Winter is here, .. it starts to snow softly and you want to make yourself comfortable.

Hereafter  you will find three particularly cuddly spots in Tyrol, on the Baltic Sea and at Lake Brienz / Switzerland.

Hotel Schloss Matzen near Reith is situated at the entrance to the Alpbach-Valley (near Innsbruck).

Its current appearance as a residential castle with connecting arcades, the almost 1,000 years old castle received in the 16th century by the family-dynasties of the Fieger and Fugger.

In 1873, an Irish woman bought the castle, saving the historic gem from its final ruin. Her son, William A. Baillie Grohman, was an avid Tyrol fan, mountaineer and author. One of his (hunting) friends was the American President Theodore Roosevelt, who spent a lot of time at Matzen Castle.

During the Second World War, the holdings of the Tirolian Regional Museum and the Tirolian Bibliotheque were safely kept in the castle.. In 2008, it was finally taken over by the current private owners and stylishly renovated with much effort.

The living units measure 60-70 square meters and the large bathrooms are all equipped with underfloor heating and rain showers. There is satellite TV, wireless Internet in the entire castle, a 3-level Spa & Wellness area in the fortified tower and a wine cellar with the finest drops. The former prison was converted into a reading room. Breakfast is served in the painted arcades, the Knight’s Hall and in one of the three courtyards. The castle also houses a church for wedding guests.

The castle, which accommodates 12 individually furnished suites on 5,000 square meters living space, is surrounded by a 20,000 m² park. Below Matzen Castle you find Gut Matzen, a lovingly designed restaurant and café with a romantic garden.

We continue high in the North-East of Germany to Heiligendamm near Bad Doberan (not far from Wismar / Rostock).

For the first time in 1793, Duke Friedrich Franz I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin took bathes near  the “Holy Dam” on  the advice of his personal physician and thus marked the birth of the first German seaside resort. Between 1793 and 1870 various master builders created a unique classicist work of art from bathing and lodging houses.

In 1823, the first racecourse of the European continent was inaugurated in the immediate vicinity and in 1862, a narrow gauge railway connecting Doberan with Heiligendamm was built. In 1910, the route was extended to Kühlungsborn and is still in operation today.

Heiligendamm was the most elegant seaside resort in Germany since its foundation until 1930. The European aristocracy, even the Tsar’s family, spent their summer vacation here. After the Second World War, the Heiligendamm buildings were used as a sanatorium and recreation center.

In 1996, a group of investors acquired Heiligendamm’s historic buildings along with 500 hectares of land. After three years of careful reconstruction, the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm was re-opened on 1 June 2003, heralding the rebirth of Germany’s oldest seaside resort.

And now to Switzerland, where another house with rich history and tradition awaits discovery.

The historic Grand Hotel Giessbach was built in 1873/74 by the hotelier family Hauser from Zurich. The elegant house at the waterfalls above Lake Brienz quickly became the meeting place of the society. Crowned heads with their entourage, statesmen, diplomats and celebrated artists spent the summer in the Giessbach, to gather new strengths  and exchanging social gossip and state secrets.

Two world wars and a changed understanding of tourism marked the end of the golden era for the Swiss hotel industry and made the fame of the Giessbach fade. After years of decline, the hotel closed its doors in 1979. There were plans to demolish the entire original structure and build a modern building in the style of a “jumbo chalet” in its place.

Fortunately, in November 1983, the internationally renowned Swiss environmentalist Franz Weber succeeded in acquiring the Giessbach domain and its 22 hectares of land with the “Giessbach Foundation for Swiss People”, which he founded.

In May 1984, the house opened with a new “Park Restaurant” and a small number of unrenovated rooms. In seven renovation stages each during the winter months, the hotel floor by floor was renovated from scratch and is now one of the most beautiful and prestigious houses in the Swiss hospitality industry.

Of course, you have to like the charm of the past … ..


REMARK:  no advertising, just some of my personal preferences


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