The building in Laufbergergasse, in the Leopoldstadt district, is being renovated at a cost of around €1.5 million and will have around 95 rooms. It will be called Hotel Magda, and will cost around €70 a night for a double room.
In the years after 1956 the building served as accommodation for students who had fled Hungary after the revolution. In the mid-1970s it became a retirement and nursing home, but all the residents have now moved to a new facility in Stadlau.
Schwertner has said it will be a hotel with “social value”. “We also want to flag up the fact that asylum seekers are locked out of the job market,” he said. A recent change to the law means that asylum seekers under the age of 25 may be taken on as apprentices.
Schwertner said that young asylum seekers will work alongside people who have refugee status. In its first year the Hotel Magda will also provide some accommodation for unaccompanied refugees who are under 18.
Sample room inside the Hotel Magda. Photo: HERBERT NEUBAUER (APA)
Tourists will be able to book a room at the Hotel Magda via travel sites. Caritas has asked students from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts to design the exterior of the hotel, and will also make some of the rooms available for artists in residence to stay in. A bar, lounge, and restaurant will be open to the public.
Refugees and socially disadvantaged people are currently working to restore old furniture for the hotel.
The Hotel Magda will not be supported by any government subsidies but will have to pay for itself. If it turns out to be a success, Schwertner said that Caritas may follow up with similar projects.