Grand­ho­tel Pe­ters­berg
A legendary venue in German history welcomes a new era
  • Location
    Königswinter
  • Project
    Modernization of a hotel with conference area
  • Client
    Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben (BImA)
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    2015–2019
  • Service phases
    3–8
  • Gross floor area (AG/BG)
    21,000 m²/1,000 m²
  • Interior Design
    Bollinger + Fehling Architekten; Project Orange, London
  • Photos
    Lioba Schneider; HGEsch
  • This project is from the joint period of meyerschmitzmorkramer.

Viewed from Bonn, the Siebengebirge mountain range presents a captivating, romantic Rhine River backdrop rising behind the skyline of Germany’s former capital. While the Drachenfels mountain is steeped in legend, Petersberg Mountain and its hotel atop the 335-meter plateau also have a storied history – hosting political figures like Adenauer, Brezhnev, and Elisabeth II, and lending its name to the Petersberg Agreement (1949) and the Petersberg Climate Dialogue (since 2009). In the 1970s, the German government rented the hotel to accommodate state guests, but it proved unprofitable for the operator. The building fell into disrepair until the federal government acquired it in 1979. After extensive renovations, the hotel reopened over a decade later as a multi-wing guesthouse for the German government, managed by the Steigenberger chain. While primarily serving official conferences and events, it also welcomed private guests. Following the decision to relocate the federal government to Berlin, Petersberg mountain – like Bonn itself – suddenly faced an uncertain future. However, the vision of establishing Bonn as an international congress city and UN seat offered a way forward, with many federal buildings finding alternative, cost-effective uses. In 2014, aiming to capitalize on the presence of international guests and the continued demand for prestigious event spaces, the Federal Institute for Real Estate (BImA) decided to invest 35 million euros in a comprehensive modernization of the Petersberg guesthouse.

Modern Charm in a Historic Gem

The transformation from guesthouse to grand hotel was carried out during ongoing operations as a luxurious boutique hotel. To ensure future profitability, the room count was increased from 99 to 112. We found space for these new rooms by repurposing former offices of the BKA (federal criminal police), converting salons originally linked to the suites, and utilizing the area freed up by downsizing the state reception kitchen. Fear of terrorist attacks meant there were hardly any emergency escape routes in the hotel, so we developed a completely new concept for fire safety and building security. The modernization also included making some rooms barrier-free, upgrading building systems and HVAC to current sustainability standards, and expanding the fitness/spa area, originally designed for just one state guest at a time, into a true luxury hotel amenity. Many furnishings, antiques, paintings, and sculptures are on loan from federal states. They were refurbished and integrated into the new interior design of the halls and lounges. With its own civil registry office and a small pilgrimage chapel, the Petersberg has even become a sought-after wedding venue. The renovated rotunda hosts a varied cultural program of concerts and exhibitions that appeal to a broad audience beyond conferences and congress attendees – continuously reigniting interest in the Petersberg.

Bratwurst and Champagne

The new, unique blend of luxury and approachability became apparent in the spring of 2016 when our modernized beer garden opened. Situated on the Rhine panorama terrace, 300 seats offer stunning views under characteristic lime trees. Hikers can enjoy their own snacks or purchase drinks, bratwurst, and meatloaf sandwiches from the pavilion we designed to resemble the typical dairy huts of the Siebengebirge region. On the hotel terrace, guests can indulge in coffee and cake served in style at elegantly set tables. The Steigenberger Grandhotel Petersberg welcomes a diverse range of guests. During the week, conferences and congresses form the core business, hosting UN delegations and business travelers. On weekends, visitors from Germany and abroad come to experience this iconic venue steeped in German history.

Project team
  • Harald Bender
  • Can Birkal
  • Alexander Debudaj
  • Kala Dokubo
  • Mariana Florian
  • Roland Hinz
  • Felix Roeder
  • Katrina Brandl
  • Maria Urban