Hotel Magdas

A hotel like no other

CLUSTER: Migrants’ entrepreneurs and migrant lead businesses

START DATE: February 2015



hotel, magdas, refugees
whereLaufbergergasse 12, Vienna


The Hotel was founded by Caritas Vienna and it is Run by twenty former refugees and ten hotel professionals.


Refugees granted asylum and local professionals from the hotel industry.
The Magdas hotel is Austria’s first hotel run as a social business. The hotel gets by without financial assistance and 2/3 of the employees are people with a refugee background. These employees look after the client needs and run the hotel together with professionals from the hotel industry. This creates a cultural meeting place for travellers, Vienna locals, and all those looking for something special. Apart from the multicultural environment, the rooms are furnished with an up cycling design, the salon offers art exhibits and pieces of art decorate the rooms.

why it is

The refugees’ talents and skills are used as a distinctive factor for the service provided and provide human capital to the lack of qualified staff in the region ́s tourism industry


Team and competences:
The team is composed of regular staff hotel, managers, human resources employees, cleaning crew, etc.
Legal Form:
Non-profit, the hotel is part of the Magdas Social Business Group, a subsidiary of the Catholic NGO Caritas International

Service Description

Main Problem Addressed / Activity Sector:
Shelter and job integration.
The social aim is improving the lives of otherwise marginalised people. The hotel provides job and training opportunities for people with a refugee background, as well as accommodation for travellers and corporate businesses.
Solution (Project/Service):
The Magdas Hotel provides work experience to accredited refugees, who comprise two-thirds of the hotel’s staff.
The refugees ́ talents and skills are used as a distinctive factor for the service provided while they receive training in order to counter the lack of qualified staff in the region ́s tourism industry.


Main Milestones:
They managed to raise € 57,306, and refurbished a former retirement home using up-cycling interior design and giving a new life to an unoccupied space and old furniture. They now provide accommodation to travellers and jobs and training to refugees.
Main difficulties/challenges:
The fundraising.


The hotel does not receive any public funding that is not also available to other companies. Magdas Hotel must be self-financing, without losing sight of its ultimate goal: improving the lives of otherwise marginalised people. The project is based in a former Caritas retirement home, and financed via crowdfunding, rising € 57,306, plus a € 1.5m loan from Caritas Vienna. The design of each room was completed by furniture donated by the public, and also Caritas’s own used furniture shop, CARLA.
The hotel is a non-profit, although required to pay back the loan, the hope is to eventually turn a profit once the debt is repaid. Once the business is stable, revenue will be invested back into the business.
20 former refugees and 10 experienced hotel staff.
Stakeholders and Partners:
Caritas and around 30 organizations in the field of hospitality, social business, education, architecture, arts and design.


Main Goals/challenges:
Balancing the social and business aspects.
Critical Factors to manage this challenges:
Business management, profitability and integration of the refugees in the job market, cooperation with companies, networking and increase positive presence in the market.