A little bit of history

Wiesbaden, Germany – one of the oldest spa towns in Europe and steeped in history: it’s where a 24-year-old Elvis met the 14-year-old Priscilla in the same year that tennis ace John McEnroe was born… in Wiesbaden, of course. It’s also the location of Europe’s oldest grand hotel: the Radisson Blu Schwarzer Bock Hotel which started life as a bath house in 1486.
The first owner of the bath house was the Mayor of Wiesbaden, Philipp zu Bock – his mane of black hair (schwarz is black in German) and the fact that bock means goat in German meant that the name, Schwarzer Bock, or Black Goat, caught on. The Bock grew in popularity and notoriety until, in 1637, it reported being “fairly deserted” and having “no residents”, not surprising when you consider that Wiesbaden’s entire population was only 51 after the devastation of the on-going Thirty Years War. That year was also the second time the Bock had been rebuilt – the first being in 1578 when it was destroyed by fire.
In 1717, a horse bath was erected and was considered to be very impressive and 19 years later the Bock was awarded the accolade of ‘Bath House of the First Order.’ This honour made it even more popular and it even appeared in several Frankfurt marriage contracts allowing wives to take the Wiesbaden waters without their husbands! (Only once a year, though.)



Continued prosperity

Golden Detail

Golden Detail

Fast forward to 1818 and we see Goethe proclaiming from the bath waters: “The primary duty of every bather is not to sit and think, but rather to bend to a higher purpose his wit, and make a merry life of it.” And then in 1865 Dostoevsky wrote his novel ‘The Gambler’ while staying there.

At the beginning of the last century, a room cost 5 marks (around 3.50 US dollars) and the hotel was equipped with electric lighting, lifts and 220 beds and, twenty years later, the price was still 5 marks even though each room now had running water.

After almost being destroyed again during the Second World War, the hotel resumed its success and in 1987 it became the first German hotel to feature in ‘Distinguished Hotels of the World’.


Today, much of the grandeur and history of the hotel is still in evidence.


Today, much of the grandeur and history of the hotel is still in evidence. Thanks to numerous re-builds over the century the interior is quirky, delightfully uneven and the amazing Ingelheim Room has wood paneling and carvings dating back to the 16th century.  The Radisson Blu Schwarzer Bock Hotel, Wiesbaden has a spa, naturally, where the pool is filled with natural spring water and where guests and locals alike, enjoy the waters and range of treatments.

So, if you fancy going back in time, grab yourself a drink in Bistro 1486 and let your mind wander. It’s amazing what you can imagine when you try…

Radisson Blu Schwarzer Bock Hotel_Bockbrunnen

Radisson Blu Schwarzer Bock Hote_Badhaus_Liegebereich