Founded by Klaus Ladurner over twenty years ago, Preidlhof has earned its reputation as a luxury Italian spa and retreat specialising in holistic and medical wellness for adults. The retreat is situated in Naturns, Italy, a secluded hillside environment with a year-round Mediterranean climate. Guests can immerse themselves in the spa therapies, transformational journeys and integrated healing remedies with one of the wellness programmes. Compare Retreats spoke with Klaus Ladurner to chat about Preidlhof’s vision on wellness, healthy lifestyles and finding positivity amidst the global crisis which requires a positive mindset approach.
Tell us about your life before you became the director of Preidlhof. I was literally born in Preidlhof! My parents opened this as a small hotel in 1966 so I have lived here my whole life. I took over as the owner and director in 1996. Hospitality is in my blood, inherited from my father and my mother. I also gained an excellent grounding in tourism education in the nearby town of Merano. From there I went onto work extensively abroad, completing internships and learning along the way. In 1996, I returned home and so far the rest is history!
What was your first healthy holiday experience? I have always had an interest in health and it is so important for me to maintain a lifestyle that supports this. I particularly remember a fascinating holiday in China. It was here that I was first introduced to elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) such as acupuncture and massage. It was immediately clear to me that this was powerful and transformative and I knew that I wanted to have this offering at Preidlhof. I was then very lucky to find Dr. Alexander Angerer, a pioneer in complementary medicine for oncology, and he is now Preidlhof’s in-house medical doctor and TCM specialist.
Who do you admire professionally, and why? I really admire my parents. My mother, Rosa is a Senior Director at Preidlhof. She is the heart and soul of the hotel and as a true South Tyrolean, she cares a lot about the local culture and traditions. She still accompanies our guests on hikes once a week. My father, Josef Ladurner is a gifted farmer, winegrower and distiller. Our guests are always fascinated to hear his stories about this beautiful region and of course you get the chance to enjoy a lot of his produce and creations on our menu. I am also full of admiration for the practitioners that make up our incredibly talented team of healers, innovators and therapists here at Preidlhof. We recently launched our new Transformational Programmes to focus on healing and transformation for the mind, body and soul. This was before the Coronavirus outbreak and now we think these programmes will be needed more than ever for their life-changing benefits. It is even more necessary that guests take a preventative and personalised approach to health. It is not just about helping to strengthen our immune systems and build resilience. Treatment programmes have to go beyond just treating the physical symptoms – we know that this virus has also resulted in extreme feelings of anxiety, grief, trauma and loneliness so these need to be addressed too.
What was the incentive behind launching your Transformational Retreats? I have always wanted to offer a holistic approach to wellbeing and have been interested in both ancient and western medicine as much as I have been in new technology and science. In recent years, I have collaborated with inventor and audiologist, Daniel Lathan, in the use of technology to boost relaxation. Together we designed the world’s only Deep Sea Relaxation Room which is at Preidlhof. I enjoyed the challenge and it was wonderful to win the European Health & Spa Award for Innovation for this design—it was hailed as the ‘future of relaxation’. The Deep Sea Relaxation Room uses sound and vibration as over 12,500 LED lights dancing across all four sides, as well as the ceiling and the floor of a hermetically sealed room to boost the effectiveness of body treatments.
Since then, Daniel and I have also created the Dream Well Suite at Preidlhof to complement our Sleep Programme. We use innovative technology to mimic the sounds and light in nature, which has been scientifically-proven to support a better night’s sleep. I am passionate about a good night’s sleep and delivering this is really central to our offering at Preidlhof. I am extremely grateful for the arrival of our new Spa Director and Transformational Coach, Patrizia Bortolin, as she has been instrumental in bringing together the ancient and the innovative to create deeper, more personalised and integrated transformational opportunities for our guests at Preidlhof.
What do you hope guests will take away from their stay? We want our guests to leave happy in themselves. This really is the motivation behind all that we do and is the basis of our philosophy—The Preidlhof Way. We understand that stress is really impacting our lives, especially now. We have the tools to help our guests overcome this and to face their lives with a more positive outlook and arm them with tools to eat and sleep better, move with purpose, think more and find joy.
What are the crucial factors involved in implementing a successful healthy lifestyle change? I think that the most important factor is wanting the change in the first place. And wanting it for yourself. Once you are aware of the need to change, then it is about setting realistic goals and taking responsibility for your actions. Of course, it also goes without saying that having the best guides to help you is crucial too. That is why we feel that our Transformational Programmes are so important to kick start any transition. Our healers are amongst the most talented in the world and their support really can help you make a successful healthy lifestyle change.
What’s your fitness motto and why? Get out into nature as much as possible! We are situated right at the foothills of the Texel Group National Park which, at 33,430 hectares, is the biggest (and most beautiful, in my opinion!) nature reserve in South Tyrol. It is perfect for hiking and also for the more adventurous climbers too.
What fitness trends do you love, and which do you hate? When I am not outdoors, I am a big fan of CrossFit and functional training because they are very effective at strengthening the body. I do love Yoga too, especially if I can find the time to join our instructor, Martina’s amazing classes! I don’t hate any trends, all fitness and movement are good and different things appeal to different people!
How do you remain aware and mindful of your thoughts and catch yourself when you’re in a negative thought pattern? I am naturally shy and I think my introverted nature has helped me over the years to find internal ways of coping and managing my stress. I am quite rational and thoughtful, some may say serious, but I always try to see all sides before I make a judgement or approach. When I really need a mind reset then I go for a walk. I find this helps. As a family, we always have lunch together at 1.oopm and we take Sundays for ourselves. These routines do help to keep me grounded too.
The most powerful transformations can come through difficult times or a crisis because people are forced to have a breakthrough. How have you changed a crisis into an opportunity?Well this current crisis as a huge challenge for every person in the world. It is overwhelming. For me personally, it has been a reminder of the importance of family and the importance of gratitude for what we have. It also underscores the utmost importance of our health. Luckily, I have this pool of talent right on my doorstep! I have appreciated learning some Qi Gong breathing techniques from Martin Kishler our extremely talented therapist, he is passionate about Chinese medicine whose intense research integrates multiple therapeutic tools into one approach. I have also been in consultation with our in-house Trauma Healing Expert, Stefano Battaglia. This is a deeper dive that has helped me find greater positivity. This has made me even more certain about the importance of the work we are doing here at Preidlhof and we really cannot wait for the day that we can welcome guests back to South Tyrol.