The city of Merano first attracted visitors during the 19th century, when it became a hub for many of the writers of the era. The region of South Tyrol has since become a destination for many visitors who enjoy the mild climate and soothing air. In 1918, when Italy was one of the winners of the First World War, the South Tyrol was her war prize. Before that it had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The area’s gem, Merano, is located in the green valley of Passeier and remains a top destination for travelers all-year round.
While visiting Merano, the 2018 Publisher’s Tour travelers stayed at the 5-star Park Hotel Mignon. Just steps away from boutiques, shops and restaurants and surrounded by historical buildings and villas, the Park Hotel Mignon has been family owned since its inception.
The story of the hotel really began in 1924. In that year, ten-year-old Zenzi Glatt moved to Merano with her family. It was a time of transition in the region, with the differences in language and culture between the former Austrian residents and their new Italian identity. In 1930, Zenzi was sent to Florence for a year to properly speak the Italian language and learn about the rich art and culture of the nation. She became one of the pioneers of the post-war resurgence of Merano’s hospitality industry, when in 1948, she opened the Pension Mignon, a residence for guests. Her guiding principles are still in place today. Foremost is the proper atmosphere; the entire staff must be hospitable and welcome guests with open arms. The second key to success is the cuisine and in Zenzi’s opinion, everything should be homemade. Next, cleanliness and orderliness must be maintained and that includes records of each guest’s preferences, from their favorite foods to whether they prefer a soft or firm mattress.
In 1967, she built the Park Hotel Mignon & Spa and renamed her original hotel Désirée, which is still owned and operated by the family. In 1982, Zenzi purchased the 4-star Adria, a lovely Art Nouveau villa, uphill from the Park Hotel Mignon. For years, it was three generations of women from the family that ran the three hotels. The hotels are now run by Zenzi’s daughter Irmgard Amort and her granddaughter, Sissi Ellmenreich.
While still in her early 20s, Sissi took over the running of Hotel Adria and along with her mother and grandmother, helped to create its unique flair and charm. Sissi quickly recognized that the character of the century-old hotel was a vital feature that needed to be preserved, establishing the basis for its redevelopment. Sissi is married to Florian Ellmenreich, who became the first male member of the family to work in the hotel.
The travelers on the tour could not be faulted if they wanted to relax and spend the days in their rooms, since everything at the Park Hotel Mignon speaks of luxury. Wandering the hotel brought each guest to the spa facility with the soothing waters of Merano used in various treatments, as well as the refreshing pool. A walk outside brought each to what would be the crown jewel of any other hotel, a 2 ½ acre private park; a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the blue sky and invigorating air. Heading to the top of the hotel revealed its rooftop terrace which provided an unparalleled view of the Alpine landscape.
The staff at the Park Hotel Mignon still follows the guidelines established by Zenzi over 70 years ago and Tyrolean hospitality is evident throughout. The attention to detail is also reflected in the hotel’s restaurant, where the menu changes frequently to include locally grown ingredients, which is one of the reasons that their cuisine has become legendary. For a trip to the region, the travelers on the Publisher’s Tour could not have imagined a finer stay than at the Park Hotel Mignon.
ENJOYING THE SPA…Buddy Fortunato, Ralph Riefolo and Joe Fabio relax in their spa robes during breakfast.