Deaf Owned and Operated: Hotel Hassler

With the 2012 Deaf Expo in Las Vegas fast approaching, it is appropriate to feature the 2012 DeafNation Inspiration Award for Hotel Hospitality, Roberto Wirth.  Roberto Wirth is the owner and general manager of the Hotel Hassler in Rome, Italy.  Located on the infamous Spanish Steps, the Hotel Hassler is a five star hotel that attracts famous and wealthy guests throughout the world for its luxury accommodations.  This private hotel consists of one hundred rooms with a staff one hundred and fifty employees, and has been widely recognized as a superior hotel.

Roberto Wirth has been the manager of the Hotel Hassler since 1982, but his family has been involved in the luxury hotel business for five generations.  However, his managerial position was not simply passed down to him; Wirth, who was born Deaf, earned his title by overcoming many challenges.  Despite his desire to work in the hotel business, Wirth’s father did not think he would be successful as a hotelier and was especially concerned about Wirth’s ability to communicate with employees and guests.  However, Wirth was persistent and continued to pursue a career in the hotel business.  He went to school in Italy, where he learned to read lips.  After working in the United States and learning English, he attended Galluadet University, and then transferred to Rochester Institute of Technology to study business.  Eventually Wirth attended Cornell for hotel management.  During this time, Wirth gained experience working in a wide range of fast food restaurants and global hotel chains.  With education, experience, and the ability to lip-read and speak several languages, Wirth returned to the Hotel Hassler in 1978 and worked as the assistant manager until he became manager four years later.

A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Wirth is committed to providing the best quality hotel.  Since becoming manager and owner, Wirth has not only continued the family legacy, but has improved the luxury experience for his guests.  His dedication and attention to detail has earned him awards such as Hotels Magazine’s Independent Hotelier of the World 2005, the Prize for Economic Achievement by Rome’s city government, and he will soon be accepting the 2012 DeafNation Inspiration Award for Hotel Hospitality.  Roberto Wirth’s achievements have made him a role model for both the Deaf community and the hotel industry.  For more information about the Hassler Hotel, visit

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