Images Credit Parkhotel Adler

Germany’s Bewitching Black Forest and a Stay at the Parkhotel Adler

Apr. 10th, 2024

There’s a reason why so many of us love being immersed in nature. The sounds, smell, and being surrounded by pure fresh air that seems to restore our souls. In southern Germany is its gift of the Black Forest, a region far away from it all covered with dense pine tree forests. The ideal place from which to explore the region is in a hotel that has been welcoming guests for over 570 years and is this region’s iconic five-star retreat, the Parkhotel Adler.

The Parkhotel Adler is located in Hinterzarden, a charming village of only about 3000 residents in the southern part of the Black Forest. There you’ll find a few shops in town and plenty of those lovely traditional wooden houses where in summers you’ll see their window box gardens bursting with colorful flowers.

The grand resort offers guests the opportunity to explore the beautiful nature of the Southern Black Forest Nature Park. Active travelers will love days of hiking, Nordic walking, or mountain biking. Others will travel from afar for a holiday to decompress and relax as the resort offers extensive spa and wellness services. The Parkhotel Adler is a sprawling 10-acre luxurious retreat with a mix of traditional and ultra-modern décor, exceptional fine dining, and posh accommodations.  

The Parkhotel Adler is no Johnny come lately to the hotel industry. In fact, it is one of the world’s oldest hotels and welcomed its first guests over 575 years ago. Since 1446, it has been in the same family for 16 generations. It began as a restaurant and stopping point for travelers and has grown into one of Europe’s top destination resort and spa hotels. Over those years it has welcomed a number of dignitaries and celebrities including Jackie Onassis, Tina Turner, and Phil Collins. The hotel's first celeb was none other than Marie Antoinette, the future queen of France. She spent the night there while en route from Austria to her betrothed Louis XIV in France where she would give her ill-fated advice to “let them eat cake”.

Katja Newman, GM and 16th Generation Owner

Today the resort is run by the capable hands of its 16th generation owner, Katja Newman. You’ll see her dashing about the property and checking in on guests to make sure all is well. At the helm of the hotel, her passion for hospitality is evident as she respects her family’s legacy and showcases tradition while keeping an eye on the future. The hotel may be old but it is clearly new and refreshed as you’ll see through its many updates and innovations. You’ll see the hotel's newest features in the spa renovations, the avant-garde design in the remodeled accommodations, and the exceptional forward-thinking haute cuisine.

The sprawling estate is set on 10 acres of idyllic parkland. Although you are surrounded by adventures in the Black Forest, you will find plenty of outdoor adventures without leaving the property.  Guests will enjoy strolling the gravel pathways leading to a menagerie of gurgling water fountains, and gardens with colorful wildflowers. Elsewhere there is a stream and duck pond as well as meadows and woodlands left untouched and their original state.  A bit further away you’ll find something quite unexpected, albino and brown and white spotted fallow deer that are quite fascinating to see.  Guests will want to spend time in the hotel’s extensive grounds to relax in a chair, stroll with a loved one before dinner, or just walk in solitude while lost in thought.   

Hiking in the Black Forest

The Black Forest is renowned for eerie stories about goblins and creatures that lurk hidden waiting for the unsuspected to pass by and pounce. But for nature lovers, it is far from a place to be afraid of.  The Southern Black Forest Nature Park has 900 kilometers of signposted walking trails with many starting just beyond the doorstep of the hotel. Beyond the awe-inspiring hiking trails, e-biking and mountain biking, golf courses, and in the winter months, cross-country skiing are additional options to enjoy the delightful outdoors of the area.

There are trails of varying length and difficulty with some taking a few hours and others the entire day.  Many are easy walks on flat gravel trails while others require a much higher degree of fitness.  One of the more favorite hikes leads along meadows and then begins to ascend through the forest with winding trails where you’ll begin to see fewer homes and then the dense forest.  There are incredible lookouts over the little town below but so high up one feels they are on top of the world. The trail l then leads back into farmlands and wide verdant pastures with cows lazily grazing in front of old traditional farmhouses.  Further along, the journey culminates as you approach a glorious mountain lake surrounded by a forest that reflects off its serene waters. There are benches where one can just sit for hours and watch the reflection on the lake as the forest birds come and go.

Hotel and Design

Back at the resort, the guest will find a design that oozes glamour that is delightfully interrupted by homages to traditions of its 570-year history. The Schwarzwaldhaus is the traditional Black Forest house that is now where the restaurants are located. Nearby is the main hotel area, a grand Belle Epoque building from the turn of the last century.  Indoors are varied with interiors rich with artisan woodwork, rustic décor, traditional woodwork, period antiques, and paintings. Yet elsewhere as you’ll see in the newest restaurant, lobby bar, and the hotel’s recent renovations are ultra-modern with London chic décor, elegant and sophisticated, with platinum surfaces, sparkling chandeliers, and posh furnishings.

The resort offers 64 accommodations that range from single rooms to expansive suites. Like the hotel itself, the room design varies from traditional to ultra-modern. No room is alike with configuration and amenities that vary as well as the individual décor and design elements.

The Adler Suite was added in 2020 and offers a chic style and décor and is made for romance. The spacious suite is rich in refined details with stylish light fixtures, a sitting area, high-tech electronics, sumptuous furnishings, and touches courtesy of Versace Home. All accommodations include a well-stocked mini fridge replenished daily and included in the rate. The room’s most sensual feature is the deep soaking bath located in the living area. The bathrooms are lavish as well with rainwater showers and designer bathroom amenities.  For some fresh air right outside of your suite, the Adler suite offers a furnished outdoor patio with access to the hotel’s grounds.    

Gourmet dining and Slow Food Cooking at Parkhotel Adler

Another aspect that Parkhotel Adler does well is through the culinary experiences offered.  There are several restaurants but all focus on locally sourced sustainable ingredients made exquisite with sauces and chutneys made from their kitchen. You’ll also find the Slow Food philosophy reflected throughout their menus.  Full board is included in the room rates and includes an extensive breakfast spread, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.

Guests can opt to dine in the traditional Stube restaurant with wooden furnishings and Alpine décor. While others may opt to dine in the elegant and sophisticated restaurant. The cuisine is exceptional with a menu of creative and seasonal dishes with haute preparation techniques.    

Wellness Retreat

After hiking in the Black Forest, the sweet finale that awaits at the end of the trail is pampering in the resort’s spa and fitness center. The 13,000 sq. ft. spa offers an indulgent heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi. Facilities include three saunas, a solarium as well as plenty of indoor and outdoor relaxation areas made for some serious downtime and rejuvenation. Around the expansive pool are sunbathing areas in summer. The spa offers a range of spa treatments as wellness and beauty services. If the hiking workouts weren’t enough, there is a complete fitness center with 10 Life Fitness machines.  

The Parkhotel Adler is a secluded wellness retreat that offers adventures in the fresh mountain air of the Black Forest. It is a place to get away from it all and back to nature.  . All of this with gourmet dining, opulent accommodations, a wellness retreat in and park-like setting ,and warm hospitality build on 570 years of tradition. The Parkhotel Adler is a special place offering adventures and memories that will be long cherished after the bags are unpacked back home.

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)