The History of our Family Hotel
from the perspective of Eva Carlitz and Melanie Bungenberg
It all began in the year 1974. Our father Toni was working in the credit department for the Sparkasse Aachen, our mother Rosi was very busy with their two baby children Eva (almost 1 and a half) and Michael who was only a few weeks old. Our grandparents, Angela and Heinz Nicke, were running the Restaurant zum Walde which belonged to the family in the third generation, together with her sister and brother in law.
One fine - and important - day, our grandparents asked our father to build "a few guestrooms" into the restaurant's garden. No sooner said than done - but during the construction phase our grandfather got seriously ill so he couldn't oversee such a project in addition to everyday's work. That's how, even before the first guests checked in during the CHIO 1975, it was clear that our parents would run the small hotel with 15 bed rooms. What was originally planned to be an extension of the restaurant was an independent small business right from the beginning.
Our father's daily routine was that he drove to the hotel very early in the morning to do the check outs, then went to his "usual" work in the Sparkasse and later stayed in the hotel until very late to attend to our guests. During the first hotel year our mother zoomed to the hotel from our private house with her moped whenever a guest wanted to check in, taking her two children aged 2 and 3 with her. Very soon our parents started to realise that this was not the right way to run a hotel professionally. But as a hotel with breakfast only and 15 rooms was too small to feed a family of 4, the second half of the hotel building and the lobby area were built during 1977 and 1979. Now we had 38 rooms, swimming-pool, sauna, lift, sun terracce and three conference rooms - and to complete the family, a third child!
Then, during the 80s, there were so many guests staying for a longer time that there was still demand for more rooms. These were supposed to differ from the usual hotel rooms, like being larger, with lots of space to live and work and having a kitchenette. That's how in 1989 our Apartment Building 1 with the function restaurant Rochuskeller and then in 1992 the buildings 2 and 3 with garages and underground car park were build.
Additionally, to enable our guests to relax and enjoy their stay, a wellness area with cosmetical treatments and massages was opened, likewise 2 skittle alleys, darts and a gym. Those days we were real exotes offering cosmetical treatments to hotel residents and still belong to the earliest wellness hotels in Germany!
Today we are very proud of all the guests that we were allowed to welcome in our house. It already started with the 5th July 1975, the day of the opening, when we had an oldtimer club for the 39th CHIO with us. All the participants were dressed according to the epoch of their car. We've rarely seen as much elegance at a time as on that day.
We were also allowed to serve some very important people:
Politicians like the former North Rhine-Westphalia Minister of Justice Inge Donnepp in combination with Klaus Kinkel, the Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland, awarded for the Karlspreis, the PDS German fraction of the Bundestag with Stefan Heym and Gregor Gysi;
artists like opera singer Rudolf Schock, hit singer Chris Roberts, Bernhard Brink, Stefan Mross, Bata Iljic, Cologne's rock star Wolfgang Niedecken from BAP, the Vienna Boys Choir, Silbermond,
actors like Siegfried Lowitz ("Der Alte"), Christine Kaufmann, Frank Voss, "Welt der Wunder" TV anchorman Hendrik Hey,
athletes like the Formula 1 drivers from Jordan, Giancarlo Fisichella, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Jarno Trulli, Jean Alesi, Takuma Sato as well as the former teamchef Eddie Jordan, the German Street Cyclists National Team with well-known pros like Udo Bölts, the Russian Handball National Team, which was there for the opening of the Rochuskeller after they won the olympic gold medal in Seoul in 1988, Carlo Thränhardt with the world's elite of high jumpers, the football team 1. FC Saarbrücken, the Rugby team Cologne Crocodiles, the National Teams of the volleyball female juniors of China and Germany,
Personalities from the German and International Naturist Federation during worldwide meetings of the INF and federation meetings of the DFK and, last but not least,
Generals of the US Army, like the four star general Montgomery C. Meigs and the four star general B. B. Bell (both were Commanding General of the US Army in Europe when staying with us).
But the most important VIP guests are our regular guests, all of them enormously nice people that visit us continuously, some of them since more than 20 years. It's due to them that we still have fun while working and that we are always looking for ways of improvement to carry over our enthusiasm to our guests.
Our parents have always attached great importance to the professional education of junior employees. So Eva, having finished her vocational training in our hotel, won the DEHOGA (German Hotels Association) Junior Championships for the region North Rhine and the Federal State North Rhine-Westphalia and was therefore allowed to take part in the German Championship, where she managed to finish fourth in 1994. Two years later - she had already started her business and economy university studies - she achieved the third position in the Sommelier Junior Championship of the German Wine Institute.
Melanie, the little sister, finished her vocational training 6 years later being the best hotel trainee in the guild with a triple A in theory, practical and oral examination. After she passed her business studies at the university with distinction, her thesis was awarded the "Diplomandenpreis" of the SEW-Eurodrive-Stiftung in Bruchsal in 2006 for outstanding academic work, together with four other business theses from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
We think that a qualified and personal training of young potentials is of highest importance. That's why we actively support our up to 8 trainees who thank this engagement with extraordinary friendlyness, hospitality and service orientation and especially with good performances in the examination.