The expression “fit for royalty” is taken to new heights in hotels across Austria. While the monarchy is truly in the past, their former residences live on as luxury hotels and living quarters, allowing you to stay in an Austrian palace. If you’ve got the euros, splurge on a room and live like royalty. Here’s our pick of the best – bookable with Culture Trip.
Hotel Schloss Mönchstein
Courtesy of Hotel Schloss Mönchstein / Expedia
Towering over central Salzburg from a magnificent hilltop location, Hotel Schloss Mönchstein manages to be beautifully isolated yet within easy walking distance of many of the city sights. A hotel since the 1950s, the centuries-old castle has seen many renovations and additions, including an infinity pool with a terrace and the glass-domed Glass Garden restaurant, all with terrific panoramic views. Rooms and suites encompass elegant and contemporary styling – complete with Calacatta marble bathrooms – and vintage touches, such as herringbone parquet floors.
Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron
Courtesy of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron / Expedia
Built in 1736 on the southern edge of Salzburg and overlooking a lake, Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron has a storied history that spans aristocrats, fine-art collections, royalty, theatre productions and, famously, even a filming location for The Sound of Music (1965). The hotel’s 7ha (17 acres) of guest-only parkland assure privacy and tranquillity. Accommodation comprises 12 suites in the historic palace – expect lofty ceilings, vintage furniture and huge Persian rugs – while simpler elegantly appointed contemporary rooms occupy the former administrative building. There’s a seasonal outdoor pool but no restaurant, and don’t miss the old-world Max Reinhardt Library.
Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa / Expedia
Standing on a small promontory jutting into Lake Fuschl near Salzburg, Schloss Fuschl was first used as a hunting lodge, dating back to 1450. Confiscated by the Nazis, it was restored to its rightful owners and then featured in Sissi (1955), a movie about Empress Elisabeth of Austria. There’s a vast array of accommodation, from modern rooms in various annexes to opulent baroque-style suites with old master paintings and spectacular lake views in the historic tower. Dining options include a formal, fine-dining French restaurant and the casual terrace for just-caught trout and char from the in-house fishery.
Hotel Schloss Dürnstein
Courtesy of Hotel Schloss Dürnstein / Expedia
In the Wachau region, known for having a mild climate, Hotel Schloss Dürnstein has a setting on a low cliff overlooking the Danube. West of Vienna, the 17th-century renaissance-style castle was long used by the princes of Starhemberg. Rooms have a romantic costume-drama feel, which, at their best, feature chandeliers, decorative arched ceilings and vast canopied beds. The on-site fine-dining restaurant, complete with a river-facing terrace, offers delicious Wachau specialities – many using apricots.
Courtesy of Schloss Ernegg / Expedia
Schloss Ernegg stands in rural Austria near Wieselburg. Its 12th-century origins are beautifully complemented by the many renovations and refurbishments the hotel has undergone over the years, collectively melding modern comforts with the building’s historical fabric. Owned by the influential Auersperg family since 1656, the elegant palace today is particularly favoured for weddings, special events and corporate gatherings. Vintage furniture, family heirlooms and gilt-framed portraits of grandee nobles keep company with vaulted ceilings, huge fireplaces and wall-mounted antlers. There’s a private chapel, and the courtyard features an imposing medieval matroneum (gallery).
Courtesy of Schloss Gabelhofen / Expedia
In the 1440s, Schloss Gabelhofen was intended to be a fully moated castle, but the surrounding soil wasn’t up to the task. Still, a partial moat remains with a rather pretty wooden bridge. Here, in a much-tilled valley in central Austria near Judenburg, the ivy-wreathed facade resembles an appealingly old movie set, but inside, you’ll find modern, almost swanky, rooms with contemporary decor and plenty of elegant wood detailing and craftsmanship. The tower suites are the pick of the bunch, with a lounge, bathroom and bedrooms spread over three floors connected by spiral stairways.
Courtesy of Schloss Pichlarn / Expedia
In the pretty valley of Enns near the Dachstein Mountains, the Schloss Pichlarn, which dates back to 1009, is now rather dwarfed by the modern complex alongside it, though its rounded towers do match the vibe. With an 18-hole golf course on one side and arresting views of Grimming – an isolated peak erupting from the valley floor – on the other, the hotel attracts a mix of well-heeled golfers, flashy hikers and wellness retreaters drawn to the comprehensive spa. Top-notch accommodation ranges from contemporary rooms in the modern building to heritage-style spaces in the historic wing.
Courtesy of Schönbrunn Palace / Expedia
The Hofburg family occupied this grand property until November 1918, when the Austrian Republic took over following the fall of the monarchy. Today, the public can freely roam the park grounds, while sections of the palace form a museum. Should you want a more immersive experience, book the Schönbrunn Grand Suite, a lavish lodging with a four-poster bed and beautiful antique furniture. A magnificent view over the palace grounds towards the Gloriette and the Neptune Fountain cap a rather special suite.