German hotel turns 525

With so many new hotels going up, many of which have little atmosphere, it’s nice to find a character hotel that has a lot of history attached to it.

The Radisson Blu Schwarzer Bock Hotel in Wiesbaden, Germany has recently celebrated its 525th anniversary.

The hotel can be traced back to 1486, and it is considered to be the oldest Grand Hotel in Germany. This means that the hotel has been accepting guests since before Columbus discovered America in 1492, so it truly does have a very historic pedigree.

Apparently, the “Schwarzer Bock” was originally a bath house, and its name stems from the first owner, Philipp zum Bock, who had black (“schwarz” in German) hair. Back then, Wiesbaden had only 36 inhabitants, but it already had an established reputation for its beneficial hot springs. In fact, if you visit the hotel’s cellar you will see Roman bricks there which date back to at least 33AD, which proved that the Romans used the town for recreation even back then.

It’s not surprising then that Wiesbaden later became one of the leading spa destinations in Europe. It is said that that ladies of high society from nearby Frankfurt even made sure, when drawing up their marriage contracts, that they could visit the Wiesbaden spa once a year – without their husbands.

Even Goethe was a guest at the “Schwarzer Bock”, and wrote about his experiences there, which included enjoying a merry life.

The hotel was refurbished at the beginning of the 20th Century, when the old bath house was demolished and replaced by a modern building with 220 beds, electric lights, elevators and later, running water. Following the Second World War, the Americans occupied the “Schwarzer Bock” for another twelve years.

The hotel, which has been known as Radisson Blu since 1995, now has 142 rooms and suites decorated in a classical style, with several important changes made. For instance, guests nio longer sleep on bed frames covered with bags of straw and hair mattresses, and the ovens which used to be a feature in the rooms, because 19th century guests had to cook their own meals as the hotel had no restaurant at the time, are also a thing of the past.

Today, the hotel in Wiesbaden offers a number of facilities, from comfortable beds and private baths to air conditioning and free WiFi. The “Capricorn” restaurant serves international and national specialities, and the atmospheric Bar 1486, named after the official “birth year”, is the perfect place to end the day.

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