The Excelsior Hotel Ernst is Cologne’s Grand Hotel next to the Cathedral. We provide individualized services to respond to the uniqueness of every guest and employee. We maintain the tradition of hospitality and remain modern by applying innovation. As Grand Hotel in the heart of Cologne, we actively participate in urban life and we are committed to art and culture. Your individuality is our Excellence.
Carl Ernst, "Royal Restorer of the central station", was builder and owner of the Hotel Ernst in the city center. The opening ceremony took place on May 16th 1863.
In 1871, after as little as eight years, he sold the Hotel Ernst to Friedrich Kracht. Friedrich Kracht moved from Belgium to Cologne to manage the hotel but he died four years later. His wife and his son Carl took over the management of the house. In those days, the Grand Hotel was already the first choice of prominent guests.
In 1889, Carl Kracht went to Zurich where he married Emma Pauline Baur. The Swiss hotelier family Baur possessed both the well-known Baur au Lac and Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich.
In 1890, one year after his wedding, his mother handed the Hotel Ernst over to him and his sister Hermine Brinkhaus. His siblings founded a limited company but one year later Hermine Brinkhaus withdrew from her position. Carl Kracht was now the only proprietor of Cologne’s Grand Hotel next to the Cathedral.
He and his family lived in Zurich where he managed the Baur au Lac. In 1905, he appointed Friedrich Reime director of the Hotel Ernst who continued to manage the hotel.
In order to offer the utmost comfort to guests from politics, industry and nobility, between 1908 and 1910 the hotel was rapidly pulled down and reopened as five-star Grand Hotel EXCELSIOR HOTEL ERNST. The suffix excelsior comes from Latin and means "the very sublime / excellent". It highlights the main idea always to offer its guests every possible luxury. The astonished guests were offered something completely new – 100 out of 250 rooms were equipped with a bathroom and this in an era in which running water was an exception.
In 1918, after the end of the war, the hotel became the headquarters of the British. During this time the hotel was closed. After the troops had left in 1926, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst was renovated for the second time.
On December the 31st 1926, the five-star Excelsior Hotel Ernst celebrated again its reopening - still led by Frederick Reime, who conducted until 1938. During World War II, the hotel was mainly closed. After the war, the Krachts tried to reconstruct the building under the leadership of Charles Kracht, the grandson of Carl Kracht, as soon as possible. In 1946 the hotel was reopened again.
In this difficult time, the hotel was led by Max Mattheus. In March 1958 Erico Geweyer, who accompanied the house for 13 years as Managing Director, followed. In a short time during the German "economic miracle" Erico Geweyer succeeded in building a growing reputation of the house and brought back the tradition of hospitality to new prosperity.
1972, after Erico Geweyers death in March 1971, Mr Siegfried Breuning became successor. Under his leadership numerous renovation and modernization projects were executed in close collaboration with Charles Kracht. Public spaces in the reception area, the conservatory and the Piano Bar were renovated and good, modern conference rooms were created.
The restaurant Hanse Stube was extensively renovated in 1976 and received its current popular timeless style.
In 1986, the hotel was extended by the circular building with its 29 exclusive suites, double rooms and an impressive staircase, which is crowned by a glass dome. The famous interior designer Count Pilati from Munich designed the new rooms, bathrooms and all public areas.
1991, Charles Roulet, who had returned to Germany after a successful career in the U.S. hoteliers, assume Charles Kracht position in the administrative board at the hotel. Thus became a great-grandson of Carl Kracht the lead on the administrative board of the traditional house.
After the sudden death of Siegfried Breuning in November 1994, Charles Roulet took over the acting head of the hotel till Manfred Brennfleck was appointed as the new director in June 1995.
In September 2000, on the sixth floor an exclusive health and spa area with modern fitness equipment, a dry and steam sauna, experience showers and a relaxation room for hotel guests was established.
In October 2001 the hotel East Asian restaurant “taku” - the house of Hospitality opened. Since then, exquisite dishes have been offered here from the kitchens of various Eastern cultures: beginning with purist Japanese cuisine, lusty Chinese, up to the spicier variations of Thai and Vietnamese culinary delights.
In early 2002, an ultra-modern business center with all the communication capabilities of our global world was established to respond to the needs of today's business traveler. A free internet access, comfortable workplaces and amenities of a modern office are available to guests.
Following the resignation of Manfred Brennfleck, Robert A. Schaller led interim from June 2003 to May 2004 the fortunes of the house, before Wilhelm Luxem took over the leadership of the traditional hotel.
Following the motto "Tradition & Innovation" once again the rejuvenation of the Grand Hotel was pushed. In 2005 the cathedral side facade has been extensively restored. In 2006 the renovation of the facade of the Hanseflügel.
In 2007, 23 new deluxe double rooms, 7 junior suites and 5 executive suites were created in the Hanseflügel, costing seven million Euros. Modern technical equipment and traditional ambience found here a perfect symbiosis. Simultaneously, the public rooms were equipped with modern air-conditioning.
In the fall of 2009, the renowned publisher “Busche” elected the Asian restaurant taku as “the foreign restaurant of the year” and the EXCELSIOR HOTEL ERNST as “Hotel of the Year 2010”.
In November 2011, the restaurant taku was awarded with its first Michelin star for its authentic East Asian cuisine.
The employees of the Excelsior Hotel Ernst see it as a daily challenge to make "their" guests' stay an unforgettable experience. Being a perfect host is on everybody's mind. The attitude, experience and abilities of our employees are our greatest asset. To be a suitable applicant superb references, an excellent manner and a friendly charm are a matter of course to you. If you are interested in being employed in our company, we would like to invite you to inform yourself here on current positions. We look forward to receiving your application.
An apprenticeship at Cologne's Grand Hotel offers the perfect start into a successful future hotel career. During the three years apprenticeship of hotel specialists, restaurant specialists or chefs the apprentices get to know all important areas of the hotel. The hotel´s contact person for apprenticeships Ms Natalia Mittelstein will be pleased to receive your application documents including cover letter, CV, school reports, certificates and photo per e-mail.
As apprentice at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst you have the chance to apply for a one week crosstraining at one of the hotels that belong to the Selection of German Luxury Hotels. During this crosstraining you get to know the daily business of other hotels and gain new hotel experiences. In this way, the apprentices of the Excelsior Hotel Ernst benefit from new insights into the diverse world of luxury hotels.
After a successful apprenticeship at a hotel of the Selection of German Luxury Hotels you have the great opportunity to apply for a Selection traineeship. During 12 months you will work at different departments at four different properties. You will stay three months at each hotel to gain valuable experiences at Germany's best hotels.
Contact for employees:
Human Resources Manager
Tel.: +49 221 270–3121
Melanie Kräling »
The Leading Hotels of the World is a partnership of the best hotels, resorts and spas of the world. The Excelsior Hotel Ernst has been a member since the foundation in 1928.
Nine German grand hotels and one Austrian partner, always the prime addresses in the respective towns, have made it their business to shape and foster the culture of hospitality.
Virtuoso is the world’s largest network of travel agencies for luxury journeys. Excelsior Hotel Ernst has been one of the selected destinations of the Virtuoso family since 1995.
As partner of the Selection of German Luxury Hotels, the aviation experts from Pro Sky bring discerning private travellers and groups to their destinations with perfection.
A selection of the best hotels of the world in which cardholders of Platinum American Express enjoy special privileges.
As partner of the Selection of German Luxury Hotels, Mercedes Benz Germany provides Excelsior Hotel Ernst with limousines to “experience a fascinating history”.
The collection of Museum Ludwig contains the most important stations and positions of the art of the 20th century and the present.
Since 1986 Cologne´s philharmonic hall has become an important cultural institution for the city. The Excelsior Hotel Ernst is pleased to organize concert tickets for you.
The Gürzenich orchestra belongs to the leading concert and opera orchestras in Germany. Our special orchestra arrangements make your stay in Cologne unforgettable.
The MEISTERKREIS establishes a new kind of „ luxury culture“ in Germany. This culture emphasizes recognition, awareness of uniqueness and the diversity of the German luxury environment by recognizing its economic and cultural significance.
As most travelers do only have little time, RIMOWA has arranged an exclusive hotel service at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst. RIMOWA suitcases that have to be repaired you can hand in at the reception. They will be returned to you in perfect condition within 24 hours.