Palmenwald Hotel – history and health at home away from home

Palmenwald Hotel – one of the symbols of Freudenstadt – was built in 1895 as a “healing home” (Kurhaus) by the respected entrepreneur and social reformer Paul Lechler from Stuttgart. The romantic Jugenstil and the healing climate turned it into a preferred place for relaxation. The owner made the most from the building’s potential – apart from “healing home” and hotel, it also functioned as a pension for gentle maids. During the First and Second World War, the building was used as a military infirmary. The unique soldiers’ paintings with black paint on the walls of the underground hotel premises are a protected cultural monument with no equivalent in the region.

During the 1960s, Palmenwald was reconstructed in accordance with the then modern forms of balneological tourism and the hotel gained popularity throughout Germany. A quarter of a century later, its destiny reversed. After the bankruptcy of the former owner in the 1990s, the hotel seemed to fall asleep in anticipation of a new future. It came in the face of Stephan Sharlopov – a hotel owner and a long-standing investor in balneological and SPA tourism. The potential of the antique building, its romantic history and architecture, in combination with the magnificent scenery, sparkled his enthusiasm. To preserve the valuable heritage, entwining it with the new and modern until getting a new alloy of his own creation – this is the talent of the new owner and the trademark of his company.

A large-scale reconstruction, restoration and modernization project of the hotel complex began. The design took two years, and the implementation – one. The challenge was taken on by Architect Marin Naydenov – an expert in reconstruction and restoration of old buildings, who specialized in Germany, and by the entire Bulgarian team – a long list of companies, proven professionals who implemented the interior and exterior construction solutions, stylish designer furniture and lighting, boutique textile and flooring. Through attention to every minute detail the aristocratism and romanticism of the past have been preserved, while modern quality, luxury and conveniences have been introduced.

What is special? The individualism of the new Palmenwald Hotel lies in its unique interior design, rich collection of original paintings, and its luxurious surprise – the boutique SPA, filled with tender fragrance of Bulgarian rose and temptations of the Orient.

A century after its creation, revived into a new and cozy “home away from home”, Palmenwald Hotel, now part of Sharlopov Hotels chain, welcomes guests from all over the world.

Palmenwald Schwarzwaldhof Wellness Hotel ****s was awarded by the German – Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce with the 2009 Award of the German Economy for Bulgarian Investments in Germany.


Jugenstil is an art style which emerged in Germany around the mid-1890s and continued until the first decade of the 20th century. Its name is derived from the title of the Munich magazine "Die Jugend" ("The Youth"), which printed Jugenstil design works. To differ from the similar Jugenstil in France and Belgium and the Vienna Secession, Jugenstil uses more simplified motifs, as well as images and signs from the local folklore, which makes it closest to the English Arts and Crafts.

Two periods can be identified in the Jugenstil movement: early Jugenstil, before 1900, with predominant floral motifs, which roots are the English and Japanese Jugenstil applied arts and prints, and a later, more abstract period, influenced by the Vienna works of the Belgium-born architect and designer Henry van de Velde.

In its stage-by-stage construction, Palmenwald Hotel bears the characteristics of both Jugendstil periods. In the implementation of the latest reconstruction, the project fully complies with Jugenstil movement stylistics.