400-Year-Old Meierhof Undergoes Major Renovation




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Mar 31, 2014
by Louise Hallman
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400-Year-Old Meierhof Undergoes Major Renovation

The 17th Century Meierhof building on the grounds of Schloss Leopoldskron undergoes renovation, bringing all guest rooms firmly into the 21st Century – but with a nod to Salzburg’s long history A newly renovated standard double room in the Meierhof

Almost 30 years after its last update, the Meierhof – home to 55 guest rooms of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron and the offices of Salzburg Global Seminar – has undergone a major renovation.

Funded by generous loans from Board members and friends of Salzburg Global Seminar, the overhaul brings the building, which sits on the grounds of Schloss Leopoldskron, firmly into the 21st century and turns Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron into a highly competitive hotel for the city of Salzburg and the surrounding areas, as well as a much improved home for Salzburg Global’s own seminars and conferences.The increased revenues expected from this upgrade will in turn support the ongoing program work of Salzburg Global Seminar, the owners of Schloss Leopoldskron.

Salzburg stewardship

Salzburg Global Seminar, which had first rented and then bought the Schloss outright in 1959, purchased the Meierhof in 1973 and most recently renovated the bedrooms and the offices in 1989 and 2001 respectively. Since taking ownership of the property, Salzburg Global has sought to maintain and revive the rococo splendor of this historic site, taking its role as steward of Schloss Leopoldskron, the Meierhof and the surrounding grounds extremely seriously.

Indeed, 2012 saw the completion of an 11-year-long restoration project of the Schlosspark, home to dozens of statues and Max Reinhardt’s garden theater. The Schlosspark work was funded in part by the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments. The Austrian regional and national governments have also provided funds to maintain the interior of the Schloss. Moreover, in 2013 the Kress Foundation issued a grant to fund an inventory of the large collection of art, both on display and in storage at the Schloss. The detailed inventory will further aid the conservation of these historic pieces.

Built before Prince-Archbishop Leopold von Firmian’s commission of Schloss Leopoldskron as his summer palace, the Meierhof was primarily used as the stables and servants quarters for the neighboring Schloss. During the Max Reinhardt era, Max’s brother lived in what is now Parker Hall, Salzburg Global Seminar’s main conference room. A fire during his residency nearly destroyed the building.

Meierhof renovation

Work on the Meierhof renovation started on January 3 with the removal of all the old furniture and demolition of many interior walls. The two-month long renovation project saw hallways widened, bathrooms completely reconfigured, bedrooms refurbished, and wireless internet installed throughout.

The work was completed in time for the first guests – participants of the 60th session of the Global Citizenship Program – on February 27.

The refurbished rooms are colorful and charming, conveying an authentic Austrian experience and even incorporating elements from the historic Schloss, such as using old window shutters for headboards.

Reflecting the building’s Hollywood connections as well as history, the renovated rooms also include three “Sound of Music” themed superior double rooms, all with views of the lake and the Untersberg mountain. The rooms’ reflect the movie’s design, colors and mood, but in a contemporary interpretation.  Further “premium” rooms have been established with sofas and large wardrobes as well as king-size beds. The distinct oval room which overlooks the Schloss and formerly housed the Salzburg Global archives, now houses a four-poster bed, with access to an adjoining room offering options for a suite.

In addition to WiFi, all rooms have been fitted with 32" flat screen TVs and parquet flooring. Whilst the unique and cozier atmosphere of the Meierhof has been maintained compared to its grander rococo neighbor, in another homage to the Schloss, much of the flooring of the new Meierhof en suite bathrooms are inspired by the flooring found in the mirrored Venetian Room – itself the inspiration for the ballroom of the Sound of Music.

The newly remodeled hallways of the Meierhof are decorated with photos of the productions of Max Reinhardt, the famed Austrian Jewish theater director and Salzburg Festival founder who owned the Schloss before fleeing the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938.

The Meierhof café and reception area are also undergoing renovation, giving the café a more inviting atmosphere, and creating a more open, friendlier reception area, allowing for more personal contact between staff and guests.

Pure inspiration

Daniel Szelényi, appointed as General Manager of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron in June last year, headed the renovation project with local Salzburg architecture firm Fally+Partner commissioned to redesign the Meierhof, in co-operation with interior designer Elfrid Wimmer-Repp . The building work was carried out by construction firm Spiluttini Bau, who also delivered the refurbishment of Parker Hall and the Salzburg Global offices in 2001. 

“From the moment I first walked through the wrought iron gates I was mesmerized by the fascinating aura of Schloss Leopoldskron and leading the property through its transformation to become 'Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron' is a wonderful challenge I am very excited about,” said Szelényi.

“The renovation of the Meierhof was an essential milestone in putting Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron on the hotel map.  Our renovated rooms, hallways, reception area and Meierhof Café feature many unique, evocative details to illustrate the property’s extraordinary history and result in a charming and authentic experience for our guests.”

Whilst Schloss Leopoldskron had already opened its doors to guests not affiliated with Salzburg Global Seminar and was starting to offer selected hotel and conferencing services for a number of years, the transition of the Schloss buildings from solely private to a hotel open to the public has been integral to the modernization of the organization and the diversification of revenue streams to support the non-profit side of the business.

Hotel and conference services have been fine-tuned, a heavy focus on the guests’ experience has been introduced and a completely new corporate identity and branding put in place. In addition to its physical makeover, the online presence of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron has also undergone a redesign with a new website launched.

This all helps further establish Schloss Leopoldskron as a world-leading center for strategic convening and progressive idea generation – whether facilitated by Salzburg Global Seminar or private clients wishing to also take advantage of this unique and inspiring setting.

Remarking on the renovation, Stephen Salyer, President and CEO of Salzburg Global Seminar, said: “Last renovated in 1989, the hotel rooms and café of the Meierhof have been in need of a makeover, and this renovation firmly brings the 400-year-old building into the 21st Century. Indeed, long gone are the early days of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies when all the Fellows slept in dormitories on US Army-loaned cots!

“The significant investment from friends of Salzburg Global and the hard work of our staff and partners in making this renovation a reality show our commitment as an organization to maintaining this historic site, not as some fusty museum but as a living, working space – just as it was intended to be when it was built.

"The renovation, of course, should help make Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron a more attractive place for not only our Fellows but also private clients and tourists – providing much needed revenue to help continue the program work of Salzburg Global Seminar. 

“We hope that our Fellows when they come to the Meierhof, either to attend a Salzburg Global Seminar session, to stay at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron with their families, or when hosting their own events here, will appreciate the fantastic work Daniel and his team have done.”

Special Salzburg Global Fellow rates are available in the newly renovated Meierhof rooms and the Schloss suites. Please contact Reception for more information: reception@schloss-leopoldskron.com

If you are interested in renting the Schloss for a private event or conference, please contact our Events Team: events@schloss-leopoldskron.com