It goes without saying that, since there is a New Palace Meersburg, there had to be an Old Palace Meersburg first. The latter was neither a spacious nor a representative enough residence for the then-ruling Prince-Bishops of Constance, who were advised to change address to Meersburg after Constance had become protestant. More distinguished quarters were asked for and they decided for a handsome annex befitting their elevated status (that was in 1710). Later, further posh extensions added another layer of glamour to the building. Now of stunning grandeur and in line even with prime princely requirements, the new Baroque structure became a magnificent venue of unseen splendour – and a fashionable meeting point for the influential and powerful of their time.
After its secularisation in 1802/03, the palace was beleaguered by French invaders, served as a religious institution for females only, became a prison, a training ground for sailors, an asylum for the deaf and dumb and was finally converted into a regular school for children. Since 1962 the palace is accessible for public events and exhibitions.
Recently the federal state of Baden Wuerttemberg saw to a reconstruction and renovation costing around 4,8 million euros, 1,3 million of which were invested in interior refurbishment – the gastronomic outlet included. Following a public tendering procedure, the proud new tenants for the restaurant in high demand are now the Finkbeiners, more of a dynasty than a mere family when it comes to hotelier and gourmet matters. They are owners of the renowned five-star hotel Traube Tonbach situated in idyllic Black Forrest hillside. Their restaurant ‘Schwarzwaldstube’ run by congenial Chef Harald Wohlfart, boasts three impressive Michelin stars and 19,5 Gault Millau points – not only making it number one in Germany; it also enjoys the reputation of being one of Europe’s leading restaurants. www.traube-tonbach.de
A lake-side venue for memorable events
Since May 2012, the restaurant at the New Palace Meersburg (seating 30) plus the catering for the entire venue is managed by junior Matthias Finkbeiner, who at only 33, displays an astonishing vita. The Finkbeiners estimate that about 200 events are going to take place here each year.
To this day, the palace has forfeited nothing of its original lavishness and regality and is a handsome sight in any season. Perched on a hill-top overlooking Lake Constance and the peaks of the nearby Alps, it treats its visitors to a captivating panoramic view. The New Palace Meersburg may be a charming testimony of bygone glory – but it is also a glorious example of a venue of the present, now equipped with two worldly elevators and a barrier-free certificate.
Due to its unique fairy-tale setting, it renders an ideal backdrop for romantic weddings or scenic films. For professional meetings, conventions or seminars the palace provides eight atmospheric meeting rooms between 41 and 189 s.qm, an aristocratic vestibule (100 pax) for receptions and small concerts, plus the garden terrace, generously spreading out over 500 lake-view square meters suitable for approx. 60 pax seated.
Meersburg is a town on the German shores of Lake Constance (also known as the Swabian Sea), which is shared with Austria and Switzerland.
Photos provided by Traube Tonbach.