Almost as Old as Innsbruck
Schwarzer Adler is the embodiment of the century- long hotel history of Innsbruck. Once the accommodation of emperors and kings, it is today an exclusive hotel with an international reputation.
Highly visible, above the door of Schwarzer Adler hotel, is the historic sign featuring the two-headed eagle reminding of the former Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy.
At the beginning of the 16th century the stables of Emperor Maximilian were at this location. Nearby there were many crafts businesses including the guild of the silversmiths, who made little pieces of art out of shiny, precious metal. The nearby town of Schwaz was the home of the “mother of all mines” that provided plenty of silver and copper. This medieval “industrial” area soon turned into a noble district for the famous Tyrolean noble dynasties, the palaces of which are still there today. Schwarzer Adler too, was originally a patrician house.
In the beginning it was run as a public house and from the 17th century onwards as a guesthouse. It was never as big as under the reformer Joseph II: a part of the annexing Capuchin Monastery was let to the host, who converted the dining hall of the monks into a public house. Whether also some thirsty monks frequented the place is concealed in the annals of the monastery…
The “Adler” experienced an exciting time in 1719, when European history was made inside its walls: The conflict between the Catholic and Protestant Irish that still smoulders today brought the Silesian Princess Clementina Sobieski to Innsbruck. She was held near the Schwarzer Adler to prevent the continuation of her journey to her wedding with the Irish King James III to Rome.
The liberators including Sir Charles Wogen stayed at Schwarzer Adler and started their daring flight from there. If it hadn’t been for a follower of Wogen, who returned from Brenner pass to the Schwarzer Adler in a snow storm to pick them up, even the crown jewels would have been left at the guesthouse.
In the book of “The Master of the 7th Seal” is told that Alexander Colin used to be a regular guest at that time. The known Flemish artist had an active part in the construction of the tomb of Emperor Maximilian. He consumed several beakers of wine at Schwarzer Adler every day to overcome his sadness at the standstill of the works at what was initially and enthusiastically planned to be Europe’s biggest tomb. He was let down by the caster and he already suspected that he would not be mentioned in history books in the same breath as Donatello, Bramante or Michelangelo.
At the beginning of the 20th century Franz Ultsch brought the hotel called Schwarzer Adler into the family. Back then it was a traditional guesthouse and under lease for some time, before Helmut Ultsch took over the business in the mid-50ies. The trained gastronomer adapted and extended the house together with his wife Margarethe. The house’s excellent reputation for its cuisine – beyond the borders - dates back to this time. From 1978 onwards son Werner headed the cuisine for some 10 years. After years on the road in Germany and Austria he developed the “New Tyrolean Cuisine” in Innsbruck and the “Austrian Natural Cuisine”. Initially sneered at and considered being a new “Knödl preacher”, his natural, healthy cuisine at gourmet level entered all kitchens and has made a major contribution to the way we cook today.
Thanks to its high quality, the business received the honour of being admitted to the exclusive circle of the Romantic Hotels Austria.
In the late 1980ies, Harald Ultsch, one of the four children and already the 4th generation, took over. As a graduated business student with experience abroad, especially in the USA, he expands the business, mainly in the hotel area. From 1985 to 2003 the guesthouse turned into one of the leading hotels of the region in several construction stages.
His wife Sonja has experience in the world of fashion and introduces new ideas. It proves to be quite a successful combination. Her good taste in interior design and decoration of restaurant rooms and guest rooms sets new standards for the Innsbruck hotel businesses.
A happy coincidence was the cooperation with the Swarovski’s for the design of the bathrooms and the wellness area. The head office of the global corporation is only a few kilometres from Innsbruck. Together new possible uses of the crystals were realised.
At the end of the last century the area surrounding Schwarzer Adler Romantic Hotel and Restaurant changed. The university, a flagship of modern architecture, moved to the former location of the casern just opposite of the hotel. A colourful hustle and bustle with numerous new shops and pubs emerged around it.
Today, shortly after the 500-year anniversary, the former lodge presents itself as Romantic Hotel and Restaurant for guest with the highest demands. The guest book tells of many famous people that appreciate the hospitality of the Schwarzer Adler Design Hotel Innsbruck.