Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Keri Stooksbury
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The Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Salzburg, is one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Salzburg, Austria, and its location is simply unbeatable when it comes to visiting the city’s historic sites, restaurants, and shopping. Nestled in the Old Town part of the city, the Hotel Goldener Hirsch provides guests with a luxurious stay amid the historic charm.
This was my first time visiting Salzburg, and it was part of a larger itinerary starting in Vienna, going to Munich, and then backtracking to Salzburg and then Vienna again. With only a few options for major points hotels in Salzburg, I waited patiently to see award availability open and quickly snagged a room when I saw it pop up. I wanted to choose a property that would allow me to see the museums and attractions that Salzburg is known for, and I am very glad I chose the Hotel Goldener Hirsch as my home base.
The Hotel Goldener Hirsch dates back to the 1400s, when it first opened as a hunting lodge in the city, which had a population of just over 5,000 people at the time. It became the host residence to the Salzburg Festival, an international music and drama festival, and has furniture and art specifically curated to the property by Countess Harriett Walderdorff.
Since then, it’s been a home to the rich and famous, including several celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Luciano Pavarotti, and even President Richard Nixon.
Read on to see what my stay at this storied hotel was like!
Its location is a standout feature of this property. The Hotel Goldener Hirsch is set in the Altstadt area, the historic part of the city. You’ll find several other hotel options in the newer Neustadt and Rechte Altstadt areas, but these require more walking to get to Salzburg’s main sights and attractions.
However, Salzburg is a very walkable city, so no matter where you stay, you’ll still be within walking distance of most places.
Salzburg Main Station, a train terminal, is just over 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) from the hotel, which would mean a walk of 25 to 30 minutes. If you packed light, it wouldn’t be much of a problem as most of the walk is on sidewalks and pavements.
When I visited, though, the city was blanketed in snow and slush, and walking simply wouldn’t have been fun at all. I took an Uber to and from the train station for under €10 (~$11) each way, which I thought was quite reasonable.
The Hotel Goldenger Hirsch is located on Getreidegasse, the main street that runs through the old town. You’ll find a ton of shops and restaurants dotted along this thoroughfare, and if you’re visiting during December like I was, the Christmas markets are only a few feet away. Getreidegasse is filled with both local establishments and name brands. For example, right next to the hotel was a boutique for luxury luggage maker Rimowa, but across the way was a local schnitzel restaurant.
Mozart’s birthplace is just over a 1-minute walk from the hotel, so you can expect quite a bit of pedestrian traffic up and down the street in front of the property.
Cash rates during my stay ranged from about $700 to about $900 per night, depending on the specific day. Because of this hotel’s prime location, it can command prices like these.
Luckily, on the night I wanted to stay, there was award availability at 87,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Even better, I had an 85,000-point free night certificate from my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to use. Each year, at the renewal of your card account, you receive a certificate to use at any Marriott Bonvoy property that is priced at 85,000 points or fewer. However, you can “top up” any stay with up to 15,000 additional Marriott Bonvoy points for a total value of 100,000 points.
I combined 2,000 points from my account with the certificate to book this night. Considering the high cash rates during my stay in December 2023, a peak period in Salzburg, I thought this was well worth it.
As soon as my night was booked, I applied a Suite Night Award from my account, thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status. I was able to choose a set of 5 Suite Night Awards after staying 50 or 75 nights at Marriott Bonvoy properties. These certificates can be applied to any eligible stay and could be cleared to select upgraded rooms up to the day before check in.
I applied a certificate that was set to expire and asked to be upgraded to a 1 Bedroom Suite, which thankfully cleared about 3 days before I arrived.Hot Tip:
There were 2 entrances to utilize to enter the hotel. On the back side of the hotel, there wasn’t much going on. On the other side, it opened into the busy pedestrian street, where there was much activity. If you do happen to arrive by car, you’ll arrive on the busier side, but you’ll only need to walk a couple hundred feet to get to the entrance.
Upon entering the hotel, I was greeted by a very small but cozy lobby, and the front desk was in a separate room to the left.
I adored the front desk — it oozed with old-school charm. There were individual cubbies to hold each room’s keys behind the desk, and the staff was dressed in traditional Austrian clothing.
There was no line checking in, and I was quickly assisted. My credit card was processed, and I was asked whether I wanted to receive 1,000 bonus points for my stay or a complimentary full breakfast. The agent highly suggested choosing the breakfast — I’m very happy I did since it really was very scrumptious (more on that later).
The agent confirmed that I’d be staying in a 1 Bedroom Suite, and then a bellperson quickly took my bag and escorted me to my room.
This hotel had just 1 central elevator found in the lobby. Otherwise, there was a staircase that led to each floor.
This hotel is very historic, and the ceilings are very low in some spots, so be sure to pay attention as you walk.
It’s also worth noting that even though I took the elevator to the floor on which my room was located, there were still a few steps I needed to take to get there. If you require a fully accessible hotel, this may not be the best fit.
As I mentioned above, I’m a Titanium Elite member in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which means I was provided with several benefits, including:
I appreciated that these benefits were provided without pushback or questioning, especially at such a small property.Hot Tip:
Choose the breakfast at this hotel if you have a choice in your welcome amenity. The breakfast buffet was large and featured lots of options.
As luxurious as this hotel is, you will find some key amenities missing that you’d ordinarily have in a hotel of this caliber in a major city. In my opinion, that’s actually OK.
The hotel is set in a historic building in the center of Old Town, so you sacrifice modern amenities at the expense of location.
This property does not have a fitness center, a pool, or a spa. However, guests at Hotel Goldener Hirsch can access the gym at its sister property, the Sheraton Grand Salzburg. The Sheraton Grand is about 20 to 25 minutes away on foot, which isn’t exactly convenient. I wanted to hit the gym during my stay, but with the frigid cold and snow outside, I decided to skip it.
The hotel offers on-site dry cleaning and laundry. You’ll need to coordinate with the front desk to pick up these items. The cost is calculated on a per-item basis.
The Wi-Fi was complimentary, and I had no issues with the connection throughout my stay.
Valet parking is available for €35 (~$38) daily.
Pets are welcome at the Hotel Goldener Hirsch, though the hotel notes that it has the right to refuse a pet’s entry to certain areas of the property.
I was assigned a 1 Bedroom Suite on the third floor. As I mentioned before, each floor was accessible via elevator, but there were additional sets of stairs to climb to reach the room.
When I applied the Suite Night Award, I was offered a choice between a Junior Suite and a 1 Bedroom Suite — I’m very glad I chose the 1 Bedroom Suite since it was more spacious than the Junior Suite option.
Keeping true to its old-world style (to a degree, at least), keys at this property were electronic key fobs attached to metal key rings with a tag emblazoned with the hotel’s name.
It’d certainly be hard to lose these keys, but if you find them too bulky to carry around, you can leave them at the front desk when you leave the property. However, I decided to put mine in my pocket and take them around town with me for convenience.
I stepped right into the living room space when I entered the room. I immediately noticed that the decor throughout the entire suite screamed Austria — it was spot-on!
A large desk was immediately next to the door, perfect for working. There were also several outlets to keep devices charged with ease.
The living room had a couch and a glass coffee table, complete with a welcome amenity in the form of a fruit bowl. This couch was very comfortable, and I dozed off after sitting down.
A television and a large cabinet containing a coffee maker, a refrigerator, and extra glasses were at the far end of the living room.
This was the only television in the room; interestingly, there was no TV in the bedroom. You must sit in the living room if you want to watch TV. This didn’t bother me, but you may want to try a different room type if you prefer to watch TV while in bed.
The bedroom was 3 steps down from the living room. It was very spacious and came complete with a king-sized bed.
On either side of the bed was plenty of storage. There was 1 chair to sit in in this room, though I didn’t find it terribly comfortable for long periods.
To the right of the bed was a large wardrobe with a luggage rack — the perfect spot for my suitcase.
The wardrobe opened to reveal the room’s safe and several other amenities.
On either side of the bed was a nightstand. The housekeeping staff provided turndown service at night and left chocolates on the nightstands as part of it!
One thing to note is that the power outlets were actually inside the nightstands, so to power up your device, you need to slide out the top “tray” to reveal the outlet. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this out until I was checking out of the room.
On the other side of the room was the bathroom, which was generously sized. Inside was a full-size soaking tub, complete with bath salts and soaps.
There was a double vanity, and I appreciated the variety of towels available.
The toilet was in a separate room, and next to that was a stand-up shower.
This bathroom was high-tech, too. On the wall was a knob through which you could listen to music pumped in through several channels, or you could listen to the sound of the television. I thought this was a great feature, as I love to stay on top of the news, even while abroad, and could easily do so while getting ready.
During my stay, there were 4 dining options available at this hotel: Bar Goldener Hirsch, Restaurant Herzl, Restaurant Goldener Hirsch, and the daily breakfast buffet. There was also 24-hour room service for those feeling peckish in the overnight hours.
This bar is open from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily. Every time I passed by, I only saw a few people sitting and never saw a bartender staffing it. I imagine that due to the size of the hotel, it’s a place where you can go to relax, but you may need to flag down a server.
Restaurant Herzl is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and offers traditional Austrian fare in a casual atmosphere.
Restaurant Goldener Hirsch is a popular fine-dining restaurant in the city, serving up elevated Austrian dishes, both traditional and modern.
It’s closed Monday through Wednesday and opens on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. On Friday through Sunday, it’s open from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Breakfast was served daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. in a separate breakfast room on the first floor. A server seated me but explained that I could hop up to the buffet anytime.
The buffet contained a variety of breads, meats, and cheeses, as well as eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and a few other items.
In addition to the buffet, a menu was on each table from which you could order coffee or other hot items, including pancakes, waffles, and omelets.
The property offers 24-hour room service, which is great especially if you’re coming in jet-lagged. The prices certainly reflected the convenience, but having the option is nice.
The service at this hotel was warm and welcoming and matched the boutique nature of this property. I absolutely loved how all the staff were dressed in period garb, and everyone was very attentive to my needs.
Here are a few examples:
I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Hotel Goldener Hirsch again, but the prices can be very high, so I’d look to use points here rather than paying cash whenever possible. I loved the location of this hotel and the fact that the hotel wasn’t a cookie-cutter behemoth of a hotel that I’ve grown accustomed to in major cities.
I think there definitely can be good value for your money or points, depending on the rate and how close you want to be to the major markets and museums of the city. That was a no-brainer for me, and I think you can easily justify the price tag to stay at this incredibly unique hotel.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
The Hotel Goldener Hirsch is located in the city’s historic center and is walkable to most of the historic attractions. It is mere steps away from Mozart’s birthplace.
Each room has an espresso machine, an in-room refrigerator, a minibar, 24-hour room service, and nightly turndown service.
Room rates can easily exceed $700 a night at this hotel, with the hotel costing much more during busy summer season.
Yes, each room features a full-length desk and chair, and also offers built-in power outlets.
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