Enthusiastic encounters

Interview with Susi and Sepp Schellhorn of Hotel Seehof

Susi und Sepp Schellhorn ©Ingo Pertramer

Actors and artists pass through here. Just like the curious, those looking for relaxation, and lovers of nature. Seehof is a truly magical place in Goldegg, and every guest is greeted as a friend. And Susi and Sepp Schellhorn are responsible for this comfortable atmosphere. They have created a special place of refuge here. In their interview they talk about their “enchantment institute”, passion for art, and the Sepp-Schellhorn grant.

L.L. / A journalist once called Seehof an enchantment institute. A term you happily took over. But what exactly does it mean? What is it that makes the experience “Seehof” so special?

Se.S. / When you drive up Salzachtal valley to Goldegg you enter this whole different world. A world that seems so secluded. Aside from that over the course of generations the hotel has grown in a very particular way – from the outside it looks like a plain manor house but on the inside it’s surprising and enchanting. It’s this aspect of being different that we want to embrace, and which is supposed to give us and our guests a sense of purpose – just like the cuisine, the culture, and art here in the house. The purpose for us is enchantment. 

©Mark Seelen
©Mark Seelen

L.L. / On the façade of the house it says “There are a lot of good people around” in neon letters. And it’s true, Seehof often is a meeting place for very different people. How would you describe the atmosphere at Seehof?

Su.S. / The special flair is a result of the mood here. I’m always surprised and happy about how people who get along well come together here. We create the framework for that kind of thing. We have many regulars, which is why it’s all the more important to be discovered by new guests, too. And all age groups interact with each other as well. That’s fantastic.

Se.S. / The hotel is rather small; it has only 58 beds. Which is the perfect size for getting to know one another better.

We always have artists or writers around – and that’s how you get talking. Especially when we host events, Seehof creates a big network of guests. In summer the wonderful chestnut garden and the lake contribute to the unique flair and in the cold season it’s the bar.

Su.S. / And of course, there’s also our liberality – we certainly aren’t square and there are no fixed rules, at least for the most part (laughs). All our guests can simply decelerate and relax here. 

©Mark Seelen
©Mark Seelen

L.L. / You award the Sepp-Schellhorn-grant, an Austrian literature prize which is aimed at letting artists really fine-tune their texts. Do you have authors working directly at Seehof?

Se.S. / I wouldn’t call it a prize, it’s more like a sign of appreciation of art and Austria’s cultural heritage. I feel like nowadays we don’t give writers enough room. And following the suggestion of Suhrkamp publishers we established the grant and set up two spacious flats for grant holders in the old Salzmann house next door. They are assigned four times a year for two months each. The prize isn’t endowed but food and board are free of charge. And for our house it’s amazing to see our guests mingle with writers and artists.

 L.L. / Mr Schellhorn, you come from a family of gastronomers; you’re a chef, and in charge of several businesses. Do you even have time to cook or do you spend all your time at Seehof on planning and administration?

Se.S. / Susi is responsible for the overall concept. When I come home after a long day at our restaurant M32 in Salzburg I like to join our chef de cuisine in the kitchen from Thursday to Sunday. For me it’s a place of relaxation and refuge. I can do my thing and clear my head. At Seehof the kitchen is open to anyone – the Chef’s Table can be booked every evening. We value our products and our own garden which yields most of our summer vegetables.

Su.S. / We came up with the idea for our philosophical and literary events together. Sepp travels a lot for work and often brings back ideas and a new perspective of Seehof. 

©Mark Seelen
©Mark Seelen

L.L. / The hotel actually has its own art collection. Where does your passion for all things beautiful come from? And where do you get the artworks from?

Se.S. / We have always had a thing for art and we bought our first painting in Paris when we were 18. And I’m still passionate about it. You might even say that there’s a certain addictive potential there. Art usually comes to us through people we know or through events. Our works by Hubert Scheibl, Siegfried Anzinger, or Maria Lassnig here are all originals. We focus on photography and painting, and we show a total of 358 pictures.

L.L. / Would you say your concept is unique in the region?

Se.S. / We are a blank spot on the map, which is why we need to stand our ground. And that’s why we’ve positioned ourselves in an amazing niche, which, in turn, is why we have our guests’ full attention. Literature, art, philosophy – we really are quite different from other hotels. 

L.L. / You also run the award-winning restaurant M32 on Salzburg’s Mönchsberg. What’s the difference between Seehof and M32?

Se.S. / The two places are very different. Seehof is all about individuality while M32 in Salzburg is famous for the nation’s most beautiful view. It’s quite popular but because of the high expectations it’s hard to run. Today the M32 hosts Salzburg’s locals and guests of the Museum of Modern Art. During the day I work in Salzburg and in the evenings I come home to Seehof. The two really are very different worlds. 

©Mark Seelen
©Mark Seelen

Hotel Der Seehof

Susi and Sepp Schellhorn run Hotel Der Seehof in Goldegg together and thanks to them the hotel holds numerous works of art in its rooms. In the course of numerous events on the topics of philosophy, literature, and art the house has made a name for itself over the years and now it attracts guests from near and far who enjoy spending the night. Sepp Schellhorn also runs the restaurant M32 at Salzburg’s Museum for Modern Art. 

Wordrap mit Susi und Sepp Schellhorn

Diesen Schriftsteller finde ich inspirierend:

Su.S. / Norbert Gstrein. Se.S. / Thomas Bernhard.

Nach einem langen Arbeitstag ...

Su.S. / trinke ich gerne ein Bier. Se.S. / diskutiere ich gerne mit Freunden über das Leben.

An diesen Ort in Goldegg zieht es mich immer zurück:

Su.S. / zu den Dreibuchen im Seewald. Se.S. / in den Seehofgarten.

Kann man zu viele Bücher besitzen?

Su.S. / Niemals!

Auf dieses Kunstwerk sind wir besonders stolz:

Se.S. / Tony Cragg, Tom Sachs, Maria Lassnig – ganz nach Tagesverfassung.