Lost Place: Castle Hotel Waldlust - Black Thoughts in the Black Forest

3 min read

"The oldest and strongest emotion is fear, the oldest and strongest form of fear is fear of the unknown." H.P. Lovecraft

A gloomy dance hall with heavy marble columns, which today is at best a filming location for a crime tango: the dilapidated Schlosshotel Waldlust in Freudenstadt is a chamber of horrors with grandeur in the middle of the Black Forest. Between burst pipes and dust-covered books, the unredeemed souls of former residents are said to haunt. No wonder the former luxury domicile is a popular setting for horror and crime novels - and a place of pilgrimage for photographers in search of the morbid.


The Hotel in a Castle Waldlust shortly after the opening - with hotelier Erst Luz (seated on the left)

Creaking floorboards, rattling doors, clanking window panes - the Hotel Waldlust, once a meeting place for nobility and celebrities, is now a place as enchanted as it is creepy. What could be more fascinating than such a 'lost place'? Especially since eerie anecdotes surround the Art Nouveau villa with the air of the mystical. Opened in 1902 as a grand hotel, kings, sultans and princes met with high society under its magnificent stucco ceilings. The noble hotel had its grandiose heyday under Adele 'Adi' B., who knew how to lure the social crème de la crème to the Black Forest with dance events and congresses. In 1949, she is said to have been murdered in the then world-famous hotel and to have haunted the house ever since.


Silent film stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were among the luxury hotel's guests in the 1930s. (Bain News Service, publisher)

Shaking glasses and haunting ghosts

After the violent death of Adele B., a military hospital was installed in the building - at that time, many people died in the magnificent ambience of the former grand hotel. Later, however, in the 1960s, the Waldlust was reopened as a guesthouse. Soon there were wild rumors that the house was cursed, that unredeemed souls were stuck here and were up to mischief as ghosts. The hotel staff reported inexplicable happenings: shaking glasses, a woman with a white veil scurrying by, sudden chills and musty smells, babies crying at night even though there is no baby. The elevator also reportedly went up and down for no reason, and electrical appliances suddenly stopped working. Just as suddenly, they ran again.

Lost Place
© Peter H.

The Waldlust Castle Hotel today

The luxury hotel was built in 1902 for the hotelier Ernst Luz according to the plans of the architect Wilhelm Vittali (1859-1920) from Baden-Baden, who was considered a specialist for spa and hotel buildings. The elegant Waldlust summer house became an exclusive hotel with 140 rooms, 60 private baths and 100 sunbathing balconies. It became world famous, but after the violent death of the last owner, a changeable period followed, interspersed with conversions and vacancies. Since 2005 it has been unused and is for sale. The Freudenstadt Association for Cultural Monuments (Verein für Kulturdenkmale Freudenstadt e. V.) is responsible for the preservation of the cultural monument and its park. It secures the building and park and offers guided tours, events and overnight stays in the dilapidated hotel. Information, dates and registration at www.waldlust-denkmal.de



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