Steigenberger Hotel reopens Progress being made in rebuilding Bad Neuenahr's spa district after the flood

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler · A good two and a half years after the flood disaster, reconstruction in Bad Neuenahr's spa district is making great strides. The Steigenberger Hotel is due to reopen soon - although there is conflicting information about exactly when.

Bilder vom Wiederaufbau im Steigenberger-Hotel und Thermal-Badehaus
10 Bilder

Bilder vom Wiederaufbau im Steigenberger-Hotel und Thermal-Badehaus

10 Bilder
Foto: ahr-foto

Workers are plastering the walls where the reception used to be. Other areas still look bare. The main entrance resembles a hole largely covered with chipboard. Nevertheless, as emerged during a site inspection with Nicole Steingaß, the state secretary responsible for reconstruction in the Ahr valley, the badly damaged Steigenberger Hotel is due to reopen in May. A Steigenberger spokesperson, on the other hand, told the GA that it would be June.

Either way, the upmarket hotel in the heart of the spa district will have 216 rooms and more beds than the ones destroyed by the flood. Long-term guests can make themselves at home in five new flats with kitchenettes. The spa area with indoor pool and saunas will extend over 800 square metres.

The handover of the construction site is planned for 1 April. The schedule has already been pushed back once and given the large amount of work that obviously still needs to be done, it is difficult to imagine it can be adhered to this time. It is hoped that over the coming weeks, more than 200 workers will make sure the project is completed.

According to architect Gerd Bungarten, the biggest challenge is the "complexity of the various construction phases", as he told the GA during a site visit. "On the one hand, you're building the shell, on the other hand, you're already wallpapering," he reports. He says that "old relics" are presenting the workers with new problems. For example, pipes are appearing where there shouldn't be any. "Everything has been planned, everyone knows what they have to do. It's only the time constraints that make it difficult," he points out. Nevertheless, he is "naturally" confident that the work can now be completed on time. At least so that the hotel can open.

32,000 square metre site

The Rheinland-Palatinate Development Agency says that the reopening of the Steigenberger will mark the finalisation of the first construction project in Bad Neuenahr's spa district. Work is also underway on reconstructing the Kurhaussaal and its outbuildings, the former casino building and the thermal bathhouse, which was completely destroyed apart from the historic façade, on a site reportedly covering 32,000 square metres. The bathhouse is due to house doctors' and physiotherapists' surgeries again at the beginning of 2025. Doctors have already moved into the former casino building, and the development agency says events have already been planned for November this year in the Kurhaussaal.

As she walks through the spa district, State Secretary Steingaß is impressed by "everything that has already been done here, how much work has been accomplished". She describes the reopening of the Steigenberger as a "good sign for the city". Then she looks back on the time immediately after the devastating flood in the Ahr Valley, which claimed at least 135 lives: "When I was here for the first time, a few days after the flood, the extent of the destruction was unimaginable. There was a huge crater, and hotel windows were shattered. It left a deep impression on me." Now the reconstruction is progressing "step by step".

The large buildings in the spa district - including the Steigenberger Hotel - are owned by the Aktiengesellschaft Bad Neuenahr (Bad Neuenahr plc). Its CEO Dieter Sturm does not want to comment on the reconstruction costs there, as "such huge sums are involved". He only indirectly confirms that the amount has increased by around 20 per cent compared to the original plans. According to him, the reconstruction of the spa district is of great importance for the entire Ahr valley as it is one of the origins of tourism in the Ahr.

Original text: Sven Westbrock; Translation: Jean Lennox

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