Hotel Group Accentuates Character

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Reed Travel Features

SALZBURG, Austria -- Schlosshotels, a group of 34 castle and manor house hotels in Austria, Italy and Slovenia, promotes its members as properties with "unique character and offering guests something special." Visits to the Hotel Altstadt here and the Schloss Haunsperg in the nearby village of Oberalm, certainly lived up to those accolades.

Upon arrival at Schloss Haunsperg, a 14th century square stucco-covered structure with two towers and a Baroque chapel, guests are greeted at the door by one or both of its proprietors, Georg and Erika-Therese Gernerth. The manor accommodates up to 23 guests in eight rooms and suites. The largest suite is the size of an apartment with two bedrooms and a sitting room and the smallest room is larger than many hotel rooms. Each bedroom is individual in size, shape and decor and appointed with antiques and oil paintings.

The entire home is filled with interesting pieces such as a stunning sideboard dating to the 1700s in one of the breakfast rooms. The centerpiece of the manor is the music room with a Bosendorfer grand piano and bookshelves lined with volumes in several languages dating from the 1600s .

Next door to the manor is a delightful Baroque chapel that was built in the late 1300s. About 30 frescoes adorn the chapel walls and in front a small alter appears to be marble, but it is actually constructed of wood with a faux marble finish. The structure is topped by a belfry with a bell that dates from 1570.

Clients who want to watching television won't be able to do so here, but the property does have a tennis court and golf, horseback riding and all the attractions of Salzburg are available nearby.

The Gernerths will assist their guests with everything from dinner reservations or concert tickets to finding a baby sitter, and both love to sit and chat with visitors. It is no wonder the property has been frequented by such famous guests as conductor Bruno Walter.

Located in the city's center, the Hotel Altstadt in Salzburg is a Radisson SAS property but a far cry from being a carbon-copy chain hotel. Although the hotel doesn't quite fit under the categories of manor house or castle, it is best-described as an understated palace hotel.

Formerly the historical Hollbrau Inn, one of the oldest buildings in Salzburg, the property was completely renovated and opened as the Altstadt in 1992. As early as the 1400s, the site was home to a brewery. Today, each room is individually designed, furnished with antiques and offers views of the Salzach River, the Kapuziner Kloster monastery, the lanes of old town and a fortress.

The crown jewel of the hotel is the Kaiser Suite, an ideal choice for honeymooners or those looking for a romanic getaway. The vast space is accented by stone archways, wooden beams and opulent decor, including such pieces as an antique rocking horse. The property also features an elegant restaurant and conference and banquet facilities for up to 60 people.

Rates, per night, double, start at about $260 through December. Rates at Schloss Haunsperg start at around $68 per person, per night. Founded in 1965, Schlosshotels can be booked in the U.S. by calling B.Z.B. International at (954) 436-2910 or (800) 365-3346; fax (954) 436-3302. The group can be reached in Salzburg at (011)43-662 846-825; fax: (011) 43-662 846-826.

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