Relax and recuperate in spacious surroundings through golf, wellness and the culinary arts.
Our world never stops turning. The progress of technology is constantly offering us something new. Books, CDs, letters and e-mails, cameras, alarm clocks and maps now all belong to the province of the omnipresent smartphone. This device, which accompanies us everywhere and helps us in all our activities, also means that the world of work and the world of private life are bound ever more tightly together. There is less and less time in our day when we are there not for others but for ourselves alone. In today’s rapidly changing world, then, we feel an increasing need to “get away from it all”: a need for what has been called a “digital detox”, or a period in which, by forgetting all that is “digital”, we can recharge our batteries as human beings.
This is where the Öschberghof hotel comes in. The 4-star hotel was opened in 1976 as a country club and golf club. Over the years it has developed additional specializations in wellness and conference hosting. With its idyllic location between the Black Forest, Lake Constance, and Switzerland, the hotel was constructed from what was originally the private residence of Karl Albrecht, founder of the Aldi supermarket chain, and remains still today under private management. A complete renovation of the luxury hotel has allowed the Öschberghof to meet even more comprehensively the ever-evolving needs of its guests. The watchword here is “deceleration”. Holiday-makers relax and recuperate by playing golf on the 45-hole golf course, hiking through the natural wonders of the Black Forest region, spending time in the 5000-square-metre hotel spa area, or enjoying the wide range of culinary delights offered by the hotel’s many restaurants. The Öschberghof, moreover, is increasingly becoming a favoured destination also for shorter excursions and even for day-trips. A further focal point of the hotel’s governing concept is now a specialization in hosting conferences and conventions. For a company to hold its conferences in such luxurious surroundings imparts to its employees a sense of security and a feeling that they are valued and appreciated; the rest and relaxation that these surroundings provide has a positive effect, in its turn, on the employees’ motivation and thus on the company’s success. Construction of the hotel’s conference area is to be completed in the latter half of 2018.
Central to the design concept applied here by JOI-Design is a feeling of wellbeing engendered by Nature, by stillness, by authenticity, by simplicity, as well as by the roomy amplitude of the design itself. Such wellbeing does indeed require ample room, both inside and outside the space of the hotel itself – room to breathe, room to expand and room to relax. Here, surrounded by the magnificence of Nature, it was our goal to create a place which would come, for many, to count among their very favourite places.
The challenge facing us was how to preserve the original character of the hotel while infusing into it a new, modern, innovative design which would make the guests feel at home. To maintain a single coherent visual appearance, inspiration for the materials used and for the design vocabulary adopted was drawn both from the existing hotel fixtures and fittings and from the Black Forest environment. Our greatest efforts went into perfecting apparently minor details. Shingles, for example, like those used to construct the roofs of the surrounding farmhouses reappear, in a lighter and more restrained interpretation in the hotel’s interior gabled roof. And the lamps in the entrance area playfully recall dancing pine-cones – as in the world-famous cuckoo clock. They serve to emphasize a certain poetic aspect while at the same time establishing an imaginary plane which reconciles the loftiness of the gables with more humanly comfortable proportions. They hang, as if lightly floating, from the ceiling of the elegant, modern, cosy lobby. The whole concept bespeaks top-flight quality. All the materials, furnishings and lighting used, drawn from such outstanding manufacturers as Lasvit, Walter Knoll and Max Alto, were lovingly selected to meet the very highest quality standards. Our prime consideration at all times in developing the governing design concept was the individual guest and his or her sense of wellbeing. Depending upon his or her mood, the guest can meet friends in the lively atmosphere of the lobby or in the day bar, or withdraw, with a book from the hotel library, into the quiet and peaceful area around the fireplace.
The fine arts form a key component of the general design concept. Karl Albrecht was a great art-lover and collector of artworks. It was important to him that individual personality should be the animating force in the operation of the hotel and that this, moreover, should be clearly perceptible to the hotel’s guests. Works of art, consequently, are to be found everywhere throughout the hotel. Each of its floors is dedicated to a different artist, so that no room is without its work of art. Whereas the standard rooms are decorated with prints of artworks, in the suites there can be admired genuine original pieces of art. Many of these pieces are the creations of local artists. The hotel’s operators, indeed, have made it their specific concern to support local enterprises so as to strengthen relations between the hotel and the region surrounding it. Thus, guests are invited to browse through a collection of books related to the ancient German territory of Baden, and in the shop in the lobby there are products from the local region on sale, along with copies of the various artworks integrated into the hotel’s interior design.
Coming back from golf or other activities, the guests can “recharge their batteries” in the hotel’s spacious and luxurious complex of spa facilities. The four distinct spa areas offer the perfect form of relaxation for every kind of guest.
In the Ladies’ Spa female guests can relax among themselves in a bright and elegant décor and atmosphere. In the Energy Spa it is the elements of fire and earth that set the tone, radiating an energy that is further enriched by the power of Granderbrunnen mineral water. The Asia Spa, in its turn, lets the guest immerse him- or herself in authentic Asian surroundings featuring bamboos and warm light – with corresponding wellness treatments included. Finally, the Harmony Spa’s salt wall exerts its beneficent effects upon the guests’ health, skin and psyche. The range of pleasures offered by this spacious spa area is rounded off by various different treatment rooms, an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, relaxation rooms, a hairdresser, and a fitness room.
The hotel’s design concept – a relaxed fusion of Nature and luxury – is maintained also in the rooms. The unhurried atmosphere they generate allows the guest to come to rest.
We enter the room through a spaciously-designed dressing and changing area which takes us into a living area which is more reminiscent of a private home than of a typical hotel room. A very important detail is that the guest enjoys easily and naturally, from every part of the room, a view of the world outside. The very special floorplan layout adopted here ensures that from every important area of both room and bathroom one finds oneself looking out, if one wishes, into surrounding Nature. Guests can choose whether they wish to check their e-mails at the little free-standing writing desk the room provides or whether they wish to work seated on the corner of the sofa, since a large table is also provided here. Most choose the living area for this purpose, because working here, beside a nice cup of tea, does not feel like working at all. This is in keeping with the character of the hotel as a whole, in which the wellbeing and enjoyment of the guest are the primary concern.
The materials used in the rooms are of high quality, natural, and tastefully understated. Solid wood, oaken floorboards, virgin wool, and carpets made from natural materials in subdued and muted colours all go to ensure an atmosphere of luxury and wellbeing. The natural interiors also serve to draw the gaze out into the green world outside. They form, as it were, a frame for surrounding Nature and provide it, so to speak, with a stage.
Many small but carefully-considered details impart to the guest a sense of how highly the hotel esteems and values them. For example, at night, a movement detector will lead the guest to the bathroom and back to the bed, so there is no need for any troublesome fumbling in the dark for the light switch. Many such details may only be discovered by the guest after some acquaintance with the room – such as the little wooden compartments in the writing-desk drawers which are perfect for storing pens, pencils and other utensils – and such happy discoveries naturally tend to urge toward further exploration.
Although many guests seek out the Öschberghof precisely because they wish, during their stay, to be permanently “offline” and to be free of all such things as plugs, USB ports and high-speed Wi-Fi, this does not mean that the hotel does not make these things available – and available, indeed, in the greatest quantity and highest quality – to those guests who decide they want them. Log-in points and high-speed Internet are available both in the lobby and in all the rooms, as well as in the spa area. In the rooms mobile terminal devices can be connected both to the TV and to the music systems. Indeed, all digital devices can be linked up to one another and/or recharged simultaneously. The guest who wishes to do so can even set up digitally, in the fitness room, a running competition against a competitor in New York. It is these limitless possibilities that make the Öschberghof what it is: namely, an authentic, perfectly-functioning, but at the same time elegantly restrained and understated luxury hotel.