LUX Hotel & Spa Awards 2016
The family-friendly Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe has been playing host to guests since the 18th Century, and still retains a lot of the magnificence and elegance of these bygone days. Today, this hunting lodge has been transformed into a stunning hotel set in a magnificent park containing centuries-old trees; with a gourmet restaurant, a delightful breakfast area in the conservatory, a stunning spa with its own bistro, and a traditional rustic restaurant, guests are positively spoiled for choice when it comes to experiencing unadulterated luxury, worthy of a princely German family.
Nestled in a 4.4-hectare park includes the property 66 exclusive rooms and suites spread over four extraordinary buildings, this private space of southern German countryside first came into being as a large zoo and hunting lodge for a noble family whose input changed this landscape and made it cohesive to a modern lifestyle of luxury and vacationing.
The Thirty Years War that split Europe between Catholics and Protestants in the early 17th Century left a mark on this countryside, uncovering a certain strategic element to its location. Indeed, a century later, by 1720, Prince Friedrich II of Hohenlohe built the original hunting lodge that came to be known as Friedrichsruhe, and in the years that followed, much of the old Tiergarten forest was cleared to allow the settlement of farmers. The Hohenlohe princely dynasty, who were themselves members of the German High Nobility with a direct tie to the line of the Holy Roman Emperors, have left a lasting legacy upon this historic region, and while they may have lost their independence in the forming of the Confederation of the Rhine during Napoleon Buonaparte’s conquests, the complex of Friedrichsruhe remains a solid remainder of those bygone times.
At the modern institution of the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe, guests have the opportunity to relive the heyday of the Hohenlohe family by partaking in the luxury of their palatial seat of power. Guests may choose to explore the Torhaus (gatehouse), Jagdschloss (hunting lodge), Haupthaus (main building), Spa Haus (spa building) or Gartenhaus (garden house), each of which is furnished in a different style. Many of these buildings exist on the site of or are built from the original structures that have stood here since the 1700s, when this property was used as the Hohenlohe family’s summer hunting lodge.
Every habitable space in this hotel is unique. Noble colours and classical patterns adorn the walls, curtains, and chairs; precious paintings, gorgeous pieces of antique furniture, and soft carpets are everywhere. In spite of the grandiose furnishings, though, nothing about the interiors at Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe feels overdone or ostentatious. They simply provide the most beautiful, comfortable surroundings possible in which to lay one’s head, enjoy a delicious meal, or simply sit back and barely move a muscle, without it feeling overly claustrophobic in the face of such grandeur.
The rooms and suites at Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe are elegantly furnished to reflect the historic building with antique furniture and period paintings. The main rooms in the Haupthaus are decorated in the style of a country manor, the ones in the spa building shine on the principle of minimalist and modern colours and shapes, while the rooms and suites in the Gate and Garden house are seeping with Romantic English concepts, taking a 19th-Century rural feel that is both wonderfully in keeping with the historic setting but also rather modern – the overall effect would not be out of place in a Laura Ashley collection. In the heart of the park sits the Jagdschloss – this hunting lodge is outfitted with rooms festooned with oil paintings, antique period furniture, and rich fabrics.
The spa in Friedrichsruhe is another well-deserved source of pride for the staff; their philosophy incorporates a deep understanding and respect for natural remedies, which they consider to be the source of energy and the provider of deep, self-healing power. Natural products – touching – movement, nutrition, attentiveness – are essential to the process here; the principal of ‘learning from nature’ is upheld as a chief virtue, and is applied through the usage of expressive woods, fine fabrics and striking stones to demonstrate an avant-garde knowledge of effective spa treatment.
Guests are invited to find strength in this blissful space – a small, perfect world designed for healing, which only evolves around the guest, giving them a balance from the outside as well as from the inside. Guests are surrounded by nature and people to spoil and pamper them, and invigorate an inspiration to lead a healthy life.
The Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe has indeed attained some formidable recognition, in particular through its enchanting spa experience: to wit, with the Relax Guide awarding four Lilies and 20 points for the seventh year in a row, there is a strong basis on which to name this historic establishment as the best wellness hotel in all of Germany, which is by itself no small feat for a nation so steeped in hospitality and an almost overpowering inclination towards finery and wanderlust.
After indulging in some well-deserved time in the spa, it is high time to dine in splendour on unbelievable dishes. Never settling when it comes to catering to the desires of guests, the hotel offers four distinct options in which to experience true culinary excellence – these range from quaint rustic, slightly over-vital Styrian jaunts to elegant in starlit surroundings. The regional restaurant Jägerstube, the gorgeously-appointed Spa Bistro and the rustic Forest Tavern are each as exclusive, as the next, serving fresh food that never falls short of delicious.
In particular, Styrian pumpkins and Hohenlohe beef form the basis of the Jägerstube’s sumptuous soups, with locally-hunted venison and pumpernickel dumplings soon to follow. Of course, local favourites are available in the form of wiener schnitzels, as well as the Austrian staple Zwiebelrostbraten; the closest translated name to this term equates to ‘onion-topped roast beef with gravy’, but the dish itself possesses the potential for so much more. In the hands of a true master – such as that can be found in the kitchens of the Friedrichsruhe – its basic components can be substituted for more exquisite, healthier options.
The Gourmet-Restaurant, meanwhile, is where stylish cuisine finds its home, with dishes taking inspiration from both regional and French influences. This restaurant, with its wide terrace and array of industry-recognised awards (one Michelin star, 16 Gault Millau points, and four diamonds in Varta Guide) is an unmissable spot for food lovers everywhere.
On top of this, the Chef’s Table room offers a private and intimate atmosphere with a view into the kitchen, where guests’ individual menus are prepared. Separated by a seemingly thin pane of glass, the views into the kitchen yield tell-tale glimpses of the nimble hands and subtle tricks employed by the chef and his professional team. Groups of between six and ten persons with a special need to celebrate in a private and splendidly-outfitted place are recommended to the Chef Table.
The exciting combination between tradition and modernity is the die-hard focus of the hotel, as well as the products, all of which are of the very best quality, and preferably sourced from the local region, of course. Through this variety of culinary delights, the choice is entirely in the hands of the paying guest.
Beyond the bastions of the hotel’s walls, where the hotel grounds give way to magnificent parkland, guests can experience the refined joy of a 27-hole golf course, set amid the inexplicable wonder of the surrounding countryside of Hohenstale. This is the latest in a long line of additions to the hotel grounds to have undergone expansion – originally, when first opened in 1964, it consisted of nine holes, before this was doubled in 1994. The final eight holes were added in 2012, making this a relatively untapped escape spot for players in need of fresh ground. There are even heated tee lodges along the path of the course, making it feasible for players to enjoy the golfing experience all year round.
As Jürgen Wegmann puts it, “one might be tempted to wonder what you should do today. Wander through the hotel’s gorgeous grand park with its copse of ancient trees? Play a round of golf, or even take a lesson at the Golf Academy? Visit the 4400-square-meter spa and pamper yourself in ways you didn’t even know were possible?” The impression is clear – by establishing this loving establishment in a property built with the purpose of style and luxury fit for an aristocratic lifestyle, the modern Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe possesses immeasurable charm, and its surroundings are so tranquil that they lend themselves wonderfully to this continued function.
“In Friedrichsruhe, innovation meets tradition. In our spacious resort, we are lucky that we are able to offer both. There is tradition in the old Jagdschloss, and modern innovation in the spa building, with its stylishly modern – but not too trendy – interior.” Jürgen surmises the contrasts in the property with a certain efficiency, but even that does not do justice to the variety and innumerable options that are available to guests at Friedrichsruhe.
Company: Panorama Hotel & Service GmbH
Web Address: www.schlosshotel-friedrichsruhe.de/
Address: Kärcherstrasse 11, 74639 Zweiflingen, 74638 Waldenburg
Telephone: 49 (0) 79 41/60 87-0