Königswinter Final spurt at the Grandhotel Petersberg: the final renovation works should be finished by the end of May. Most of the rooms are ready, including the former Thüringen Hall now called the Adenauer Salon.
The scaffolding that dominated the view of the Grandhotel Petersberg from the valley for a year has disappeared. The guest house of the federal government shines in a new ochre-yellow splendour.
Not all renovation works are yet completed. “The building works will be finished by the end of May,” says Joachim Burdack, project manager for the Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks (Bima), during a tour of the building.
In June, only minor remaining work and jobs in the outside area will be required. After all, everything needs to be immaculate for the Petersberg Dialogue taking place at the Petersberg from 18 to 20 July. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to take part in the meeting.
Vladimir Saal, managing director of Gästehaus Petersberg GmbH, is extremely tight-lipped about this topic: “These are contacts with customers that we basically cannot say anything about.”
Finally show that the Petersberg is back
What he can report is that the hotel is currently fully booked on the days in question. “But that doesn’t mean that excursion guests can’t use the beer garden.” Burdack, on the other hand, thinks this is out of the question. Also, nobody wants to say whether the prominent guests are staying the night at the Petersberg.
Persistent questioning is in vain, but this does not mean those responsible are not looking forward to the high-ranking visit. “We are incredibly happy they are coming. It is a fantastic start to show the public that the Petersberg is back,” says Saal.
Bar in the south wing is named after Nelson Mandela
Those in charge are happy to show the rooms in the south wing, which are already finished. From the reception you enter the former Sachsen Hall, which is now called the Nelson Mandela Piano Bar.
As with so much in the hotel, there is a story behind this. During a state visit in the 1990s, Nelson Mandela sang a song here with school classes that were visiting the Petersberg.
From the bar, you reach the room where the famous carpet scene took place. It is now no longer called the Thüringen Hall but rather the Adenauer Salon. In September 1949, Konrad Adenauer, who had only been elected Federal Chancellor a few days earlier, stepped confidently onto the carpet on which the three High Commissioners faced him and presented him with the Occupation Statue of Germany, and in so doing put himself on an equal footing with them.
In this room, the parquet floor and the chimney surround were refurbished, as well as the carving on the wooden columns. From there, you continue into the breakfast room with a great view of the Drachenfels, although this is still impaired by scaffolding.
Restaurants for every taste
The room replaces the former breakfast room in the north wing. This is now Ferdinands Weinrestaurant, which serves international cuisine. The name is a reminder of the builder of the hotel, Ferdinand Mühlens.
Those who prefer something more substantial have been able since last year to eat steaks in Bill’s Restaurant or smaller French dishes in Charles’ Bistro. These names are also inspired by contemporary historical figures: Bill Clinton and Charles de Gaulle.
(Original text: Hansjürgen Melzer. Translation: kc)