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19.01.2023Elke Jauk-Offner

Simply on track

Mario Pabst had an ambitious plan early on: At the age of 30, he wanted to be a hotel manager. To put it plainly: mission completed. However, things could have turned out differently. He had already decided to train in civil engineering. But the gastrophilic family gene – his father a renowned chef, his mother a restaurant manager – prevailed after all. Even today, he still has fond memories of the pancakes he made during the taster session at the tourism school. From that moment on, the die was cast. Mario Pabst earned his first spurs at his father’s place of work, the Steirerhof in Bad Waltersdorf, and further stations in five-star hotels followed. The winter season at the Suvretta House in St. Moritz was to go down in his CV as a particularly instructive and demanding time. The then 19-year-old lost a whole 19 kilos in just a few months. The highest demands in terms of performance and discipline in the old-school business took their toll, “even the soles of our shoes were always checked for cleanliness”. During this time, however, friendships for life developed. Where did the stamina come from at a young age? The passionate sportsman is no stranger to commitment and ambition, whether in beach volleyball or ice hockey.




The Styrian returned to Switzerland under the wing of maître d’hôtel Claudio Molinari despite the mixed experience, after all, he had ennobled him as one of the ten best in service at the end-of-season interview. “I also just didn’t want to let him get me down.” The two are still in contact today. “My father had given me the advice: Always take the positive, just leave the negative behind.” It was not the only leadership style the Styrian experienced in his first years in the industry. At the Grand Park Hotel in Bad Hofgastein, Maitre Jatin Kothari’s philosophy was completely different: Where there are no mistakes, there is no work, was his credo. “He was a father figure to me during my internship.” Werner and Gunda Unterweger, the hosts at the Steirerhof, became mentors. For Pabst, the renowned house was also fertile ground to make his mark as a bar manager. Fire breathing included!



However, not all career steps could be realised as desired: “People often said that I was simply too young. It annoyed me that a position was determined solely by age, although motivation, thirst for knowledge and performance were there.” At Das Kranzbach in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Pabst finally expanded his competences to the F&B area and later rose to deputy hotel director. It was there that he met and fell in love with spa manager and assistant manager Anita Atzmüller eleven years ago. Since then, the career-minded couple have been pulling together and supporting each other, “we have subordinated everything to our jobs”. Pabst leaves no doubt that it takes perseverance and clear goals in mind: “From my graduating class, I am the only one among 19 colleagues who is still working in the industry. Out of 100 graduates, only one becomes a hotel manager.” Incidentally, it took intensive persuasion on the part of the Mayer family before the power duo was jointly willing to switch to a completely new field, the family hotel business, and move to the Salzkammergut. Today, Mario Pabst is extremely happy that he accepted the challenge in 2016. As Florian Mayer’s deputy, meanwhile one of his best friends, he dived deeper and deeper and more passionately into new hotel worlds. At the age of 30, the time had come: the management was transferred to him.




And what is he like as a boss? “It is important to me to show an appreciation to “you”, and thus many decisions are made democratically,” says Pabst, who lives an open-door policy. The concerns and worries of the 175 employees, even outside the job, should not go unheard. “I also attach great importance to the onboarding process. There you are woven in to the Dachsteinkönig DNA.” Especially in terms of social skills, his parents have always been a great role model for him. When there’s a need, he helps out shovelling snow or in the sink, “we have flat hierarchies and that works very well. It’s a flow that lasts.” 105 suites and twelve chalets are available to discerning guests at the Dachsteinkönig. The amenities for young and old are wide-ranging: children’s theatre and gymnasium, bowling alley and go-kart track, 110-metre water slide and petting zoo, an extensive wellness offer and a lavishly stocked wine cellar are all part of the holiday fun. “It is the most precious time that families put in our hands. For our guests, the holiday starts the moment they arrive at our car park, we make sure of that.” Children as guests are “absolutely honest about it. Honestly satisfied and honestly dissatisfied. And they come up with so many good ideas.”



His elixir of work is and remains the joy of doing. This should also be reflected in the entire team. “You have to feel that everyone enjoys their job. Too few hotels have still realised that the employee is just as important as the guest. At Familux Resorts, this is the case thanks to the Mayer family.” For Pabst, the balance to his daily work is sport, time in the mountains, fishing in clear waters or a round on the golf course – “that clears the head” – as well as time with his family. A fixed ritual in the morning and evening: time with son Xaver – whether in the flat with a view of the Dachstein glacier in Gosau or in the house in Burgau, on the property he was given by his grandfather. Incidentally, he also had a good share in the decision-making process to go into the family hotel business. “I had a very deep bond with my grandfather. When he fell ill and eventually passed away, it opened my eyes: You are only in this world for a limited time,” says Pabst, for whom family is a high value. He has now been a father himself for two years with great enthusiasm: “It has really brought me to a new level in life. Every decision you make is also a decision for the family.” And sometimes you just need spontaneous advice from the offspring – they always choose the socks for dad’s working day, and the collection has become colourful. The little regulars at the Dachsteinkönig are just as enthusiastic about it, regularly checking up on Bugs Bunny and Co.

Elke Jauk-Offner
Offer 5 = 4 | book 5 days, pay for 4 days 5 to 7 Nights 02.06.2024 - 28.06.2024, 08.09.2024 - 27.09.2024, 03.11.2024 - 21.12.2024, 11.01.2025 - 25.01.2025, 07.02.2025 - 14.02.2025, 08.03.2025 - 05.04.2025, 04.05.2025 - 29.05.2025, 01.06.2025 - 07.06.2025, 22.06.2025 - 05.07.2025, 14.09.2025 - 28.09.2025, 09.11.2025 - 14.12.2025

5 = 4 | book 5 days, pay for 4 days

Price from € 976,-

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