Inside a former prison for revolutionary thinkers riding the wave of liberalism that spread across Europe following the French Revolution, Hotel Liberty encourages guests to take a step back and take pleasure in the prospect of freedom through fine cuisine, spacious rooms, and an emphasis on shared experiences.
While in the Liberty Hotel with its 38 rooms and suites, almost certainly not one of the “inmates” would consider breaking out. The first actual inmates were freedom fighters of the Baden Revolution – “the pioneers of democracy in Germany,” Funk, co-owner of the new hotel explained. During those times the freedom fighters most likely stood in the courtyard just like the guests do nowadays.
Set in the German city of Offenburg, just a 20 minute drive from the French city of Strasbourg, the hotel is home to the fine dining grill restaurant Wasser & Brot—a reference to the inmates standard diet of “water and bread” in past times.
Nowadays, this outstanding restaurant serves modern French cuisine under Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Biasiol, while the Mezzanine Floor & Lounge offers locally inspired tapas and high tea. Dramatically different from the jail cells they used to be, the 38 rooms and suites feature oak floors, distressed leather, and handcrafted furnishings curated by the Knoblauch design team, whilst the urban horticulture on the rooftop is a subtle nod to the building’s historical past as a location of communal activity. Add an atrium bar offering local spirits, a library, the La Cave wine space with a cloister table, and meeting spaces for up to 25 people, and Hotel Liberty turns into a location to escape to, not from.
Right up until 2009, the property was utilized as a prison, then it sat empty for a while. Now it has been transformed into a hotel that wants to take full advantage of the prison characteristics inherent in the building. The accommodating design philosophy is very appealing to modern day professional nomads. The thought of being locked away provides a certain kind of deprivation which can then be used to concentrate on the bare essentials and thus forms the basis for luxury. Lost time, or better too much time, lets thoughts wander into the distance and into freedom – a precious commodity for the inmates at way back when. But it is also a non-redeemable good. The moment, the here and now, is the real wealth.
A night at the Liberty costs between 150 and 650 euros.