Risen from the ruins

Despite the great decline in working mills along the Franconian Saale River, the Neumühle was a working farm mill until the first decades of the 20th century. Old photos show a public, cobbled street leading to the mill. After the Second World War, the estate fell into disrepair until the sleeping beauty was awoken in the 1970s – if it was (had) to be purchased, then something should be done with it – and converted at first into a vacation spot for anglers and nature lovers.

Preserving the ancient – The first building phase, from 1974 to 1979, restored the original mill buildings in keeping with their historical appearance. This part of the estate is referred to as the “Old Part” (reception), the “Barn” (the restaurant), the “Wine Press”, the “Bake House”, the “Threshing Floor” and the “Granary” (hotel rooms). The aim was to retain the substance of the old buildings, to restore the wells, barrages and mill wheel, and to bring the complex into harmony with the river landscape. Old World craftsmanship was required to keep the traditional half-timbered design true to the original. Antique farmhouse furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries was collected, and paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists were hung in the common areas and guest rooms. In 1980, the first guests were welcomed to the hotel.

Gradual expansion – The encouragement and enthusiasm of the first guests led to the second building phase (1980 – 1983). Through the careful restoration of the original buildings, more guest rooms, a swimming pool, a relaxation room, a sauna and a meeting room for 30 people emerged. More treasures, both paintings and sculptures, completed the now considerable collection, each with its own perfect place. In 1999, a third, smaller building phase expanded the sauna area and updated the swimming pool. The Neumühle entered the modern era in 2000 when it went online with its first website. In 2001, the hotel was awarded four stars by the Hotel and Restaurant Association, reflecting the hotel’s high standards.

Under water – Whenever melt water causes flooding on the Rhön River, the Franconian Saale floods as well. 2003 entered the annals of history when, on January 3rd, a tidal wave from Bad Kissingen brought the “Flood of the Century” to the Neumühle. The large lawn was completely flooded, the tops of the mill wheels were no longer visible, and the water rose so quickly in the mill yard that its level could be measured on the trunk of the big chestnut tree. Only with the help of the fire brigade was the catastrophe brought under control. Once the waters receded, it took quite some time before all the damage was repaired.

A Romantik Hotel since 2005 – It seems only logical that extensive protective measures against flooding were included in the hotel’s last large building phase (2005 -2007). The project was carried out under the supervision of Hans-Jürg Schultheiss, who replaced the previous manager, Hans-Dieter Berdon, in 2004. Another major milestone was reached in 2005 when the Neumühle joined the “Romantik Hotels.”

800 sqm of wellness – 2007 brought one more new building, although one could argue that after its completion the mill looks just the same. A half-timbered façade, sandstone and natural stone walls, the height of the roof, the gables – the new building was in perfect harmony with the original ensemble. It added approximately 800 square metres of space to the Neumühle and is devoted almost exclusively to the spa: light and airy rooms with lots of wood and stone, a generous sauna and treatment area, relaxation and fitness areas, two fireplace suites and a private spa suite for relaxing à deux… No wonder the German Wellness Association granted our spa the Premium Certificate and a “Very Good” rating in 2011, after twice granting it the Foundation Certificate (in 2007 and 2009).

New ideas lie in wait – Transformed from a derelict grain mill into an angler’s retreat, then into a luxurious country hotel with the highest ratings. One could almost say that the Neumühle’s journey has come to an end, that it has earned a well-deserved rest. But who knows what plans are still in the making, what good ideas are waiting to be realised? Compared to the 500-year history of the old grain mill, the Romantik Hotel Neumühle is still rather young…


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