History & the house­hold ghost

History

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”.

Konstanze Vernon