History of the beach hotel in Heringsdorf
Learn About the History of Strandhotel Heringsdorf
We recommend our book "Heringsdorfer Geschichten" (in German). This can be purchased from Strandhotel Heringsdorf at a cost of 9.75 euros.
We would like to tell you a little about the varied history of Strandhotel Heringsdorf in the following chronicle - from the beginnings of the pavilion on the promenade, which was quickly joined by the magnificent hotel building, up to the current owner, Dr. Werner Molik taking over after German reunification.
1886-1908 Schubert Era
The "Strand-Hotel" with 34 rooms (52 beds) was built in 1886 in Gründerzeit style by B. Schubert. He had initially run an imposing 6-floor pavilion on the site.
"The pavilion on the beach, run by its owner Schubert, was known as 'the coffee mill' because of its octagonal shape. In addition to providing confectionery, coffee, tea, wine etc., lunch was offered at the same time."
On 09 September 1906, the composer Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) broke his coach journey to take coffee with his family at the "Strand-Hotel", for which he found few complimentary words. Humperdinck is famous for his children' opera "Hänsel and Gretel“ (1883). He wrote his music drama "Sturm" in Heringsdorf.
1908-1925 Hausknecht Era
In 1908 the "Strand-Hotel" was sold to Ferdinand Hausknecht, who described it in his brochure as "the lovely quiet house by the sea". At this time, a night's accommodation cost between 2.50 and 5.00 Reich marks per person. The supplement for full-board was around. 4.50 Reich marks
The lyricist Theodor Däubler (1876-1934) was one prominent guest who lodged at the "Strand-Hotel" in June 1916. Däubler was master of deep expressionist poetry.
Heringsdorf may have provided inspiration for his romantic poem "Buchen".
Dem warmen Aufruf mag ich rasch vertraun,
Mein Waldgehaben zeigt sich sommerfroh.
Die Winterspflicht erfüll’ ich ernst und grau.
The writer Heinrich Mann (1871-1950) similarly chose the "Strand-Hotel" as a summer residence. Together with his wife and daughter, he spent time in Heringsdorf in July and August 1923. In a letter from 04 October 1923 to the Austrian author Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), Mann writes: "We have spent the best part (of the summer) in Heringsdorf, it was comforting, I believe that I have recuperated."
In a later essay entitled "The Berlin Suburb of Heringsdorf" he refers to life in Heringsdorf during the 1930s. "A three and a half-hour train journey and one finds a lovely, comfortable hotel and villa district right on the sea. By car it takes five hours. Consequently, Heringsdorf sees more weekend visitors from Berlin than spa visitors. There is said to be room for fourteen-thousand visitors. A number are families who have rented apartments for the entire summer. The majority like to stay in hotels; but what then remains empty, which is quite a lot, awaits the weekenders…If the visitors have parents who travelled with them to Heringsdorf in 1880 or before, they like to stay in the same establishment. Some things have changed, internal bathrooms have been newly fitted of course. Outside, the same grey painted pillars support the roof of the terrace. In Heringsdorf there are an amazing number of pillars on the buildings. The flat gables also play their part. The classical style, which prevailed from 1840 to 1860 as the spa resort came into existence, has always predominated.
He then sees some other things more ironically. "Heringsdorf retains style and tradition, or at least the remains of it. It is not yet so full, not yet so loud as it could be, and certainly will be. The managers of the spas are basically of the opinion that elegance is nice, but it has had its time…A larger operation throughout the week should be given careful consideration. This would only be possible with low prices. For now, only Saturday and Sunday evenings are peak times. This is due to the closeness of Berlin, and it is self-driven…Its old elegance - expressed in prices - and the motorcar are competing for Heringsdorf."
In his book 'Ein Zeitalter wird besichtigt' he writes about the problems that even such a famous author can have with his holiday during the period of hyper-inflation. "I received an invitation to the Baltic coast, in Heringsdorf. In order to get there, I carried a sack with inflationary notes home from the bank by the sweat of my brow. It was already empty in Berlin. But, for three people to stay in a spa hotel, a dollar a day was sufficient. This I had obtained from an American correspondent for writing. However, these were not the circumstances under which one light-heartedly visited a wealthier country."
1925-1935 Nickel Family
In 1925 the W. Nickel Family took over the establishment and ran it until 1935. According to the hotel brochure, the "Strand-Hotel" prided itself on being a highly recommended guest house. The hotel's services also included eight lockable garages as well as a large car park. Further more, a hairdresser could be visited in-house. Room rates from 7.00 Reich marks including full-board remained relatively constant.
The after-effects of the world economic crisis led to the Nickel Family going bankrupt, since they were unable to pay the local property taxes. A Nickel daughter (see article on "Brunhilde Maye") purchased the property at auction, but was still not able to rescue it for the family.
In the meantime, Hermann Reim ran a photographic business in the adjoining Pavilion, in which there was also a tobacconist and newspaper shop.
from 1935 Smock/Kulisch Era
The next change of ownership took place in 1935. At the same time, the new owner - Friedrich Smock - changed the hotel's name to "Strand-Hospiz", leasing it three years later to H. Heinrich, who was originally from Dresden.
In 1940, Ernst Kulisch was enlisted as hotel owner. The photos indicate that the small pavilion must have been removed at the end of the 1930s or beginning of the 1940s. During its existence, the hotel has been renamed several times. It is therefore referred to in various brochures and travel guides as Strand-Hotel, Strandhotel, Strand-Hotel Hospiz and Strandhospiz.
1945-1950 Army Sanatorium
After the Second World War, the hotel building was used as a Soviet Army sanatorium
1970-1989 Kulisch/FDGB Era
At the beginning of the 1950s the property was leased by the Free German Trade Union Association (FDGB) from Ernst Kulisch, who died in Heringsdorf in 1963. The property was not confiscated as part of operation "Rose" (1953) because, according to newspaper reports, it was not open at the time; and subsequently did not have excessive amounts of food supplies. A nephew from Gotha, who inherited the property from the Kulisch Family, sold it to the FDGB in 1970. It was given the name "Erich Wirth", who was a GDR activist.
The appearance of the beach hotel has changed over time and during the GDR era it lost both its decorative stucco features and the balconies. The bedrooms were also divided to create a greater number of rooms. The glassed veranda was rebuilt as a solid construction. Between 1965 and 1970 many establishments were fitted with heating. This made prophylactic cures and greater comfort for holidaymakers in the winter months possible.
The hotel's current owner, Dr. Werner Molik, took over the property, which in the meantime had been closed, from the the Treuhand in 1992. Following extensive renovation and improvements, the current "Strandhotel Heringsdorf" offers a total of 72 rooms, including 7 apartments. In 1998 an additional apartment block was added, which provides both suites suitable for families and generously appointed double rooms.
The complex has been continually developed to meet spa and wellness needs, and the level of comfort expected of a 4-star hotel. In 2000, the main building was extended to 4 floors; and the underground Sinbad Spa and "Quisisana" Beauty Farm were added.
At the same time, a winter garden was constructed covering the entire front of the building, giving guests a wonderful view of promenade.
In addition to the apartment block, another building was added in 2003 that accommodates attractive double rooms in a colonial style. The three buildings create a harmonious ensemble that offers just the right accommodation for any guest.
In order to give guests in the adjacent buildings access to "Sinbad Spa", an underground passageway was constructed in 2006 and 2007. This connects the buildings and provides convenient access to the main building and spa area, even on stormy and rainy days.
There is a consistent trend for spa and wellness facilities in Germany, which is continually producing new innovations. The establishment's hotelier is aware of this development and did not hesitate for one moment when he heard about the possibility of an outside pool filled with local natural brine.
Heringsdorf's iodine-rich salt water, drawn directly at the pier, has a therapeutic and relaxing effect on the circulation and also prevents skin diseases. An ideal addition to the outdoor pool at "Strandhotel Heringsdorf". This was built during 2009 and 2010 between the hotel's two annexes. In order to also guarantee a unique spa experience during the cold season, the pool is maintained at a constant temperature of 30°C. The first outdoor pool in the world filled with Heringsdorf iodine-rich salt water came into being!
Anyone doing a few laps in the said pool will discover a pane of glass. This viewing window leads to the gym, built at the same time, which offers its users below an impressive view of people swimming. The gym has been equipped by "Frei", a company well-known for equipment of the latest medical and technological generation.
The following is a list of some famous guests who have spent time in Usedom staying at Strandhotel Heringsdorf.
Kurt Masur: gave a press conference in the hotel on the occasion of the 1st Usedom Music Festivals.
Angela Merkel: visited Strandhotel Heringsdorf in 1998, when she was able to enjoy the hotel's cuisine.
Mikhail Gorbachew: was greeted by waves of sympathy during his visit to the Island of Usedom. He was guest of honour at the opening of the Usedom Music Festival. The 14-day festival, which starts at the beginning of September, has been drawing thousands of visitors to the Island of Usedom for 9 years. One of the fathers of the Festival is the hotelier Dr Werner Molik. The 9th Usedom Music Festival presented the Chairman of the 'Friends of the Festival' and owner of Strandhotel Heringsdorf, together with his many helpers, with particular challenges. The festival's opening concert took on a completely new dimension because of its unusual venue. It took place in the power station at the former Army Research Station in Peenemünde. The fact that the 9th Usedom Music Festival featured Moscow star conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, and Russia's best young musician, is largely due to Dr Ernst-Jörg von Studnitz, who is a long-term regular guest at Strandhotel Heringsdorf. Until spring this year, he was, for many years, German Ambassador in Moscow. With his enthusiasm for the Island of Usedom and its Music Festival, he was able to inspire Mikhail Gorbachev to visit the island accompanied by his daughter Irina. They were guests at Strandhotel Heringsdorf during their two-day stay.
The gala dinner in honour of Mikhail Gorbachev was an impressive occasion for 40 national and international guests, also including emerging Russian musicians. They were entertained with excellent service and cuisine from the first-class hotel. The menu was in perfect harmony with the musical works performed during the opening days.
The quartet, with executive chef Detlef Mangelow, head chef Marco Künzel, souschef Enrico Fischer and Ralf Lampe as guest chef, all contributed their knowledge and experience to create a menu that was not only a treat for the taste buds, but also a feast for the eyes as well. The 40-year-old master chef Detlef Mangelow, who has many years of experience with top international hotels, once again demonstrated his talent with designer food. The menu:
'Gefüllte Minipowerade mit Seeteufelbäckchen und Ruccolarisotto; Essenz vorn Perlhuhn mit Zitronengras und Strohpilzen; CrŽpinette vorn Kalbsfilet und Hummer auf Trüffeljus und marmorierte Tropfenschokolade, gefüllt mit Mokkamus, Portweinsauce'.
Dr. Erich Hartwig, „Chronik vom Seebad Heringsdorf“, 1932.
Dr. von Wallenstedt, „Das Ostseebad Heringsdorf auf der Insel Usedom, 1879.
The FDGB was, among other things, responsible for company-wide/collective wage agreements and health and safety at work in the GDR. Another task of the FDGB was to exert idealogical influence on citizens. The goal was to reach them in the sense of socialistic thinking and behaviour. Organising holidays fell into this area of the union's work.
The holiday places allocated by the FDGB were very sought after. There were practically no privately run hotels or guest houses. For example, in 1972, 6 FDGB holiday camps represented 80 percent of the capacity, i.e. about 85000 beds per year, only available to FDGB members. Thus, one was dependent on the scarce holiday places from the FDGB holidy service. The only possibility for going on holiday without the FDGB was to stay in private accommodation at an agreed price.
Holiday resorts were mainly on the Baltic coast, additionally in the Thuringian Forest, Harz Mountains and Mecklenburg Lake District. Foriegn travel was only possible within the communist bloc.