The beautifully modern Magdas Hotel in Vienna is filled with more than minimalist design and upcycled furniture; young refugees also stay at the hotel. Two hotel suites are dedicated to refugees whom are minors and separated from their families. By doing so, the Magdas Hotel tries to solve social and economic problems with entrepreneurial tools. The hotel is a social enterprise designed by AllesWirdGut and funded by Caritas, a Catholic inspired nonprofit aiding vulnerable populations internationally from the grassroots level.Most of the hotel’s staff are refugees, which addresses the difficulties asylum-seekers face when trying to find employment. The staff makes the social enterprise an interesting multilingual team who come from different backgrounds. There will also be an apprenticeship program to work at the open-minded hotel
“We wanted to build a place where tourists from all over the world are welcomed by people who left their home not because they wanted to, but because they needed to—because they were fleeing from hunger, war, or terrorism,” says Martin Gartner from Caritas. Along with the various alternative city tours in many cities, this concept is a great way to encourage tourists to interact with a different often overlooked side of the local urban life.
To make the hotel even more dynamic, the art exhibited features student works from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and even has artist residency programs. The hotel offers a library, renting bicycles, and cultural salons which include activities, concerts, exhibitions and readings that are open to all: travellers, employees and neighbors.
At a time where refugees in Europe have become a contentious issue, initiatives like this contribute on the social level. Magdas Hotel showcases solutions that enable refugees to find a place in society. Hopefully the financially self-sufficient concept can spread to other cities with refugee populations.