In 1282 the name “Hagebuchedal“ has been mentioned for the first time. Today it is known as “Heimbuchenthal” and the leading tourist resort in the Bavarian part of the Spessart forest. The way of a poor village in the upper “Elsavatal” to a modern village with thriving handles-, craft- and service industries reads like a successful story of very special kind. An extraordinary example for gastronomy in Heimbuchenthal is Hotel Christel. The hotel’s own history began in 1963 and has developed into a functioning family business throughout the past 50 years.
The start of a new era
By implementing a construction project at the upper part of Heimbuchenthal Fritz and Lina Spieler (grandparents of the current owner) made their son Otto Spieler’s dream to be self-employed come true. After World War II the village started to rise again and oriented itself towards tourism. Diligent and business oriented inhabitants of the village started making money in this continuously growing industry. During the upcoming years new guest houses, bed and breakfast places and hotels arose. Those offered a kind of comfort and service that had not been known in the region before. The Spieler family started their very own successful history at the time, too.
A name becomes the hotel’s flagship
Finally June 1st , 1963 arrived. The new guest house designed by the planning Office Nebel in Mespelbrunn, was officially inaugurated by Mr Bohn, Mayor of Heimbuchenthal at the time. Back then the house already offered 28 beds in 17 rooms. Looking for an appropriate name for the guest house, soon the decision was made to use the daughter Christel Spieler’s name. Despite extensions and innovations her first name has stayed to be the hotel’s name ever since. Son Otto and his wife Hiltrud have shaped the businesses foundation from the start and enabled it to be an uprising service company that has kept facing challenges of all kind. Only five years after the opening the “Haus Christel” was expanded for the first time.
After many guests had found their perfect vacation destination in the hotel the next step was to build a restaurant area and connect it to the original guest house in 1968. Due to the restaurant’s popularity a chef could be employed for the first time in 1970. Because of that the former “Hotel Christel” turned into the “Hotel-Restaurant Christel”. In the same year Otto and Hiltud Spieler expanded the hotel. It now had 80 beds in 40 rooms. By doing so the owners were able to adapt to the growing wave of tourism in the Spessart forest quickly. In 1975 10 more beds were included in the hotel in order to meet the increasing capacity demands.
With watchful eyes, the family business enters the next phase in 1995
The family business started offering even more services to even more guests. A new workshop area as well as a wellness area were built. The number of beds increased to 100 that were placed in comfortable rooms. The biggest highlight resulting from the construction measures in 1995 is the lovely furnished ‘‘Winter garden” which has been constructed for about 80 people.
The next generation
Frank (*1967), the son of Otto and Hiltrud Spieler, has been interested in the hotel business ever since he was a young boy which was why he decided to do an apprenticeship in order to become a chef. Before returning to Hotel Christel he worked in prestigious restaurants like “Zum Schwanen” in Kahl am Main or “Zur Traube” in Tonbach (black forest, Germany). He participated in a bavarian championship and was able to win an award. His work in Switzerland was an important experience for him he could use back at home as well. In 1996 Frank Spieler started leading the hotel while his parents kept supporting him in the family business. At the time he also met his wife Nina who had been commissioned to decorate in the hotel and fell for Frank doing so. After they had gotten married their two children were born: Leon (19) in 1997 and Amelie (17) in 1999. In November of 2001 family Spieler suffered from a terrible stroke of fate, when Frank’s father Otto suddenly and unexpectedly died. He leaves a huge gap regarding the family as well as the hotel. The well-known restaurant owner Otto was only 62 years old. In spite of her loss Hiltrud has never lost her love for the family business and has kept supporting Frank’s activities regarding the hotel ever since. This kind of strength has resulted from family tradition.
50 years of family tradition
Today, about 50 years after the official opening, Hotel Christel is one of the biggest and most popular hotels in the area. The lovely atmosphere, the amazing price/performance ratio, the outstanding service, many events like dancing or barbecue nights, the famous wine and schnapps tasting sessions or the extremely good and well-known cuisine inspired by local as well as international influences are reasons for 50 years of success.
After Fritz and Lina & Otto and Hiltrud Spieler, Frank and Nina have owned the business for about 20 years now. Frank is the chef of the restaurant and also responsible for the management of the entire hotel. Nina is responsible for the service and most of all for the ornamental and beautiful decorations inside and around the house. Frank and Nina are very proud of being the parents of the 4th generation, their two children Leon and Amelie.