On our programme during the blogger trip to the Black Forest is a visit to the Hotel Waldlust. At first I was a bit irritated – why should I visit a hotel where we are not staying? So I did a little surfing on the internet and it was clear why this place was on our programme.
From luxury hostel to lost place
In 1902, the Grand Hotel Waldlust opened in Freudenstadt in the Black Forest. The hotelier Ernst Luz had an elegant villa converted into an exclusive hotel. For that time, 140 rooms, 60 of which had private bathrooms (and there were even heated towel rails) – were a true luxury. 100 lounging balconies attracted the so-called “air snappers” to the hotel to breathe the healthy Black Forest air and relax.
At the beginning of 1920, the owner had a stuccoed banqueting hall added, in which lavish events took place. Yes, and who did not go in and out here. King Gustav V of Sweden stayed at the hotel in 1926. In the 1930s, stars and starlets of the film industry came here. For example, silent film actor Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford are said to have been guests. Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain are also said to have stayed here once.
The hotel experienced its heyday under the management of Adele B. (“Adi”) its heyday. She ran the house until 1949 and attracted visitors to the hotel with exclusive events. Then she died a violent death in the hotel. But more about that later…
The Second World War and Adi’s death caused the hotel’s fame to sink almost as quickly as it had once begun. Even after the war, life at the hotel was never to return to what it once was. Ownership changed, there were periods of vacancy and finally it closed its doors in 2005. Since then, it has been up for sale and the Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt e. V. (Freudenstadt Association for Cultural Monuments) has taken it upon itself to secure the building and the adjacent park from complete decay.
Guided tour of the Hotel Waldlust
The door to the Hotel Waldlust opens and we enter the spacious entrance area.
There is no receptionist at the desk, no one wants to check in here and the room keys are hanging on the key board.
It is lonely, cool and also smells a bit like stale air. It is a bit strange to walk around in a hotel where no guest comes and goes.
We go on a discovery tour through the house – from the cellar to the attic, we are allowed to look into the rooms and breathe in the air of past years.
First you go through the ground floor with its lounges, bar areas, lounges and the restaurant. Some areas are furnished in the style of the “good old days”. The Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt e. V. (Freudenstadt Cultural Monuments Association) tries to gather as many original pieces of furniture as possible to complement the existing furniture. You can see from the furniture that the ravages of time are gnawing away at it. But nevertheless, it still seems as if a guest would come around the corner at any moment and the old house would come to life. I am amazed at how generously everything has been laid out.
In the cellar we come to the Zwitscherstube, or rather what is left of it.
In the 50s to 70s, the Zwitscherstube was the trendy dance and entertainment club in Freudenstadt. Unfortunately, in the 90s, the rooms were converted into conference rooms and thus structurally changed.
The Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt e. V. is now trying to restore the rooms to their original state. We are already discovering the first murals that are to be preserved and a seating area in one corner of the room. I particularly like the tables. Here the name says it all!
Then we start a tour of the upper floors of the house. There are some hotel rooms here with furniture in them – I am surprised that each room looks different.
Even the bathrooms are equipped differently.
The floors creak as I walk down the long corridors. I slowly lose my orientation in the maze of rooms and suites. Some rooms used to present guests with a wonderful view of the Black Forest – today you have trouble opening the windows and doors and stepping out onto the balcony. The wood has warped over the years, the hinges squeak.
Little by little we wander through the empty hotel until we stand in front of “the” room. In front of “the” room that turned a normal hotel into a haunted hotel.
Hotel Waldlust – from Grand Hotel to Haunted Hotel
I already mentioned that everything changed with the violent death of Adi, the good soul of the house.
After the hotel reopened in the 1960s, employees spoke for the first time of inexplicable occurrences in the house. Allegedly, there were spirits in the house, spirits of unredeemed souls who were stuck on earth and could not reach the afterlife.
What is true about that? I do not know. In any case, in 2005 scientists from an institute in Freiburg spent 3 months examining the castle and the stories surrounding it. They were told unbelievable stories of ghostly apparitions, spinning electrical devices and sudden sensations of cold. Some of the experiences could be cleared up; the building services were the cause of many phenomena. Other stories could never be solved. In 2011, another team investigated the Hotel Waldlust again – with newer equipment, newer methods and different approaches. Ghost hunters tried to lure the ghosts out of their hiding place – the result, nothing happened…
One room in particular came up again and again in the stories. Yes, and it was exactly in front of this room that we stood and listened to the stories about the haunted hotel. Adi is said to have died in this room.
The door is opened for us and we enter the room.
After all the stories beforehand, I’m honestly glad that it’s broad daylight, there’s no spooky music playing and I don’t actually believe in inexplicable things. Actually – but you never know.
We are standing in a hotel room that is still furnished. The bed is untouched, there is no curtain wobbling and no cool breeze is blowing past the back of my neck.
Adi doesn’t seem to mind our presence – or is she just away in another area of the hotel?
Or is the haunted hotel just the imagination of the hotel’s former guests and employees. I won’t be able to solve the mystery!
Film location – Hotel Waldlust
If not here, then where?! The old hotel is an excellent film location. Several productions have already taken place here and during our tour of the hotel we actually come across locations of some film scenes.
We walk past a dirty bathtub in the hotel that was filled with “blood” during a shooting.
We pass a room with only a chair and the hotel key in the lock. This is also where the film was shot. In daylight it all looks quite unspectacular, but in the film with the right effects these places do not bode well.
We learn that music videos have been made here and so have some film and television productions.
“Haunted – Souls Without Peace” with Sky du Mont was filmed in January 2017 in the icy cold in the unheated building. The series tells haunted stories, unsolved eerie tales, and isn’t a haunted hotel just the right filming location?
The horror thriller “Bela Kiss: Prologue” was also filmed in Freudenstadt at the Hotel Waldlust. I haven’t seen the film yet, but only read reviews and now I think I will never see the film either. The content alone sounds terrible…
One of the latest productions made at the Grand Hotel Waldlust is the ZDF crime thriller “Und tot bist du!” with Jessica Schwarz and Max von Thun as the investigator duo.
Spend the night in a haunted hotel?
Believe it or not, even though the whole house is unused, you can spend the night here. During our tour of the abandoned building, we come to a locked door on the second floor. Behind it is an area that has been made usable as a hotel room for visitors. After the association had thoroughly cleaned everything and renewed the furnishings (don’t expect luxury, it’s simple and functional), the project “Staying overnight in a monument/haunted hotel/lost place” could begin.
In the conservatory suite there is electricity and running water, the beds are made and awaiting the guest. The area has a maximum of 6 sleeping places, but they are all in connected rooms.
Should the hotel guest be out and about in the building at night, he or she will walk through a largely unheated building.
On the ground floor, the reception will be unmanned and there is little light to illuminate the long corridors.
But so that he doesn’t die of thirst and hunger, there is a coffee machine on the ground floor and drinks in the “American Bar”. In the morning there is extra pension breakfast.
Interested in a night in an uninhabited hotel with the creepy factor? Simply send an email to
and request more detailed information.
The association regularly offers photo tours of the hotel. There are also guided tours of the house, where you can experience the history of the house and the atmosphere on site first hand.
We can definitely recommend a visit to the Grand Hotel Waldlust. I found the visit very interesting and I had the feeling that I had discovered a lost place.
Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt e. V.
Disclosure: The visit to Hotel Waldlust was part of our blogger trip to Freudenstadt and Loßburg. The report corresponds exclusively to our impressions and was written independently of the visit.