Most of you don’t know, but sometime before I became half of Your Mileage May Vary, I was an occupational therapist for 20-something years. It’s unfortunate that the continually growing demands of Medicare and other insurance companies eventually sucked the joy out of my career and I wound up looking for a position in a different, non-medical field in the early 2010s. But to this day, I hold a special place in my heart for anything that has to do with improving the lives of people who have physical, mental or intellectual challenges. So when I heard about this hotel that not only employs disabled people, but is run by them (albeit with some support), my heart just about burst with happiness.
The Stadthaus Hotel is a boutique hotel that opened in Hamburg in 1993. It was the dream of the parents of eight differently abled classmates who wanted to provide their children with a solid work-and-live lifestyle once they graduated from school. So they started a project to turn this dream into a reality, and it eventually became the Stadthaus.
The original employees had two years of professional training in classes that were modified for them. Those classes continue to this day, which allows more new graduates to work and live in this unique situation for those who thrive in such an environment.
This is Europe’s first “integration hotel” and the hotel employs about a dozen cognitively, physically or socially disabled employees at a time, some of whom live upstairs in a commune setting, and others who live elsewhere.
The employees take part on the everyday running of the hotel, from breakfast and clean-up, to the daily housekeeping of the (all fully accessible) rooms, to laundry, and more. The hotel also employs a few managerial staff members, who don’t have disabilities, to offer support and guidance as needed.
The Stadthaus Hotel has a 3-star rating, and usually enjoys an 80 to 100% occupancy rate, as well as many repeat customers who give rave reviews about, among other things, the friendly staff and delicious breakfasts. If you’re ever staying in Hamburg, it might be a place to consider. 🙂
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