The Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe in Zweiflingen, Germany, has a setting right out of a fairy tale. This 300-year old spa hotel surrounded by forests and gardens doesn’t cater to weddings and large events and isn’t designed for business travelers; here it’s all about relaxation, quiet, privacy and luxury. While the hotel’s location in the Hohenlohe region of Baden-Württemberg an hour from Stuttgart or Heidelberg makes it an ideal base for day trips around this area of southwest Germany, there’s enough to do (or not do) on the grounds that you’d never have to leave.
The Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe was built around an old castle building that turned 300 years old in 2012. Now there are multiple buildings scattered around the grounds. The old castle, called the Hunting Lodge, houses 17 rooms that were renovated in 2006 and now have the feel of a stately country home (if that home were owned by an aristocrat). Bronze chandeliers hang from decorative stucco ceilings and the rooms are furnished with period antiques in a country style. But despite the old world feel, modern amenities like flat-screen tvs and free wi-fi are included. The bathrooms are also more modern-looking, with deep soaking tubs, bright white tiles, silver fixtures, and fluffy spa robes.
The rooms in the Main Building and smaller Gate House have a similar “castle in the country” feel, decorated in a Laura Ashley style of pale pinks, blues and yellows, with floral accents and plush carpeting. If you prefer something a bit more modern, opt for a room in the Spa Building. The 27 rooms here (of the hotel’s total 66 rooms) were built in 2008 and are decorated in a rich auburn and mustard palette with leather, wood, and suede accents.
No matter which room you choose, everything is included: minibar, turndown servce, wireless internet, breakfast anytime (just call after 10am and anything can be delivered to your room), and access to the spa. All rooms are also furnished with locally-made SanVino skin care products created from the grape seeds of the local red wine.
The spa is a big draw for many guests, offering separate men’s and women’s sides, heated indoor and outdoor pools, 7 saunas, 3 relax areas (one outside), 13 treatment rooms, a spa suite, fitness center with yoga, and a spa bistro that serves local and organic food, and does cooking classes. The 4,400 square meter space is three levels and can accommodate 100 guests.
The other main attraction at the hotel is the cuisine. The main gourmet restaurant helmed by Chef Boris Benecke has one Michelin star and 16 Gault-Milleu stars; there’s also a more casual Jaegerstube, a rustic tavern decorated with trophy horns and antlers and serving regional cuisine.
I was fortunate to dine on the chef’s tasting menu at the gourmet restaurant’s chef’s table (available for parties of 4-10 people, by reservation).
I was able to watch as Chef Benecke and team prepared an amuse-bouche course of quail egg on tomatoes and venison carpaccio, followed by a creamy summer truffle soup, melt-in-your-mouth Norwegian lobster, pork cheek with a rich chorizo sauce, halibut with buerre blanc, tender juicy veal, and a tart tatin for dessert (all paired with wines specially chosen from the restaurant’s 300+ bottle list by the sommelier).
The hotel also offers a 27-hole golf course and golf-academy, tennis court, gardens (tended by two full-time gardeners),a breakfast restaurant, an afternoon tea room with windows on three sides and a fireplace, and one of my favorite rooms, the lounge, which was decked out in dark leather chairs and stocked with newspapers, books, and chess boards. It was the perfect place to while away the evening with a glass of wine or a cigar.
The Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and as a small luxury hotel, it puts a strong emphasis on service that is available but not intrusive, that understands what the guest wants, and that is private and relaxing. My stay there was short, but I left my brief country respite feeling exactly as I should: rested and relaxed.
Rates for standard and deluxe rooms at the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe range from €240 to €400; suites range from €380 to €520 per night, including breakfast wi-fi, spa access, minibar, turndown service, and taxes.
I was a guest of the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe but all opinions are my own.