150 Years of History: The Feldberger Hof
Six eras of hospitality tradition throughout three centuries
The Feldberger Hof opened its doors for the first time on the 24th of June 1864. However, its first years were marked by multiple proprietor changes due to poor road conditions. The first era began when Carl Mayer took on the lease of the hotel in 1879. Starting in 1881, Mayer lead the hotel with his sister Franziska, who became well known as the “Feldberg mother”.
In a short amount of time, the completion of the new Feldberg road (1885) and the development of skiing as a new trend sport lead to an upturn in tourism at the Feldberg. From 1885 to 1910, four additional annexes were built and extended the Feldberger Hof’s capacity to over 300 beds. Furthermore, “Hebelstube” dining room, with more than 500 seats and still intact, was established (Carl Mayer passed the hotel on to his son Oscar and his friend the hotel manager Albert Schladerer).
In the 1920s, skiing cultivated great popularity. 1920 to 1930, skiing classes were offered at the Feldberger Hof, some of which were taught by Albert Thoma, the father of olympic champion Georg Thoma from Hinterzarten. In 1934, the “Feldberg Mother” Fanny Mayer died at the age of 83.
In 1936, the Feldberger Hof was rebuilt by their new owners using the highly modern reinforced concrete skeleton technique. After the second World War, Veronika Wiedemann, the granddaughter of Carl Mayer, continued to run the hotel until it was sold to the Reich brothers from the neighbouring Lenzkirch country in 1971.
Immediately after the Reich brothers purchased the Feldberger Hof, it was converted into a sports hotel. In several construction phases from 1973 to 1978, a new parking garage, shopping arcade with snack bar, bowling alley, pub, ski renting and super market were constructed. The final changes undertaken by the Reich brothers were the construction of the bathing paradise with sauna, sunbeds and large indoor swimming pool.
Denise and Thomas Banhardt bought the Feldberger Hof in October 1993 from Emil Reich and have since continously worked on improving the offers and comfort of the Feldberger Hof. Since the takeover by the Banhardt family, the Bergdörfli „Silva Negra“, “Kinderparadies Wuschel“ and „Wintergarten“ have been constructed. In addition, a new hotel tract with apartments, a squash, football and badminton hall, gym, minigolf course, fun park with climbing wall and 50m giant water slide in the swimming pool area were built. A wellness island was constructed in 2003, „Happy's Kinderland“ opened in 2009 and in 2010 the new restaurant “Fanny’s” was established. In 2011, bathing paradise was renovated entirely and the Kelo blockhouse sauna and the childrens’ “Splash World“ were created. In the year of 2005 the Feldberg Residence (50 m from the main building) was built with 10 family apartments up to 100 squaremeters per apartment and later on 6 more apartments were built.
In 2016, a big dream of the owner Thomas Banhardt finally came true: The 4000 m² indoor sports hall "Fundorena" was built and opened 10 months later, in December 2016.
On the 8th of February 1891, the French diplomat and adventurer, Dr. Robert Pilet, climbed the Feldberg’s peak on strange curved wooden boards with a cane in his hand. And thus skiing was born Central Europe. Dr. Pilet documented his climbing trip in the guestbook of the Feldberger Hof: „R.Pilet, Dr.jur. Heidelberg, Febr. 8 1891 – on Norwegian snow shoes.“
In the same year, the skiclub Todtnau was founded as the first skiclub in Germany.In the 1920s, the Feldberg became the centre of skiing in Central Europe and the St. Moritz of xyz of today. In 1900, the first skiing championships took place on the Feldberg and in 1908 the first ski lift worldwide was established in the Schollachtal.
In winter 2016, the Snowboard Cross World Cup took place on the Feldberg. For this event, Albert Zehetner from Austria, who is known as the world’s best „shaper“ in the scene, built an 800m cross track with ski jumps, hills, dips and banked curves.