Hotel Krone in Weil am Rhein

Staying like friends – that is the credo of hotel manager Sonja Hechler. With great attention to detail, she has transformed the Gasthaus Krone, which dates back to 1572, from a house with a gastronomic focus into a boutique hotel that stands out for its beautiful interior designs as well as for its surprising breaks between tradition and modernity. Renowned designers such as Konstantin Grcic and Jasper Morrison stay here, as do art patrons and internationally renowned architects. The Hotel Krone is perfectly located between Basel, the Fondation Beyeler with its often top-class exhibitions and the Vitra Campus in Weil. All of them worth seeing destinations that can be experienced by bike or hiked from the Hotel Krone. This is even possible along an art trail. The Rehberger Trail with 24 objects by artist Tobias Rehberger links two countries, two communities and two cultural institutions over a length of only five kilometers, and in the middle of it all stands the Krone Inn.

Das historische Gasthaus Krone steht weiter im Vordergrund, der Neubau aus Sichtbeton, Stahl und Glas, entworfen von Architekt Osman Askari, der ehemals für Herzog & de Meuron tätig war, hält sich im Hintergrund. Diese Rollenverteilung war Hotelchefin Sonja Hechler wichtig / © Foto: Georg Berg
The historic Gasthaus Krone remains in the foreground, while the new building made of exposed concrete, steel and glass, designed by architect Osman Askari, who formerly worked for Herzog & de Meuron, remains in the background. This distribution of roles was important to hotel manager Sonja Hechler / © Photo: Georg Berg

More than 400 years ago, the Gasthaus Krone received the first liquor license in Weil am Rhein. From time immemorial, the house has been a contact point for a colorful public. For about 70 years, it has been run by the Hechler family. Thanks to its location on the border with Switzerland, the “Basel dough” has always liked to move here, as Sonja Hechler tells us. Everything of distinction, from pharmaceutical entrepreneurs to art patrons, came and still comes to the Hotel Krone with pleasure. In the past, the only thing that attracted guests was the good food.

Das Restaurant ist verkleinert worden. Dafür werden Hotelgäste und Restaurantbesucher nun im Living Room empfangen. Hier lädt Sonja Hechler zum Apéro und gleich fallen dem Besucher die ersten Design-Objekte ins Auge. Im Gespräch mit FrontRowSociety Autorin Angela Berg erzählt Sonja Hechler von der engen Verbundenheit zu Vitra. Aber auch junge Designlabel aus der Region wie etwa Pulpo mit Sitz in Lörrach werden in das Interieur des Hauses integriert. Hechler arbeitet seit der ersten Renovierungsphase 2012 mit der Innenarchitektin Anne-Sophie Hollenwäger zusammen / © Foto: Georg Berg
The restaurant has been downsized. Instead, hotel guests and restaurant visitors are now welcomed in the Living Room. Here, Sonja Hechler invites guests to an aperitif and the first design objects immediately catch the visitor’s eye. In conversation with FrontRowSociety author Angela Berg, Sonja Hechler talks about her close ties to Vitra. But young design labels from the region, such as Pulpo, based in Lörrach, are also integrated into the interior of the house. Hechler has been working with interior designer Anne-Sophie Hollenwäger since the first renovation phase in 2012 / © Photo: Georg Berg.

Father Roland Hechler cooked his way to a Michelin star when he was young. Today, he is exclusively at the stove on weekends, preparing his classics such as soup meat and Sunday roast. The restaurant, which has been downsized to 30 seats, has been running with a new concept since 2018. Chef Sebastian Urban provides modern and regional cuisine, but likes to think outside the box. The Outside the Box concept temporarily picks up on themes such as French cuisine, ART or asparagus.

Das Restaurant im Hotel Krone mit 30 Sitzgelegenheiten. Viele von ihnen sind der Eames Wire Chair DKW von 1951. Über den Tischen schweben Klassiker des Lichtdesigns. Im Vordergrund die Leuchte Golden Bell von Artek / © Foto: Georg Berg
The restaurant in the Hotel Krone with 30 seats. Many of them are the Eames Wire Chair DKW from 1951. Classics of lighting design float above the tables. In the foreground, the Golden Bell luminaire by Artek / © Photo: Georg Berg

How Vitra works – worlds for design fans

A stay at the Hotel Krone also encourages thought experiments for one’s own home. Whether in the restaurant, in the Living Room and even more so in your own room, as a guest you are surrounded by so many homely arranged design classics and design furniture of the present that the effect of these pieces is much more inspiring than would ever be possible in a sales room. Where else do you have the opportunity to spend an entire evening sitting on an Eames chair from Vitra and determine what you’ve always wanted to know. Are these chairs actually comfortable or do they just look good? The seating comfort is excellent. Mr. and Mrs. Eames, sorry, how could I doubt you!

Sichtbeton war Sonja Hechlers Wunschmaterial. Das historische Fachwerkhaus von 1572 wurde durch einen attraktiven Neubau ergänzt. Architekt Osman Askari schuf aus Glas, Stahl und Beton eine offene Architektur, die die Sommerterrasse, Konferenzräume und fünf neue Gästezimmer beherbergt. Nach Privathäusern, einer Schule und einem Kirchenumbau ist das Gasthaus Krone das erste Hotelprojekt von Osman Askari / © Foto: Georg Berg
Exposed concrete was Sonja Hechler’s material of choice. The historic half-timbered house from 1572 was complemented by an attractive new building. Architect Osman Askari used glass, steel and concrete to create an open architecture that houses the summer terrace, conference rooms and five new guest rooms. After private homes, a school and a church conversion, the Krone Inn is Osman Askari’s first hotel project / © Photo: Georg Berg

Main house and new building – designing an environment

Hotel Krone has a total of 17 design rooms. Twelve of them are located in the historic inn and five in the new building. Natural materials were used in the new rooms to ensure a healthy indoor climate, says Sonja Hechler. The best beds, adobe walls and purist, timeless design. In the rooms in the historic main house, the style of an old half-timbered house was not only retained, but deliberately brought out. The wooden beams have been exposed and painted. They contrast with the design classics by Charles and Ray Eames, Jean Prouvé or Isamu Noguchi, which are comparatively young at around 60 years old. Today, Eames descendants stay at the Hotel Krone, as do the extended family of star architect Balkrishna Doshi or designers Konstantin Grcic and Jasper Morrison.

Im historischen Haupthaus zeigt sich, wie gut alt und neu harmonieren. Die Holzbalken wurden freigelegt und lackiert. Sie stehen in Kontrast zu den mit rund 60 Jahren vergleichsweise jungen Designklassikern von Charles und Ray Eames, Jean Prouvé oder Isamu Noguchi / © Foto: Georg Berg
The historic main house shows how well old and new harmonize. The wooden beams have been exposed and painted. They contrast with the design classics by Charles and Ray Eames, Jean Prouvé or Isamu Noguchi, which are comparatively young at around 60 years old / © Photo: Georg Berg
Radverleih im Hotel Krone: Skizze einer strategisch perfekten Lage: „Pick a Bike“ im Hotel Krone und in fünf Minuten bist du auf dem Vitra Campus, in acht Minuten an der Fondation Beyeler in der Schweiz und in 25 Minuten gar mitten auf dem Marktplatz von Basel. Unser erstes Ziel, ganz designorientiert, der Vitra Campus / © Foto: Georg Berg
Bike rental at Hotel Krone: Sketch of a strategically perfect location: “Pick a Bike” at Hotel Krone and in five minutes you’re at the Vitra Campus, in eight minutes at the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, and in 25 minutes even in the middle of Basel’s marketplace. Our first destination, quite design-oriented, the Vitra Campus / © Photo: Georg Berg

Objects of desire in the city of chairs

It’s spring and they’re celebrating the Cherry Blossom Festival. Loosely distributed on the Vitra Campus are an unmanageable number of objects of desire. Here a Grcic, there a Morrison, Panton Juniors for the little ones and an enclosure full of Eames Elephants. Very casual this atmosphere that the company Vitra has created around its production site in Weil am Rhein since the 1950s. The buildings designed by star architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Alvaro Siza or Herzog & de Meuron. Even the bus stop on campus is a design by Jasper Morrison.

Das wohl prägnanteste Gebäude auf dem Vitra Campus ist das Vitra Haus der Architekten Herzog & de Meuron von 2010. Es ist der Flagshipstore von Vitra, gefüllt mit Wohnwelten aus der Home Collection zum Ordern oder direkt kaufen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Probably the most striking building on the Vitra Campus is the Vitra Haus designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron in 2010. It is Vitra’s flagship store, filled with living worlds from the Home Collection to order or buy directly / © Photo: Georg Berg.
Willkommen in der Stadt der Stühle. Auf der Wiese vor dem Vitra Haus stehen unzählige Designer Stühle in der Landschaft. Als Besucher rückt man sich den Panton, Eames oder einen Vegetal von Bouroullec zurecht. Im Hintergrund eine Gruppe von roten Stool Tools von Konstantin Grcic. Noch weiter dahinter die Weinberge von Weil / © Foto: Georg Berg
Welcome to the city of chairs. On the lawn in front of the Vitra house, countless designer chairs stand in the landscape. As a visitor, you move to the Panton, Eames or a Vegetal by Bouroullec. In the background, a group of red Stool Tools by Konstantin Grcic. Even further behind, the Weil vineyards / © Photo: Georg Berg
Innenansichten aus dem Vitra Haus. Die Wohnwelten von Vitra sind gespickt mit Informationen rund um die Designer und die Geschichte ihrer Möbel / © Foto: Georg Berg
Interior views from the Vitra house. Vitra’s living worlds are peppered with information about the designers and the history of their furniture / © Photo: Georg Berg
Innenansichten aus dem Vitra Haus. Mit Blick in die schöne Landschaft und einem ganzen Geschwader Handgranaten in der Luft. Klingt bedrohlich? Gemeint ist die Pendelleuchte, die Alvar Aalto 1952 für Artek gestaltet hat. Ihr schlichtes Aussehen erinnert an Industrie-Design und hat ihr den Namen Handgranate eingebracht. In Zeiten des Kalten Krieges war man mit Kosenamen anscheinend nicht so empfindlich / © Foto: Georg Berg
Interior views from the Vitra Haus. With a view of the beautiful landscape and a whole squadron of hand grenades in the air. Sounds threatening? What is meant is the pendant lamp that Alvar Aalto designed for Artek in 1952. Its simple appearance is reminiscent of industrial design and earned it the name Hand Grenade. In the days of the Cold War, people apparently weren’t so touchy about pet names / © Photo: Georg Berg

The newest building on campus – the Vitra Schaudepot

From the outside, a plain brick building, with the shape of the pictogram for house. From the inside, the Schaudepot presents key objects from an extensive collection. 20,000 objects, including 7,000 pieces of furniture, over 1,000 lamps as well as numerous archives and the estates of Verner Panton and Alexander Girard are gathered here. A selection is always available to visitors, focusing on around 400 objects of modern furniture design from 1800 to the present day. These include Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto and Gerrit Rietveld.

Im Vitra Schaudepot werden eine Auswahl von Schlüsselobjekten des Möbel-Designs gezeigt. Hier eine Reihe Panton Chairs von Verner Panton. Das Schaudepot archiviert den kompletten Nachlass des dänischen Designers Verner Panton / © Foto: Georg Berg
A selection of key objects of furniture design are shown in the Vitra Schaudepot. Here a row of Panton Chairs by Verner Panton. The Schaudepot archives the complete estate of the Danish designer Verner Panton / © Photo: Georg Berg
Nicht alles, was im Vitra Schaudepot gezeigt wird, muss man schön finden. Aber interessant ist die Entwicklung des Möbeldesigns, die hier am Möbel Stuhl gezeigt wird allemal / © Foto: Georg Berg
Not everything on display at the Vitra Schaudepot has to be beautiful. But the development of furniture design, which is shown here at the Möbel Stuhl, is certainly interesting / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Rehberger Way between Riehen and Weil

Enough design? Then the region still offers art, excellent to connect, directly from Vitra Campus along the Rehberger-Weg. In 2015, the five-kilometer stretch between Weil am Rhein and Riehen in Switzerland was equipped with 24 waymarks by Tobias Rehberger. The objects aim to bring visitors closer to the natural and cultural landscape. A trail map explains the art, which is often self-explanatory. Sometimes they show up as utilitarian objects like trash cans, signposts or large-scale posters. Great, though unintentionally caricaturing itself, the waymark “Bodenarbeiten” shows up during our bike tour.

Bodenarbeit von Tobias Rehberger trifft auf Bodenarbeit der Gemeinde Weil am Rhein. Hoffentlich hat sich hier der Bauarbeiter frei nach der Legende um Joseph Beuys Fettecke nicht gefragt „Ist das Kunst, oder kann das weg?“ / © Foto: Georg Berg
Ground work by Tobias Rehberger meets ground work by the municipality of Weil am Rhein. Hopefully, the construction worker here freely after the affair of Joseph Beuys Fettecke did not ask himself “Is that art, or can that go away?” / © Photo: Georg Berg.
Der Rehberger Weg führt zum großen Teil durch die Weinberge. 24 Wegmarken auf fünf Kilometer. Fahrräder gibt es zum Verleih direkt im Hotel Krone / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Rehberger Weg leads for the most part through the vineyards. 24 trail markers over five kilometers. Bicycles can be rented directly at the Hotel Krone / © Photo: Georg Berg
Tobias Rehberger und seine Wegmarke "Fernglas" mit Blick aus dem Weinberg auf Weil am Rhein / © Foto: Georg Berg
Tobias Rehberger and his waymark binoculars with a view from the vineyard to Weil am Rhein / © Photo: Georg Berg

Old town of Basel and the Fondation Beyeler

By bike, it takes only 25 minutes to get from Hotel Krone to Basel’s market square, and just eight minutes to reach the Fondation Beyeler. Basel has a very beautiful and intact old town. Record-breaking is the number of 40 museums. Four ferries operate between the five Rhine bridges in Basel. One of them is the Leu ferry at the cathedral. It crosses the Rhine without an engine and only by the force of the current. On a walk through the old town, over the market square past the red town hall of Basel, a crossing with the Münster ferry including a chat with the ferryman Jacques Thurneysen is recommended.

Jacques Thurneysen, in Paris geboren und auf dem Rhein zuhause: Seit vielen Jahrzehnten hält er die Pacht für die kleine Seilfähre, die über den Schwengel mit einem Drahtseil verbunden ist, das das Basler Münster mit dem anderen Ufer verbindet. Mit 65 Jahren übergibt Thurneysen die Pacht an seinen Sohn Noa. Im Sommer ist die Fähre 77 Stunden in der Woche im Dienst. Die Schichten teilt sich Jacques Thurneysen mit Sohn und Neffe / © Foto: Georg Berg
Jacques Thurneysen, born in Paris and at home on the Rhine: for many decades he has held the lease for the small cable ferry, which is connected via the Schwengel to a wire cable that connects Basel’s cathedral with the other bank. At the age of 65, Thurneysen hands over the lease to his son Noa. In summer, the ferry is in service 77 hours a week. Jacques Thurneysen shares the shifts with his son and nephew / © Photo: Georg Berg
Die Basler Rheinfähre „Leu“ am Münster. In den Mittagsstunden fahren die Menschen gerne zum Mittagessen auf die andere Seite, die dann in der Sonne liegt. Eine Überfahrt kostet 1,60 Franken oder Euro / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Basel Rhine ferry “Leu” at the cathedral. In the midday hours, people like to cross to the other side for lunch, which is then in the sun. A crossing costs 1.60 francs or euros / © Photo: Georg Berg
Kunststadt Basel. Einmal im Jahr findet die international führenden Kunstmesse ART Basel statt. Das Kulturhighlight im Jahr 2019 dürfte aber die Picasso Ausstellung der Fondation Beyeler sein. Sie zeigt den jungen Picasso – Blaue und Rosa Periode. Das Hotel Krone bietet seinen Gästen Weekend-Pakete an, die die Eintrittskarten zur Picasso-Ausstellung enthalten / © Foto: Georg Berg
Art City Basel. Once a year, the leading international art fair ART Basel takes place. But the cultural highlight in 2019 is likely to be the Picasso exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler. It shows the young Picasso – Blue and Pink period. Hotel Krone offers its guests weekend packages that include tickets to the Picasso exhibition / © Photo: Georg Berg.
Rotes Rathaus von Basel. Es liegt in direkt am Marktplatz und der Vorhof ist frei zugänglich / © Foto: Georg Berg
Red Town Hall of Basel. It is located in directly on the market square and the forecourt is freely accessible / © Photo: Georg Berg

Gutedel – a grape variety from the Markgräfler Land

Weil am Rhein also stands for good wines – in the Markgräfler Land Burgundy is grown and Chasselas. The Gutedel has a lower alcohol content and is considered very digestible. In 1780, the grape variety was brought to the Markgräfler Land by Margrave Karl-Friedrich von Baden from Vevey on Lake Geneva. We head out into the vines with winemaker Johannes Schneider. The family farms about 13 hectares. The best site is the hamlet of Schlipf, known for its chalky soils. The fourth-generation winemaking family still keeps all the steps of production and marketing in their own hands.

Winzer Johannes Schneider erzählt, dass die Rebsorte Gutedel rund 20 Prozent der Produktion ausmacht. Ein Zechwein mit wenig Alkohol und wenig Säure, leicht und unkompliziert. Der Burgunder der Schneiders schafft es zum Ausschank bis nach London in die Tate Gallery / © Foto: Georg Berg
Winemaker Johannes Schneider says that the Chasselas grape variety accounts for about 20 percent of production. A Zechwein with low alcohol and little acidity, light and uncomplicated. The Schneiders’ Burgundy makes it to the Tate Gallery in London for serving / © Photo: Georg Berg
Frühjahrsarbeit am Rebstock. Der Gutedel hat etwas weniger Alkohol, gilt als sehr bekömmlich. 1780 wurde die Rebsorte Gutedel von Markgraf Karl-Friedrich von Baden aus Vevey am Genfer See ins Markgräfler Land gebracht. Schon damals hatte diese Traube eine über mehrere Jahrtausende währende Geschichte hinter sich. Heute wächst sie zwischen den beiden Münstern zu Basel und Freiburg. Die große Traube bringt einen frischen, spritzigen Wein hervor / © Foto: Georg Berg
Spring work on the vine. Chasselas has slightly less alcohol and is considered very digestible. In 1780, Margrave Karl-Friedrich von Baden brought the Gutedel grape variety from Vevey on Lake Geneva to the Markgräfler Land. Even then, this grape had a history that spanned several millennia. Today it grows between the two cathedrals of Basel and Freiburg. The large grape produces a fresh, sparkling wine / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Hotel Krone and the new ART of Markgräfler cuisine
The Hotel Mühle brings Apulian cuisine to Binzen
On the road in Basel – A self-guided food tour and a visit to the Fondation Beyeler
More about Basel, the city on the Rhine. It served as a refuge for idiosyncratic thinkers

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Entrance fees and the cost of half board at the hotel were not charged

Travel Topics on Tellerrand-Stories

Our mode of operation is characterized by self-experienced, well-researched text work and professional, vivid photography. For all stories, travel impressions and photos are created in the same place. Thus, the photos complement and support what is read and carry it further.

Never miss new Tellerrand-Stories again! Mithilfe eines Feed-Readers lassen sich die Information über neue Blogartikel in Echtzeit abonnieren With the help of a feed reader, all stories about the Tellerrand (edge of the plate) can be subscribed to in real time.

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