Plans for Salzburg Sound of Music hotel hit sour note

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 05 2008 01:20 AM | Updated as of Dec 05 2008 09:20 AM

VIENNA - The former home of the Trapp family, made famous by the 1965 film "The Sound of Music," will not re-open as a hotel after all following opposition from residents and politicians, the owners said.

The villa in Aigen, near Salzburg, failed to receive final approval Wednesday from the city after neighbours complained it would bring hordes of tourists to their peaceful suburb.

"It seems like the Villa Trapp, the original Sound of Music family home, is not getting a permission to open as a hotel, although all legal conditions have been complied with," the owners, Marianne Dorfer and Christopher Unterkofler, said in a statement received by AFP.

"Local politicians... are obstructing the permission," they added.

Local councillor Traudi Lackner told the daily Kurier: "The owners wanted to open not only a hotel, but also to use it for events: the house would have become a magnet for day tourists."

Some 300,000 fans of "The Sound of Music" visit Salzburg every year, taking part in special themed tours, and local residents feared the small villa would soon become a tourist spot as well.

The Villa Trapp, which was inaugurated in July, needed formal approval as it is located on protected land.

Dorfer and Unterkofler said they planned to appeal the decision.

They said all previous city assessment reports had been positive and that politicians had supported their project until residents pressured them to turn it down.

"All the politicians we contacted were positive and motivated us, saying how important this project was for Salzburg tourism," they said in their statement.

"There is no objective or legal reason to block a 14-room hotel in Aigen," they added.

The villa was the home of Captain Georg von Trapp, his seven children and their governess Maria, later known as the Trapp Family Singers, from 1923 to 1938.