Schönburg Castle Hotel, near Frankfurt, Germany, is a ruggedly beautiful fortress overlooking Read more [...]
Most Famous Guest: U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.
In the lovely old spa town of Kronberg, and conveniently near Frankfurt Airport, Germany, Castle Hotel Kronberg is a beautifully romantic building, both inside and out. Though only dating back about 130 years it has plenty of 19th & 20th century historical intrigue and big connections to both the Prussian and British Royal Families.
It is now a top of the range 5 Star Hotel, undoubtedly one of the best in Germany, with tremendous facilities including an 18 hole golf course, a fantastic fine dining restaurant, a beauty salon and beautifully atmospheric old English style gardens.
The interiors are resplendent with an amazing array of antiques and art pieces; treasures such as original paintings by Titian, Rubens and Gainsborough, and the whole experience is one of tremendous grandeur and opulence.
There is hardly a thing out of place anywhere, and though the rooms and suites are generally slightly more modern in style they too have an undeniable old world charm.
Their rooms and suites range from single rooms to top of the range suites, the best of all being the 130 square meter, two level, two double bedroom, Grand Suite. None of the accommodation choices will disappoint though, even the ‘single rooms’ would be worthy of a much grander title in any other hotel.
Room facilities are of course modern where they need to be with each room coming with WiFi, satellite TV, mini-bar, Lavazza coffee machine, and elegant bathrooms, all with a bathtub and/or a jacuzzi.
Room service can bring you any meal you like from the restaurant, including breakfast, to dine in the room if you so choose. Breakfast isn’t included in the rate, which is unfortunate, but is worth the extra, as are any of the meals you may sample from their very highly rated restaurant located in one of the Castle’s most grand halls.
There is an outdoor rooftop terrace lounge, the Victoria Lounge, which is open for drinks and light meals/tapas in the summer and a surprisingly lively bar, Jimmy’s American Bar, which has live music from Thursday until Saturday and serves a fine array of drinks until 2am.
Service at the castle is excellent, from the reception staff to the concierge service from where you can arrange everything from shoe shine and laundry to chauffeured limousine hire and professional photography.
There is a Beauty Cottage in the gardens where you can have all sorts of spa, massage, health and beauty treatments including what they call, and this is a first for me, a Golfer’s Massage.
Which brings us on to the golf course. President Eisenhower stayed at the castle during the American occupation and apparently somehow played a few games of makeshift golf on the lawns.
The Hesse family were thus inspired, so the story goes, to build an actual golf course in 1954 as an extra attraction for their new hotel. They didn’t do it by half measures either, going for a full 18 hole course, which has a handicap of 36 and is open from April to October.
If you’re looking for a castle hotel near Frankfurt, Castle Kronberg couldn’t be better positioned, especially given the fact that it’s also only 20km from Frankfurt airport (The hotel offers a shuttle service).
For those not familiar with the city, Frankfurt is one of Europe’s most important business and banking centers. This may not be much of an advertising slogan for the average tourist but it is also a lively, dynamic place with great restaurants, nightlife, shopping and cultural activities.
It has history too and a very pretty old town section which is lovely to wander around. The old town is sometimes described as the New Old Town, as it was almost completely destroyed in WW2 then rebuilt with an impressive level of care and respect for historical detail.
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Take the time to wander some of its atmospheric streets and admire some of its many lovely ‘old’ buildings the likes of the medieval origin Lutheran Old St. Nicholas Church, Kaiserdom St. Bartholomäus and the renowned Old Opera House, or Alte Oper.
For over a hundred years the Alte Oper has been one of Europe’s most celebrated venues for classical music, and today still regularly plays host to the likes of Frank Peter Zimmermann, Martha Argerich and the Berlin Philharmonic. Check with the hotel concierge to see what’s on during your stay.
Frankfurt, as mentioned, is a hugely important business center, and has been for hundreds of years, so a trip to its famous Stock Exchange should also be considered, if only of its rich history; it dates all the way back to 1585 and has seen stocks and shares rising and falling in line with some of the most major events in European history, all of which it survived.
You can organize tours and learn more about it, while also getting to watch the modern day traders in action from the Visitor’s Gallery (Mon-Fri only).
The castle hotel is of course located in the little town of Kronberg, or Kronberg im Taunus to give it its full title, which is, castle notwithstanding, a lovely day out from Frankfurt in its own right. It is a famous spa town, with many to choose from, and has an equally famous medieval fortress guarding the town as well as some very pretty public gardens surrounding it.
It has long been a weekend and summer retreat for the nobility of Frankfurt and you can see some fine old 19th century villas and mansions dotted around. In the town itself are many traditional half-timbered houses and quaint narrow streets where you’ll find a range of nice little cafes, shops and restaurants to while away the time in.
If you’re feeling lively you can head out hiking, biking or even hose riding into the surrounding Taunus Mountains which have some tremendous scenery with a top altitude of 878 meters at Großer Feldberg and some hauntingly peaceful stretches of thick woodland with much wildlife hidden within.
For those of you who can’t be waiting around all day for our animal friends and enemies to show themselves, there is always the nearby Opel Zoo which is one of the regions biggest attractions seeing almost 700,000 visitors yearly.
Getting to the castle is very straightforward, from anywhere on earth it could be said, with Frankfurt am Main Airport being among the world’s best connected.
There is of course a shuttle service for guests to and from Castle Hotel Kronberg but for those who choose to come by other means you can get a train from Frankfurt Central Station which will whisk you to Kronberg Station in just 18 minutes. Equally easy, traffic depending, is if you’re coming by car.
The hugely impressive Castle Hotel Kronberg started its life in 1893 as Castle/Schloss Friedrichshof, when it was was built in honour of the late King of Prussia, and Emperor of the newly formed Germany, Friedrich III, by his wife the Empresses Victoria.
Built by the Prussian Royal architect Ernst Eberhard von Ihne it was a reworking of the classic German Renaissance style with some British touches, notably Tudor, as the Empresses herself was English, Queen Victoria of Britain’s eldest daughter in fact. She would quietly spend most of her time there until her eventual death in 1901 when the castle was inherited by her youngest daughter, Princess Margaret of Prussia, wife to Landgrave Karl Friedrich von Hessen, head of the illustrious House of Hesse.
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WW1 went by with little effect on the castle or its inhabitants, and indeed neither, for the most part, had WW2. But it was forcibly used as a rather plush Officer’s Club by the Americans in 1945 at the start of the Allied occupation which led to the theft of the Hesse family jewels.
Princess Margaret’s son, Wolfgang Hesse, fearing looting as the Allies moved in, had buried the treasure under the cellar before abandoning the castle, but they were discovered by three American officers who stole them, and smuggled them out of Germany to be sold. Upon the return of the Hesses to he castle in 1946 the theft was discovered and though American authorities jailed the three involved, only ten percent of the priceless heirlooms were ever recovered.
Another source of intrigue was the involvement of Castle Kronberg, or Friedrichshof, as it was still known, in some conspiracies of the time. A potentially embarrassing matter for the British Royal Family was allegedly averted when the British Government and King George VI were thought to have sent an MI5 agent named Anthony Blunt to Kronberg to find secret correspondence between the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler.
The letters, if they even existed, never saw the light of day though, and the relationship, or not, between the German Government and the British Royal Family would remain a source of mere speculation.
After the American occupation, and still under the Hesse family, the castle was turned into the luxury castle hotel we see today and renamed Castle Kronberg. To this day the castle and hotel is still a family run enterprise with the present owner Landgrave Karl Friedrich von Hessen being the great-great grandson of Empresses Victoria.
WHAT OTHER GUESTS SAY:
“Delighted to have stayed in the house built by the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. It was wonderful to stay in such a historic building with all its associations with British and German royalty. The paintings and objects on display from the people who had lived in and used the schloss was fascinating…”
“Simply wow!!! This is the most impressive hotel I have ever stayed at. The will meet your every need with a smile. Castle is beautiful. The grounds are exquisite. I will definitely be back on my next trip to Germany. A must stay…”
Address: Schloss Kronberg
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