The history of the Seevilla

From Villa Wágner
to the Romantik Hotel Seevilla

The Romantik Hotel Seevilla celebrated its 40th birthday in 2018. The history of the building dates back 140 years, but new chapters are continuously being added to the story. If the walls could talk, they would have even more stories to tell. Sadly, that is impossible, but here are a few of the milestones in the history of Villa Wágner, which later became the Romantik Hotel Seevilla.

From 1880 to today - the milestones in the history of the Seevilla

1880

Laszlo Wágner, a university professor in Vienna, had Villa Wágner built on the banks of Lake Altaussee as a summer residence. An enthusiastic lover of music, he played the violin himself and would host guests almost every day. As the swarms of listeners continued to grow, Wágner decided to build a music pavilion.

1882

Friend and popular guest Johannes Brahms travelled from Bad Ischl for the inauguration of the added music pavilion. The piano trio in C major, op. 87, and the quintet in F major, op. 88, ‘Spring’, were premiered in the new music pavilion on 25 August.

1890er

For reasons of ill health, Professor Wágner sold his villa to the family of the well-known spa doctor Dr Seegen from Karlsbad.

1896

Due to its unique location right on the banks of Lake Altaussee, a friend of the doctor, Dr Theodor Billroth, recommended the name ‘SEEVILLA’ for the house in a letter to Dr Seegen’s wife.

1910-20

As stipulated by the will and testament of Dr Seegen’s family, the Seevilla was bequeathed to the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The Landesberger family lived in the building and ran it as a meeting place for art and intellectual exchange.

1920er

Prominent names in the world of literature, such as Arthur Schnitzler, Jakob Wassermann and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, met at the Seevilla in this period.

1930-45

After changing ownership several times, the house was ultimately dispossessed and fell to the Upper Danube division.

1947

After the Second World War ended, the Ausseerland region was reintegrated into Styria and the Seevilla was restituted.

1950er

The Seevilla changed owners several more times before being acquired by the Trösch family, from Vienna. They were the first to turn the Seevilla into a bed-and-breakfast hotel, with around 30 beds. It provided running hot and cold water in all rooms.

1976

The purchase of the Seevilla by the Maislinger family from Berndorf, near Salzburg, marked the beginning of a new era for this historic building.

1978

The Hotel Seevilla was opened on 20 December after 14 months of intensive construction work. After this initial renovation, the Seevilla had more than 60 beds, an indoor pool, a sauna and a solarium. Eight people were employed in the new Seevilla at that time.

1979

The Seevilla was one of the first hotels to be run as a two-season operation and reached a total of 6,900 overnight stays in that year.

1980

The striking ‘Seevilla’ lettering, still used to this day, was added.

1981

When Klaus and Annelie Gulewicz married, Klaus also joined the company. (Or: Through his marriage to AG, Klaus also joined the company.) At the same time, the Seevilla opened an à la carte restaurant, making it possible for guests not staying at the hotel to also enjoy hours of culinary delight right by the lake.

1982

A Brahms festival took place at the Seevilla to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the premieres of the piano trio in C major, op. 87, and the quintet in F major, op. 88, ‘Spring’. With contact to various dairy farms, the Seevilla had access to 75 different varieties of cheese, most of which were not yet available to the public – a good reason for the ‘cheese week’, which takes place annually in spring.

1984

The fourth generation of the family was born with the arrival of son Alexander.  Nicolai (1986) and Daniel (1990) followed.

1989

The ‘Kral’ property in the immediate vicinity of the hotel was purchased as accommodation for the continuously growing number of employees.

1991

Numbers of overnight stays continued to grow and consideration was given to expanding the hotel.

1993

After two-and-a-half years of planning, the major renovation finally began in October. In a seven-month construction period, 40 beds were added to the Seevilla. The spa offering was also increased, with a larger indoor pool, a new sauna, a steam bath, a solarium and a massage room.

1994

The new-look Seevilla opened on 1 June. The construction style was adjusted to that of turn-of-the-century villas. The Brahms Parlour was opened in memory of one of the early guests. The investment totalled more than 3.6 million euros (50 million Austrian schillings).

1996

The Seevilla is a place for dancing. The ‘Hausball’ took place for the first time. Aimed at the local population, the people of Altaussee were invited to the ball and offered the opportunity to stay overnight. Other regular cultural events that take place in the Seevilla include readings and concerts.

2000

The guest rooms in the older part of the building were redesigned and newly furnished in a further renovation.

2001

The Seevilla became the first holiday hotel in the Salzkammergut region to be open all year round.

2003

A new employee residential building with 13 residences was constructed and was ready for use after a construction period of just nine months.

2006

The spa area was completely renovated. A panoramic sauna and marble and salt steam bath were set up in just nine weeks. In the new ‘Sanctuary’, facial and body treatments are offered exclusively to hotel guests.

2007

The Seevilla received ‘four-star superior’ rating.

2008

The 140th apprentice successfully completed their apprenticeship.

2009

In July, Alexander Gulewicz took over the ownership of the Seevilla – the fourth generation of the family to do so. The Seevilla was given thermal insulation to improve energy consumption values.

2010

Johann Maislinger, part of the first generation of owners and a constructor of the Seevilla in 1978, celebrated his 90th birthday. Alexander and Ines celebrated their wedding and have managed the Seevilla with passion and enthusiasm together ever since. The fifth generation of owners entered the world in October in the shape of Levin Alexander, son of Alexander and Ines. The Seevilla became a member of the Romantik Hotels Group.

2011

Klaus Gulewicz, manager of the Seevilla for many years, passed away at the age of 59 on 4 April.

2012

34 of the 51 rooms were given a general renovation in a period of just nine weeks in spring. The Seevilla also received another lift as part of this renovation. Ines Gulewicz took over the position of hostess. Alexander was put in charge of finance and marketing. ‘Alex makes sure the guests come to the hotel; my team and I make sure they come back.’ (Quote from Ines)

2013

The course for the future has been set – a new website in responsive design was launched and makes booking direct online possible.

2014

Louis Samuel, second son of Ines and Alexander, was born in January of this year. With another renovation, the spa area was converted into a panoramic spa and expanded to include a salt infrared cabin, the ‘Lederhosen organic sauna’ and the ‘Dirndl tea bar’ with comfortable seating.

2015

Hollywood came to Altaussee for the filming of the 24th James Bond film. The filming took three days, during which time the Seevilla welcomed the stars and crew as guests. The Seevilla was rated in the Falstaff restaurant guide for the first time, and was awarded a prestigious ‘fork’.

2017

The Seevilla became the proud owner of a ‘Plätte’, the traditional handmade wooden boats of the Ausseerland region.

2018

Following a further renovation, the Seevilla reopened its doors just in time for the Narzissenfest  - a flower festival. The building now has barrier-free access and a new space for seminars, as well as an expanded restaurant area. 17 rooms were also given a general renovation in the process, and a further nine new rooms were added. These include four large suites with a 180-degree view of Lake Altaussee and the Loser mountain – all 59 rooms are now fully upgraded.