Female Hotel Managers, Leadership With Tradition, Sustainability And Feminine Spirit

March 16, 2022

The number of women in management positions continues to be comparatively low, and the situation is hardly any different in hotel management.

However, we are very pleased to be able to share that several of the Green Pearls® partners are under female management.

They are all characterized by the highest level of professionalism, deep-rooted affiliation to the region and a very special ambiance.

Read on to learn more about who these empowering women are, what sets them apart and how they promote their own personal visions of sustainability.

Fabienne Anthamatten – Large and small building blocks for a sustainable future

Since 2010, Fabienne Anthamatten has been the manager of Hotel Bella Vista Zermatt and is the third generation to run the hotel.

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Today, the hotel has 21 rooms and a wellness area – a modest family-run business with a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn.

Fabienne has been committed to sustainable action in everyday hotel life from the very beginning. The cornerstone for this had already been laid by her parents.

Separating waste or, better still, avoiding it altogether and only taking as much food as she could actually eat, are the memories that shaped her childhood.

Fabienne and her two sisters helped to collect fruit to make jam – everything was recycled, be it from an animal or a plant. For Fabienne, what lasts has value. Added to this is her love of nature and the region.

This is also evident in the hotel business: At Hotel Bella Vista, electricity is generated from hydroelectric power, regional products are used, at breakfast, the eggs come from the hotel’s own chickens and unnecessary packaging and plastic bottles are now completely avoided.

With her place on the board of the Zermatt Hoteliers’ Association, Fabienne is also committed to sustainable action, sometimes even against long-established traditions. With her many ideas, both big and small, she is laying the foundation for a sustainable future. In the region, in her business and in her family.

In her private life, the nature-loving hotel manager spends a lot of time in the mountains. This includes an annual trip to the Gorner Glacier to measure how far it has receded.

These moments, when climate change is so clearly visible, encourage her to act responsibly with resources and to prioritize what is essential.

Elena Scalambrin – With enthusiasm for family history

Elena Scalambrin, head of the Relais del Maro in Italy, together with her mother, has turned their family estate into a real gem. For many generations, Elena and her family have lived in the small Ligurian village of Borgomaro, in the hinterland of Imperia.

The family worked as cobblers, innkeepers or butchers and were always a part of the village community.

Elena and “La Mamma” have experienced many beautiful moments of their lives within the walls of these residences and can tell secrets and anecdotes about every room and corner.

When the family-owned properties were in urgent need of renovation, Elena decided to transform them into a hotel spread over several buildings – an Albergo Diffuso. In 2012, the Relais del Maro came to life and has been delighting guests with its exciting blend of tradition and modernity ever since.

The guests’ well-being is the top priority here. “We always have the best possible result and environmental friendliness in mind,” says Elena. And this is very clear throughout all of the many small details. The Relais del Maro strives to select organic products from Liguria and lower Piedmont.

The water for irrigation and the pool comes from an artesian well and even the cleaning products used are 95 % environmentally friendly and biodegradable.

However, the wonderful food from “La Mamma”, the many stories from the village and the warmth of the hostesses are what the guests of the Relais del Maro remember the most.

Marion Muller – Entrepreneur and Visionary

During her tourism studies, Marion Müller already recognized the importance of sustainability for the travel industry.

She was involved in various projects for further development and decided to work within low-impact, sustainable tourism herself.

With the acquisition of a property requiring refurbishment and modernization at Timmendorfer Strand, Marion Muller and her husband Lambertus were able to realize their own vision of a green hotel with a focus on modern lifestyle, sustainability and naturalness. Thus, the Lifestylehotel SAND was born. Bit by bit, the green vision became reality.

The SAND is now using Geothermal Energy and is planning to install a photovoltaic system in the future. Thirty-four new rooms and a completely new interior design with mostly natural materials make the SAND an ecological but unique retreat with a certain “lifestyle”. Back then, as today, socially responsible corporate structures played just as important a role in the selection of partners as environmentally friendly production.

A sense of composure and awareness of being entrepreneurs rather than underachievers always helped Marion Muller when things did not go so smoothly, and this certainly includes the pandemic.

As an independent entrepreneur and “doer”, she endeavored to see the crisis as an opportunity and has reconsidered and revamped the hotel’s processes.

This has led to new ideas, such as integrating suggestions from employees via team workshops and encouraging the kitchen team to become more aware, to do even more themselves, as well as to be proactive about food and waste reduction. In addition, the program also includes its own herb garden.

For some time now, another inspiring woman has been at Marion Muller’s side. Yvonne Bork has been taking care of the operational business as director for about a year now, allowing the hotel manager more time for public relations, pushing the green hotel concept, and for private freedom.

In her private life, Marion Muller is also committed to people, the environment and animals, for example through the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) organization, which campaigns for endangered porpoises.

Whether it’s new concepts for the hotel or private matters – Marion Muller certainly never runs out of ideas.

Tanja Duračković – Pioneer with a passion for nature

Tanja Duračković is the managing director and the founder of Adriatic Pearls, a company that owns the Eco-Apartments Hotel The Dreamers’ Club and the Natural Design Apartments Sunshine with pool in Lumbarda on the island of Korcula.

Tanja loves nature. Fresh air, the sea, ecologically produced food from the region, the stylish design of the wooden and stone houses and a laid-back way of life-to her, that’s luxury.

Over a decade ago, the Croatian vacation home market was swamped with unappealing rental homes being marketed by somewhat untrustworthy operators.

Tanja identified a niche in the market of authentic and charming vacation homes offering quality services-and that was the birth of Adriatic Pearls. A business offering personalized, beautifully designed (and later on eco-friendly) summer residences right on the beach.

Soon after, she bought her first apartment house, the Natural Design Apartments. A few years later, she became allergic to everything that was plastic. Another motivator to build an all green, all-natural, toxic-free home. It was something that she could integrate even more out of her love for the Adriatic coast. A place not only environmentally friendly, but a space to unwind and recharge at the same time.

She purchased an old derelict house located above the marina in Lumbarda, fully renovated it and reopened it as an Eco-Apartment Hotel called The Dreamers’ Club. A thoroughly sustainable retreat emerged. Somewhere one can dream, relax or simply make memories.

With her commitment, Tanja Duračković aims to encourage others by following her initiative and further developing the market for green, healthy and ecological vacation homes.

The Okelmann’s Sister Duo

There are two women at the helm of hotel Okelmann’s. Maren and Kristin Okelmann run the traditional hotel, which is now in its fifth generation of family management.

Both sisters are experts in their field and learned their trade in other hotels before they returned home to their parents’ beloved business.

For generations, people and the earth have been at the center of everything the Okelmann family does. “Our passion is to bring people and nature together. Not only in the house and kitchen.” This statement also nicely sums up their philosophy.

Maren is a trained sound massage therapist and yoga teacher and passes on her knowledge to guests in the form of regular courses and retreats. A brand-new yoga room is now also part of the Okelmann’s offering.

The sisters have taken a lot of time for new ideas and visions to make Okelmann’s a real feel-good retreat and place full of warmth and welcoming. A completely sustainable concept included!

For example, Okelmann’s sources its food almost exclusively from regional suppliers and farmers, preferably in organic quality. Baking and cooking is done according to traditional family recipes and with a lot of love for the craft.

A sustainable energy supply, fairly produced towels and bed linen as well as high-quality natural cosmetics in the rooms are also part of the sustainability initiatives. But Maren and Kristin don’t want to rest on the status quo. There will certainly be more innovative things to report from Okelmann’s soon.

Mother & Daughter – A successful leadership team

“We care about our city, our environment, our future and social life which is why we try to live sustainably. We encourage everyone to be more aware of the environment, recycle waste, minimize plastic consumption, save water and never forget to smile!” shares Dalia Remeikaité regarding their approach to sustainability.

Dalia and her daughter Dovilé Šipelienė opened the 4-star ROMANTIC Boutique Hotel & Spa in 2002. The two want to show that nature-oriented and eco-friendly ideas and the corresponding sustainable lifestyle are realistic and feasible for everyone.

They faced many challenges before the launch: The ROMANTIC Boutique Hotel & Spa is located in a renovated former mill in the centre of the Lithuanian town of Panevėžys.

The building is on the list of historical and cultural monuments of the Republic of Lithuania, which meant many restrictions and conditions during the renovation.

The two put all of their heart and soul into the transformation and the result is an authentic design that embodies the essence of the industrial past combined with the elegance of the present.

Dalia and Dovilé have also incorporated their connection with the region and history in the beautiful ETNO SPA, where traditional Baltic healing methods are used.

The harmonious and cozy décor in the hotel beautifully reflects the personal touches of the management duo.

You can find out more about these amazing hotel managers featured here and their sustainable hotels on the Green Pearls® website or in the Green Travel Blog.

Photo credit: Green Pearls.

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