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The Eisvogel Story
A history of the 4* Superior Hotel Der Eisvogel
It was in 1949 that the masseur Hans Zettl, together with his son Karl Zettl, began to extend a dwelling built from an old barn to establish a small café. In the beginning there were just 3 tables, with which the trained carpenter Karl Zettl took his first gastronomic steps together with his wife Anna. The first problem appeared very quickly, namely when it came to finding a suitable name for the small café. "Spa Café" would not have been appropriate because, due to the simple set-up, it would have been laughed at.
But because spa visitors regularly saw the "Eisvogel" (Kingfisher) on a nearby pond and raved about its colours and hunting skills, it was decided on the name "Eisvogel". By and by, almost yearly, Karl and Anna Zettl continued to modify and extend things.
This was the time of the big building phase - namely the "Eisvogel Hall" was built. It was the largest hall for far and wide and was soon had a fixed place in the life of clubs and organisations in and around Bad Gögging. Carnival balls, wedding receptions, wine festivals and Christmas parties - it was ideal for them all.
The "Eisvogel" was extended upwards and hotel rooms were added. It was soon a popular bar and restaurant for spa visitors, an attractive excursion destination for the local area, and above all a dance club for young people from all over the surrounding area. In 1974 Karl and Hermine Zettl built a mini-golf course together will a curling lane directly next to the River Abens.
Boring for thermal water began in Bad Gögging, which proved successful. This was the start of a new era for the small town: guest houses and spa hotels were built and it was a time for the "Eisvogel" to follow. In 1982 Karl transferred the restaurant to his son, Karl, with an obligation to extend and modernise it. The dining room in the main building was also completely refurbished the same year. One main entrance was created from three entrances; and a new dispensing system, completely new coffee-making equipment, cake display cabinet and ice-cream counter were installed. The entire first floor was completely refurbished and all rooms equipped with shower/WC.
In 1985 the existing restaurant and dining areas were no longer adequate for daily restaurant operations; and the old hall no longer fashionable. It was no longer possible to delay refurbishment. Consequently the function room was redesigned and the large space divided into the 'Bayernstube' and 'Zirbelstube' rooms. Today the "EISVOGEL" presents itself as an establishment with several cosy restaurant and bar areas, decorated in a traditional Bavarian style: namely the Gaststube, Kachelofenstube, Eisvogelstube, Erkerstube, Zirbelsube and Bayernstube. When it comes to celebrations, whether it be with family, friends or business contacts, in a particularly festive and cosy atmosphere with "excellent cuisine" then one goes to the "EISVOGEL".
We also received a certificate in the "Bayerische Küche" Bavarian food competition from the Bavarian State Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry.
In 1987 we were also "Area Winner" in the same competition. Following her training in restaurant operations and after attending the hotel training college in Altötting, Margit Zettl joined the family business. Developments at the "Eisvogel" continued at a steady pace.
On the 16th of June the Zettls, together with the Chairman of the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Herrn Anton Röhrl, laid the foundation stone for the building of a new 60-bed hotel. The roofing ceremony was on 16 September. It was possible to welcome the first guests to Hotel Eisvogel at Easter 1989. The new EISVOGEL has over 61 beds (mainly double rooms, decorated in a cosy country style), a spacious lobby, residents breakfast room / evening restaurant and 3 conference rooms.
In 1991 we took part in the "Bayerische Küche" competition once again - with success, becoming area winner once more.
We had floods on 5 August. The worst ever - even Grandfather Zettl - born 1913 - couldn't remember it ever having been as bad.
Once again the Bayernstube had seen better days and was given a makeover: entirely new seating with modern fabrics give the EISVOGEL function room a pleasant, modern and attractive atmosphere. Karl - Peter Zettl graduated from Johannes Nepomuk High School and, in November, began his studies in business management at the Faculty of Economics in Ingolstadt.
The Zettl Family acquired the 'Römerbad' baths in Bad Gögging, the nucleus of Bad Gögging whose land directly adjoins the EISVOGEL. Hotel guest facilities are enhanced to include use of the swimming pool.
EISVOGEL received approval to accept residents on official spa treatments and the right to charge the relevant German health insurance company.
On 15.01 Karl Zettl celebrated his 50th birthday
On 07.09 our grandfather celebrated his 80th birthday
On 09.12 Grandma Zettl her 75th birthday
Times are changing and the Eisvogel is required to meet and adapt to the new and changing demands of its guests as well. The new approach of the "EISVOGEL" is on improving the range of Bavarian specialities, since guests prefer to eat wholesome food at realistic prices once again. The EISVOGEL focuses once more on the GASTHOF pub and restaurant, coordinating restaurant services and ambience. It is also planned to upgrade / rebuild the kitchen to meet new and increasingly strict statutory regulations, but above all to enable efficient workflows and therefore more efficient working in the kitchen. Building a new kitchen would inevitably lead to approx. 100 to 120 new restaurant seats and this was, together with an official objection from a neighbour, cause for hesitation: what was the right thing to do, what did the guests want, where was the trend heading? Once these questions had been convincingly answered in full, things began to move ahead at the EISVOGEL, so that the EISVOGEL would be fully fledged at last.
On 15.04 we had more floods, almost as bad as in 1991.
On 29.04 once again, we were awarded "Area Winner" in the "Bayerische Küche 1994 - 1997" restaurant competition by District President, Herr Giehl
1995: long planned rebuilding work began shortly after Whitsun.
The hotel garden had to give way to the new church and commercial buildings. The Eisvogel kitchen has the latest technology - central cooling system, energy optimisation etc. The jewel of our kitchen is the Ferrari red "Molteni" stove, which being the Rollce Royce of ovens is the centrepiece of our kitchen. A roof was added to the old yard to create the Eisvogel Winter Garden. A link between the hotel and restaurant was created. After an exhausting six months, with all the problems and troubles associated with building work, on 18 December we moved into the new kitchen, without having had to close for a single hour or reduce or menu. The Winter Garden was competed on 23 December, just in time for Christmas. A big step in the history of the Eisvogel was completed.
No time for sitting around. After moving into the new kitchen, the old kitchen and counter unit was converted into additional dining and bar areas: the "Alte Kuchl", "Alte Schänke" and "Herrgottswinkel" appeared in a record time of just 12 weeks. The new buffet counter with drinks, ice-cream and cakes became operational on Maundy Thursday. Everything was ready for Easter.
The official opening took place on 3 May with a church blessing.
We then held an opening party on 4 May from 2.00pm onwards with many great attractions.
On 2 May 1997 Erwin and Regina Zettl were married.
On 16 January daughter Margit married her sweetheart Martin.
On Ash Wednesday at the "Fischreigen an der Abens" event the establishment was admitted to the 'Chaine de Rôtisseurs' group.
On 2 May Margit Feldmann was born - the 5th generation at the "Eisvogel"
In August the "Eisvogel" once again received an award in the "Bayerische Küche" competition from the Bavarian State Ministry making it one of the top 60 pub-restaurants in Bavaria.
On 3 September, 3 days before his 85th birthday and by then great-grandfather, Karl Zettl died. The founder of the Eisvogel.
On 14 November Margit Zettl-Feldmann was made 'Maitre de Table der Chaine de Rôtisseurs' at the Grand Chapitre in Frankfurt.
On 6 December son Karl Peter Zettl received his degree in Business Administration - making him the first academic in the Zettl Family.
The Whitsun catastrophe - record flood levels in Neustadt and Bad Gögging. The Eisvogel was also flooded, with restaurant areas and the hotel's cellar suffering considerably. Despite everything the Eisvogel was closed for just one week. Thanks to the active help of our staff, friends and acquaintances, the whole family and of course the area fire services, it was possible to prevent the very worst. Whitsun holidaymakers were evacuated by inflatable boat on Tuesday. The flood damage was considerable - around 600,000 German marks.
The "Eisvogel" was "Lower Bavaria Winner" in the Bayerische Küche competition, making it one of the 7 top pub-restaurants in Bavaria.
Martin Feldmann qualifies as a chef and business clerk and works at the "Eisvogel" in restaurant management and purchasing.
On 28 May Margit Zettl-Feldmann and Martin Feldmann's 2nd daughter, Maxi Elisabeth is born
On 8 March the Zettl Family acquired the "Trajansbad" spa clinic with 120 beds in the centre of Bad Gögging.
On 1 June son Karl joins the family business, managing the Römerbad Klinik and Kurhotel Kaiser Trajan.
On 25 September Fran Anna Zettl - grandma Zettl - died at the age of 86. She was part of the business for 50 years, setting it up with her husband Karl, managing it and, most recently, supporting the "younger ones" in their work. The cheesecake with meringue topping, which has fans from far and wide and is now a permanent feature of our cake range, is her recipe.
Head Chef at the "Eisvogel" Werner Hedler celebrates 25 years. Together with his wife, he is responsible for the culinary treats. (12.09)
On 25.04.09 Bishop Dr Daniel Nlandu Mayi from the Diocese of Matadi/ Congo consecrates the family chapel built between 2006 and 2008. The reason for it was a solemn promise made by Karl Zettl to build a chapel if and when he became a grandfather. After a long planning phase and search for a suitable location, building work began in 2006 and was completed in 2008. The chapel is dedicated to both great grandchildren Theresa and Maxi. The ceremony was accompanied by an Alphorn player (Wolfgang Diem), the 'Künstlerblech' brass group under the direction of Reinhold Furtmeier and singer Inge Stibich. 100 relatives and friends celebrated this special occasion with the family.
The outdated mini-golf course gives way to a new modern golf facility, where play is on artificial grass with a 'real' putter and golf ball.
Planning work, finance discussions... are all in full swing. Construction work on the hotel extension begins on 25.08.
12.09. Herr and Frau Hedler have been at the EISVOGEL for 30 years - Herr Hedler as Head Chef.
15.09. Herr Hedler is seriously ill – Thomas Krammer takes over as Head Chef.
15.01 Karl Zettl celebrates his 70th birthday
01.03 Roofing ceremony and celebrations
01.06 Floods on the River Abens keep us busy for 2 days – Thank God we only get wet feet.
23.06 The first guests arrive at the new hotel. Everything is finished on time.
19.07 Official opening festivities with 400 guests and glorious weather. Everyone is impressed and welcomes the fantastic extension: a 1,600 m² SPA with swimming pool, saunas (Finnish, infrared, saline steam bath), gym, gymnastic studio, 13 treatment rooms for massage, wraps, baths and beauty treatment; as well as 2 private SPA suites, 2 conference rooms, hotel bar & bistro, 14 "Grandl" double rooms; 4 "Holledau" double rooms, 2 "Felbern" junior suites, 2 "Idyll" suites; 2 "Juwel" suites.
About 7m euros have been invested.
Head chef, Thomas Krammer leaves the EISVOGEL. Fabio De Seta and Andreas Felkel take over as head chefs at the EISVOGEL.
Theresa Feldmann completes her secondary education at the St. Anna Girls Secondary School and continues at technical college.
Karl Zettl jnr. marries Nina Regler and Karl Thomas is born on 3 August.
Fabio de Seta leaves the EISVOGEL – Andreas Felkel is head chef and Alexander Härtl sous-chef.
Since 01.01 the Hotel EISVOGEL is part of the WELLNESS HOTELS & RESORTS consortium.
Theresa Feldmann receives her vocational diploma and begins an apprenticeship in hotel management.
On 01.01 Karl Zettl snr. transfers Gasthof EISVOGEL and HOTEL EISVOGEL (Zettl Hotel OHG) to his daughter Margit. Both operations merge to form a new company - EISVOGEL e.K.
Flood protection measures on the River Abens are completed. In future the EISVOGEL is protected from devastating water by a dam to the south and a flood barrier along the River Abens.
The EISVOGEL now employs 85 staff (full time, part time, mini jobs and trainees). The "EISVOGEL" has been a family business for over 4 generations. The whole family - Karl and Hermine Zettl, Margit with husband Martin - look after the needs and wellbeing of guests at "EISVOGEL" on a daily basis. A typical family-run business in the Bavarian hotel and restaurant industry.
Bad Gögging, June 2017