Das Bootshaus Hotel in Amberg, Bavaria, Oberpfälzer, Germany

Threaded Heritage

Hotel Bootshaus Amberg, River Vils | Beautiful Design Hotels in Bavaria, Germany


The river Vils that flows through historic town Amberg eddies past heritage haunt Bootshaus, a considerately restored, 600-year-old boat house building that is Bavaria’s stylish riverside hotel outpost in Germany's Oberpfalz region, east of Nuremberg.

A thread of five individual historic buildings, the oldest dating back to 1250, the Bootshaus beams proudly with a façade canvas of period-toned chalked whites and wheat, poetically contrasting with the medieval style of timber joists and stone lintels. Beside the river, a decked terrace creates a sociable hub for Bavarian beer drinking (made in the town) and chats, encapsulating the soul of revamped Bootshaus - the connection of old Bavarian traditions to a new cultural scene as the river continues to meander past. 

An aged presence, Bootshaus was recreated with diligence by father and daughter duo Klaus and Eva, deep aficionados of Amberg who set about to preserve the bare architectural bones of Bavarian heritage in a building that had seen many incarnations from being part of Amberg castle to a pitstop for Vils boat crews and noble merchants. Keeping hold of traditional materials was a key mantra, not only respecting the strict governance of a historic building but also tying in an eco-philosophy that reused materials and engaged with modern principles of smart energy efficiency. Today, the new Bootshaus is a hub of style credentials and riverside appeal; all put together with beautiful taste; under its historic framework lies a crafted rework which sits pleasingly in its aged context with a seductive palette of mizzle grey, timber toffee browns and whipped whites. Design touches include bespoke carpentry, sleek lighting, gorgeous copper bathtubs and ceramic-glazed bathrooms, best experienced in the upper cocoons of the beamed attic suites. 

With heritage comes lovely imperfection and these are playfully flagged and incorporated around the restoration of Bootshaus. A renovation project of enormous skill and careful preservation which took five years, Amberg architect Georg Zunner knew never to correct the leaning walls; instead, the buildings work beauteously around the half-timbered walls, beamed ceilings and curved arches, reusing and restoring where possible. 

With historic Amberg old town ready to be explored on foot and the hotel’s own kayaks on hand to gently paddle downriver on greenery-fringed waterways, staying at stylish Bootshaus is the place to eat, drink and feel rooted into centuries-old traditions, rebooted for the now.

With heritage comes lovely imperfection and these are playfully flagged and incorporated around the restoration of Bootshaus


Design Suite within a historic building| Bootshaus Hotel & Restaurant Amberg | Beautiful Design Hotels in Bavaria, Germany

Place-to-be Bootshaus is also very much a spot to lay your head. Fifteen rooms and four suites offer a range of room styles and given the aged heritage of the building, the bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, characterised as comfort-laden with Treca box-spring beds and a tasteful, pared-back style and colour language. Bathrooms come with glazed tiles, sinks hewn from granite and drenching rain showers. 

The smallest room is the Petit and the largest is the Grande Suite which is tempting with its hidden roof terrace with hammock, giant copper tub, river views and beamed roof truss appeal.


Dining in Amberg | Bootshaus Hotel & Restaurant Amberg | Beautiful Design Hotels in Bavaria, Germany Gastro Food Amberg | Bootshaus Hotel & Restaurant Amberg | Beautiful Design Hotels in Bavaria, Germany

Bootshaus likes to see itself as rooted to the Upper Palatinate Bavarian region and one area where they do this with flair is their wholesome and tasty foodie offering. Local suppliers keep the small menu low-mileage and seasonal and the bar is also topped up with bottles from the beer makers of Amberg itself (surprisingly there are at least six independent breweries). Of course, German wines also feature alongside the tasty menus which include gorgeous couplings of ingredients such as beetroot, radicchio, carp, dumplings, pumpkin and spelt with mouthwatering homemade cakes and cheese snack plates available during the day. There are two dining rooms, one of which serves a thoughtfully curated breakfast with sourdough bread, salami and cheeses, berry compotes and good coffee.


Bootshaus’ riverside location on the Vils is a strong part of its identity and contributes to thenautical history of all the buildings that sit alongside the water. As a visitor to Amberg, staying at Bootshaus means appreciating not just the old town but also doorstep riverine nature: just a short walk or kayak will bring you to green-fringed routes where kingfishers flit and storks build their nests.

In the town itself, load up on Bavarian charm in this off-the-tourist-map town, found in the shadow of the Franconian Jura Mountains situated between the Bavarian Forest and the city of Nuremberg. Once a vital trading hub in the Middle Ages, transporting iron gave the town wealth which by 1269 was ruled by the House of Wittelsbach. Today admire the ‘City Spectacles’; – bridges that appear as round spectacles as the water underneath reflects; well-preserved medieval town walls and the marktplatz (market place) where the striking Gothic town hall sits. Fancy a drink? Take your pick from one of several breweries in Amberg to sample wheat beer made from Jura hops.


A symbiotic partnership helms this boat house – father and daughter Eva and Klaus are the kind-hearted owners, each bringing their own style of welcoming hospitality to Bootshaus. Sometimes seen in a shared kayak splashing on the Vils River, they are now self-appointed boat house captains who both have a passion for historic Amberg and the river Vils that runs through it. Klaus has been deeply embedded in the culture of Amberg since he was a young lad, frequenting and later working in the iconic drinking spot Vis-à-Vis before joining the family business and starting his own hospitality venture including a restaurant. Eva had hospitality running through her veins from a young age and knows the power of an excellent meal, good company and a beautiful setting, cemented by her training in Munich and followed by stints in South Tyrolean hotel outposts such as our favourite 1477 Reichhalter to solidify her craft. Together, they are inspired by Amberg to create immersive cultural moments for their visitors.

Owners | Bootshaus Hotel & Restaurant Amberg | Beautiful Design Hotels in Bavaria, Germany

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