Once upon a time, there was a music-loving Austrian aristocrat who opened up her summer residence to paying guests during the Salzburg Festival. Her civilised motive was pure pleasure and, with the likes of Bruno Walter and Toscanini gathered around her piano, pleasure was duly shared with all her guests.
Forty years on, her great-nephew needed such guests to sustain their 14th century estate, as did owners of other romantic castles and handsome mansions. So they came together, to create a family of civilised hosts and homes. This became known as the Schlosshotel family.
As in any family, the owners exchanged many a story and different points of view, often over a good meal and a roaring fire, but they agreed on the most important principles of their collaboration: their individuality should never be compromised; guests should always feel at home, rather than in a typical hotel; their staff should feel a sense of vocation, just as the owners had chosen theirs; and the common objective was to pass on each estate, heritage preserved and enhanced, for future generations.
Yet there was something else that brought these civilised hosts together, something that became more and more apparent as guests – famous and otherwise – spread the word. For each individual guest had a favourite Schlosshotel story to tell, just as did each individual host. Schlosshotels were storyhotels, like no others.
This schloss has its grand piano, on which an ancestor wrote “The Blue Danube” – what stories that instrument has overheard. That burg has its ghosts and “The English Patient”, whose birth was greeted by a spectral visit. Whilst this equally venerable knight’s castle strangely boasts it never saw as much as a quarrel. And down by the lake, where a philosopher built his retreat, here Edward Duke of Windsor came after abdication and wrote of his “place of peace”.
In eighty years, the story of the civilised host has added many chapters, as each new member of the Schlosshotel family has taken another place by the roaring fire, there to add more fuel to the legend of the storyhotels.
Since brandstory showed Schlosshotels’ hosts what assets lay in their individual stories, many have written their own, but turn to Villa Astra for our personal favourite.