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Hotel Louis C. Jacob in Hamburg
Article added on March 5, 2012
  
Situated on the Elbchaussee 401-401 in Nienstedten along the river Elbe, where you can watch the Queen Mary 2 pass by, Hotel Louis C. Jacob is a jewel in Hamburg's culinary and hotel landscape. I have visited it twice, in 2003 and in 2012.

Since its fundamental renovation by the Lübeck architectural office of Helmut Riemann and its reopening as a hotel in 1996, the Louis C. Jacob has become one of the first addresses in the Hanseatic city. On July 1, 2002 it joined the prestigious association of The Leading Hotels of the World.

A history dating back to 1791

The oldest documents about the site date to 1648, when a peasant sold his farm to the local pastor. The oldest part of the present-day Hotel Louis C. Jacob, the far eastern corner of the building complex, dates back to the late 18th century.

The confectioner Nicolaus Paridom Burmester not only ran a successful business here, he also saluted all the passing ships with a cannon shut fired from his river bank. Unfortunately, on June 18, 1790, a shot backfired and poor Nicolaus Paridom Burmester died of his injuries, leaving behind a beautiful widow.

A French Huguenot by the name of Daniel Louis Jacques, who had fled the French Revolution, fell in love with the attractive widow Elisabeth and maybe also with her thriving confectionary

Monsieur Jacques, who later called himself Jacob, had worked in the Hamburg area as a landscape gardener. He designed for instance the Elbchaussee park of Peter Godeffroy, a Huguenot whose family had left La Rochelle in the 17th century and had created a dynasty of wealthy merchants and ship owners.

On March 16, 1791, Daniel Louis Jacob married Elisabeth Burmester. He did not waste time and immediately started to enlarge the building. He established a restaurant and created the famous Lindenterrasse as early as in 1791.

It was a difficult start because, at a time without cars, the restaurant was far from the city of Hamburg with its 100,000 inhabitants. Situated on Danish territory, Altona and Nienstedten only became part of Prussia in 1867. Furthermore, the restaurant was only a seasonal, summertime business. Even worse, in 1806 Napoleon's troops invaded Hamburg and oppressed the locals to the point that nobody thought about enjoying a restaurant at the banks of the Elbe.

The Danish occupiers stayed at Jacob's place as well as the French, who had 300 soldiers stationed in Nienstedten. In 1813, some 1400 Russian Cossacks came as “liberators”. Their discipline was somewhat imperfect and it cost Daniel Louis Jacob some 11,000 marks in the end.



Despite all the hardship, the restaurant was a thriving business. David Louis Jacob was a social climber. One of his daughters married Hamburg's mayor Dr. Hachmann. In the end, his oldest son, Louis Jacob, could take over a solid business.

At Jacob's, they did not only serve Champagne, the famous widow Barbe-Nicole Clocquot-Ponsardin herself stayed at Louis Jacob's place. The French widow and the exiled Frenchman became friends and, henceforth, Jacob became the only restaurateur in the area to have his champagnes directly delivered from the cellars Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

When Altona became a part of Prussia in 1867, I railway line was built from Altona to Blankenese and a stop was established at Klein Flottbek near Nienstedten, bringing more customer to Jacob's, for which the term “hotel” had been established around 1860.

Famous guest included several grand dukes, the future King Ludwig of Bavaria, the ship owner Albert Ballin and the Chancellor of the Reich, Wilhelm Cuno.



A hotel with an art collection

The terraces of the Louis C. Jacob have attracted many artists, even more so after the establishment of the Hamburg Artists Club (Hamburger Künstlerclub) in 1897. In 1902 they came to the hotel and restaurant Louis C. Jacob for a conversation with the celebrated painter Max Liebermann.

The times of Max Liebermann inspired the present-day owners to create a collection of some 500 works dedicated to painters and graphic artists of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries who had worked lived, worked and/or taught in the Hamburg area. In 1902, Max Liebermann himself had stayed several months at Hotel Louis C. Jacob.

Each hotel room displays two, three or even more pieces of graphic art. At least one of them is from an artist from Hamburg. They are grouped according to subjects, moods and colors. Contemporary artworks enrich the newly created part of the hotel, separated from the historic buildings by a street.

Around 1900 a new version of the northern German Jugendstil arose in Hamburg. While removing the old wallpaper in the former ballroom during the restoration phase, two classical Jugenstil wallpaintings were discovered and restored. They were painted directly onto the plaster. The depiction of flamingos in fantasy scenes can now be admired in the hotel's Two-Michelin-Star restaurant of chef de cuisine Thomas Martin.

The more recent hotel history

The First World War brought about major social changes. The fourth generation of hotel owners, Louis Heinrich Jacob, died in 1922. He was considered the strongest personality of the founding family. His son Louis Carl Matthias Jacob was diffeent and dedicated himself mainly to the import of spirituous beverages.

In 1925 a tenant took it over and changeful times began. In 1937, Altona and the hotel became a part of Hamburg. After the Second World War, it became a transit hotel for British occupying officers, later provided quarters for the Royal Air Force and finally even served as a children's home.

In 1955 Jürgen Parbs and 25 years later Armin Gustav tried to reconnect with the famous past. They put it back on the gourmet map. Guests included Carl Zuckmayer, Erich Kästner, Henry Miller, Maria Callas and others. Difficult times with different tenants and owners followed.

Only when the family of the merchant Host Rahe took over the Louis C. Jacob exactly 200 years after the Frenchman Daniel Louis Jacques, the renaissance of the place was insured. From 1993 to 1996, the hotel was fully restored. When the Rahe/Schmittner family hired Jost Deitmar as hotel director in 1997, things improved dramatically. Deitmar had studied at Cornell University in New York and worked in Swiss hotels as well as the London Savoy. The hotel was enlarged and with Thomas Martin a great chef hired.

At Hotel Louis C. Jacob, 143 employees take care of a maximum of 170 guests in 85 rooms and suites. That's called Hanseatic excellence!


The Lindenterrasse with the Airbus factory on the other side of the river Elbe. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.


Sunset at the hotel. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany. - Purchase books about Hamburg from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de.


The famous Lindenterrasse. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.


My favorite Liebermann Guestroom, where I have stayed in 2003 and 2012. It features a few works on paper by Max Liebermann. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.


A view of the famous Jacobs Restaurant of chef de cuisine Thomas Martin who, in November 7, 2011 was awarded his second Michelin star. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.


The Queen Mary 2 saluted by the hotel with white table-cloth and bed sheets, a cannon shot and the sound of Rule Britannia from all its loudspeakers. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany. - Purchase books about Hamburg from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de.


The painter Max Liebermann had a close relation with Hotel Louis C. Jacob. Here he painted his 1902-masterpiece Terrasse im Restaurant Jacob in Nienstedten an der Elbe, which is on display at Hamburger Kunsthalle. Hotel Louis C. Jacob owns several of his works. Several works on paper ornate the Liebermann Zimmer, where I have stayed in 2003 and 2012. The pastel by Lieberman showing the room where he stayed at the hotel is at Kunsthalle Hamburg too. Since 1995, Hotel Louis C. Jacob owns the painting Lindenterrasse shown on the photo above. It was probably painted in 1902 and hangs in the hotel living room (Wohnhalle) Photo Copyright © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.


Holthusensuite. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.


Ballroom Suite. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.
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The hotel terrace by night. Photos © Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Hamburg, Germany.

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
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