“For a long time, all we could think about was going it alone: should we, or shouldn’t we?” the two recount. Starting a business in Switzerland, where they had lived up to that point, was out of the question for financial reasons.

The Höses recall: “We had come across the Laasenhof estate years before, and it was love at first sight for us both.” When the property changed hands in the winter of 2011, it gave them a unique opportunity to make their dream come true. “Years of travel and learning took us both (a specialist in the hotel business and a chef) to North Rhine-Westphalia, the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. We gained different experiences in every hotel.” That was especially important when it came to successfully running the Laasenhof guest house together today.

We were accustomed to the laid-back (and polite) Swiss way of life, and had to get used to the German hustle and bustle again.

They spent the first year re-adjusting and finding their feet again. Accustomed to the laid-back (and polite) Swiss way of life, Mandy and Mario Höse had to get used to the German hustle and bustle again. Tastes are also different here compared with the Alps. But the biggest challenge was turning from employees into employers. “We were very demanding, as guests these days want something special when travelling. Rooms or restaurants with an '80s charm are a no-no, unless you are running a museum. Friendliness also plays a big role; something that our guests unfortunately don’t always come across on their hikes. A smile costs nothing, and makes such a difference. That’s the philosophy we pass on to our staff, and they too put it into practice.”

Coming home, the Höses have created a place of activity and relaxation, pleasure and inspiration; a place that many people will be happy to visit again and again.

We are publishing this success story with the kind support of the Saxon Switzerland / Eastern Ore Mountains district authorities.Photo credits: Höse family, Animaflora PicsStock (Fotolia).