Now that my latest blog series about Hotel Bareiss is complete, here’s my usual “ten things I learned” post. I find that these top ten lists tend to get read more than my “blow by blow” posts. Let’s face it! People don’t necessarily care about the minutiae of someone else’s vacation. On the other hand, sometimes including the small details is useful for some readers, or even just to myself, as I get older and duller. 😉
Anyway, here’s my list, even though we’ve done Baiersbronn before. I see that I didn’t do a ten things I learned list for our first Baiersbronn trip, so maybe it’s good to do one now. Here goes!
10. The Hotel Bareiss experience reminds me a little of being on a cruise ship.
The first time we visited Baiersbronn for more than a couple of hours, we stayed at Hotel Engel Obertal, which is a perfectly nice hotel that offers half board. But that hotel didn’t seem to be nearly as structured as Hotel Bareiss is. Yes, lunch was included in the daily rate there, but we didn’t feel like we HAD to eat lunch there. Although we didn’t HAVE to eat dinner at Hotel Bareiss either, the very heavy service component and knowing that we were paying for the food, anyway, made us feel obligated to eat there. And while it wasn’t a bad thing at all to dine at Hotel Bareiss, that aspect made me feel a little like I was on a cruise ship. The resort offers a lot of activities, too, like a cruise ship does.
9. Hotel Bareiss is very expensive, but offers an extremely high quality product.
When I compare Hotel Bareiss to Hotel Engel Obertal, I see some obvious similarities. However, Hotel Bareiss is an institution in Baiersbronn, and people come from all over to experience it. Service is mostly top notch, and they put a lot of effort into presenting a very pleasant experience for guests. That experience will cost you, of course! But if you have the means, and you just want to relax without worrying about anything, Hotel Bareiss might be just the place to go.
8. I wouldn’t call Hotel Bareiss a very “romantic” place for couples…
Although this is a five star resort hotel with a three star Michelin restaurant, it’s also a very family friendly place. There are lots of activities available for children, and they aren’t specifically prohibited from going into places. That means you might see them in the bar, or even in the sauna area. However, I did notice that visiting in late September/early October meant that most kids were in school, so their population was at a minimum during our visit. I would not book Bareiss in the summer if I was wanting to avoid running into families with children, though.
7. Baiersbronn and the Black Forest offer a lot to do outdoors. But maybe there’s not as many things to do inside. Planning for the weather is a good idea.
We suffered some rain during our visit, which made us not really want to venture out so much. A lot of the things I was thinking I’d like to do were strictly outside activities. There are some museums and other indoor activities for the resourceful, and the hotel offers excursions to nearby places like Strasbourg, France or Baden-Baden. The hotel also offers classes sometimes. For instance, they have culinary and wine courses that can be booked. I didn’t mind the rain so much, since we had such a hot, dry summer. Next time, maybe I’ll look for more inside opportunities, in case of inclement weather. Or, at the very least, I would bring clothes and shoes for wet weather. Baiersbronn is kind of a sleepy town, but there are other areas nearby that are well worth a visit.
6. Bring an extra bathing suit!
Hotel Bareiss has an AWESOME pool area, and it’s usable all year. If you like to swim or relax in the water, you may want to bring an extra bathing suit. They also have a dryer in the locker room that will wring most of the the water out in eight seconds.
5. You can bring your dog!
Although I tend to relax more when I travel without our dogs, I did miss them while we were at the Hotel Bareiss. I think Noyzi, in particular, would have loved the hotel. So many people brought their beautiful pooches with them, and there were a lot of amenities for them, including dog sitting! But bear in mind, if you do bring your dog, there are steep extra charges involved and not every room will be available to you.
4. Pack a nice outfit or two.
The Hotel Bareiss requests that guests dress nicely for dinner. That doesn’t necessarily mean putting on a dress or a suit, nor does it even mean they’ll turn you away at the door. But if you happen to be at the hotel on gala night, you will want to be dressy, as most people do put on their gladrags for the occasion. If you wear jeans and a sweatshirt, you might feel quite underdressed.
3. Don’t be afraid to try other area restaurants.
Baiersbronn is home to quite a few excellent restaurants besides the ones at Hotel Bareiss. Most are affiliated with other hotels, to include the ones at Hotel Traube Tonbach, another highly regarded hotel in the area. We ate at Traube Tonbach last year and had a very nice experience. We also tried the Meierei, which has a Michelin Plate, and liked that even more than the Michelin starred restaurant at the Traube Tonbach. But even if you aren’t into gourmet food, you can find really good eating in Baiersbronn. Especially if you like fresh trout, like I do!
2. You don’t have to spend a mint to stay in Baiersbronn…
It’s true that we dropped a load of euros at Hotel Bareiss. This year’s visit was about twice as expensive as last year’s, although we also stayed a day longer and in fancier digs. But if we’d wanted to, we could have easily bunked comfortably in less extravagant lodging and had a great time. In fact, in some ways, I think I might have preferred a less “structured” holiday. I don’t think I’m that into resorts and half board plans. I like having the freedom to try different places and do my own thing. Maybe next time we go to the Black Forest, we’ll try to find a self catering apartment in a different area.
1. On the other hand, I would NOT turn down another visit to Hotel Bareiss…
It really is a lovely hotel, with friendly and mostly professional staff, and magical surroundings. We really did enjoy ourselves, and would heartily recommend that others visit. Just remember that when you book Hotel Bareiss, you’re likely to be committed to going. You may wish to purchase travel insurance, in case you need to cancel. In our situation, I was worried about Arran being sick with lymphoma and needing us to come home to take care of him. However, he has now shown us that he is clearly not ready to leave us yet… so I’m glad we didn’t cancel! In fact, as I write this, he’s visiting the vet. I have a feeling she might be pleasantly surprised by how he’s doing today.
Well, that about does it for this year’s visit to the Schwarzwald. I hope this series has been entertaining, informative, and inspirational. If you’re living in Germany, I highly recommend taking the opportunity to visit The Black Forest. We completely missed it the first time we lived here. I’m so glad we came back and rectified that tragedy! And if you are into good food, especially fine dining, you may want to make a point of visiting Baiersbronn. As I mentioned in 2018, when we first heard of Baiersbronn, there are lots of (Michelin) “stars” in them there hills!