The Excelsior Hotel Ernst with a view of Cologne Cathedral, the Dom, was built in 1863. Carl Ernst was the constructor and first owner of the hotel, which was formerly called “Hotel Ernst”. Eight years later, in 1871, Carl Ernst sold the hotel to Friedrich Kracht. Four years after buying the hotel, Kracht died and his wife and son, Carl Kracht, had to manage the Innenstadt hotel. Meanwhile, the hotel had become part of Cologne’s better society, and in 1884, Carl Kracht was appointed Prince of the Cologne Carnival – a big honor in Cologne. From early times, the hotel had famous guests, such as German Emperor William I and American artist Andy Warhol.
In 1889, Carl Kracht married Emma Pauline Baur of the Swiss Hoteliers family Baur, who owned both the famous Hotel Baur au Lac and the Savoy Baur en Ville. Carl Kracht and his family lived in Zurich and he managed the Hotel Baur au Lac. After his wedding, he appointed a general manager to take care of the Hotel Ernst’s operations.
From 1908 to 1910 the Hotel Ernst was rebuilt and re-opened as Grand-Hotel Excelsior Hotel Ernst with at the time unparalleled comfort: 100 rooms out of 250 had a private bathroom. In 1918, after World War I, the British Army moved into the hotel and used it as their headquarters during the occupation of the Rhineland. On 31 December 1926 Excelsior Hotel Ernst celebrated its second re-opening after the British army left. During World War II, a part of the hotel was damaged and the owner family was very concerned to rebuild it as soon as the war was over. So, another re-opening took place after the end of World War II.
In 1986 a new wing was constructed. The hotel is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group and the Kracht family is still the owner.
My check-in was pleasant, swift and the agent escorted me to the room and explained all features of the room.
My room was a Grand Deluxe room in the Hansewing. It was generous in size with a comfortable bed, a working desk, an all-inclusive minibar and a good sized bathroom.
The hotel has a piano bar and two restaurants, both of which are famous. Restaurant taku has one Michelin star and offers modern Asian cuisine. The hotel’s second restaurant is the famous Hanse Stube restaurant.
Hanse Stube restaurant is well-known for its elegant and friendly atmosphere. It is an award winning restaurant and has become famous in Germany. People from Cologne, as well as international guests, have been enjoying innovative French cuisine combined with regional influences at this restaurant for decades.
I had breakfast at the Hanse Stube restaurant which offered a wide choice of food and freshly prepared egg dishes. The service was a bit unconfident and slow but that may have been due to the fact that only a single staff member was on duty at the time. It was early morning and only about 4 – 5 guests were present but the full buffet was available.
There is a small gym with a sauna, steam room, rain and a cold shower and a relaxing room available on the top floor. The gym is impeccably clean, featuring plenty of towels, drinking water, fruit and all necessary items for a relaxing evening after a busy day.
The Excelsior Hotel Ernst is a very pleasant hotel. Modern, centrally located, just opposite the Dom and 2 min walk from the main train station and the Rhine River. The staff I met were friendly and helpful. The hotel tends to get very busy during Fair times and enjoys many return guests.
I can highly recommend the Excelsior Hotel Ernst in Cologne if you are looking for a luxury hotel with an excellent location and distinguished service.