History


The historical Hotel Goldener Hirsch building, first documented in 1407, assumed a public role when it opened as an inn, the Güldener Hirsch in 1564—a time when the Salzburg’s population numbered just 5,000.

The city began its ascend with the rise of Mozart, who was born a minute's walk from the Hotel Goldener Hirsch in 1756. In 1920, it declared itself a leader of the international music and drama scene by introducing the Salzburg Festival, which has become a city institution and global attraction.

The 5 star Hotel Salzburg was established as the festival’s premier residence following its purchase in 1939 by Countess Harriet Walderdorff. After World War II, Countess Walderdorff began her quest to refurbish the interior with simple and contemporary décor, creating a country residence in the city center. In contrast to the overt extravagance of Salzburg at that time, Countess Walderdorff opted for indigenous Austrian furniture and antiques, replacing Persian carpets with traditional rag rugs. Boasting a new pink exterior, the hotel re-opened on April 29, 1948. Its casual yet sophisticated style soon became the model for Western Austrian hotels.

Nicknamed “The Golden Stag”, the Hotel Goldener Hirsch has become the home-away-from-home to the Salzburg Festival’s most prominent stars as well as international celebrities ranging from Elizabeth Taylor and Pavarotti to the Rothschilds, Gettys, and the Prince of Wales. American ex-president Richard Nixon personally wrote to Countess Walderdorff to thank her for the hotel’s supreme hospitality.

Little has changed since Countess Walderdorff purchased the 5 star hotel Salzburg; the facades of the original and adjoining building—acquired in the 1970s—remain simple and the interior elegantly eclectic. Guests marvel at the carefully acquired décor: a painting, a wooden sculpture, a bar constructed from an antique trunk. The Refektoriumtisch, an old table built from a monastery’s refectory, is especially popular with regular guests, and the spot where the new Festival Hall location was negotiated.  

The Hotel Goldener Hirsch is Salzburg’s premier host for both a stay in the city and an unforgettable, authentic Austrian meal.

A Concept Turned Into Fashion

Harriet Walderdorff spent the war collecting old and, at the time, relatively cheap farmer's furniture, drawing up plans to restore the house and dreaming of how she would run her hotel. In 1945 she started to put her plans into practice. Walderdorff took the hard route of restoration, earning herself a reputation along the way as one of the first people to preserve Salzburg's original architecture.

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The World's Most Historic Luxury Hotel


Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg has deep family history and is the oldest luxury hotel in the world founded in 1407.

Having a cocktail at the bar, the heart of the house, has been an acknowledged classic for 50 years now. One feels ennobled for a short moment, accepted as a member of Salzburg's landed gentry. A few meters away Harriet Walderdorff resides in her apartment in the Getreidegasse. From there she guards 'her' Hirschen, as the hotel is known more affectionately, a splendid concept, often copied, and never reached.

Remember César Ritz, who had his wife pose for weeks to find out which particular lighting effect was most flattering to a woman's complexion; remember Franz Sacher, who spent endless hours testing new recipes with his daughter-in-law, Anna; remember Johannes Badrutt, who started the idea of a winter season in St. Moritz by the simple expedient of inviting four English guests to stay on at his hotel. This idea that a hotelier can lead an establishment to international fame by sheer hard work and the force of personality has all but vanished. In this respect, we will always remember Harriet, Countess of Walderdorff.
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