A long story to tell

The Hotel Union has been linked to our family name for three generations, since 1951 when our grandad Eugenio made the decision to buy it. The story of the hotel actually starts earlier than that, at the turn of the 20th Century, when a man from Merano wanted to build a hotel in the already famous holiday resort of Dobbiaco.
The Belle Époque and construction of the Hotel Union
It is the height of the Belle Époque and Dobbiaco is a favoured holiday destination for the elite of Vienna. Among the many illustrious guests choosing it for their holiday was the composer Gustav Mahler who wrote two symphonies and his famous piece Das Lied von der Erde right here. In those days there was a direct rail link between Dobbiaco and Vienna, the Südbahnlinie, built in 1871 connecting Austria and the Adige valley via Val Pusteria.
In this era of major social and cultural changes, the first Hotel Union opened its doors in 1900. It is likely that the then owner was in direct contact with the management of the railway line in Vienna from whom he obtained the permit to build so close to the station, not a usual situation at the time. The same year saw an electric power station built which fed the hotel, rendering the building ultramodern and competitive.
The name Union, chosen by the owner and the only hotel so-named in the whole of Alto Adige, is reminiscent of the hotels in Northern Europe and the United States usually built right next to a railway station, the name also referring to the hotel's social function. Indeed the Hotel Union soon became a favourite meeting place, bringing together people from diverse origins and cultures all sharing a common desire to experience, first-hand and in comfort, the spectacular natural landscape of the Pale Mountains.
Little remains today of that first building, but the photographic records of the day demonstrate the mixed architectural style chosen by the owner. This style blends the Anglo-Saxon world with traditional German elements as the angular Erker tower and more rustic style features like the wooden balconies and hotel sign. Browsing a leaflet from that era we soon see how, right from its inception, the hotel provided top quality facilities and services with therapeutic treatments, health-giving baths, a spacious dining room with both large and small tables, a café on the veranda, a musical salon and a room for conversation, an annex with some private apartments, a garage for cars and its own stable.
Hotel guests could also enjoy fresh running water, something we take for granted today, but in those days a rare luxury, coming directly from a private spring and delivered via a two-kilometre-long pipeline which still exists today.
At that time the hotel was run by the Ranges family who took personal care of the rooms and the entertainment for guests in the elegant lounge.
The Great War wreaks havoc
During the Great War many buildings in Dobbiaco were damaged by bombardment. The Union Hotel was directly affected by the combat, suffering major damage from fire from the Italian front. The gunners located on Monte Popena were trying to hit Dobbiaco station and the railway lines to slow down and interfere with supplies and their firing also damaged the hotel.
Once the war was over the fate of the old damaged building was unsure. It was not rebuilt immediately, not even in 1919 when the narrow-gauge Dobbiaco-Cortina railway line was opened and which ran just a few metres from its southern façade.
The building was not refurbished until the 1930s and for the time being it stopped operating as a hotel. The architectural design was made simpler with one floor done away with and apartments and shops built inside the hotel.
The rebirth of the Hotel Union with the Comini family
The arrival in Dobbiaco of the accountant Eugenio Bruno Comini with his wife Enrica and mother Josephine marked the opening of a new chapter in the history of the Hotel Union. And that chapter that started in 1951 is still open.
The hotel occupied a strategic location, midway between two railway lines, at a time when mass tourism was just getting underway. Eugenio Comini didn't let such an opportunity escape him. After three profitable seasons renting and managing it, he decided to purchase the hotel in 1951.
The building underwent radical refurbishment equipping it with state-of-the-art facilities, almost unrivalled in the area. These included the swimming pool built in 1968 and brought under cover in 1972, the outdoor tennis court built in 1978 and shortly after given a canvas roof, the tavern that as soon as it opened became the hot spot for evening entertainment and nightlife for the hotel guests with dances, live music events with various bands and orchestras and games and other shows of all kinds.
The Comini family worked with great passion, dedication  and effort to grow the hotel and improve the services, gradually making it a major attraction for visitors to Dobbiaco.
In 1956, during the Winter Olympics in Cortina that turned the spotlight on the whole of the Dolomites, the Union played host to a group of journalists and fans of the Russian team. To make room for all those guests Mr and Mrs Comini and Eugenio's elderly mother Josephine all slept in one room.
From the 1970s on, Eugenio Comini's son Bruno joined him, helping with the hotel management and acting as barman. He also turned out to be a talented master of ceremonies and disc jockey who made nights at the Hotel Union tavern an unforgettable experience for  guests from the world over.
Bruno works tirelessly to consolidate and grow the business, helping fulfil his father's dream with impeccable, up-to-the-minute service, making the Union one of today's most highly acclaimed hotels.
The Hotel Union today
In 1981 Bruno's first child Alberto was born, followed by Enrico (1984) and Eugenia (1988). The three siblings had a happy childhood thanks to the sacrifices made by Daniela who brought the children up with the utmost loving care despite carrying on working.
Alberto, Enrico and Eugenia have different personalities and interests, but all three of them want to be involved, in their own way, in the family business. After completing university and gaining experience working abroad, the stage is now set for the next generation to take over and meet the spirit and challenges of the times, while never losing sight of the invaluable lessons in life and business imparted by their grandfather Eugenio and their parents.
Today the Hotel Union is run by Bruno with his wife Daniela and, little by little they are passing on to their own son all the enthusiasm, expertise and sense of hospitality shown by their grandparents Eugenio and Enrica.