Excelsior Hotel Ernst, Cologne, Germany


The Excelsior Hotel Ernst is located in the city centre of Cologne, directly opposite the spectacular cathedral and only two minutes walk from the railway station, local attractions and the Rhine River.  The 142 bedroom hotel is a 5* hotel and a member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’.  The hotel boasts two excellent restaurants Hanse Stube and Taku, and tourists interested in sampling some traditional beer and other beverages will find the location ideal for the famous breweries and bars of Cologne.

In 1863, Carl Ernst, “Royal Restorer of the central station”, built the Hotel Ernst.  In 1871, after as few as eight years, he sold the Hotel Ernst to Friedrich Kracht.  Kracht moved from Belgium to Cologne to manage the hotel but he died four years later, at this point his wife and his son, Carl, took over the management of the house.

Wine Cellar
Wine Cellar

It did not take long for the Krachts to successfully integrate into the society of Cologne.  In 1884, the people of Cologne crowned Carl Kracht Prince Carnival.  During this time, the Grand Hotel was already the first choice of prominent guests including the German Emperor William I who observed the completion of Cologne Cathedral from his room in the Hotel Ernst.

In 1889, Carl Kracht went to Zurich where he married Emma Pauline Baur. The Swiss hotelier family Baur possessed both the well-known Baur au Lac and Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich.  Then, in 1890, one year after his wedding, his mother handed the Hotel Ernst over to him and his sister Hermine Brinkhaus. The siblings founded a limited company but one year later Hermine Brinkhaus withdrew from her position.  Being the only proprietor of Cologne’s Grand Hotel, Carl Kracht and his family lived in Zurich where he managed the Baur au Lac.  In 1905, he appointed Friedrich Reime director of the Hotel Ernst who continued to manage the hotel.

Between 1908 and 1910 the hotel was rapidly pulled down and reopened as five-star Grand Hotel Excelsior Hotel Ernst.  In an era in which running water was the exception, 100 out of 250 rooms were equipped with a bathroom.  In 1918, after the end of the war, the hotel became a headquarter for the British Forces.  During this time the hotel was closed.  After the troops had left in 1926, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst was renovated for a second time.


During World War II, the hotel was closed.  After the war, the Krachts tried to reconstruct the building as soon as possible and never stopped to try to preserve the hotel and its luxurious nature.  In 1986 the hotel was extended by the circular building, Marzellenstrasse/Domprobst Ketzer Strasse. The famous interior designer Count Pilati designed the new rooms, bathrooms and public areas.

In 2000, an exclusive health and spa area for guests was established and the following year, Taku, an Asian restaurant was opened, as was the modern Business Centre.  In 2007, the last renovation took place with 23 new deluxe double rooms, 5 junior suites and 7 executive suites created in the Hanse wing, costing an incredible 7 million Euros.


The hotel currently offers kitchen parties and interactive food demonstrations at Taku.  For those interested in the antiquities in the treasure vaults at the cathedral, the hotel offers exclusive private tours, an opportunity which those staying at other hotels are unable to partake in.  For those visiting Cologne and wishing to indulge a little, the hotel also organises trips by speedboat to the local vineyards on the Rhine, and offsite dinners at local breweries and beer kellers.

The Facts:

142 rooms & suites partially with view of the Cathedral

13 conference rooms with day light
Health and sauna area, Business Center, exclusive antique shop
Rooms: satellite TV, pay TV, price per room includes minibar, safe, wireless-LAN, broadband access, fax connector, air conditioning, bath robes, hair dryer, shaving mirror
Restaurant Hanse Stube: Innovative French cuisine
Restaurant taku: The house of Asian delights
Piano Bar: Premium bar offering a large variety of cigars and live piano music
Service: 24 hour room service, 24 hour reception and concierge, Valet service, luggage service, shoe-cleaning service, conference butler, limousine service, wedding planning

Excelsior Hotel Ernst
Trankgasse 1-5 / Domplatz
D-50667 Köln
Tel +49 (0) 221 270 1
Fax+49 (0) 221 270 3333

Related Images: