by Andrea Guthmann
How’d you like to spend a night at Sleeping Beauty’s castle? Castle Sababurg, in the fairy tale setting of the German countryside, is at your service, complete with knights in armor, four-poster beds, a castle garden with plenty of pink roses honoring Briar Rose, and portraits of the Brothers Grimm and their imaginative tales. This 14th century castle hotel is the highlight of Germany’s Fairy Tale Road tour, winding through the medieval towns north of Frankfurt, where the Brothers Grimm once lived and worked.
Although there’s no evidence the Brothers Grimm based the story on this castle, the owners claim that after reading the Grimm story, the surrounding townspeople began referring to it as the Sleeping Beauty castle. Today, it’s become an almost amusement park-like attraction, devoted to the tale of Sleeping Beauty, with performances of the classic story on Sundays. There are also roses everywhere — growing in the castle garden and found in the rose-scented bath amenities and small jars of rose jam guests are given to take home. They’re also found at afternoon tea, which includes rose-infused treats.
The castle’s 17 rooms are decorated with medieval-themed dÃ©cor, and children will love greeting the knights in armor standing guard throughout the property. In keeping with the medieval theme, you won’t find TV’s or Internet in the rooms. Be prepared to step off the grid when you step into this out-of-the-way hotel in rural Germany.
A favorite place to unplug and unwind is the manicured garden, with its own fairy tale scavenger hunt, a hotel highlight. You can also walk the wall surrounding the castle hotel for panoramic views of the picturesque German countryside, followed by lunch or a pastry on the terrace at the outdoor cafe overlooking the surrounding valley.
Castle Sababurg works hard to ensure guests leave with a happily-ever-after vacation memory. Don’t forget to bring along a collection of Brothers Grimm stories to share with your kids, too, so you can really bring this fairy tale vacation to life!
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The castle's 17 rooms are decorated in updated furnishings, with medieval-themed decor. Rooms are modern, while still retaining the feeling of a castle.
The most luxurious rooms are up in the tower, with their Jacuzzi tubs and more lavish furnishings. You'll find plush bedding, stylish decor, period furniture and modern bathrooms. These rooms are the most sought after guest rooms in the hotel. Each room is decorated around the theme of a certain animal. One room is decorated around an equestrian theme, should there be a horse lover in the family.
Most of the castle's 17 rooms have a double bed, along with a single bed, but an additional rollaway bed can be brought in for a small fee (5 Euros for kids up to 5 years old, 10 Euros for kids 6 to 10 years old and 15 Euros for kids 11 to 15). Rollaway beds will not fit in the tower rooms though. A family of four could sleep in the tower by reserving two adjacent rooms; the hotel will allow families to book the second room at a 50 percent discount. Castle Sababurg does not have any connecting rooms.
Standard room bathrooms are updated, but not luxurious, and have both bathtubs and showers. Crabtree & Evelyn bath amenities, including rosewater bath and shower gel, add a nice classic touch to the hotel.
Six of the guest rooms have large balconies. Given that the views of the countryside here are spectacular, it's well worth paying extra for the balcony. Kids will also enjoy getting to sit on the balcony and watch the bison and other wildlife from the nearby animal park roaming around freely
The castle is closed and looks abandoned. There is a man sitting at the entrance by a food truck who has a key and will unlock the gate so you can go into the castle and see the castle walls. Looks like it has been abandoned for some time now. If you peer into the windows of the other buildings it looks like everything is cleared out.
Didn't stay here, but thoroughly enjoyed the gardens and their connection to Sleeping Beauty. The member of hotel staff that greeted us was lovely and extremely welcoming.
The fairytale leaflet was in English, but the children's trail was in German. Despite a small graft of the German language, it was a lot of fun and the kids still got the end prize regardless.
We drove past the nearby Zoo/Farm Park and popped in there afterwards.
Castle Sababurg does not have a children's club or pool, but if a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore medieval castles and the bucolic German countryside sounds appealing, you're in the right place. This is the kind of vacation where you'll be forced to disconnect from your Facebook feed, and get social the old-fashioned way -- face to face.
Budding princes and princesses will enjoy doing the fairy tale scavenger hunt through the manicured castle garden. Pick up the English version of the scavenger hunt brochure in the lobby and head off to the gardens to find the seven works of art inspired by Sleeping Beauty. Plan on exploring the gardens after 5 p.m., when they're closed to the public and only open to hotel guests.
Hikes in the surrounding countryside are an obvious choice for families. Castle Sababurg is in the middle of the Reinhardswald Forest, and there are plenty of trails to explore. Just don't read one of the other wildly popular Brothers Grimm tails, Hansel and Gretel, before heading out!
Another way to spend the day is at the Tierpark Sababurg (Sababurg Zoo), only a five-minute walk away. Europe's oldest wildlife refuge is adjacent to Castle Sababurg. In fact, guests at Castle Sababurg have terrific views of the Sababurg Zoo from many of the rooms, as well as the outdoor patio restaurant.
Castle Sababurg has a lovely restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plenty of visitors travel to the hotel for Castle Sababurg's unique twist on classic afternoon tea. In honor of the Sleeping Beauty character, Briar Rose, Castle Sababurg calls their version, the Rose Tea. Guests are served rose-infused tea and assorted pastries that come with rose-infused cream and jam.
Guests can choose to sit inside, which is decorated in a traditional German wood decor or, weather permitting, sit on the outdoor terrace. This patio dining area has breathtaking views of the German countryside below, along with the neighboring wild animal park. This is the kind of setting where you'd happily spend several hours languidly eating, then stopping to admire the view, then taking a sip of your drink. Castle Sababurg is all about unwinding from life's daily intrusions, and the patio restaurant helps visitors do just that.
In keeping with the fairy tale theme, Castle Sababurg offers a Brothers Grimm special on the dinner menu, which features regional specialties using local produce and game, including wild boar and venison. There's no kid's menu, but any of the main dishes on the menu can be ordered in smaller portions for kids at 7.50 Euros. High chairs are available for babies and toddlers.
Breakfast is an additional 18 Euros per day. It consists of a typical German breakfast buffet of cold cuts and cheese, bread, eggs and a variety of fruits and cereals.
Planning & Tips
Castle Sababurg does not have a fitness center. Instead, you'll have to exercise like they did in medieval times -- by hiking through the forest, or jogging, if you prefer.
Castle Sababurg does not have a designated gift shop, but it does have a table in the lobby where you can purchase a variety of Brothers Grimm fairy tale books and assorted souvenirs. It also sells every imaginable rose-themed product, from rose soaps to rose infused teas and jams.
Being out in the countryside, parking is free in the hotel lot.
There is complimentary Wi-Fi in the lobby, but Wi-Fi is not available in the rooms.
Electrical outlets in Europe accept different adaptors than in the United States. Castle Sababurg has those special adaptors available, free of charge, for their American guests.
The Art of Smart Timing
High season for Castle Sababurg is June through August. The weeks between the end of July and first half of August, when German students are on summer vacation, are when rooms at the castle will be most difficult to reserve.
Summer temperatures are generally warm, but pleasant, and hover around the 70's and 80's. Autumn brings beautiful bursts of color as the leaves begin to fall. The holiday season in December can be a particularly picturesque time to visit Germany, with its many outdoor Christkindlmarkets. Temperatures from December through February are generally in the 30's during the day.
The closest airport is Frankfurt International Airport, 2.5 hours away. From there, the only way to reach this out-of-the-way castle is via car. In the land of the autobahn, where the auto was actually invented, renting a car and taking a family road trip is relatively easy. Most of the major American car rental companies have kiosks at the Frankfurt airport. Make sure and rent a GPS to make getting around more simple.
For Mom and Dad
Castle Sababurg does not have a kid's club. However, if you e-mail them in advance, they can arrange for a local student to babysit. It's a long drive to get to the nearest town with a nicer restaurant or bar, and not a drive you'd want to make at night. If mom and dad want to enjoy some time together, the best option is to stay close by and enjoy a drink alone on the terrace or by the fireplace in the hotel lobby.