Earlier this summer my wife and I started planning our first European road trip with our son, who was 7 months old at the time. Knowing that there are many amazing properties using our WordPress themes, we thought this might be a good opportunity to go and visit some of them.

A newsletter has been sent out informing our customers about the countries we were planning to visit: Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. During the next few days we got a couple of invitations from properties in these countries, but also some invitations to different continents (hello Australia & South America)!

Now that our trip is over and we are safely home, it is a good opportunity to tell you about some of the people we have met.

1. Schatzalp Hotel in Davos, Switzerland – The Set of a Hollywood Movie

One of our stops on the trip took us to Davos, a famous ski resort in Switzerland and the highest city in Europe, located at 1,560 m (5,120 ft). To reach the hotel you take a funicular that takes you higher by another 300 meters.

Photo of Schatzalp Hotel in Davos, Switzerland

Photos of Schatzalp Hotel in Davos, Switzerland

Short Hotel History

Built in 1899 this building has had an eventful past. What started out as a luxury treatment facility for tuberculosis patients (1900), it got converted into a luxury sanatorium in the 1950’s. Eventually it was bought out and now this historic building serves as a hotel with one of the most amazing views you can imagine.

“The Magic Mountain” by Thomas Mann

The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature. The events in the book take place in this sanatorium in Davos, which was the real life inspiration for the author, as he has previously been here visiting his wife before World War I.

Hollywood Comes to Schatzalp

In 2014 the hotel has served as a set for the movie YOUTH, written and directed by Oscar-winning Paolo Sorrentino, starring Sir Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz. Here you can see the official trailer for the movie:

It is peculiar to sit at the same table and in the same room as the actors do in the movie, walk the same hallways, enjoy the same views.

I met with Mr. Pius App (the owner of the hotel) and Mr. Paulo Bernardo (GM) and talked about the history of the hotel, about the experience with the movie shoot and about some of the challenges running a hotel’s website. During one of these conversations an idea came to my mind, something that I hope to be able to present by the end of the year.

Schatzalp Hotel is using our Castello Theme for their website.

References and Links

2. Pension Andre Arnold in Sölden, Austria – The Home of a Ski World Champion

Sölden is a popular ski resort in Austria, being the third most visited Austrian tourist destination, after Vienna and Salzburg.

We stayed at the B&B run by Mr. Andre Arnold and his family.

Mr. Andre Arnold has won the title of the World Pro Skiing Championship four times in a row (1978-1981). After an unfortunate career ending knee injury in 1982 Mr. Andre became a skiing coach and many of his students later became champions and medalists.

Photo of Dumitru Brinzan and his son Oliver with Andre Arnold
Left to Right: Dumitru Brinzan (me), Oliver Brinzan (my son), Andre Arnold

Soelden is a quiet but a lively little village. Even in off-season most of the venues are open and look very inviting. Andre Arnold’s B&B is located very advantageously near the main road, but you never hear any noise from the traffic.

Mr. Andre and his family left a very positive and warm impression, I bet he is a great skiing coach!

I sat down with Nina Arnold (Andre’s daughter) and discussed some of the ways that the website could be improved and optimized. Even though our themes are great assets to get started with and work right away, there are things that you can tweak and improve on a per-site basis.
It was nice seeing WordPress and our theme being used by the very people that it was developed for.

Andre Arnold is using our Castello Theme (customized) for their website, which is dedicated to 3 different properties.

References and Links

3. Siena House in Tuscany, Italy – Home Away from Home

This is the second year that we got to visit Siena House, as this is a place that you truly want to return to. The impeccable score on TripAdvisor is the merit of Malvin and Amanda, the couple that owns and runs this amazing B&B. A great example of how modern and rustic can be combined to create a comfortable and pleasant experience for the guests.

View of Siena House Hotel

Here at Siena House we had the opportunity to visit the surrounding hill towns at our own pace. Take a drive on the scenic roads to Montalcino, Montepulciano, Cortona, Pienza, etc., do some sightseeing, sweat a little, grab an ice-cream and then slowly drive back to the pleasant evening sunsets at Siena House. This is closest that I could get to my fantasy of Italy, a fantasy that was built by books, movies… and Jamie Oliver’s Italian food recipes.

View of Siena House Hotel

Siena House is using our Bordeaux Theme for their website.

References and Links

Epilogue

It has been a great pleasure and privilege to meet some of the real people behind some of the many properties using our WordPress themes. When dealing with digital products and services it is easy to get a little lost and carried away by the “virtual” side of the business. A completed theme sale is not just an email address and a name. Real people put real hope and trust in our WordPress themes, hoping that it will help them stand out among competitors in a very active market.

Share Your Story

Have you been successfully using one of our themes for your website and would like to share some of the experience? Feel free to post your story in the comments below (links are welcome).

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