Hotel Bären Meersburg

Our history

The Bären is the oldest inn in Meersburg and has been family-owned since 1851. Now in its 6th generation, our family strives to provide comfort to our guests while preserving the historic building structure. Today, we offer our guests 20 stylishly furnished hotel rooms, all equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and hotel-owned garages.

Geschichte Hotel Bären Meersburg

Around 1250

Earliest traces of the Hotel Bären

Hotel Meersburg Bären Keller

Based on building findings, the founding of the Inn can be assumed around 1250. One of the two vaulted cellars and the foundation walls are from the original building and are therefore over 750 years old.


The oldest surviving document

Hotel Meersburg Bären Schrift

The oldest surviving document is the house interest book (Property Tax for the Archbishop) from the year 1456. The Inn called "Ber" was charged with taxes (property tax) of 7 dn(Denarius = Pfennig) obligated. (2nd line from above: "item = also die Trinkstub = the Inn called Ber VIJ dn"
(Denar = Pfennig) verpflichtet. (2. Zeile von oben: „item die Trinkstub genant Ber VIJ dn“ – Ebenso die Trinkstube genannt Ber 7 dn)


Granting of the restaurant permit

Hotel Meersburg Bären Gaststätte

In 1510, Bishop Hugo von Hohenlandenberg licenced the “Inn to the bear”, as a real right that is still valid today and entered in the land register.
(Image of the bishop on the facade)


The main house gets its present form

Hotel Meersburg Bären Tür

In 1605 the old bear was partially broken off and enlarged to its present size. In 1680 the inn was expanded to include the house at Obertor and connected with a bridge on the second floor. (The lintel over the Renaissance portal bears the year 1605.)


The “Inn to the bear” became a post office

Hotel Meersburg Bären Post

When the “Thurn und Taxis’sche Reichspost” turned the bear into a post office in 1688, the inn's heyday began. For the next 200 years, the bear housed the travelers of the stagecoach and today's garage was a stable for the horses of the post coaches.


Annette von Droste-Hülshoff visits the Bären Inn

Hotel Meersburg Bären Droste

In 1842 Annette von Droste-Hülshoff followed the first print of her novel “Judenbuche” in the Cotta’schen Morgenblatt newspaper. So the Bären came with other Meersburg buildings that were also related to the Droste, on the 20 D-Mark note from 1992.


The bear comes into family ownership

Hotel Meersburg Bären Engelbert

From the beginning the house was in public ownership – City and hospital foundation and after 1768 it was sold to private owners.Between 1768 and 1850 the bear changed hands a total of seven times until it was finally sold to Engelbert Keller in 1851 for 2500 guilders. Since then, the bear has been owned by the Keller-Karrer-Gilowsky families. (Photo: Engelbert Keller)


General renovation after the 2nd World War

Hotel Meersburg Bären Brücke

The Bären was reopened in November 1945 with the permission of the French occupying forces. In 1952/54 a general renovation was necessary, the supporting structure had to be repaired and the rooms modernized.


Expansion of the Hotel

Hotel Meersburg Bären Fachwerk

1960 the hotel was expanded again, the half-timbered house is acquired and assembled with the Bären. The rooms were gradually converted into hotel rooms over the next 20 years.


Michael Gilowsky takes over

Hotel Meersburg Bären Gilowsky

After training as a chef, working in England and Switzerland and graduating from the hotel management school in Heidelberg, Michael Gilowsky took over the management of his parents' inn in the 5th generation in April 1977.


A further renovation

Hotel Meersburg Bären Renovierung

In the 1980s, the structure / statics were revised as part of a state program for the redevelopment of the historic city of Meersburg. The sandstone walls on the facade were renovated and partially replaced, and the decorative painting was also reworked. The interiors and the entire building technology were brought up to date. (Photo: Michael Gilowsky on the top step of the gable)

1989 – 2000

Construction of the garages

Bären Meersburg Hotel Ferienwohnung 9

In 1989 the old agricultural barn was demolished and a garage building was built. In 2000, a second garage building was built for our guests. Both garage buildings are less than 200 meters from the hotel.

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