I dream of a wonderful, relaxing and comforting cottage with decent food and a cozy chimney fire, a sauna and nice people. It doesn’t have to be luxurious, but it should be soothing. Thankfully, Schloss Gamehl near Wismar at the Baltic Sea caters to that special need.
The Neo-Gothic architecture of the formerly private manor is reason enough to fall in love with the hotel, but it’s really the silence all around it that made it an attractive choice to escape Berlin for a few days.
We visited the beautiful estate while it was still beautiful in September. We stayed three days and had no complaints: wonderful staff, spacious and gracious rooms, the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, adequate breakfast and dinner and nothing but farmland beyond the house.
Schloss Gamehl is only about a 2 hour drive outside of Berlin. You could easily also take the train to the little town Wismar (they have a pick-up service from the train station to the estate), but being mobile allows you to take trips into the surrounding countryside or to the island Poehl. Being close to the Baltic Sea is another factor to consider.
Taking a time out from Berlin
The older I become, the more necessary short weekend retreats are necessary to overcome the hustle of Berlin. Unfortunately, two or three nights neither justify the exhaustion of traveling, nor are there many options around the immediate city. It’s getting better lately – a couple of options (besides Die Bleiche) have sprung up in the past years. But for now, I’ve only ever found two extremes: tacky and luxurious debauchery for rich people or uncomfortable and square guesthouses of medieval standards.
More and more people are actively seeking retreats away from the city without wanting to compromise on either comfort or style. I know this for a fact because I get asked, on a weekly basis, about nice getaway hotels, secret escapes or intimate spas. Usually by people between the ages of 20 and 40, who don’t want to share their time-off with bigoted rural Germans, and yes, that’s still a thing in Brandenburg and MeckPomm, and it’s important to make note of that if you’re a person of color or openly gay that you will not feel comfortable everywhere you go, despite the fact that the tourism industry is open-minded and welcoming enough.
It’s more sustainable to stay close to the city, and who wants to spend two-fifth of a vacation traveling and flying? But Germany is not a cheap vacation country , which is why it’s hard to find adequate options for middle-class budgets. The problem isn’t so much the general availability but the codes of comfort: I don’t need pre-packaged shampoo, I want wooden furnishing and fresh bed linen. I don’t want a vast breakfast buffet of things that will go right into the trash, I want three or four well chosen products that will give me joy.
Schloss Gamehl doesn’t tick all the boxes yet, but if you really want to get some space between you and Berlin on a mid-range budget, then it might just be right for you. The hotel’s restaurant in a restored ball room is also worth trying out (dinner can be pre-booked, which I highly recommend, as there are no restaurants around the estate). If you do get bored, there’s always Wismar a half hour drive away, a quaint little city right at the Baltic Sea coast with an intensely Nordic vibe.