In 1873 Rudolf Riemann built the first pathway to Schmittenhöhe. In 1874 the Alpine Farm Builders Association, Peter Hofer and farmer from Nößling, Johann Buchner, bought the little mountain shelter on the summit of Schmittenhöhe, and turned it into a ‘Schutzhaus’. The mountain shelter had 11 beds! In 1876 tobacconist and later the mayor Josef Fill bought it and extended the guesthouse to 50 beds (400 visitors were entered in the guest book). Just 1 year later, in 1877 husband and wife, Albert and Mathilde Hubinger, became the owners.
On 9th August 1885 Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) visited Berghotel on the Schmittenhöhe; (see chronicle ‘In the tracks of Empress Sissi’). Emperor Franz Josef I also visited Zell am See and the Schmittenhöhe, and stayed in the hotel from 11th to 12th July 1893. At that time the only means of transport was a mule and horse-drawn, two-wheeled mountain cart (a so-called ‘Schmittenwagerl’), which had been developed especially for the Schmittenhöhe. In 1890 the hotel set its own Austrian Royal Imperial post and telegraph office. The post cart operated twice a day, bringing countless picture postcards direct to the trains in Zell am See which transported the post.
On 20.12.1892 husband and wife Karl and Emilie Haschke, acquired the property, which had in the meantime been extended several times and turned into a hotel. It provided comfortable accommodation at set prices: ‘Long beds - short bills’, that was the motto of the Haschke’s. In 1900 the Berghotel had 44 very comfortably set-up rooms, and 90 beds, making it the largest mountain hotel in the entire Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. During the war years 1914 – 1918, the hotel remained closed. Hotelier Carl Haschke died in 1918. After 1918 the property was purchased by a private company made up of Zell citizens: (Deputy Mayor, innkeepers, Vet. – Insp. Hilzensauer, Dr. Josef Pirchner, chemist Josef Wisgrill and the Thumersbach Brusatti).
On 31st December 1927 the Schmittenhöhe railway was officially opened, the first cable car in Salzburg and the fifth in Austria. In 1945 the hotel was seized by the US – occupying powers and was used as a ski training centre. In 1955 distinguished businessman Franz Gramshammer, owner of the Grandhotel in Zell am See, acquired the Berghotel at 2000 metres sea level. At that time he extended the hotel to approx. 100 beds, providing lots of comfort. During this time (around 1964) the Berghotel was the topic of several ‘Heimatfilms’, amongst them ‘Hollodrio in Zell am See’, featuring actors Peppo Brem, Hannelore Elsner and Harald Juhnke.
In 1971 with the construction of the Areitbahn from Schüttdorf, a district of Zell, a second route to Schmittenhöhe was created. In 1985 Herwig Schiefer, leaseholder of Disco Visage in Zell am See, became interested in the property for the first time. Though he just wanted to lease it, purchasing it would not have been financially possible. Mr Gramshammer and Mr Schiefer therefore settled upon running it together. 2 years later Mr Herwig Schiefer purchased the Berghotel and has successfully manages it to this day! On 28th October 2008 there was a fire in the Berghotel; the fire started at around 4.00 p.m. during flame-scarfing work; extinguishing the fire continued until the early hours of the morning (250 firemen were deployed)!There will be a party for the hotel's re-opening and the new Schnapshansalm on 13. 12. 2008, and there is to be a large media presence.