Austrian-American Partnership Secures Future of Salzburg “Jewel”




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Jun 27, 2014
by Louise Hallman
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Austrian-American Partnership Secures Future of Salzburg “Jewel”

Salzburg landmark undergoes a transformation thanks to an international collective of investors

Hotel General Manager Daniel Szelenyi, US Ambassador to Austria Alexa Wesner, Austrian Ambassador to the US Hans Peter Manz, Salzburg Global Chairwoman Heather Haaga, Salzburg Parliament President Brigitta Pallauf, Salzburg Global President Stephen Salyer and Salzburg Global Vice President Clare Shine officially open Hotel Schloss Leopldskron at the annual June Board Weekend.

The 17th century Meierhof building of Schloss Leopoldskron was fully renovated in early 2014, firmly bringing the building into the 21st century and turning it into a year-round boutique hotel. The work was made possible by loans from individual supporters of the building’s owners – the independent non-profit organization, Salzburg Global Seminar.

The newly named "Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron" officially reopened following the Meierhof's renovation at Salzburg Global Seminar's annual Board of Directors Weekend on June 27.

Salzburg Global Seminar, founded by the Austrian, Clemens Heller and two Fellow American Harvard students in 1947, has owned the building since 1973, having purchased the neighboring Schloss in 1959 to host its internationally renowned programs aimed at “challenging current and future leaders to solve issues of global concern.”

The Meierhof is home to the organization’s offices and main conference rooms – and now 55 renovated hotel bedrooms as part of the newly opened Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron.

The renovation was made possible due to the investment of $1.95 million from the international board of directors and long-term Fellows of Salzburg Global Seminar.

Salzburg Global Seminar has long had strong ties to both the US and Austria, represented by the presence of both the Austrian Ambassador to the US and the US Ambassador to Austria on the organization’s board of directors. The 24 investors come not only from the US and Austria, but also Mexico, Hong Kong and across Europe.

At the reopening, Salzburg Global President and CEO, Stephen Salyer said: “The commitment of these individuals who love this place and believe in this organization’s work, make the maintenance of this jewel of a historic site possible, not just as a museum but as a living, working space.

“The renovation, of course, should help make Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron a more attractive place for our Fellows and international guest speakers, and also private clients and tourists – providing much needed revenue to support the program work of Salzburg Global Seminar,” he added.

“Our program runs all year round tackling critical issues in and inspiring fresh thinking on education, health, environment, economics, governance, peace-building and more, and brings together over 1000 Fellows a year from across six continents. Now, in addition to these established and up-and-coming global leaders, members of the public too can fully enjoy the ‘pure inspiration’ of Schloss Leopoldskron and the Meierhof.”

Salzburg Global Seminar Heather Haaga extended her special thanks to not only the investors but also Hotel General Manager Daniel Szelenyi, who since being appointed in June 2013 has been a "driving force" behind the renovation.

The refurbishment of the 55 hotel rooms, the hallways, reception area and café incorporate the varied past of the building, including elements from the 18th century Schloss, such as using old window shutters for headboards; the Sound of Music, for which the grounds served as a filming location; Max Reinhardt, the theater impresario and Salzburg Festival founder who owned the palace up until the Second World War; and Salzburg Global Seminar’s own 67-year history.

Since taking ownership of the property, Salzburg Global has continually sought to maintain and revive the rococo splendor of this historic site. 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, 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 US-based Kress Foundation initiated a program to conduct an inventory of the large collection of art, both on display and in storage at the Schloss, further aiding 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.

Schloss Leopoldskron has been host to many high-profile guests in its 400 year history, including renowned French actor and mime Marcel Marceau, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, and now it is fully open to regular hotel guests and even members of the public for its monthly brunches. The hotel can also be rented for private conferences, weddings and banqueting events.

For more information and to book a room at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, please visit: