It was the end of a long but fun day of driving the German Fairy Tale Route and I was looking forward to a nice dinner and spending some time relaxing before heading off to bed. Where we spend the night when we travel is important, particularly if you have a busy schedule like I had driving the Route from Steinau to Bremen. For my evening in Frankenberg though, I knew immediately that I had made the right choice with the Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg.
Frankenberg is not a large place, when I arrived it was a sleepy little town highlighted by a number of half-timbered homes throughout the core of the town. Its position though places it in the perfect spot for a break when you’re exploring the German Fairy Tale Route. Located near the UNESCO recognized Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, the countryside surrounding Frankenberg is full of forests, rivers, lakes and any number of quiet pastoral areas to relax and enjoy being out in nature. It was perfect and I couldn’t wait to relax and enjoy this traditional German town.
Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg
The hotel itself is in the middle of town, right next to Frankenberg’s most famous building, the 500-year old town hall. Frankenberg lies on two major trading routes, which means that at one time it was an extremely important destination. The town was full of merchants and tradespeople who made their fortunes thanks to these routes and that wealth is still reflected throughout town, but especially in the gorgeous 10-towered town hall. It’s the perfect spot for a luxury experience in the heart of Germany.
And that’s exactly what the Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg is, a luxury experience in the middle of some of Germany’s best natural retreats. Affiliated with the global luxury collection Relais & Châteaux, from past experiences I knew exactly what that designation means. I knew I’d enjoy amazing service, comfortable rooms and stellar food. Food is usually at the heart of the Relais & Châteaux experience, and that’s certainly the case at the Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg.
I admit, I was a little surprised to learn that this quiet hotel in the middle of an even quieter town was home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, Philipp Soldan. Recently reopened after an extensive remodel, the restaurant features an open design and guests are invited to be a part of the culinary process. Whether it’s wandering into the climate-controlled wine rooms to select your bottle for the evening, or walking into the kitchens to sample and select the appetizers, this is a dining experience that will surprise guests in the best sense of the term. It’s not the only option though, the hotel also features a more traditional, regionally inspired dining room the SONNE Stuben and the more relaxed, Italian Bistro Philippo.
Craving something a little different, I decided on a long and leisurely dinner in the Bistro, checking long-neglected emails while slowly enjoying charcuterie and cheese plates before diving into the main course, a light and bright creamy risotto with Parmesan cheese. It was the perfect end to a perfect day, and I retired to my room ready to rest and recharge.
Luckily the rooms are just as much a retreat as are all of the other areas of the hotel. Just as the restaurants have been updated, so have the rooms and guests can select between modern rooms or chambers in the older wing that have thankfully preserved the old half-timbered look and feel of the original building. The Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg has a long history and the space it calls home today has been home to restaurants and hotels for at least a couple of hundred years. The latest in a long line of hospitality purveyors, the hotel takes this dedication to tradition seriously and those modern but “old-fashioned” rooms are the most popular at the hotel.
Chatting casually with the front desk staff, I learned that many people visit the hotel to do absolutely nothing at all. Its enviable position in the quiet countryside near some amazing natural escapes makes this the perfect, if not only, luxury hotel in the vicinity. Guests visit to go hiking, biking, kayaking or just rent one of the hotel’s vintage cars to drive around the country roads with a full picnic hamper in the back seat. For those of us who live in large and busy cities, the Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg is the perfect antidote to a life of stress.
Another way to decompress at the hotel is by enjoying their enormous spa. I’ve seen a lot of hotel spas and I honestly wasn’t expecting the comprehensive spa services offered at the Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg. Occupying a separate connected building, the spa at the hotel is enormous and offers a variety of complimentary features available to any guest. Traditional Finnish saunas, Moroccan hammam, steam rooms, plunge pools, brine baths and more are among the many ways all visitors to the hotel can relax. Add in an extensive array of spa services provided by expert professionals, and I could easily see myself spending the day here, taking breaks only to enjoy a drink on the spa’s patio cafe.
When I have a busy travel schedule I depend on the services and comfort offered only at great, luxury hotels. The last thing I need after a long day is stress or discomfort wherever I choose to spend the night. While quiet, that’s the point of staying at the Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg. It’s a retreat in every sense of the word, whether you choose to enjoy the countryside surrounding the town or do nothing at all except relax in the services offered by the hotel I can’t imagine anyone walking away without a profound sense of ease and relaxation.