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