Castle hotel breaks
As expected in a region that is so rich in history, there is no shortage of castles in the Cultural Heart of Germany. And not just any old castle: Wartburg castle towering above Eisenach in Thuringia is intertwined with German history like no other. The UNESCO world heritage site provided a refuge for Martin Luther from 1521 to 1522, who translated the New Testament into German here. Contemporary visitors can be certain to receive a more lavish welcome in the Wartburg castle’s five-star hotel. The rooms are tastefully furnished, the surrounding landscape is beautiful and the view from the restaurant’s terrace simply breathtaking.
For a proper fairytale experience, try Castle Landsberg in the south of Thuringia. Its history goes back to the 11th century, and the present castle was built in 1836 in Neo-Gothic style, modelled on English aristocratic estates. The building has a colourful history and belonged - after it was sold by its original aristocratic owners in 1920 - to a businessman from New York, a family from Berlin and served after World War II, among others, as an old people’s home before it was turned into a hotel in the late 1990ies. The room decor is fantastically over-the-top including suites with canopy beds and other frills. For history buffs, Auerstedt Castle might be just the ticket: The Prussian command was headquartered here during the Napoleonic wars, and guests can now stay in the former stables that have been transformed into apartments. The area is also Thuringia’s only wine-growing region with lovely landscapes.
One of Germany’s oldest moated castles, the Westerburg, can be found in Saxony-Anhalt close to the Harz mountains. The hotel and spa features four hectares of parkland and is perfect for combining a romantic countryside stay with trips to some of the region’s well-known historic towns. Wernigerode, Halberstadt and UNESCO World Heritage Site Quedlinburg are all within 40 km and full of beautiful timber-framed houses and quaint corners. The hotel is currently adding new rooms and will also open an extended spa area in April. Castle hotel Schkopau with a history dating back to the 10th century was transformed into a Renaissance castle by the von Trotha family who lived here until 1945, and lies now within 25 km from Halle-Leipzig airport, served by Ryanair flights from London.
City breaks for love birds, music aficionados and culture vultures
Forget about Paris or Venice, for a change, and try something different for romance. Such as Meißen in Saxony, home of the eminent porcelain manufacturer, and a lovely town on the Elbe river featuring the picturesque ensemble of Albrechtsburg Castle and Meißen Cathedral. The Welcome Parkhotel offers great views on both and a peaceful location on the river. The hotel’s complex includes an art nouveau villa, a summer terrace and beer garden right by the river. There’s a special ‘weekend for lovers’ package including a candle-light dinner, and while there, a tour of the Meissen factory is a must to pick some special gifts.
Only 25 km away, in Saxony’s capital Dresden, Bülow Residence provides a nice bolthole for couples. Tucked away in a cobble-stoned alley in the city’s baroque quarter, the interior is cosy, the service personable and there’s a Michelin star restaurant for a special evening just round the corner in the sister property Bülow Palais. Beautiful Hotel Elephant in Weimar, dating back to 1686, has special luxury romance packages that include champagne and flowers upon arrival and breakfast served each morning on the room. The themed suites are particularly stylish. Romantik Hotel Dorotheen Hof, offering a ‘Romantic days in Weimar’ package, is located in an enchanting park, perfect for strolls à deux.
Bach aficionados look no further. Leipzig is now home of the Arcona Living Bach 14 hotel newly opened last winter right in the city centre and opposite St Thomas Church. The Bach Museum is just next door and the hotel itself has a stylish boutique flair where the room design includes musical elements in different shapes and forms. Edgy art lovers can try the Paris Syndrom Hotel in the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst (Gallery for Contemporary Art) where a hotel room has been created by the Chinese artist Jun Yang. Or stay in the Meisterzimmer apartment in the middle of the Alte Spinnerei, a former factory that now hosts dozens of galleries and artists’ studios.
For nature lovers and outdoor freaks
Schindelbruch in Saxony-Anhalt is a completely climate neutral hotel in a nature resort in the southern part of the Harz, committed to reducing the tourism footprint as much as possible. The surrounding forest and hills are perfect hiking grounds. Garden aficionados will love the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, and nearby Hotel zum Stein is a good base to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hotel Helvetia in Saxony is a bio hotel offering regionally-sourced cooking and rooms that are designed according to ecological principles. Best of all is the location right in the centre of Saxon Switzerland, a dramatic landscape of sandstone peaks featuring fingers and thumbs of bare rock, towering over the meandering river Elbe. Hikers and climbers will love this.
Further information on the Cultural Heart of Germany:
www.culturalheart.info and www.facebook.com/CulturalHeartofGermany
Wartburg Castle, www.wartburghotel.arcona.de/en
Castle Landsberg, www.meininger-hotels-mit-flair.de/schloss-landsberg/index.html
Castle Auerstedt, www.toskanaworld.net/web/en/content/content.php?areaID=19
Castle Westerburg, www.hotel-westerburg.de/en
Castle Schkopau, www.schlosshotel-schkopau.de/_en/index.php
Welcome Hotel Meißen, www.welcome-hotel-meissen.de
Bülow Residenz, www.buelow-hotels.com/4-star-hotel-in-dresden
Hotel Elephant Weimar, www.hotelelephantweimar.com/en
Hotel Dorotheenhof Weimar, www.dorotheenhof.com
Arcona Living Bach 14, Leipzig, www.bach14.arcona.de
Paris Syndrom Hotel, Leipzig, www.gfzk-leipzig.de/en
Meisterzimmer, Leipzig, www.meisterzimmer.de/index_en.html
Hotel zum Stein, www.hotelzumstein.de
Hotel Helvetia, www.hotelhelvetia.de
(Some of the website are in German only so please feel free to contact us for further information if anything tickles your fancy)
BConnects. Barbara Geier Communication Services/On behalf of Cultural Heart of Germany
firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 07983 24 21 95