Once upon a time, the building that now houses Hotel Liberty was the antithesis of what it is today. Instead of contemporary French cuisine served from an open grill helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Biasiol, it served simple meals of water and bread (a staple diet that also inspired the name of the current restaurant, Wasser & Brot). Instead of dining casually on a terrace by a walkway connecting to Offenburg’s city center, residents were kept under surveillance and not allowed to leave.
You’ve guessed it—Hotel Liberty used to be a prison, a provenance its name gestures at playfully today. Built in 1840 on the German side of the French border, the prison was part of a so-called “peace plan” devised by the ruling elite of Europe after the French Revolution in the late 1700s. Liberal thinkers were seen as a threat to the incumbent aristocracies, and the Offenburg prison was one of many that were built to oppress political opposition.
Over 150 years later, the red sandstone building was saved from decay by entrepreneurial brothers Christian and Dietmar Funk, who transformed it into a 38-room boutique hotel.
In addition to the top-class culinary program that also includes alfresco tapas and high tea on a mezzanine floor, the hotel is home to a grand library, and the wine bar La Cave, ideal for private tastings, dinners, and banquets. All of this is situated just outside the Offenburg city walls just 20 minutes from Strasbourg, near Germany’s Black Forest, a place of myth, legend, and immense natural beauty.