Made of margravial sandstone, like the neighbouring, world-famous Bibiena Opera House, filled with two centuries of distinguished guest history, guarded by the Hessian Grand Duke's coat of arms, and adored by guests from around the world as their own personal home from home. For many visitors, the Hotel Goldener Anker has been and remains the ideal place to drop anchor during their stay in Bayreuth.
The name of the house is a nod to the margravial passion for naval battles, which were staged in their specially created artificial lake. The lake was located in the historic district of Sankt Georgen, which has preserved its authentic flair and is worth a visit to this day.
As early as 1841, the "Anker" was praised in Bayreuth's oldest guide book as "clean, spacious and elegant". Less than fifty years later it was mentioned as the best hotel in town. Duchesses, princesses and queens honoured it with their presence, and its tables buckled under the weight of princely dishes. Russian caviar, Rhine salmon à l' anglaise, veal olives, Pomeranian goose breast, for example, as at the birthday celebrations of Prince Regent
Luitpold, five years before the turn of the century. And the table was no less exquisitely set for the citizens of Bayreuth.
In 1927, the Anker's restaurant area was significantly shaped by the Bayreuth architect Adolf Schmoll, who fundamentally transformed the ground floor in the Art Deco style. To this day, the rooms have remained an attraction in their own right, delighting the discerning guest.
The household ghost
The Hotel Goldener Anker. Its walls are centuries old; its tradition is centuries old. Throughout the building, there is a gentle air of times gone by. The hotel is a wise old witness to older and more modern history.
It’s perhaps then not surprising that, in such ancient walls as the Anker’s, it wouldn’t be long before a mysterious, spiritual being made an appearance.
The presence of this ghost can be felt if you allow yourself to believe in him - the building with its old masonry and its aura offer him a perfect habitat.
He accompanies his people - he lives in the hotel, he watches over the hotel, and sometimes he amuses himself by poking fun at the guests and owners, playing humorous pranks on them.
Provided, of course, that he’s in good spirits. And provided that his presence is respected. With a generous portion of both charm and persistence, he convinces and enthrals his sceptics…
And with a bit of luck, you might even catch a glimpse of him. Some of the hotel’s regular guests have tales to tell of such incidents:
For example, a door that was standing open closes for no apparent reason. Or a door creaks open, although it was thought to have been firmly closed.
On some beautiful evenings, he helps himself from the table at social gatherings. Once, for example, a finely polished teapot containing sweetened Earl Grey tea miraculously, as if guided by an invisible hand, emptied itself into a teacup. All the guests could hear was merely an indulgent slurping sound.
A household ghost - a delusion? Hardly - considering the long years that this spirit has been lingering here, and how accommodating he is of each new generation with their respective quirks.
But there is no need for concern - we are not dealing here with a ghost that wants to make you shudder.
He is what he is and always has been: a kindly spirit, an old soul that urges us to pause, who observes events from a distance and then comments on them in his own very special way. A good, old-school house-ghost, a soul without an e-mail address or a mobile phone. A blessing in our hectic times.
Every year, once again, it is well worth “dropping anchor” as a guest at the “Anker”.