Right next to the Rococo castle, this new hotel building, in all its adapted architectural splendour, has been welcoming its guests since 2015. A pool with a view over the vineyards, a sophisticated spa and a host of creative culinary delights sweeten any visitor’s time out from everyday life.
Hotel Schloss Leitheim
SPONSORED STORY It was a velvety summer evening with a starry sky rarely seen in Germany when Colette Zinsmeister saw “Schloss Leitheim” – the castle – for the first time. “Back then, I had organised the catering for a private event there and immediately felt that this place exuded a truly special power.” She could never have dreamed that she would one day be the hostess of a four-star superior hotel here.
Monastery, Castle, Hotel
The roots go deep: as early as 1134, a Cistercian monastery was founded in Kaisheim, whose monks devoted themselves to viticulture in Leitheim. The brothers also found welcome recovery and recuperation there. In 1542, the winegrower’s house was built, which today hosts the restaurant.
Around 1690, the castle was added as a retreat for the abbot – including the Rococo hall – which overflows with stucco and frescoes and is now used for concerts and celebrations. In 2008, the von Tucher family sold the ensemble to the Messerschmitt Foundation, an endeavour wholly committed to the preservation of culture. And they decided to build a hotel on the site....
“They came to me in a rather convoluted way, because I used to run the ‘Dehner Blumenhotel’ in the area for years,” says Colette Zinsmeister. The qualified hotel manager was involved from the earliest planning stages. There was no question that the new building should be a great architectural fit and nestle beautifully within this historical ensemble. Solnhofen marble floors with rose-cut patterns – such as those found in the castle and the neighbouring church – were laid in the lobby, for example.
Guests can arrive comfortably as if they were at home
Check-in at the Wooden Table
“Instead of a reception desk, there is a large wooden table for check-in; guests can arrive comfortably as if they were at home,” says the hostess. A bar designed by an Augsburg specialist with washed concrete counters and silver leaf accents acts as the room’s genuine eye-catcher.
The rooms with their beautiful plank floors also boast an elegant yet homely feel: “I didn’t want it to be ‘castle-like’, i.e. heavy and opulent, but rather to have a feel-good character,” explains Colette Zinsmeister, as she describes the style of the house, which opened in 2015.
In the same year, vines were also planted to revive the tradition upheld by the monks. In 2020, 1,400 bottles of Pinot Blanc were able to be bottled, which are also for sale in the hotel. One of these is given to every guest who books the “Digital Detox” offer and hands in their mobile devices on arrival, so that they can really enjoy the ambience and tranquillity that envelopes the castle with all their senses.
A Hostess from South Africa
Colette Zinsmeister knows a lot about wine. For years she organised wine tours to small, sustainably run wineries in her native country of South Africa. Immediately after graduating from senior school, she came to Germany – first to learn the language in Hamburg – and then to pursue her education at the “Steigenberger Hotelfachschule” Hotel Management School in Bad Reichenhall. “In the beginning, of course, I barely understood a word in Upper Bavarian German,” she laughs.
Today, even the Alemannic dialect – as it is spoken in the border region between Bavarian Swabia and Franconia – no longer causes her any trouble. The Swabian town of Donauwörth, with its imposing patrician houses, is only ten kilometres away, which is also easy to reach by cycling. The Franconian showpiece town of Weißenburg is only half an hour away by car. “Thanks to our stunning routes, many classic car clubs also use our house as a location for rallies,” says Colette Zinsmeister.
A New Menu Every Month
Her husband Paul, who is from the area, is on-hand to provide a smorgasbord of nice dialect examples. She met the chef in 1985 while working in a hotel in Augsburg, and they married in 1992. After the birth of her son Frederic, Colette Zinsmeister became self-employed as a consultant in the hotel and tourism industry for several years.
So there is a lot of experience that has now been bundled in the “Hotel Schloss Leitheim”. “Paul directs the ‘Gods in White’ in the kitchen,” smiles the hostess. “And I can devote myself to my passion for people.”
She describes her husband’s cooking as “creative but down-to-earth”. The monthly menu with regional, seasonal specialities includes “monkfish wrapped in bacon on chorizo jus and corn cream” or “braised beef cheek with colourful pickled potatoes and bread casserole”; not to mention the vegetarian dishes, which are also wonderfully refined.
Colette Zinsmeister especially loves his house-pickled salmon in mustard pickle: “I always like to have some of that made for home.” Her home has long been the church village of Leitheim above the castle – complete with a wonderful view.
At a glance
- 53 rooms and suites
- 1 barrier-free room
- Meeting rooms for up to 50 people
- Storage facility for bicycles, e-bike hire
- Free parking; parking in the garage subject to a fee, e-charging station
- Wellness area with sauna, steam bath, outdoor pool, Kneipp pool and relaxation room with view