Hotel Stadt Hamburg

Sylt Westerland, Germany | C.1869

Photo Credit: Marlon Jost

The northernmost tip of Germany is a place where people have historically come to breathe. Located on the Island of Sylt, this fragile geography is Germany’s Venice. Despite battling generations of strong sea-borne wind and waves the breeze hasn’t stopped people from traveling to Germany’s edge – in fact, it seems to have encouraged travelers sporting all sorts of ailments.

The first visitors to Sylt came for the best medical cures known to the Victorian Era. Lured by the salted sea, doctors of the day believed deeply in the healing powers of a shot of sea-water and some extra air in your lungs. Although they were onto something – chugging a glass of non filtered seawater is something most doctors today would request you avoid. Nonetheless, most of Sylt’s towns and villages maintained a Kurhaus or “cure house”, where a “spa doctor ” would prescribe massages, salt-water cocktails, saunas, or muddied baths to treat everything from a loose toenail to tuberculosis.

While (fortunately) medical technology has greatly advanced from a good ol’ fashioned gulp of seawater, The Hotel Stadt Hamburg continues a version of the old Victorian practice in their up to date spa facilities. Founded in 1869 they continue to offer the best homeopathic cures to your everyday ailments – all while swaddled in a fluffy bathrobe and matching terry cloth slippers.

Today the fragile island is protected by the money of those who live along its shores. Known for attracting a wealthy German community, they work continuously to ensure that the wind and waves don’t encroach any further onto their vulnerable beaches. Without their efforts to protect the island, it likely would have found itself waterlogged. So it’s best to plan your spa day soon, and if the sauna doesn’t peak your interest, you can always take a dip in the sea – but perhaps avoid a glass of salty tonic.

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