We just went for a visit in a castle in the upper Styria in Austria which went to be a restaurant today and was closed at this time of the year. So on the way to look for a place where to eat I saw with the angle of my eye another sign: Schloss Gabelhofen. I was laughing about the strange name as Gabel means fork. So literally it means “Yard of the Forks”.
But we decided to have a second attempt for a visit in a palace or castle after lunch.
So later after lunch we started to look for the place where we had seen the sign. We found it and followed. And had a real nice surprise!
Outside was parking space and we could see two young men shooting an expensive car for a car seller. Already interesting!
Walking down the bridge crossing the not anymore there water-filled moat we saw an elder couple entering the castle which appear to be a 4 stars hotel today.
The entrance hall took me completely. Glass, light, brightness, rustic but also very fine interior.. here someone has a great taste!
We opted to the cafeteria to have out after-lunch-coffee. A little hall with vaulted ceilings, once maybe the wine cellar or storage rooms?
We sat there for a long while, warm and cozy and talking, guessing about the castle.
The water castle or also moated castle was first nominated in 1443 as Hof Riegersdorf (kind of farmyard). It was then part of the barony Liechtenstein near to Judenburg (a place nearby where we had lunch this day). In the end of the same century it changed the owner and the new one started to create a Renaissance water castle.
It returned to be the property of the Liechtenstein a few years later, but this time it was leased to people who finished the Renaissance works in 1536.
In the end of the 16th century it was finally sold to the family Gabelhofner. But again the Liechtenstein in 1897 took back the castle. After the WWI it was sold, transformed into apartments for workers of the the owner (Steelworks). In the end of the ’80s it was bought by Meta Hotels and was open in 1994 as a 4 stars hotel.
As we were leaving the cafeteria we asked if it would be possible to see suite. I was curious how they transformed a historic place in a modern luxurious accommodation.
It was not as easy as I expected and used of but in the end we could have a short glimpse in one of the spoiling temples. Beautiful, definitely, thought not that what maybe I would expect in an ancient castle. But knowing the history I would say they really created a masterpiece of an accommodation. Would love to stay here for some days!
As we left slowly the beauty of this place we had another unexpected glimpse into the wine cellar. Just down the stairs but already promising a lot of great stuff there in. I started to imagine a weekend, summery weather, a great wine, pampered in the wellness center and later having sweet dreams in the suite… OK, wake up girl!
We left the castle, the young men with the big big cars were gone, the weather started to be bad again but we had our visit in a nice castle, residence, palace and all the way driven today was worth. It makes me appetite for more castles, luxurious homes, pampered places….
For further information:
Schloss Gabelhofen (in German)