a court-led legal process, those at the For Friends will hope to continue as a going concern if a total debt exposure of €15 million isn’t increased by the day to day running of the hotel. The prospect of carrying on in business must be weighted against the likelihood of creditors seeing any meaningful return should the hotel remain open, once set side by side with the financial consequences of liquidation. In a rare example of Austrian financial mismanagement it might have been propitious for the For Friends Hotel to have secured the current Bilderberg Group meeting being staged at the nearby Telfs-based Hotel Interalpen, although hosting the notorious conference could’ve done its already damaged reputation more harm than good.

Further details on this matter can be found at:

Tiroler Tageszeitung: For Friends Hotel insolvent after construction overspend

Seefeld Olympia Region website: Moesern Peace Bell

For Friends Hotel website

Tyrol.tl website: Moesern-Buchen area highlights.