Europe is full of hotels named “Belle Epoque.” German-speaking Europe is full of towns named “Baden.” But there is only one Hotel Belle Epoque in Baden-Baden, Germany, nestled on the quiet Maria-Viktoria Strasse just steps from the city’s main attractions.
It’s almost too easy to pass by the hotel on the quiet residential street. Small wrought-iron signs with the name of the hotel in old-fashioned script are the only moniker from the street for the once-private villa turned boutique hotel.
Arriving guests turn into a compact courtyard and the front door opens as if by magic and a bellman appears to assist with getting luggage up the steps. Once inside, it still feels much like a grand private home with antique furnishings and a serene stillness interrupted only interrupted by the sporadic flow of foot traffic up and down the grand staircase.
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This must certainly be how much of the traffic must have arrived in Baden-Baden during the Belle Epoque—the latter decades of the 19th Century when the industrial revolution and ambitious monarchs respectively shrank geographies and consolidated small kingdoms into monolithic, competitive nation-states. The rich and titled flocked to Baden-Baden in those days, often staying in the private homes of their friends, speaking French regardless of provenance, as was the habit of the transnational aristocracy of the day.
They might stroll down the nearby Lichtentaler Allee within view of Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” of Austria, or perhaps recognize Mark Twain at the Friedrichsbad or Franz Liszt at the Casino. Without a doubt, they all made their way past the building, which was first completed in 1874 as a private villa for Duke Ferdinand von Lotzbeck of neighboring Lahr.
The house was converted to a hotel during the 20th Century, and today the Hotel Belle Epoque is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World federation, welcoming guests to its intimate handful of just 20 bedrooms. The rooms range from cozy single accommodations to suites, each themed differently—the junior suite I occupied was themed for Britain’s Queen Victoria.
Rooms also have antique furnishings and modern amenities like jetted tubs and flat screen televisions. Views overlook the hotel’s impeccable garden or the surrounding city environs.
In the mornings, a lavish breakfast appealing to European and American breakfast tastes is laid out, with pastries, breads, cold cuts, vegetables, eggs, bacon—virtually any appetite is accounted for. Leisurely breakfasts are taken in the main dining room, which is decorated to period with crimson wall coverings and tinkling chandeliers. The nearby salon and outdoor terrace are the spot for the included-in-the-rate afternoon tea, which is accompanied by a hearty selection of scones, sandwiches and other delights.
It certainly feels akin to staying in the home of a wealthy relative, whether one is in the high-ceilinged quarters of the first floor (the floor above the ground floor, this was the primary living space for the family in the days before elevators) or the top floor rooms that were once servant’s quarters.
The Hotel Belle Epoque is an intimate, low-key boutique hotel with an unbeatable location in the city center, with bespoke furnishings and gracious service that are key to a memorable stay.
Rates start at €170 per night plus tax and include breakfast and afternoon tea.
Gracious gardens, sumptuous breakfast environs or beautiful guest rooms beg to be photographed.
Members of Small Luxury Hotel’s program INVITED will receive benefits when booking through the SLH portal.
Good To Know
This historic building without elevators or ramps can be daunting for guests with reduced mobility. Contact the hotel directly for details.
There is fast, free wifi throughout the hotel.
The hotel has valet and on-site parking available for a fee; nearby street parking is often available.
Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice.
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