The Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria, is one of our favorite hotels in the world. It’s a solid contender for being our #1 hotel, period. That’s really saying something considering the number of places we’ve stayed and how much we’ve liked other locations.
Now that visitors are allowed back into Austria with proof of vaccination of past infection, I started thinking about our trips to this wonderful hotel.
There’s just something about the Goldener Hirsch that makes it unique. Firstly, it has a great location, as it’s located on the Getreidegasse, which is the main street in the Old Town section of Salzburg. The entrance of the hotel is on a road that’s usually only open to pedestrian traffic. The hotel building dates back to 1407, with its first use as an inn put at 1564.
We stayed here in 2016 when we visited Salzburg to see the sights from The Sound of Music. We fell in love with the place, and that stay was one of the most memorable hotel stays we ever had.
So when we added Salzburg to our list of cities for our Christmas Market trip, staying at the Goldener Hirsch was the only place we looked. The markets are all in the town squares, so it would be an easy walk from the hotel. Since we’d already seen the city, we wouldn’t feel bad about spending much of our time at the markets instead of sightseeing.
Here are the details of our stay. Spoiler Alert: I think we like the hotel even more now that we’ve stayed here twice. We’re already looking for a reason to go back again.
Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Salzburg, 5020 Austria
The Hotel Goldener Hirsch has 65 regular guest rooms and 5 suites. In 2018, the hotel closed for a massive, multi-month renovation project, re-opening in May 2019. This resulted in the redesign of the lobby, bar and many of the guest rooms. All of the furnishings were updated to modern standards.
We were worried that such a vast undertaking would suck all of the life out of the property, turning it into just another luxury hotel. We are thrilled to report that our fears were unfounded. The Goldener Hirsch still has every bit of the level of charm and personality that it did before the makeover.
Making a Reservation
The Goldener Hirsch is a Luxury Collection Hotel, which means it is part of the Marriott Bonvoy program. As a category 7 property, award nights will range from 50,000 points for off-peak stays, 60,000 points for standard nights, and 70,000 for peak rewards.
I was able to book a cash rate for $280 a night with Virtuoso, giving us food and beverage credits, room upgrade and late checkout. Staying here was the splurge of our trip so I didn’t feel bad paying for the room, as I knew the price was worth it.
We arrived at Salzburg Airport on our flight from Frankfurt. We had a bunch of luggage and the only options for transportation are the bus or a taxi. We took a taxi which cost less than 15 Euro for the ride.
As I mentioned above, the Goldener Hirsch is right in the middle of the Old Town section of Salzburg. Mozart’s house is literally right down the street. The street is generally closed to traffic, but taxis have a buzzer that lowers the barricade and lets them drive on the road, so we were dropped off right at the front door of the hotel, cause we’re extra like that 🙂 Actually, we’d rather not have made the big deal and walked 50 feet from the road to the front door, but we didn’t know enough German to tell our driver that.
The outside of the building is rather unassuming.
The front desk used to be located by the front door but now has its own space to the left of the entrance. They did retain the key boxes from the old desk.
We were helped immediately and the desk agent instantaneously started our conversation in English. We had this happen for the entire time in the hotel. Never once, besides a greeting, were we spoken to in German (Note from Sharon: they apparently know the 20 ways you can spot an American tourist from a mile away LOL).
Our concierge informed us that our room was ready and they would help bring our bags to the room. Instead of being handed one of the huge keys, we were given two RFID Luxury Collection room keys. We were a bit disappointed as the old keys were impressive, yet heavy.
Unlike our last room when we stayed here, where we needed to go upstairs, an elevator and more stairs, this one was easier to reach. Up to the second level and follow the hallway.
Ours was the door on the right, Room 36.
Our Room (or should I say, Our Suite)
As we were shown our room, the only thing I can say was that we were speechless. I’m not sure why we received such a great upgrade. Was it because of Sharon’s Platinum Marriott status? Maybe it was because we booked with Virtuoso?
Whatever the reason, I wasn’t going to complain. We entered via the living room entrance.
The shower room was located immediately to the right. It had a rain shower head and a hand shower.
Ahead of us was the living room. The furnishings were all brand new but still felt the same from before the renovation. The floors were a work of art. We never even turned on the huge flat-screen TV. It didn’t matter for us, but there was no TV in the bedroom of the suite, so if you like to watch TV in bed, too bad. The work desk had plenty of plugs that were easily accessible for electronics.
Through the doorway on the far right of the living room and down 1 small step (Note from Sharon: that I only tripped over twice) was the bedroom.
We had a full king-size bed. Sharon loved that they provided separate sheets and covers for both sides of the bed since I’m known to steal them during the night. For turn-down service, they leave chocolates on your pillow that are so good we bought extra to bring home with us.
(Note from Sharon: the “Yoda” headboards were used before the renovation, as well. Unusual they are!)
As you can see, the furnishings aren’t very blingy. Everything is very simple yet elegant. I’d say that the decor feels like you’re staying at someone’s home, not a hotel.
The most impressive thing about the room is the furnishings. They are all antiques local to Salzburg. They were all restored and retrofitted to modern needs during the renovation, but the bones are still original.
We were told that the craftsman needed to custom build the inserts for every cabinet and drawer in the hotel as no two were the same and it took them the entire duration of the renovation to finish the work on time.
I honestly felt bad about using these for storage; they were so pretty.
Despite the old look, the room was fully designed for the modern age. Each nightstand had a shelf with USB charging ports and power plugs. Under the night tables were nightlights with senors that lit up when you got up at night. Very helpful when going to the bathroom, and something we haven’t seen since our stay at the Moxy in Phoenix.
The hallway to the second entrance led to the bathroom, on the left. (Note: Here’s a rare look at our luggage, something we usually leave out of pictures).
Like the shower room, the bathroom was entirely redone. The feel of the old hotel remained, but everything here was top end. The toilet even had a bidet, just not as good as the TOTO one we have at home.
We spent time on both nights of our stay at the hotel bar to use up our food and beverage credit. It wasn’t tough to use up our credit, but the service and drinks were top-notch. I ordered some sausages one evening and they were outstanding.
We’re not ones to usually take part in a hotel breakfast. However, since it was included with our room rate, we figured we’d at least stop in and get some coffee and danishes.
As we walked in, we were greeted and led to a table. We were asked if we wanted coffee and/or juices. The buffet consisted of hot dishes of eggs, bacon, sausages, breakfast potatoes. There was also a full cold buffet of selected meats and another area of fresh fruits. Finally, there was a selection of bread and pastries.
The thing about the Goldener Hirsch that makes it so unique for us is the service. We love looking around the hotel and spent one evening just looking down every hallway. We found a part of the hotel that looked unfinished, so Sharon asked about it.
The concierge took us up to the room at the top of the stairs. No, it’s not the creepy door in the picture, the hallway actually turns to the right, and there’s a very private room at the end. He explained that some areas of the hotel couldn’t be remodeled for specific reasons, so some doors or stairs had to be left as they were.
We were also told how some rooms were reconfigured, combined, or eliminated during the renovations. They also found some artifacts which are now on display in the lobby.
For another example of the excellent service of this hotel, on the last day, of our stay, Sharon saw an ornament in one of the hotel displays she liked. She just couldn’t remember where it was. One of the concierges went around the hotel with her to find it. When they did, he walked her outside and down the street to the shop where it was sold.
I’ve found no request that this hotel can not fulfill. That’s why it’s the place that has forever ruined me when dealing with hotel concierges.
We only spent two days at the Goldener Hirsch and it was time to leave. However, I have so many memories of the hotel that it feels like we were there so much longer. We would have been pleased with just a regular room, but getting a super-duper upgrade to a two-room suite was an extra special treat for us.
If you’re ever visiting Salzburg and you need a place to stay, I strongly recommend a stay at the Goldener Hirsch if you can swing it. Sure, there are glitzier luxury hotels globally, but this one just seems to be hitting on all cylinders.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary