Weekend trips to the nearby Palatinate (Pfalz) wine region were part of my childhood days. My parents would be busy wine tasting and buying wine to take home. I would mostly be annoyed having to go to yet another winery and, if things turned out really bad, having to hike through the vineyards.
Fast forward to today and boy, how things have changed!
That said, most of my travels have led me to explore distant wine regions, whilst for a long time I have largely neglected those closer to home. Only recently have I started to re-discover the amazing German wine regions – and my list of unique small hotels and excellent restaurant to visit is growing longer all the time.
Whilst the main reason for my recent trip to the Palatinate was for the local almond blossom season – an event in itself not to be missed, read all about it here – I have to confess this might as well have been just a perfect excuse for some winery hopping.
With that idea in mind, it did not take long to find the right place to spend a weekend centred around almond blossoms, wine and great food.
Located in the heart of the little wine-growing town of Deidesheim, close to the major attractions of the local almond blossom weeks, in walking distance to several award-winning wineries and home to one of the regions hippest Michelin-star restaurants, Ketschauer Hof is the perfect place for a country escape for food and wine lovers.
When a hotel is part of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World, you simply know you are in for a treat. It’s a branding that perfectly complements my taste of small, independently run hotels with individual style and intimate charm.
And Ketschauer Hof for sure delivered!
The five-star hotel is situated in the carefully restored former mansion of the well-known Bassermann-Jordan wine estate, dating back to the 18th century.
Whilst the whole complex, including two further buildings which today host the hotels two restaurants, has kept its historic flair, all of the 18 spacious rooms/suites feature a modern contemporary design with some quirky elements like funky crystal lights.
The en-suite bathrooms are quite roomy as well – huge bonus points! – and equipped with a separate shower and a whirlpool bathtub.
After settling in, we decided to head out for some wine tasting first before returning to the hotel to take our welcome drink (an excellent sparkling wine from the nearby Bassermann-Jordan winery) in the hotels cosy lounge.
With its antique furnishings and colourful plush chairs, it is the perfect place to settle down for a relaxed tea in the afternoon or to kick-start your evening before heading out for dinner.
There is no shortage of restaurants in the small town, but your best choice is heading to one of the hotels two restaurants.
Restaurant 1718 offers French-inspired bistro food and the atmosphere has ‘cosy little French bistro’ written all over it too.
We had opted for the hotels Michelin-star restaurant since staying only one night, but the lovely look and feel of Restaurant 1718 alone is a good reason to lure me back for another wine-packed weekend at Ketschauer Hof.
No regrets however having chosen L.A. Jordan for the evening. The restaurant is part of a new generation of restaurants in the Palatinate that offer a highly innovative cuisine based on seasonal local produce.
Chef Daniel Schimkowitsch celebrates a clean, minimalist cooking style based on Mediterranean dishes infused with Asian flavours.
There is an a-la-carte menu during the week but on weekends. L.A. Jordan offers a set menu with the choice of five, six or seven courses.
We loved every one starting with the fresh green asparagus, langoustino, a totally delicious pike, a very delicate quail with Jamon Iberico, ashort rip with dim sum and a fruity rhubarb desert.
My only regret this evening was the lighting at the restaurant. Whilst it created a lovely atmosphere, the yellowish light with red accents was a disaster for taking decent photos.
The final highlight of our stay was breakfast, served at the table. This is something I recently have come to really appreciate.
Surely, a large breakfast buffet laden with all those goodies from fresh breads, pastries, yoghurts, hams, cheeses, different fruits, juices and much more is a sight to behold. However, seeing guests fiddling around with the food, picking it up and putting it down again along with even worse behaviour often makes breakfast less appealing. Plus a buffet always creates a constant back and forth between tables that sometimes can be annoying.
Instead, we were served a good choice of fresh bread, freshly pressed orange juice, a selection of charcuterie and salmon (we declined the cheese) and on-point prepared eggs of our choice at the table.
The hotel also has a small Spa area which we did not use this time.
My stay at Ketschauer Hof was perfect from start to end. It’s a hotel that I can only recommend if you want a no-frills luxury base exploring the nearby wine country.
Hotel Ketschauer Hof