The former primary school dating from 1915 on Westfalendamm in Schwelm got a bright new future as a fine hotel. The classrooms have been converted into 35 inviting and well-appointed hotel rooms.
The former gym is now the restaurant Die Turnhalle – meaning simply ‘the gym‘. By creating this lovely boutique hotel, Berlin hotelier Kurt Hermandung and his partner Marc Konopatzki have made their dream come true. The distinctive stone, slate and plasterwork building now houses a charming contemporary hotel and restaurant.
From two historic drinking fountains the guest can get ‘vitalized‘ fresh drinking water pumped into carafes. Instead of minibars in the rooms there is an honesty bar in the form of a traditional schoolhouse kiosk where you can get drinks, snacks and gifts.
The historic town of Schwelm is on the northern edge of the Bergisches Land mountain range, near Cologne and Dusseldorf.
The former gym ‘Die Turnhalle’ has been transformed into a restaurant with a contemporary atmosphere. The young chef Oliver Jacoby, trained by the German Michelin-starred chef René Kalobius, uses as many regionally produced ingredients as possible. From the restaurant, you can see into the kitchen, where the contemporary, international and surprising dishes are created. The interior of the restaurant includes references to the former gym: there are photos of gymnastics on the walls, and the linear design on one wall is a reminder of a typical gym floor. The partition between the restaurant and lobby-like area on the garden side is woven together with ropes from gymnastic rings.
The restaurant is open daily, except Sunday and Monday.
The terrace opens onto the footpath that takes you straight from the hotel to the old centre of Schwelm. The terrace offers a lovely view of the old school building and is a peaceful spot to enjoy your latte macchiato, lunch or dinner.
From the hotel, it’s a ten-minute walk into the centre of Schwelm. Haus Martfeld, a moated castle originally dating from the 14th century, is well worth a visit. The castle is now the Heimatmuseum, with a tempting café-bistro in the courtyard. Wuppertal is full of surprises, with a variety of museums, such as the Von der Heydt-Museum, and attractions including a spectacular suspension railway. Dortmund is less than an hour away by car. Schwelm is at the edge of the Bergisches Land region, with a rolling landscape popular with walkers and cyclists.