The Black Forest - rich in Romantik Hotels - captures me again on the spot after my onward journey from Hotel Spielweg. The hills, then overcast with clouds (the Swiss find it a little difficult to speak of mountains here), are not the only thing that the roads wind up like ivy on the centuries-old trees to the left and right of them. Above all, the silence and seclusion here is fascinating.
The drive over a few small passes, past the impressive Fahler and Todtnau waterfalls, and the valley opens up to the picturesque Schluchsee. Originally conceived as a reservoir - it is still there to generate electricity - the elongated lake is now a centre of attraction for water sports enthusiasts, anglers and swimmers. I even saw larger excursion boats sailing across the lake. But my goal and purpose of the trip was quite different. Towards the end of the lake, on the edge of the village of Schluchsee, lies the Boutique Hotel Mühle.
A young team led by hotel director Marius Tröndle has transformed the stately house, built in 1603 as a flour mill for the monastery of St. Blasien, into an oasis of well-being. Tröndle is a fan of Japan, as the simple, minimalist style reveals. Careful emphasis was placed on the historical evidence inside, such as the extremely low ceilings in the lounge and breakfast room. The welcome couldn't be more cordial; they immediately offer the companionable "you", which suits me very well as a cosmopolitan free spirit. For the registration process, I am invited into the tastefully decorated lounge, a glass of Riesling sparkling wine helps with the paperwork. The ten rooms are spread over three floors, although room is not the right word for my sleeping quarters. More like an apartment, with an anteroom containing two sofas, a large bathroom, and what I appreciate very much, a separate toilet. Sloping ceilings and walls add to the cozy character, I know I will sleep well here.
Talking to the manager of the hotel, it quickly becomes clear to me why this actually classic weekend hotel is practically always booked up during the week. The kitchen crew around head chef Niclas Nussbaumer received a Michelin star for their services. I'm looking forward to my dinner even more! But first I while away the afternoon in the sauna and then read through the extensive culinary literature in the lounge with another glass of wine.
The evening in the fine dining restaurant with just twenty seats gets off to a great start: With wonderful Gillardeau oysters with wasabi, a zander 'sandwich' and an aubergine tartelette with Belper tuber as an amuse bouche, I start into the extremely creatively composed seven-course meal. For each course I receive a matching glass of wine, the sommelier introduces me mainly to German wines and I was more than happy about that, a stupendous selection! Vegetables and fish dominated the first five courses, I particularly remembered raw scallop with lettuce and the pike perch combined with calf's head with yuzu koshu.
For the main course, chef Nussbaumer, who is not yet thirty, again drew on the region. Perfectly roasted entrecote from a Black Forest heifer and mushrooms from the woods. Cheese from a local affineur and a delicious rhubarb dessert rounded off my feast.
After such a meal, it is easy to find sleep; the extremely comfortable bed did not let me out until late in the morning. Breakfast, however, is served until shortly before noon, which makes it easier to stroll around when getting up.
Director Marius Tröndle is already busy with his next project. Downstairs, directly at the Schluchsee, he is developing the Auerhahn Hotel into a new hotspot. A. A guesthouse with 64 rooms, wellness, as well as gourmet and excursion restaurants, and in the hotel's own shop, home-made, trendy products such as gin and sausages will one day be sold. God knows, the 29-year-old can't be accused of lacking energy! His dream: to relaunch Schluchsee as a tourist destination and above all as a place of culinary longing. After my visit to the mill, I don't doubt it for a second!