Latin records document the building of a Hohenlohe fortress in the 13th century, during the reign of Bishop Iring von Reinstein (1254-1266). These records refer to it as Castrum in Lapide or Novum Castrum. Sadly, the castle did not quite live up to expectations as an “invincible fortress” and it was completely destroyed some ten years later during a civil uprising.
In the middle of the 16th century, the monks of the Ebrach monastery planted the first Silvaner grape on the Steinberg, thus laying the foundation for one of the most famous vineyards in the world. Perhaps it was with this tradition in mind that Peter Schneider also chose this spot to lay the foundation for the Steinburg some 300 years later. But it is almost certain that the stunning views of Würzburg and the Main valley also played a role in his decision to erect the Steinburg here on the ruins of the ancient medieval castle. In the spring of 1898, after just nine months of construction, he opened his restaurant “Restaurant zur Steinburg”, little realizing that some 100 years later, this architectural gem of a building would be a world famous castle hotel.
Sadly, the dreams and ambitions of Peter Schneider to further expand on his castle vision fell victim to local bureaucracy and he soon lost interest in making any further investments. Disillusioned, he sold his former dream restaurant just two years later to a wealthy wine merchant, councilor of commerce J.W. Meuschel, who realized that the now renamed “Steinburg Castle” was the perfect location to promote and serve his wines. Before long, the Steinburg was one of the most popular outings for Würzburg locals.
In 1937, the impact of the Third Reich led to the foreclosure of the Steinburg, complete with 60 acres of vineyards, fields and farmland. The new owners, the Bürgerspitalstiftung (local hospital foundation), undertook to improve and extend the buildings of the Steinburg in keeping with the directions of the municipal building authorities.
The foundation assigned this task to Hans Bezold who, in the same year, proceeded to buy the Steinburg minus the estate. Architect Spiegel was commissioned with the restructuring of the Steinburg and it was in this period that the turret tower was reduced to the height of the other buildings and fitted with a pavilion roof. Thus, in one fell swoop, the high tower pinnacle with its battlements, the unique “Luginsland” tower and the beautiful stucco ceilings were all sacrificed to the rigorous building stipulations of the municipal authorities
However, Hans Bezold completed his renovation project and on 14 August 1937 he re-opened the restaurant complete with a new dance floor and a stylish wine bar, much to the delight of his many visitors.
His son, Franz Bezold, took over management of the Steinburg in 1951. Under his guidance the business soon flourished and was once again attracting visitors from far and wide. Proving himself a man of vision and very adept at discerning the wishes of his guests, Franz spent the next 30 years transforming the Steinburg into a luxury conference center and hotel, undertaking the necessary renovations and expansions along the way:
- 1951 Expansion to luxury conference center and hotel as well as addition of an apartment building
- 1953/54 Rear extension, which, among other things, gave the castle hotel its Tower Room
- 1961 Addition of a second storey on the main building and construction of a swimming pool with lawn for sunbathing
- 1968/70 Conversion of the open hallway at the west end of the hotel into a second hotel building
- 1977 Extension to include a new reception area with the Fireside Dining Room located above
- 1987 Conversion of swimming pool to an indoor pool with panoramic views.
One ambition of Franz Bezold was to remain unfulfilled, however: in a day and age when most people still walked everywhere, it was Franz’s burning ambition to build an aerial cableway to facilitate access to the Steinburg. Sadly, the plan was vetoed by the German Federal Railway.
In 1992, with a brand new degree in hotel management in his pocket, Lothar Bezold became the third generation to take over management of the hotel. In this capacity, Lothar began the gradual renovation of all hotel rooms and bathrooms.
He assumed full control of the business from Franz Bezold in 2001.
As well as all immediately necessary modernizations, such as renovation of the sauna area and the Knight’s Hall (Rittersaal), Lothar Bezold set about gradually modernizing all other areas of the hotel, from the kitchen to the laundry.
In 2005, work began to completely overhaul and redesign the hotel rooms: state-of-the-art technology was installed while every effort was made to preserve their original and historical charm.
High above the rooftops of Würzburg, Lothar Bezold’s greatest wish is for his guests to see the Steinburg as a place they long to visit, as the perfect venue for conferences and events and as a culinary oasis. In short, as a dream castle that is all things to all men.
Since the spring of 2007, guests can also savor premium Franconian wines in our “SteinReich” wine cellar, spend an evening together in the relaxed lounge atmosphere of the Castle Bar (Schlossbar) – or party in the historical ambience of the Castle Vault (Schlossgewölbe). With their modern furnishings and stylish ambience, these rooms deep underneath the “Würzburger Stein” vineyards are an organic extension that underpin the spirit and ambience of the original castle hotel. The elegant rooms of the “Country Manor” were renovated in February 2009 and offer guests warm and inviting accommodation with Mediterranean flair. Together with the “Castle Manor” and the castle rooms, the west wing currently completes the Steinburg, where the sole aim of all these endeavors has been to make our guests feel welcome and at home. In 2010, further room renovations were carried out in the “Castle Manor”, our main building and the oldest part of the hotel. June 2012 saw the completion of the “Refugium”, a modern east wing extension. Covering some 3.000 m², the Refugium is designed as a luxury retreat for individualists and seminarists, for bon vivants and lovers of spectacular views. With 23 new rooms, the Refugium offers two junior suites of approx. 60 m², and six new conference and event rooms, including the 196 m² “Plenum”.