The Bilfinger Group terminated the hotel and catering lease at the end of the year. The Hessischer Jägerhof Foundation is already looking for a new tenant.
The parasols in front of the cavalier’s building of the Kranichstein hunting lodge have already been packed for winter use. Because of the Corona regulations, the restaurant has not been allowed to open since the beginning of November. It is unclear whether guests will be entertained there again by the end of the year. In any case, hotel director Stefan Stahl is skeptical.
A few days ago he had to deliver bad news to the 30 employees in the restaurant and the affiliated four-star superior hotel: the hotel and the catering trade will be closed at the end of the year. This was decided by the construction and services group Bilfinger, which leased the hunting lodge for ten years in 2012 – during the tenure of the then CEO and former Hessian Prime Minister Roland Koch (CDU).
Bilfinger had invested around six million euros in the refurbishment of the 15 rooms and suites in the palace wing, the renovation of 13 rooms in the nearby armory and the addition of a “park wing” with a further 20 rooms. Due to the corona-related collapse in business, the group, which has used the hotel and restaurant regularly for training, conferences and meetings of the management board and the supervisory board, has now terminated its lease early.
Understandable from a business perspective
The decision was on the one hand “terrible, sad and not nice” for the staff, on the other hand it was understandable from an economic point of view, said Director Stahl of the FR. According to him, only between 15 and 20 percent of the 48 rooms are currently occupied because, due to the current regulations, only business travelers are allowed to stay overnight.
In the past few months, due to the Corona regulations, a number of celebrations, especially weddings, for which the hotel with a large ballroom, the neighboring castle chapel and the historic park has been a popular address for decades, have been canceled. In the summer, however, it was at least 60 percent full, says hotel director Stahl.
After the termination of the lease agreement by the Bilfinger Group, the Hessischer Jägerhof Foundation wants to maintain its use as the owner of the hunting lodge. Onno Faller, the foundation’s managing director, has already announced that she will find a new tenant as soon as possible, which is currently not easy.
For the five trainees, there is at least a glimmer of hope. With the support of other hotels, two have already found a new training company. And also some employees: inside already have new positions in prospect, said hotel director Stahl confidently.