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Sweet liberty in the Black Forest

Hotel Liberty unveils the ultimate upcycle in the Black Forest
For a region renowned for its wine culture, it’s fitting that the annual harvest in the sun-dappled vineyards surrounding Offenburg will coincide with the rebirth of another of the area’s cultural landmarks. Opening September 30 and set just outside the city walls of Offenburg’s old town, Hotel Liberty is the ideal base from which to explore the historic city and the world-famous Black Forest. Built in the mid-19th century and defined by Baroque half-timbered and gabled townhouses, Hotel Liberty was once a prison is now a stunning hotel that embodies a unique brand of quirky sophistication, as well as a passion for food and exemplary service.
Hotel Liberty’s 38 rooms and suites are situated across two buildings dating from the 1840s and joined by a contemporary glass box. Its former incarnation as a jail for the city of Offenburg came to an end in 2009, when it was transformed into the hotel that will be led by general manager Marc Aeberhard and his team as of Autumn 2017. The hotel’s design has been conceptualized to reference the building’s heritage while capturing the zeitgeist of modern-day Baden-Württemberg. The result is warm and welcoming—the latter sentiment reinforced by the hotel’s one-stop butler service—with wide, light-filled corridors, distressed leather furnishings, and 10-meter-high glass façades softening the well-worn stonework.
The Knoblauch design studio was responsible for transforming the storied building into a veritable refuge for epicureans. The luxurious guestrooms and public spaces are modern and elegant, yet retain a charmingly whimsical edge thanks to a scattering of playful details. Drastically different from the prison cells they once were, the rooms and suites feature cloud-like mattresses and luxuriously appointed bathrooms created by AXOR Hans Grohe. Bookworms are well served by the hotel’s library collection of over 3000 books, while fitness fanatics can take full advantage of the neighboring park and newly-opened Stegermatt swimming baths complete with an Olympic-sized pool.
Paying homage to the proud gastronomic roots of the region, the property plays host to the fine dining grill restaurant Wasser&Brot, a reference to the inmates’ typical diet of “water and bread” in previous times. From September, this standout eatery will serve contemporary French cuisine under Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Biasiol, who has previously worked with Alain Ducasse (The Essex House, New York; Plaza Athénée, Paris; Le Louis XV, Monte Carlo) and was awarded his first star while working in Hong Kong. For those looking for lighter fare, the Mezzanine Floor & Lounge offers locally inspired tapas and high tea set to a soundtrack of classical piano music, while the rooftop terrace is perfectly located for sundowners with a view.
Just outside the city walls of Offenburg in Baden-Württemberg, the hotel puts guests just minutes away from the city’s historic center, the famous Black Forest, and the French city of Strasbourg. Oenophiles are spoilt for choice with the sheer number and variety of wines from surrounding vineyards, and the lush walkways of the Black Forest provide ample tracks and trails for hikers and cyclists. Karlsruhe Airport is approximately 45km/40 minutes by car while it is 120km/90 minutes to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. The hotel is easily reached by rail services from Basel and Frankfurt.


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