This Wellness-inspired Resort in Austria Was Made by a Skincare Brand CEO

Aimee Shirley/Freunde von Freunden

Beauty guru Susanne Kaufmann has transformed her family’s traditional Austrian hotel into a modern-day wellness destination.

Susanne Kaufmann’s cult-favorite skincare line can be found around the globe, where the minimalist products line the shelves at eco-beauty boutiques like Credo and spas at the Surf Club in Miami and Bürgenstock Resort in Switzerland. But what most of her fans don’t realize is that the line was born at the Hotel Post Bezau, in the Austrian mountain village of Bezau, a traditional Alpine property that has been in her family for five generations. 

After more than 20 years of quietly transforming the 58-room retreat, she relaunched it as Hotel Post Bezau by Susanne Kaufmann in June, marking its culmination as a destination as sustainable as her organic products

Kaufmann launched her namesake line after having experimented with the ingredients in her youth when she was growing up in the verdant Bregenz Forest, a place where knowledge of natural remedies is passed down from generation to generation. She foraged ingredients like chamomile, St. John’s wort, and horse chestnut to create serums and oils, and collaborated with Ingo Metzler, a local dairy farmer, to turn excess whey into lotions and soaps (he now produces all the Susanne Kaufmann products in a state-of-the-art lab on his property nearby). Meanwhile, she collaborated with her brother, architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann, to expand the family lodge, adding a sleek wing of glass and wood for additional rooms and a cube-shaped, three-floor spa that contains an indoor pool and saunas. 

Aimee Shirley/Freunde von Freunden

To the relief of many of the hotel’s loyal guests, who go for traditional Chinese medicine or to do Pilates, the changes are subtle. Kaufmann focused on restoring the space with natural materials and making behind-the-scenes practices far more environmentally conscious. “We have invested a lot of energy and resources into these changes, but many of them will be invisible to the guests,” she said. She replaced flower arrangements with potted plants, bottled the resort’s spring water in reusable glass vessels, and is working on a line of organic cleaning materials. She’s also hired two local farmers to create extensive vegetable gardens behind the hotel that will supply the restaurant. 

With regard to extending her philosophy beyond her products: “There’s a saying in German that translates as ‘Are you comfortable in your own skin?’ ” says Kaufmann. “For me, that’s the point.” Rooms from $450, three-night minimum