Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Old Neroberg Hotel in Wiesbaden

In 1881, on a hilltop (the Neroberg) at the far north end of Wiesbaden.....before you get to the state-owned started with a five-star hotel complex that overlooked Wiesbaden.

It was a combination hotel, cafe, and restaurant.

The chief selling points?  It had a grand view, and a great cafe area that people marveled about.  For style and grace, there wasn't much better than the Neroberg.

In this 1880's period, there was a water-powered train added to the bottom of the hill.  You'd board the train, and water would pull the train to the top (about one kilometer away).  It'd require 7,000 liters of water for each 'trip'.  It still operates today.

If you look over at the far right.....this is the point where you could view the entire city of Wiesbaden.

In the 1930s.....a major pool complex was added, and would be positioned to the far right of the structure, about 200 meters from the Greek Orthodox Church also in the vicinity.

The hotel survived WW I and WW II with almost no issues.  In 1945, the US Army came to acquire the property for housing senior military officers.  For roughly eleven years.....the property was used by the US Army, and then around 1956 turned over to the German government.  What can be said was that the hotel needed renovation badly at this point.

From 1956 to 1965....various segments of renovation were completed.....but the best that one could say was that the facility was best to be used as a cafe and restaurant.  As a was basically finished.

By 1975, the city had decided to try a second theme with the older complex.....a musical stage of sorts.  It was a success to some degree, but appears to be a money-pit awaiting some miracle re-birth.  Various ideas were approached.....some with private capital.  Each found negativity among the residents and political players of Wiesbaden.  None could get permission to go past the planning stages.....thus becoming an anchored-down crappy old building with no future and only a glorious past.  The conference-center hotel idea?  Shot down eventually.

A small fire in the spring of 1986 resulted in more discussions.....some minor renovation work to preserve the structure "as is" for the time being.  Later, 1989....almost to the same day.....another fire occurred and pretty much dissolved any more renovation plans or revival of the old structure.  No one says much over whether it was intentional or accidental.  But this episode was enough for the city to certify it as unlivable.  They tore the rest of the building down at that point.

What you have today at Neroberg is a small tower, a cafe, several monuments, a Roman-like theater pit, miles of hiking trails around the hilltop, a commercially-run tree-climbing fun-club, and a plaque to identify the old Neroberg Hotel.  That's it.

For the view alone, I'd highly recommend you go and visit the site....riding the train to the top.  Plan for a three-hour visit to enjoy the view, have a wine, and enjoy the precious moments of life.  Don't go in late fall or in the midst of's just not worth it.  June or July is prime time.

For a brief time....from 1881 to probably was one of the most desirable hotels in Wiesbaden.  Up through WW was the place where you'd want to come on Sunday afternoon in spring and summer to have a beer, apple wine, or cup of coffee.  Today?  It's still an interesting place but it's got lots of competition for cafe experiences within the city.

The old battles of what to do with prime old properties?  About a mile away, just at the edge of the casino have the old Movenpick Hotel complex which has the same issue.  It's in decay....having no use for two decades now.....and twenty different parties in the city trying to have a say over how some developmental organization will end up using the property....once they tear the place down (the only skyscraper in the city).    Oddly enough, it's on fire about every month or teenagers.  Firemen come and put out the fire, and then settle back to wait on the next phonecall.  Kinda odd, but follows the same script as the Neroberg complex.

Just another history piece of the city of Wiesbaden.

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