When did it all start? And who is Louis Jacob anyway? A confectioner with a seafaring passion starts the gastronomic tradition on Elbchaussee.
His name is Nikolaus Paridom Burmester. In 1780 he inherits house no. 401 from his mother. Soon he’s supplying Nienstedten with delicious delicacies. At the same time this amateur in pyrotechnics welcomes all incoming and outgoing vessels with salutes from a canon he’s built himself. You could be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t a very good idea. When he ignites his canon in 1790 he causes an explosion that he pays for with his life. And his wife Maria Elisabeth is all on her own with the lucrative confectionery business.
Luckily during this period, French Huguenot Daniel Louis Jacques takes refuge here on the Elbe from the turmoil of the French revolution. He quickly falls in love with the beautiful confectioner’s widow, marries her in 1791 and lends a Germanic touch to his name by calling himself Louis Jacob. He was a trained landscape gardener and in the same year created the famous Lime Tree Terrace. From then on he too delights his guests with fine wine and food.
The Jacob family’s wine restaurant with its superb location on the Elbe quickly becomes popular way beyond Nienstedten.
Jacob is owned by the family for more than four generations. At the end of the 18th century, Louis Carl Jacob, the founder’s grandson, converts the restaurant into a highly-regarded hotel. Prestigious guests from the world of politics, nobility and society constantly go in and out. It isn‘t until 1922 that the successful era of the family-run business draws to a close with the death of Louis Heinrich Jacob.
Initially, the following tenants continue in the spirit of the Jacob family. In the 1950s, international stars like Maria Callas, Zarah Leander and Hans Albers sign their names in the historic hotel’s visitors’ book. It wasn’t until a decade later, after many changes of ownership, that the hotel’s star gradually begins to fade. Its fortunes reach rock bottom in 1970 when the whole of the restaurant’s inventory is put up for auction.
Until the 1990s, the historic hotel has several swift changes of ownership. It isn’t until 1993 that new owners the Rahe family restore the business to a stable footing.
In just three years the family turns the old Jacob into a contemporary luxury hotel. With an abundance of flair and sensitivity they refurbish, restore and extend the premises. With the historic edifices on the other side of the road, the result is a harmonious style of buildings that enjoy cultural heritage protection. Then they make a discovery. During the restoration process builders uncover an ancient ice cellar. In the past the brick vault served as a fridge, but today special events take place there.
In 1996 the hotel was ceremoniously reopened. As its director, since 1997 Jost Deitmar has given the historic hotel a new lease of life. The 5-star hotel in Hamburg has garnered a number of prestigious awards. Across the globe, it’s also becoming one of the premier hotels. Chef de cuisine, award-winning Thomas Martin, has also played a pivotal role in the hotel’s stellar success.