Modern art at the Art Hotel Blaue Gans in the old town of Salzburg, Austria

Etched by Time

Old is beautiful, especially when aged beams that may have greeted Mozart now wrap around contemporary art - a creative hub for those who love history, tamed


Abstract, traditional and contemporary elements fuse this aged culture kid, aka, the famous Arthotel Blaue Gans. Dating back to the days of Mozart, the 670-year-old building edges on being quaint, but at the same time is decked in dashes of statement contemporary styling to lighten the load – a self-assured hub of art and design that oozes confidence.

Milky soft eggshell tones, exposed beams, bespoke furnishings and artistic installations chime well with the historic elements of the Blaue Gans adding to the provenance of this former inn, often frequented by Mozart who was born just a few blocks away.

By clever manipulation of light and the classically Austrian whitewashed walls, the spatial dimensions of the slightly smaller (yet enticingly old) rooms were expanded and Prasser’s interpretation of furniture also added to the architectural theatricality of Blaue Gans. By partnering with Wittmann, Austrian handcraft since 1896 – the antique baroque doors, marble-floored entrance halls and ornamented ceilings transport guests to the grandeur of centuries past, whilst pops of colour from Wittmann furniture in cool blue, canary yellow and tangerine orange roots in the vibrancy of now. 

The serious art direction, with credentials and aesthetics of an east-side art gallery with more than 120 original artworks, curated by owner and avid art fiend Andreas Gfrerer further shapes the inn's aged forms, playing intelligently to foster contemporary pieces, making the hotel setting innovative, neither obtrusive nor overly designed.

In pursuing this aim and designing to this tune, Blaue Gans has a freeing, exciting, inspiring atmosphere that sees clever architectural and design devices that parallel the old and the new to extreme yet complementary dimensions.


Blaue Gans Art Hotel | Salzburg, Austria | The Aficionados Blaue Gans Art Hotel | Salzburg, Austria | The Aficionados

Whether you’re a city slicker coming to Salzburg for your bright lights fix or a family holing up for a holiday, Arthotel Blaue Gans’ rooms cover the spectrum of homey needs, comfort and style. Small, Regular or Medium rooms come with the trappings of Salzburg’s past with wooden-beamed ceilings, plus neat living and bedroom areas while bathrooms nod to the now with wraparound white tiles.

Next level are the suites, with architectural charm flooding in from stuccoed ceilings, vaulted nooks and use of timber. Our fave is the Suite City Flat – a spacious wonder that separates bedroom from living with a modern metal sliding door which contrast beautifully with the old baroque doors and the aged marble flooring. Pops of petrol blue and canary yellow come from the stylish pieces of velvet Wittman furniture, perfectly placed and an ideal marker of this hotel’s effortless merging of old and new. 


Blaue Gans Art Hotel | Salzburg, Austria | The Aficionados Blaue Gans Art Hotel | Salzburg, Austria | The Aficionados

Socialising in Salzburg is at the heart of the Blaue Gans and what makes it the insider hotspot of town with a history of more than 670 years - you can only imagine what these cosy nooks, vaulted ceilings and original panelling have witnessed since 1350.

Maximilian Sampl is the culinary talent behind the scene and celebrates the tastes of Austria and neighbouring Italy; the key here is elegant simplicity with earthy local plates, regional specialities and "Oma" inspired dishes. The vaulted restaurant echoes this ethos, serving a "Gastro-Stube" array of tasty delights, while the bar infused with jazz offers light cafe bites and the outdoor olive & fig-potted terrace is the in-spot of town - especially during the Festival days.

Chilled in heritage, Blaue Gans offers a contemporary and unpretentious eatery that has all the echoes of regional cooking, think foodie delights like "Tafelspitz” – slow-cooked beef, the “Wiener Schnitzel”, delicious jam-filled pancakes called “Powidldatschgerl” or the to-die-for “Topfenknödel”, sweet dumplings made from cream cheese. 

For those of you a little more daring in taste, the place is also acclaimed for the speciality offal dishes, including Fried Calf’s Brain, or how about a little Knuckle of Deer, both of which are scrummy. As you would expect from a house of notoriety, the wine cellars are also epic.


Arthotel Blaue Gans has arguably the best location in Salzburg, on the famous medieval cobbled streets of Getreidegasse in Altstadt - Old Town, a World Cultural Heritage Site and only a short walk from Mozart's birthplace and the Salzburger Dom.

The hotel is opposite the world-famous Salzburger Festspiele - home to two annual classical music festivals and sided by the Mönchsberg Mountain. Close by, must-dos are the Trinity Church at the top of Makartplatz, Mirabell Palace (where Maria and the Von Trapp children sang Do-Re-Mi in the Sound of Music), Hohensalzburg Castle, Helbrunn Palace and the catacombs of Petersfriedhof. Too much culture? Then do the Sound of Music Tour (disguised, of course). 

“Art installations bring another dimension to the hotel, sometimes almost disruptive in nature, other times provocative and others look like they were meant to be there."


Sometimes, hotels are coined to portray an element of coolness – but when art is your calling, then you adopt a more curatorial approach, just like our host Andreas Gfrerer. He is serious about art, particularly modern and abstract art – his hotel naturally is his canvas.

‘Art installations bring another dimension to the hotel, sometimes almost disruptive in nature, other times provocative and others look like they were meant to be there. What better space than a hotel and restaurant to engage with people, impassive in a sense, and I like it.’

Andreas wears Salzburg on his proud shoulders and fosters the arts in this heritage city. It is indeed that signatory design of old and new that lend an air of space, whilst being firmly rooted in the magical history of Salzburg, right bang smack in the midst of Old Town. Commissioned by Gfrerer, Architect Christian Prasser explains how once he saw the building, he knew that Blaue Gans would simply glow if he made sure it presented ‘a cautious co-existence of old and new’.

Andreas Gfrerer - the owner of Blaue Gans Art Hotel | Salzburg, Austria | The Aficionados

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