Germany’s Black Forest, located at the border of Germany, France and Switzerland, makes an ideal holiday destination and can easily be explored in a few days. From its vast forests with hundred of miles of hiking trails to its river valleys planted with vineyards, from the sophisticated spa town of Baden-Baden to the picturesque rural villages located on its winding back roads, there are plenty of cultural sites for everyone’s travel tastes.
While you may be familiar with some of the region’s specialties like Black Forest cake, cherry brandy and the legendary smoked hams, you may not know that the region has become a foodie destination with its updated traditional German food. The small community of Baiersbronn is now considered by some to be its “culinary capital”. It has three holiday resorts that have become famous because of their well known restaurants and have the distinction of being awarded a total of eight Michelin stars between them.
One of those resorts is Hotel Bareiss, considered one of Europe’s finest luxury wellness hotels. Situated in the village of Baiersbronn-Mitteltal, the hotel and its beautifully landscaped gardens seem to fit in perfectly in its northern Black Forest surroundings and has the charm of a small elegant and sophisticated country inn.
The Bareiss sets the standard by which all other hotels must be judged. The unparalleled hospitality of the staff is what makes the hotel special. From the moment my husband and I walked through the front door and were warmly greeted by the staff, dressed in traditional clothing, until the morning we were wished a safe journey on the rest of our holiday, we were made to feel welcome in a warm and heartfelt way…each member of the staff greeted us by name throughout the hotel and spoke to us in perfect English.
We were shown to our comfortable large double room, the Weißenbachtal, with a living and bedroom area, a walk-in closet and balcony with a lovely view of the pools and church in the background. Just as we were settled in, there was a ring from the doorbell and we were greeted with glasses of champagne.
For total relaxation, it was now time to explore the resort’s Sauna World. The hotel’s wonderful wellness spa includes indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, hammans, massage rooms, and solariums for quiet relaxation. The pampering environment was perfect for unwinding as we did after our overseas flight and drive from the Frankfurt airport into the heart of the Black Forest.
Bareiss is perhaps most known for its food, from the wonderful breakfast buffet in the morning to the fine regional cuisine served in the evening in one of their several restaurants. I made a reservation for lunch months in advance for one of the eight tables in the luxurious small dining room of Restaurant Bareiss. We wanted to experience one of the multi course tasting menus of Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp who has earned three Michelin stars for the gourmet restaurant. The lunch was outstanding and a review of the meal will be made in a later post.
In the evening before or after dinner, it is nice to head to the hotel bar where there is an excellent selection of whiskeys, rum, gin, liquors and regional fruit based spirits with which the friendly staff creates an impressive list of cocktails. There is usually a man at the piano playing and singing and around midnight the bar serves up a little something to tide you over until breakfast. Next to the bar, there is a glass enclosed smokers’ lounge that will remind you of an English study.
When traveling in Europe, I tend to look for two things when deciding on hotels…good food and good facilities. The Bareiss, certainly did fit what my husband and I were both looking for as a start to our holiday. The majority of guests seem to be regulars that have been coming for years for an extended holiday of hiking in the fresh air, relaxing and enjoying good food and I can understand why. While we were there for just three days, we felt the hotel is a destination that is definitely worth flying across the ocean for and was a memorable experience that will spoil us for all future hotels.
Bareiss prides itself on having the highest level of service and that is taught at their own training academy on premise. Friendly attention and perfect service was shown by everyone who crossed our paths and we lacked for nothing. We learned that this doesn’t happen by accident, hospitality comes from their heart and Bareiss has lots of heart. It is absolute perfection in the Black Forest and I can’t wait to return.