“I’m not sure I can get up the hill,” my cab driver informed me in a heavy German accent. I let him know it was ok, that I could walk the remaining few feet to my destination for the day, one of Germany’s great luxury retreats, the Wartburg Castle Hotel. Officially named the Romantik Hotel at the Wartburg, the property first opened in 1914 and has been entertaining guests ever since. Easily the hotel highlight of my most recent trip around Germany, I want to share some of the many features that make this hotel so very special.
Location, Location, Location
There’s no better place from which to launch your own exploration of Wartburg Castle than the Romantik Hotel. Sitting literally in the shadows of the massive building, most people think the hotel is part of the main structure itself. But why visit the castle? Aside from the fact that it’s one of the most photographed and visited castles in Germany, its history is just as impressive. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was here where Martin Luther hid under an assumed identity as he translated the New Testament of the Bible into German, making it possible for the general public to finally read and understand the gospels. But the castle has also seen plenty of history aside from Luther during its nearly 1,000-year history. Thankfully, the castle has extensive exhibits inside detailing the history of both Luther and the castle itself and after having spent the afternoon there, I came to appreciate the fact that it’s easily one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. Whether your interest is in Martin Luther or just amazing German castles, Wartburg should be on your travel bucket list.
True 5-Star Service & Amenities
With just 37-rooms and suites, it’s hard not to feel like an A-lister checking into the hotel. From the first moment I arrived, I quickly noticed all the hallmarks of outstanding luxury properties that I have come to know and love over the years. Friendly, efficient and incredibly courteous service where the word “No,” is ever uttered and no request is too outlandish. Not that guests make too many crazy requests. Most people stay at the Romantik Hotel to either relax in what is truly a peaceful and bucolic setting or to visit the castle and nearby Eisenach, also home to many wonderful museums and historical treasures. This is a place to rest and relax but also to use one’s time wisely. The same level of comfort and luxury extends to the rooms, each unique and exuding the friendly country atmosphere found in every corner of the property. Whether you decide to relax on the sofa in your room or in the downstairs library, peace and quiet is almost guaranteed.
While I enjoyed every aspect of my stay at the luxury Wartburg Castle Hotel, the surprising Luther Dinner was probably my favorite experience. I didn’t know what a Luther Dinner was before traveling to Germany, but while spending the week exploring so-called Luther Country, I enjoyed this rustic meal a couple of times, but nowhere better than at the Wartburg. In general, a Luther Dinner is a meal that is inspired by what was popular to eat and drink in the 16th century. So, imagine lots of meat, stews, gravies and an absence of now-iconic ingredients like potatoes and sugar. At the Wartburg Castle Hotel, the chef took the concept and added a fine dining spin to it, creating one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed. Still paying homage to Luther, the locally sourced ingredients were creatively reimagined from baked saddle and belly of pork to an incredible honey ice cream, each course was also paired with regional beers and wines inspired by Luther. Food is an important part of the experience at the Wartburg Castle Hotel and after enjoying a meal I know I’ll never forget, I quickly understood why.
Sitting on the edge of the Thuringia Forest overlooking the surrounding valleys and the city of Eisenach, it’s hard not to feel like one of the noble people who once called this mountain fortress home. It can sometimes be a challenge for historic hotels to maintain modern convenience and luxury, but the Romantik Hotel at the Wartburg Castle executes it with ease. This isn’t a stuffy or old-fashioned hotel, it’s modern and yet pays homage to its history throughout the property. It’s a fine line to walk, but the hotel does it well. Add in the amazing location, excellent service and delicious – truly delicious – cuisine, and the Wartburg Castle Hotel really is the total package. The more I travel the more I understand how exceptionally rare this is but, when found, it is something to be enjoyed and savored.