A real life fairy tale castle

Auf Schönburg is a quintessential castle, perched high above the banks of the Rhine, with magnificent views across the valley. Imagine what would be like to grow up living there – not in the Middle Ages, but much more recently. Hotelier Hermann Hüttl can tell you all about it. For him, Castle Auf Schönburg isn’t just an imposing monument, but also the family home where he spent his childhood. He now runs the hotel and restaurant together with his brother Johann. ‘My parents took over the hotel from my grandparents in 1983, then in 2015, my parents handed over the keys to Johann and me,’ Hermann explains. ‘Growing up in a castle is wonderful, but it can also be dreadful. In winter, when the hotel was closed, it became our magical play paradise. We would play hide and seek, and run through the corridors, and everyone wanted to come over and play. But there were also drawbacks. There was no school bus that stopped in front of the castle, and Auf Schönburg is on a hill. I had to go up and down that hill so many times, and whatever the reason, it was always on foot! People would get confused when I told them my address. The castle isn’t on a street and it has no house number. It is its own address.’

As a boy of 13, Hermann already knew that one day he would take over the hotel. ‘At first, I wanted to be a chef. But when my sister also became interested in cooking, I changed my plan. I trained as a waiter, and later I studied hotel management in Heidelberg. In the meantime, I went away for ten years. I spent time in New Zealand learning English, and then I worked on a cruise ship and sailed all over the world. I went to Switzerland and Berlin. All this made me who I am. I wanted to see something of the world before committing to Auf Schönburg. It was also valuable to see how other businesses approached hospitality. I did all sorts of jobs, from receptionist to waiter, and not just at 5-star hotels.’

Hermann and his brother have now been running Auf Schönburg for more than five years. The castle is well preserved, and modern technology is invisibly integrated into the hotel. ‘We obviously want to maintain the castle’s original, timeless charm. It doesn’t need to be too modern. It should be a place where you can completely unwind, not only in the castle itself, but also in the gardens and the museum, which is free for hotel guests to visit. It’s a place to be amazed, a place for young and old. We have families who have been staying with us for four generations. And of course, it will always be the ultimate place for an utterly romantic getaway!’

Enjoy Auf Schonburg