The great Victoria Hotel:
Celeb-Hostel of the Imperial Age

The building in which the Praxis am Kureck is located stands on a site that plays an important role in the history of Wiesbaden:

Romping Place of the Imperial “Haute Volee”

The buil­ding in which the Pra­xis am Kureck 2014 ope­ned was once home to one of Wiesbaden’s first modern spa hotels with bat­hing faci­li­ties: the Dürin­ger Hotel, which ope­ned in 1842.

At the “Dürin­ger” the rich, beau­ti­ful and power­ful of the impe­ri­al era descen­ded to cure in Wiesbaden’s hot springs — or to be seen in the com­pa­ny of the rich, beau­ti­ful and power­ful. Becau­se Wies­ba­den was a “must” of the 19th cen­tu­ry. Anyo­ne who was not in Wies­ba­den when the Emperor went on holi­day and atten­ded the May Fes­ti­val sim­ply did not belong to the “Rele­vant Set”.

Promenades — even for women!

The hotel at the begin­ning of Wil­helm­stras­se and Rhein­stras­se was the star­ting point for pres­ti­gious after­noon pro­me­na­des on the two new­ly built, lar­ge bou­le­vards of Wies­ba­den. After the Tau­nus­bahn­hof was com­ple­ted in 1840 (on the site of today’s Rhein-Main Con­gress Cen­ter), new lar­ge hotels had sett­led here. Recent­ly, peop­le tra­vel­led by train, which came “at a speed of 40 km/h” from Frank­furt. (Pas­sen­gers were advi­sed not to look out the win­dow, as the exces­si­ve speed could lead to “ver­ti­go and madness”.

The spa pro­me­na­des on the Rhein­stra­ße were espe­cial­ly for women an oppor­tu­ni­ty to live out excep­tio­nal free­doms: On the wide, pla­ne-tree-lined spa pro­me­na­des with ben­ches, they were allo­wed to walk more slow­ly and even stop and appeal to friends without immedia­te­ly being regar­ded as “light girls”. The dar­ing were even allo­wed to be accom­pa­nied by gen­tle­men, even if they were not their spouses!

When Dostoyevsky was tanking at the green table

Bes­i­des many prin­ces, poli­ti­ci­ans and wri­ters, one of the most spec­ta­cu­lar guests of this hotel was the Rus­si­an poet Fyo­dor Dos­t­oy­evs­ky. As a pas­sio­na­te gam­bler he often visi­ted the casi­no in the Kur­haus in 1865 and gam­bled away 3000 gold rou­bles — his ent­i­re for­tu­ne. Sin­ce he had not­hing left for the hotel bill, the hote­lier refu­sed him a seat in the dining room and dis­creet­ly com­pli­men­ted him out. The­re was no dis­cus­sion of the case becau­se, alt­hough not unusu­al, it was nevertheless embarrassing.

Back in St. Peters­burg, Dos­to­ev­ski urgent­ly nee­ded money and wro­te the novel “The Play­er” in only 26 days, in which he impres­si­ve­ly addres­sed the con­se­quen­ces of gamb­ling addic­tion. Wies­ba­den — ali­as “Rou­let­ten­burg” — and its illus­trious figu­res do less well. Nevertheless, the casi­no still proud­ly pres­ents the ori­gi­nal rou­let­te wheel to which Dos­t­oy­evs­ky fell vic­tim at that time.

The Hotel Dürin­ger chan­ged hands in 1857 and was ren­a­med “Vic­to­ria Hotel und Bade­haus”. In March 1945, the Hotel Vic­to­ria and Bad­haus were des­troy­ed in a bom­bing raid 1945 and never rebuilt.

Our pic­tu­re gal­le­ry shows the sple­ndour and moder­ni­ty of the Vic­to­ria Hotel and Bath­house around 1895.

Hans-Wer­ner Klein

Galery