The rococo palace Schloss Leopoldskron may be famous as the setting for the film The Sound of Music, but it’s much more than just a pretty location.
Built along the idyllic lakefront of Leopoldskroner Weiher in 1736, the Schloss Leopoldskron is famed for its gilded Venetian room and lakeside gate, familiar settings as seen in the award-winning 1965 musical The Sound of Music.
Besides having acquired Hollywood fame, the Schloss Leopoldskron is also a place of respite for intellectuals. Every year since 1947, this very hotel has been home to the Salzburg Global Seminar, an NGO that was founded on being the catalyst for international dialogue, where members discuss and challenge leaders to “solve issues of global concern” centring around education, healthcare, the arts and then some.
Even the fashion world is familiar with the Schloss Leopoldskron, as living sartorial legend Karl Lagerfeld chose to hold a Chanel Metiers d’Art Show at the palace in 2014.
Personally, my favourite part about staying here is Merlin. But more of that later.
From what I understand, only in-house guests are allowed access to the palace grounds and main building. So if you’re a die-hard fan of the musical, it may be worth it to spend at least one night here. Though truth be told I do know of some who’ve managed to explore the Schloss Leopoldskron without checking in.
And if you’re hoping to perhaps dine at the Schloss Leopoldskron to get one foot in the door, sorry to have to burst your bubble. The Schloss Leopoldskron only serves breakfast to in-house guests and that’s about it. I reckon it’s to protect the privacy of those visitors, and avoid an inevitable crowd. Needless to say, it’s a very quiet hotel.
So if you’re in Salzburg for a few days, I would suggest spending a night at the Schloss, just so you can relive some childhood nostalgia, and have the opportunity to explore its massive halls while learning the building’s history.
I visited Salzburg during Christmas, hence the overcast skies, but it doesn’t take away from the building’s beauty. Outside you’ll notice the majestic Mount Untersberg in the distance, standing tall in a manner almost watching over the palace and its goings on. If you’re up for walking, you can exit the main gate (entrance and not the lakeside one), turn the corner and make your way to the path that circles the lake. Something nice to do in the morning.
The Schloss Leopoldskron is also flanked by Hohenslazburg Fortress on the other side. It’s not too far a walk though I’d suggest taking the funicular up and perhaps walking down. I made the mistake of doing it the other way around and my gams paid dearly for it the next day. On the upside, sore legs probably means a good workout (my only one the entire holiday!).
Overall I’d say that the inside of the Schloss is as pretty as its exterior. My favourite rooms are the China room and library. The latter with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and hidden stairwell to (you guessed it) more books and the former for its pared back elegance.
Of course, one of the main attractions of the Schloss Leopoldskron is the Venetian room, where breakfast is served. In it you’ll find the walls covered in beautiful works of art, made even more fancy with ornate gold frames. Then, in the corner stands a vintage furnace, also dripping in gold details. This is a room so considered it’s worth spending time in, only to soak up the details.
If the room below looks familiar to you, that’s because a studio replica of it was built to shoot the ball scene in The Sound of Music.
Once you’ve grabbed breakfast from the Venetian room, you’re going to have to walk over to the dining hall, just on the other side. Never have I ever supped in a hall of such grandeur. It makes breakfast just that much more fun.
Before I sign off, I must end with this. It’s a short tale about Merlin. Not the wizard but the resident cat of Schloss Leopoldskron. Being away from home did make me miss my little furkids, and perhaps Merlin could sense that. After getting back to our room from a long day out and about, my partner opens the door to this cute little black and white cat.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I was beginning to wonder what was in the mulled wine we had, and that he was just yanking my chain. But no. In strolls this sweet little pooty who ended up sharing our pretzel and our bed with us. And just like that I felt like I was right at home.