A gem of a building in a beautiful location, the Hotel Bube is a charismatic example of continental 1930s design. The Hotel Bube is still an iconic building –- despite having been derelict for several years – and it is easy to imagine the glorious past of this building when standing in front of it.
The QR-Tour gives you access to historical photos and original building plans as well as its phases of construction. More than any other building in Bad Berneck, Hotel Bube captures the imagination and provides a glimpse of the opulence of the boom time of the spa resort in the 20th century. During the cold war, West Berliners flocked to the region and were the lifeblood of Bad Berneck’s tourism.
The first stop after the transit corridor out of Berlin into West Germany was the Fichtelgebirge, and was therefore their closest recreational area. The current neglected state of Hotel Bube demonstrates the lack of investment following infrastructural changes to the German health system in the 1980s, which reduced the stream of spa patients to the town and other health resorts in Germany significantly. Other reasons for diminishing numbers of visitors to Bad Berneck were the closure of the railway line and the unanticipated effect of the reunification of the two Germanys, which gave Berliners access to recreational areas closer to home.
‘The leading hotel of the highest class at this location, lodge and woodland villa, situated at the high forest ….’: the first words of an advertising brochure for Bube’s Hotel from the 1920’s give an idea what standards this hotel once offered to its guests.
Of course not only the hotel’s luxury, the quiet location and the mild climate of Berneck attracted guests from all over the world, but also the proximity to the Wagner Opera Festival in Bayreuth.
Everybody who was anybody came to Hotel Bube – this splendid hotel was frequented by international as well as German guests. Famous and important people from royal families, politics, industry and the world of art stayed here – for example, Edward Duke of Kent, politician Kurt Schumacher, Krupp CEO Berthold Beitz, Prof. ‘Willy’ Messerschmitt, William Somerset Maugham, Wolfgang Wagner, Begum Aga Khan, Prince Pierre de Monaco, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the 1936 Iranian wrestling team and, during the war years, also Adolf Hitler – or maybe they just had coffee in the hunting suite, as German President Theodor Heuss did in 1959.
During the war, the hotel became a field hospital, a camp for refugee children and also the residence of the local American commander.
In the 60s and 70s, there were several changes of ownership due to economic difficulties. In the late 80s, asylum seekers were housed here for a short time, after which the building was only used sporadically until about 1997.
Brief Building History:
The large plain building that can still be found at the rear of the site was the original Hotel Bube, constructed between 1852 and 1884.
A joint function room and dining hall was built in 1884, which is the single-storey building jutting out from behind the art deco main building, which was built in stages between 1914 and 1926
Artist Dave Checkley …
… created light installations in Bad Berneck on two residential visits.
He used ‘lighting wire’ to shape two warning signs – ‘Be Careful’ and ‘Falling Rocks’ – and placed them at several prominent locations (see QR 1 and QR 15) as a reminder to do something for these buildings before they must be demolished.
Photos: Sabine Gollner
Anekdoten von Ingrid Binecki
Ingrid Binecki, born in Berneck, began her career in 1966 as a Kneipp therapist.
Her parents began running the Kurheim Wittig (Kurheim = bed & breakfast with spa elements) on the river Ölschnitz in the early 1950s.
Here, she tells us anecdotes of spa guests at the Hotel Bube.
English voice: Catriona Gallo
Two gentlemen called Fritz at the Hotel Bube
Water Treatment to the arm
First Class Hotel
Diary from 2013
Just over the river from the Old Kurhaus sits the Hotel Bube. Immediately it inspires images of grandeur.
The columns at the front entrance inspire the image of a bell boy waiting to collect your luggage and show you inside; […] I imagine guests staring over the balcony’s edge into the world of Bad Berneck below, a world in which the Hotel Bube was wholeheartedly at the centre…
Today the building has a dilapidated look, but this does not detract from these visions of the past.
Matt Bather, History Student in Liverpool, UK