The Schlosshotel Wartegg on Lake Constance can look back on a long history. In 1557, Kaspar Blarer von Wartensee, bailiff of Arbon, serving the diocese of Constance, had built the castle Wartegg on a former estate. Through the centuries, the castle changed hands several times and after 1950 began to decay more and more.
In 1994, the Mijnssen family aquires the castle and most of the English landscape park and awakens the castle Wartegg from its decades-long deep slumber. They carefully renovate the premises to bring out a sustainable, modern hotel with an exquisite organic restaurant.
In spring 2015, the Appenzell press (link in German) published a storybook about the castle Wartegg, written by Otmar Elsener. Combined with the attractive picture selection and design of Adrian Elsener, this book creates a very lively and nuanced picture of the castle Wartegg, its inhabitants and involved people. Although the history of this place seemed to be already „written“, a different historical approach has led to interesting new aspects: You will be surprised!
The book (in German) is available at the reception or in the bookshop. It costs CHF 38.00.
(all links in German)
Kaspar Blarer von Wartensee, bailiff of Arbon, serving the diocese of Constance, builds the castle Wartegg on a former estate. The ancestral seat of the Blarer von Wartensee family is the castle Wartensee, situated only a short distance away, which today is also operated as a castle hotel. In 1530, his brother Diethelm Blarer von Wartensee is appointed as abbot of the abbey of St. Gallen. He consolidates the position of the princely abbey in the turbulences of the reformation.
Sebastian Peregrin Zwyer von Evibach owns the castle for a short period of time. Eleven years back, at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, he obtained together with the mayor of Basel Rudolf Wettstein the independence of the Swiss Confederation from the German Empire. He is regarded as one of the leading diplomatic personalities of the Confederation in the 17th century.
Fidel von Thurn und Valsassina, counsellor of the princely abbey of St. Gallen, acquires the castle from the abbey. He builds the west wing of the castle as guest wing for his many diplomatic activities such as the placement of mercenaries from poor Swiss peasant families as so-called Reisläufer (Swiss mercenaries) that served under the French Crown. The castle remains in the property of his descedants until 1823.
Throughout its multifarious history, the castle Wartegg repeatedly serves as a refuge. Marquis de Bombelles for example was a diplomat serving the French king, his wife a court lady of the sister of king Louis XVI in Versailles. The castle becomes a place of exile for this noble family that fled from the revolutionary turmoil in France. The diaries of the Wynne sisters also date back to that period. The two girls ingeniously describe their stay at the castle Wartegg where they sojourned as guests of the Bombelle family or indirectly of the Thurn und Valsassina family.
Louise von Bourbon-Parma, duchess and regent of Parma, acquires the castle Wartegg as place of exile. In the years that follow, the castle is extended by the south wing and the masterful English landscape park. Her granddaughter Zita gets married to the last Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne and becomes empress. After the empire ends in 1919, the family finds exile at the castle Wartegg for a few months. 1924, the Bourbon-Parma family has to give up the castle.
The German industrialist Dr. Gustav Mez acquires the castle and realises the last transformation and extensive renovation. The original stair tower is replaced by a spacious staircase and the „turquoise bath“ with its historic Persian glaze technique is installed. In 1906, Mez founded the innovative „Mercedes Bureau-Maschinen GmbH„ (Mercedes office machines Ltd.), that produced typewriters and calculating machines. The latter were being produced in the former GDR until the 1980s. At the end of the 1950s, the Mez family has to give up the castle.
During the following decades with mostly speculative interests, the castle decays more and more, the park is only treated as building land reserve. A growing interest of the population in the protection of the English landscape park are partly taken into account for the communal planning which ensures the public access to the park.
The Mijnssen family awakens the castle Wartegg from its decades-long deep slumber: They acquire the castle and most of the English landscape park eastward and carefully renovate the premises to bring out a sustainable, modern hotel with an exquisite historic garden-fresh gastronomy. The Cultural Club Wartegg revives the connection to artistic inspirations.
Opening of the hotel: The sustainable hotel concept with its inspiring atmosphere is geared to the needs of seminar and individual guests as well as families.
In 2007, a planned large-scale building project is dropped and a preservation order put on most of the land instead. The land owners that were concerned by that project are compensated. Thanks to the recognition as a national garden monument, the Wartegg landscape park foundation, which is now the owner of a key parcel of land, could be founded with funds from nature and landscape conservation organisations as well as private funds. In 2013, the Friends’ association of the Wartegg park follows in the footsteps of the initiative Wartegg park interest group (IG Warteggpark).