In 1862 Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) spent a week with her parents and sister Queen Maria at the Wilder Mann hotel in Passau, Germany. It cannot have just been a purely social meeting – Sisi’s sister Maria Sophia, Queen of the Two Sicilies was seven-months pregnant and the father was not the king. He had not been able to consummate the marriage and Maria Sophia turned to a Belgian count, who was an officer in the Papal Guard. Sisi also stayed at the hotel on 19 July 1878.
Today the Hotel Wilder Mann still has two rooms dedicated to Sisi. You can sleep in the Sisi and Charlotte Room which has a bed and beside table from Sisi’s Godollo palace in Hungary and a metal bed owned by her sister Sophie Charlotte. Or you can choose Sisi’s room with an interior dating back to the Empress.
What is really remarkable about the hotel is that of seven floors only two are devoted to bedrooms. Four are used as the Glass Museum and the top floor (with splendid views) is the breakfast room which has a rare collection of Passau porcelain. The museum claims to be the biggest museum devoted to European glass in the world. It must certainly be the largest collection of Bavarian, Bohemian, Austrian and Silesian glass with a concentration on the 19th century and art nouveau. Having spent many hours examining the collection, we do not doubt the claim. Of 30,000 items, half are on display. The museum also has a display case devoted to items associated with Empress Elisabeth. You do not need to stay at the hotel to visit the museum.
Even without the museum or the associations with Sisi, it would be an interesting hotel. It is by the town hall and on the quayside where the river boats are moored. The hotel buildings can be dated back to 1303 and have Gothic and Baroque features. A plaque, on the outside, marks the visit of Sisi to the hotel.
Unfortunately being by the quayside makes the hotel liable to regular flooding. Levels on the buildings mark the high water marks from the floods. So the hotel has an empty ground floor and damage is minimised.
Sisi obviously enjoyed the hotel because she returned. And so did we to this unique hotel cum museum. Or is it museum cum hotel?
Hotel Wilder Mann, Schrottgasse 2, D-94032 Passau. www.wilder-mann.comTags: Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Hotel Wilder Mann, Maria Sophia Queen of the Two Sicilies, Passau Glass Museum, Sisi, Sisi bedroom
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