Hotel Bareiss, Refuge of Relaxation in the Black Forest

When is a hotel a holiday experience in itself?

When you’re in a beautiful location with clear vistas and fresh mountain air in southern Germany. When dense forests of Scottish pines, oaks and beech trees cover the hillsides and low-lying mountains. Even more so when the hotel is a five-star property with plush and tastefully done interiors, offering numerous places to relax and enjoy the panorama, five-star cuisine (five times a day!) and gracious staff.

Welcome to the Hotel Bareiss, a Relais and Chateaux gem of a property in Germany’s Black Forest, owned and operated by three generations of the same family with an obvious delight in welcoming and cosseting their guests.

I have stayed in hotels belonging to the select Relais and Chateaux group before in a few swanky locales, but there is something special about the Hotel Bareiss that few other luxury hotels and resorts can touch. You never meet a hotel employee who’s had a bad day. You never see anything dirty or discarded around the hotel or the grounds. You never go hungry -- there are meals and snacks throughout the day that are all part of your hotel rate (“half-board”). There are so many places to relax with the ones you love, or to be alone and at peace. The vistas from the serenity of your lounge chairs, inside or out, or the several pools, some inside, some out, contribute to a feeling of contentment without having to twist your limbs into yoga contortions or chant in languages you don’t understand.

But if stimulation is what you crave, there is plenty to do to keep physically and/or mentally active. There’s hiking on Black Forest trails, biking with the hotel’s fleet of free bikes (including e-bikes), and skiing in the winter. The nearly 350 miles of hiking trails are on forest soil, not asphalt. Local government and business entities have made a concerted effort to make the local area one of the best European hiking regions with themed pathways that reveal the historical background of the region and nature of the local geology.

The Bareiss family has contributed to this effort by building a refuge for hikers in the form of the “Sattelei” hiking hut. Open all year, it provides a place to rest midway through your hike, eat and drink, and provides a comfortable spot from which to view the surroundings.

The Hotel Bareiss lies in the midst of 25,000 acres of untouched landscape that provides an undisturbed habitat for native plants and animals. The sense of peace and well-being that emanates from this landscape is palpable.

The spa facilities are a major draw. There’s an indoor freshwater pool heated to a constant 82 degrees F (where a light breakfast is served from 7 am), an indoor/outdoor seawater spa, Finnish sauna, herbal and rose steam baths, rest areas and light snacks provided, like frozen yogurt and herbal teas.

On the grounds of the hotel are an outdoor freshwater pool and sauna. And a natural bathing pond with gardens, little boardwalks to relax on, a waterfall and many plants.

The half-board (also called the “Culinary Day”) consists of the poolside breakfast, a much larger buffet brunch, cakes at teatime, a multicourse, sumptuous dinner and even a midnight snack in the bar. The quality and choices were outstanding. There are also three charming restaurants in the hotel, including a Michelin 3-star one helmed by Chef Peter Klump. Drinks are extra.

You can reach the famed spa town of Baden Baden in an hour by Bareiss transportation and be chauffered by the Bareiss’ private car service to or from Stuttgart and the French Alsatian city of Strasbourg, both only an hour away. Local trains can also get you there or to your next destination. The nearest larger town to the hotel is Freudenstadt (Town of Joy). And joy is what you will feel every step of the way at this lovely refuge.

Cost is, as you would expect, high, starting at $215 Euros per person/day, but that includes all meals, tipping, the many activities and services the hotel provides, such as the spa, fitness room, wine tastings, readings, concerts, bocce ball games, tennis, board games and books from a library.

I rarely, if ever, gush about a hotel or a vacation experience as much as I am doing here. But in a three-day stay during the summer months I found nothing to complain about, nothing I would have changed or wanted more of. Except more time at the Hotel Bareiss.

For more information about the Hotel Bareiss, click here.

February, 2019