Opposite the main entrance to the Baden ‘Kurpark’ botanical gardens, the rich in tradition ‘Herzoghof’ (Duke’s court), stands on an ancient settlement area, which has seen the long historical development of our town. After the occupation of the area by the Babenberger in 1002, the local rulers erected their stately homes in the most important place of the then small area. A documented mention first followed in 1258.
For the period directly after this, we have little information about this court, until it was annexed to the now non-existent Burg Baden (Baden Castle) in 1420. In 1575, Emperor Maximilian II gifted the so-called ‘Herzogsbad’ (Duke’s bath) to the lower Austrian classes.
A copper engraving by Mathäus Merian from 1649 commemorates this. (From the ‘Topographia Provinciarum Austriae’ collection)
In 1673, the ownership of the ‘Herzoghof’ was passed on to the Count of Sprinzenstein and then on to his sister, Eleonora, Countess of Lamberg. Just 10 years later, the property was entirely destroyed over the course of the Turkish wars.
In 1704 the Countess Katharina of Lamberg had plans made for the construction of a chapel in honour of St. Antonius, which was completed in 1708. The year 1708 was settled upon as it is found on the Lamberg coat of arms (a white lamb on a mount) and on a sundial on the south-side of the former building.
In 1716, the town Baden bought the old ‘Herzoghof’ “with all associated entities and personnel.” In the huge town blaze of 1812, the building, which was already being used as a hotel at that time, was spared. The most famous regular hotel guest of this period was probably Franz Grillparzer, who lived in the ‘Herzoghof’ regularly between 1867 and 1871.
In 1908/1909, the archaic walling was demolished and a grand new art nouveau building was constructed, following the plans of architect, W. Luksch! Back then, it was the most modern health resort hotel of its time and had contemporary style lounges, 125 living rooms and 4 reception parlours. It was also the first hotel in Austria, in which each room had its own telephone, which also enabled guests to call the servants, instead of using the bell-light signal. Each room had a wash basin with warm and cold water and each floor had sulphur water baths, which were supplied for by the ‘Ursprungs-Quelle’, an original source.
Particularly worth mentioning is the still intact, almost 80 qm, stained glass painting in the magnificent Weilburg Hall: the piece by artist, Otto Barth, depicts a view from Baden, to the west, into the ‘Helenental’ valley, where the ‘Rauheneck’ and ‘Rauhenstein’ ruins and the name-giving Weilburg are visible.
Until 1989, the building, which had become worn with time, remained in the ownership of Baden town. Only in the mid 1990’s could a new owner be found who had the obligation of refurbishing the hotel. As this, however, did not happen, ownership changed hands once again. A large section of the historic area was then converted into apartments, offices and doctor’s surgeries.
Only the existing parts of the building, found between steps 1 and 2, at Kaiser Franz Ring 10, were converted into a hotel by Herzoghof Hotel GmbH. And since 17th May 2000, the building has been glistening in renewed splendour.