Castles, Spas & Michelin Stars

Charming landscapes, beautiful medieval villages with half-timbered buildings and castles perched high on hilltops. Lovely hotels with an interesting blend of old and new, wonderful spas and delicious meals in star rated restaurants. Castles, Spas and Michelin Stars, if that sounds interesting then follow along over the next few weeks as I travel through Germany and Austria.

The Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe Hunting Lodge
The Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe Hunting Lodge

After a long flight across the ocean and just an hour’s drive north of Stuttgart airport, the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe, is the perfect place to start a vacation. As you walk through the grounds of the hotel, you have the feeling that you have been invited for a stay at someone’s elegant country home. This large manor house and the surrounding  buildings were once part of the summer residence and hunting lodge of Count Fredrich II, who later became Prince of Hohenlohe. Hohenlohe is a region that is not very well known to tourists visiting Germany, so the hotel is like finding a little secret escape.

To see a slide show of any of the photos in this article, click on one of the images in each gallery.

Walk inside and you will be warmly welcomed.  After you have checked in, you can visit the fireside lounge and bar where you can enjoy a delicious piece of pastry or perhaps a cocktail before the evening meal. There is a nicely decorated cigar lounge, if you are so inclined, where you can smoke, read a paper or watch TV.

This is a small boutique hotel with 66 rooms spread over four buildings. The rooms are individually decorated in several different styles. Some rooms have antiques, others have a country feel and the rooms in the spa building, where we stayed, are decorated in a contemporary style with beautiful woods, stone and leather.

The hotel has four restaurants ranging from a simple tavern, a spa bistro, the Jägerstube, a cosy restaurant that serves regional cuisine. The Gourmet restaurant, which has been awarded one Michelin star, serves exceptional international gourmet cuisine. The restaurants are under the guidance of Chef Boris Benecke. The young chef has worked with such famous chefs as Heinz Winkler, Harald Wohlfart and Dieter Müller. His team includes Dominique Metzger, considered one of the best maître d’ in Germany and Jochen Benz, one of the top sommeliers in the country. I believe that a second Michelin star is not far off. I would describe Chef Benecke’s cuisine as classical French that has been modernized and lightened, using seasonal and regional products.

The hotel is not only proud of their famous restaurant but of their highly recognized spa.  This year the hotel was awarded 4 lilies, and 20 points by the 2013 Relax Guide, the highest rating that can be given to a hotel, and the only one in all of Germany to receive this honor. The modern spa with two story windows overlooking the gardens is stunning with its dark woods, natural stone and neutral colored fabrics.

The spa and wellness center has an outdoor and indoor pool with a fireplace, saunas, steam room, and an ice grotto and many treatment rooms.  During our stay, my husband enjoyed a massage while I had a facial treatment with Vin Sano products. The products are made from local grapes, using the seeds, cold-pressed grape seed oil and extracts from red wine. It was a delightful way to help us overcome jet lag.

If you want a more active experience, the hotel has a high-tech fitness center, a tennis court, a 27-hole golf course, and walking trails through the surrounding area. As tempting as it would have been to never leave the hotel, we had to get out and explore this wonderful region. Within a thirty minute drive of the hotel, were three lovely little towns with castles.

Hohenlohe is a region located in the German state of Baden Württemberg,  between Heidelberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. I couldn’t get over how lovely this area of rolling hills, vineyards, fruit orchards, castles and quaint villages was and yet undiscovered by tourists. I was looking for castles, spas and Michelin stars and I found all of that and more during my visit to Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe.

Posted by

I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

132 thoughts on “Castles, Spas & Michelin Stars

  1. You travel so well. 🙂
    You wouldn’t believe one place we stayed at in Rome 😦
    Oy..slept with my clothes on..
    All your dedication in planning the trip pays off.
    You are in the lap of luxury.:)
    Enjoy ..enjoy enjoy..

    1. Hi Monique, Thank you for your wish…we are having a great time. Yes, planning ahead does help to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises while traveling.

  2. Willkommen in Deutschland! What a wonderful time you must be having already! I hope the weather holds for you. We had a beautiful fall day here today near Cologne.

    1. Danke Laura, Our trip so far has been wonderful. We have had a mix of weather, a little rain, some cloudy days and a few sunny and beautiful days so we can’t complain.

  3. What a great start to your trip! This looks lovely. Really enjoying all the pictures. Thanks for taking us along with you!

  4. I’d be lying – BIG TIME – if I said I wasn’t jealous. A wonderful post Karen & I’m looking forward to many more while you travel the “highways & byways” of Europe !!

    1. Hi Tanya, This region and the hotel are lovely. The cigar lounge has great photos of famous people all smoking cigars lining two of the walls. Yes, Big Man would love spending some time there. 🙂

    1. Hi Raymund, I can certainly see why the hotel and restaurant have received all their awards. We thought the food was outstanding in both restaurants that we tried.

  5. Wait—you left? Without me?? Karen!

    Well, I guess I’ll just have to enjoy your beautiful posts. Again.

    1. Yes, Sue…we did leave. If you can’t be with us, then the next best thing will be following along in the “back seat” while reading the posts. Always love having you along for the adventure. 🙂

    1. Hi Donna, I’m happy to know that you bookmarked this post. The Hohenlohe region and the hotel were wonderful. Thank you for your nice comment.

    1. Hi David, You gave me a big smile with your comment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and are looking forward to following along on our trip. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kristy, This spa was wonderful…I can see why it won all of its awards. Thank you for following along. There are more great places yet to come.

  6. Love this post, Karen, I will be following with keen interest! Germany is so picturesque and charming. Happy travels.

    1. Thank you Lizzy, for your nice compliment and wish. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post and are looking forward to the remainder of our trip. 🙂

  7. KAREN!!! I am living vicariously through you!! I look forward to each and every one of your posts!! ♥

  8. How wonderful!! 🙂 I love Germany so much. One of my best friends lives there and I go visit her every chance I get. You are staying in such gorgeous places. 🙂

    1. Hi Krista, I’m happy to know that you enjoy Germany as much as my husband and I do. The Wald & Schlosshotel was wonderful and there are more great places yet to visit that I think you will like as well.

    1. Hi Maureen, I have to agree with you about the first stop on our trip…everything about it was perfect. I’m happy to know you are looking forward to journey through Germany and Austria. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Kelli, I always love your enthusiastic comments when we travel. I think you will really enjoy this trip…we are going to see some wonderful places.

  9. It’s all so beautiful. I love the architecture. And that hotel is stunning. And it has so many facilities considering there are only 66 rooms. I love how this isn’t very well known by tourists – I think you experience a country much more genuinely if you can get away from all the touristy areas xx

    1. Hi Charlie, Don’t you just lovely with wonderful architecture…it is so different from where we both live. The hotel was exceptional with every amenity that you could think of. I totally agree about getting away from the touristy areas…you have a much nicer experience.

    1. Thank you B, for your wish. We are having a wonderful time. I wish I could have shown everyone the beautiful spa facilities that they have…they were outstanding.

  10. What a beautiful part of the world and a great time to be there before it gets too cold. We would go to Germany & Austria again in a heartbeat. We both have some German heritage and that always makes it a little more special too.

    Thanks for taking us along Karen.

    1. Hi Sam, I do have to agree with you about how beautiful this part of Europe is. We do love visiting in the fall, not as many tourists and the weather is usually nice. Part of my husband’s family came from Germany so I know what you mean. I’m glad you are enjoying following along on our holiday. 🙂

  11. Karen – that is one of my favorite regions to visit, and your descriptions make me want to go back sooner than later. Thanks for a wonderful post!

    1. Hi David, I can see why this region would be a favorite…it is lovely. We hadn’t been in this area for five or six years and I’m certainly glad we returned. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  12. What a great beginning to your European vacation. That hotel looks fabulous and the food sounds amazing. Have a massage is definitely the right way to get over jet lag, I’m with your husband on that one. A good walk in the country air also sounds like a lovely thing to do.

    1. Hi Eva, The start of our trip was fantastic and the hotel was perfect. Yes, a little pampering after a long flight certainly does help with jet lag. 🙂

    1. Hi Carol, Germany is a delightful country to visit. It is beautiful, there are wonderful hotels and terrific food. I’m happy that you enjoy following along on our adventures…thank you.

    1. Hi Lesley, Would you believe that after seeing our room, I told my husband that I could live there. Everything about the hotel was perfect and I can see why it has received so many awards.

      1. How funny that you told your husband that! I’m sure we’re not alone in wanting to move right in. It looks amazing and you always take such wonderful photos…I’m packing, as we speak. 🙂

      2. The only thing that was missing was a kitchen and who needs one of those when you have such great restaurants on the premises. 🙂 Thank you for your compliment on the photos…it is much appreciated.

    1. Thank you for your compliment, MJ. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the photos. I want to put in enough so that you can feel what the area is like but not too many to bore you. The trip has been perfect so far.

  13. Just a week ago we spent the evening at our son’s house looking at photos from his recent trip to Germany. He and his girlfriend went for a friend’s wedding and enjoyed Octoberfest while they were there. They also spent some time in Prague, and I really enjoyed the photographic journey. They didn’t travel quite as graciously as this wonderful hotel as you’ve described it, but it’s a beautiful country and region and I can definitely understand why you return. And being such an excellent cook, Karen, I’m sure you get very inspired when you dine at these fine restaurants. What a wonderful trip! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your lovely compliment, Debra. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and photos. You are right about getting inspired with all the wonderful we are experiencing. I know that your son and girlfriend had a great time on their trip.

    1. Hi Lisa, I always say that you should dream big…I like your idea of what your dream home should be like. 🙂 You are so right, Germany is a beautiful part of the world.

    1. Hi Sophie, I think you are right on all counts. I thought you would like this hotel because of the modern spa wing. Leather paneled walls, trendy furniture…just the things I thought might appeal to you. Thank you for your wish, we are having a terrific time so far.

    1. Hi Heather, I think you would enjoy this wonderful area…with a castle route that goes from Heidelberg to Passau. Thank you for your wish, we are have a great time.

  14. I’m so glad that your European trip has started well. It’s lovely to see your photographs, and it’ll be really interesting to hear all about your adventures too.

    1. Thank you Georgina, for your lovely compliment. I’m happy that you have enjoyed the post and photos. It is nice to know that you are following along on our adventure.

  15. Oh this looks wonderful! I have family near Stuttgart so I will certainly have to stop by this amazing place (it really looks like all your advance planning is paying off ;-> )

    1. Hi Afra, I do hope you get the opportunity to visit this hotel, we absolutely loved it. Yes, planning ahead really does help. I made my reservations more than a month in advance and it was a good thing as the hotel was fully booked.

  16. Welcome to Europe! What a magical start …. This is what middle Europe so fantastic on – the country hotels … the scenery and the cleanliness and the food – and of course their wines.
    I can see myself over a weekend in this fantastic room .. and the food, wow …
    Already looking forward to your next stop.

    1. Thank you Viveka, for your welcome. On this trip, each hotel is in the countryside. You know how I love exploring the back roads and this hotel certainly was in a nice area to visit. I’m happy that you are looking forward to the next stop. A little hint, it is one of our favorites that we always try to visit when we are in southern Germany. 🙂

  17. Wonderful. I absolutely love the spas in Germany. Or even just their public pools or Hallenbad. We use to go to a couple in Hamburg. Big clean pools, different dry saunas, steam room. It was so common and so clean and always so lovely. I wish we had more water therapy in the USA!

    1. Hi Wendy, I know that this is your travel day to Germany…have a safe trip and a wonderful time. Yes, the spas in both Germany and Austria are fabulous. There is nothing in the US that even begins to compare. 🙂

  18. Price been so tied up with the renovation that I’m behind on this trip so I figured I’d save them to read when it was quiet around here. This does sound like a great way to relax after traveling. Very beautiful building and setting.

    1. Hi Diane, I can imagine how busy you are and appreciate you reading my posts. We really enjoyed our stay at the Wald hotel…it was a lovely hotel and a perfect place to get over our jet lag. The area is wonderful for exploring.

  19. Karen, I have no idea why that comment got ‘corrected’ to say PRICE been tied up. Obviously it was supposed to say I’ve been tied up but maybe the cost of the new kitchen came channeling through my fingers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s