The Ronacher through the ages – a chronicle

The history of wellbeing at the Health & Spa Resort Hotel in Carinthia

The thermal spring of Bad Kleinkirchheim was famous as a healing spring back in the Middle Ages. People came on pilgrimages from far and wide to St. Kathrein's little church where the source of the healing spring is. The "Badwirt", as the Ronacher used to be called, has always been associated with the church and therefore also the healing water.

The history of the thermal spa in Bad Kleinkirchheim

1055 – Count Palatine Botho of Bavaria from the Aribonid dynasty is the first bathing guest to be healed in Bad Kleinkirchheim.

1470 – The bathhouse and St. Kathrein church are mentioned for the first time in official documents.

1672 – Mass is read every day during bathing hours but the Church soon bans this practice.

1831 – Josef Michael, the owner of the St. Kathrein baths, demands 6 kreutzers for a bath in the hut and 4 kreutzers in the parlour; 3 kreutzers per night in an ordinary bed and 5 kreutzers in a fine bed.

1884 – The first hotel brochure is printed.

1908 – Elise and Hans Ronacher purchase, renovate and extend the spa house. After receiving various licences and permits the hotel reopens in 1911 with 50 beds.

1922 – The "Kärntner Tagespost" newspaper reports that following the interruption of the Great War the "world famous thermal bath offering dance, good food and cheap prices" has been re-opened by Frieda and Alberta Ronacher.

1956 – Carinthia's longest ski lift is installed in Bad Kleinkirchheim. The first winter season at the Ronacher begins.

1963 – Günther Ronacher joins the business and extends the accommodation to 80 beds plus a restaurant.

1969 – Merger with the "Alte Post", rebuilding of reception, the restaurant, bar and extension to 120 beds.

1970 – The Ronacher opens the large indoor thermal pool and wellness centre and is officially classed as a 5-star hotel.

1976 – The hotel capacity reaches 160 beds.

1980 – The thermal garden is opened with its grotto walkway, steam sauna and bio sauna.

1991 – Markus Ronacher takes over the family empire from his parents Günther and Helga Ronacher. With a great deal of dedication he sets new standards and continues to extend the Health & Spa Resort Hotel in Carinthia.

1994 – The hotel lobby, restaurant and reception are renovated.

2000 – The kitchen is totally modernised and the "Kanzlerstüberl" restaurant is built.

2001 – The Ronacher thermal spa and wellness world is renovated to offer guests 5 thermal baths (indoor pool with thermal spring fountain 34 °C, outdoor pool 25 °C, whirlpool 36 °C, grotto pool with waterfall 36 °C and a sports pool 16-18 °C), a sauna village – bio sauna, steam bath, Ronacher's sauna, a 2-storey mountain hut sauna, ice fog grotto, Silenzio chill-out room and a Quiet and Meditation house. Other new facilities include the "Winter Garden" restaurant, a popular addition for gourmet connoisseurs.

2002 – Two passionate hoteliers come together: Simone Maier, the daughter of Dietmar and Johanna Maier, a 4-toque Gault Millau chef from Filzmoos, and Markus Ronacher, the son of the hotel enterprise. Both have a love of hotels and gourmet catering in their blood. Their wedding is celebrated on 20 July 2002. Sophie Ronacher, the couple's daughter, is born on 4 December 2002.

2003/04 – Simone Ronacher takes over the management of the hotel in Bad Kleinkirchheim, while Markus Ronacher manages "Die Post" hotel. In March 2004, both are named "Hoteliers of the Year 2004" by the Bertelsmann publishing group. And if that is not enough, the influential Gault Millau restaurant guide bestows a 2-toque rating on Thermenhotel Ronacher in November of the same year. This makes the Ronacher the only hotel in Austria with a 2-toque gourmet half board.

In autumn, the Honey rooms are renovated. They now offer elegant comfort, beautiful furnishing, bright colours and luxurious marble baths.

2005 – On 26 January 2005, the Ronacher receives the "Wellness Hotel of the Year 2005" award while the Ronachers are named "Hoteliers of the Year" by the "Besser Essen und Reisen" (Better Food and Travel) guide.

2006 – The thermal spa and wellness world is expanded from 2,500 m² to 4,000 m². New facilities include a panorama SPA with 21 treatment rooms, spacious fitness studio, the Toscana refuge, magical Elves' garden and a beautiful car park in front of the hotel…

2009 – The rooms are refurbished in a new stylish country house design, 2 stunning panorama suites with conservatory are built. Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer delivers a speech at the 100-year anniversary celebration. He is a valued and loyal guest at the Ronacher and loves Carinthia.

2011 – The restaurant, bar area and reception exude a new glamour. The Ronacher treat shop and the hotel's own cottage industry open. The Ronacher is awarded with the "Golden Tea Leaf" by Gault Millau for its tea creations.

2011 – The KULTURGASTSPIELE (CULTURAL GUEST PERFORMANCES) are held for the first time. Stars from the stage, film and television assemble on the little but lovely Ronacher festival stage. Great artists such as Mario Adorf, Maximilian Schell, Helmuth Lohner, Tobias Moretti, Cornelia Froboess, and many more come over the course of the years and some become regular guests.

2012 – We are delighted to be awarded as the first and only 5-star superior hotel in Carinthia as a result of a mystery check.

2013 – The sauna complex features a new design. The 2-storey mountain hut sauna and pine sauna have new ergonomically shaped loungers, the amethysts' grotto sparkles with lots of new crystals and the unique private bio sauna with light, fragrance and sound therapy promises a relaxing time for two. We are awarded with the "Golden Coffee Bean" by Falstaff for our delightful coffee creations, such as the Ginseng coffee.

2013 – With the Ronacher GENUSSGASTSPIELE (GOURMET GUEST PERFORMANCES) we offer "Cooking & sampling" with wonderful cooking courses and amazing gourmet dinners by top chefs. The programme is varied and features many cooking stars. For example, great chefs like Gerd Käfer, Toni Mörwald, Johanna Maier, Ana Ros, Antonia Klugmann, Vesna Čarman,… have already rattled the pots and pans together with our guests.

2013 – The Ronacher receives the highest accolade that is awarded in the hotel industry for a hotel and service: the "5 Star Diamond Award", the Oscar of all hotel awards. This award is presented by the "American Academy of Hospitality Sciences", which is based in New York and whose chairman of the board is Donald Trump. Oscar winner Maximilian Schell paid us the compliment of giving a laudation.

2014 – We have built a Swiss stone pine sauna and saltwater steam bath for all sauna lovers who like wearing swimwear. Sauna goers experience the interplay between hot and cold in the Finnish stone pine sauna and saltwater steam bath with access from the indoor pool. The stone pine sauna with open fireplace impresses with its sensuous fragrance that lowers your blood pressure. Sweat comfortably in the wonderful saltwater steam. You can have healing salts flowing into the grotto on request. This is good for you and strengthens the immune system. 20 comfortable single cabins were also built for your thermal spa enjoyment.

2016 – Our "Honey" junior suites and "Honey" suites are given a new design. The new "Loggia" junior suites and "Panorama" suites are more airy and the colour composition is modern and cosy. The focus is on quality natural fibres and lots of lovely details have been thought of. The highlight are the "private loggias" equipped with comfortable furniture where you can enjoy the sun and extend the day thanks to a new heating system. Other highlights: the extended sun terrace and bike storage for all cyclists.

… and so it is still our daily aim to improve and continuously keep the Ronacher, THE Health & Spa Resort Hotel in Carinthia with history, up-to-date to make your holiday the best days in your whole year.

Send us your no-obligation holiday enquiry for a stay at the hotel in Bad Kleinkirchheim and cash in your bonus. Or simply give us a call on: +43 4240 282.


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