Arrival/Check-in: The rooms manager welcomed us at reception and, seeing our disappointment at being in the new building, quickly switched us to the 1745 Schloss. That building preserves a countryhouse atmosphere that envelops guests as they enter the old manor’s gracious foyer, where cushy sofas encourage lingering. A modern glass elevator took us to our second-floor corner room overlooking the gardens.

Guest Quarters: White paneled walls and discreet stucco arabesques on the ceiling — all original to the manor house — formed a clean palette for the bold splashes of color that gave the room its dramatic flair. A red coverlet drew attention to the queen-sized bed. Beside a round pedestal table sat a pale yellow velour armchair; the desk and console were white with gold hardware. A tall, curvaceous floor lamp; bedside lamps; desk chair; and the frame of the red velour headboard were all covered in burnished gold leaf, which in any other setting could have been garish but in this airy white room completed the lush and stylish French Moderne look.

Gold velvet drapes framing the ceiling-high windows, deep-set into the thick walls, kept early morning sunlight from flooding the room. By day, tasseled silk cords held them back to display the view across the gardens to the Baltic Sea. In the console were the CD player, TV and stereo; and one of the huge closets in the entry held a minibar and safe. The desk had convenient multiple electric outlets; Internet is free. Cloud-soft, ultra-high-count linens and a choice of two pillow styles made the bed so comfortable that I didn’t care that the bedside lights were a little low for reading. The marble bathroom had a large tub, separate shower, plentiful custom bath amenities and a pair of soft bathrobes folded and tied with white satin ribbons.

Services/Amenities: Despite having been used as a school under the GDR, nearly all the manor house’s interior is original. The ground floor houses the clubby bar with rich polished wood surfaces and leather chairs, and the sophisticated à la carte restaurant, The Winter Garden. We enjoyed its original New German cuisine — a hearty traditional braised beef entrée and lighter first courses of delicate smoked Baltic fishes. Former stables now house the spa; a breakfast room that spreads onto the terrace in the summer; and Brasserie, serving typical rustic Mecklenburg specialties. The breakfast buffet included fresh fruit, smoked salmon, hot and cold dishes and a selection of fresh breads. There is an outdoor swimming pool.

The Experience: The manor is a genteel oasis less than an hour from central Hamburg and two hours from Berlin. Its English-speaking staff; fine dining; and spacious gardens, meadows and woods overlooking the sea make it a relaxing getaway from the city. We had a chance to see rooms in the new building, and they are sumptuous, with contemporary details (heated mirrors won’t fog when the air conditioning is on) and private terraces.

GT Checklist

  • Doorman/valet
  • Less than 10 minutes for check-in
  • Separate tub/shower
  • Large vanity
  • High-quality towels
  • Large, flat-screen TV
  • Large desk with convenient outlets
  • Complimentary in-room WiFi
  • Ample lighting
  • High-quality bed linens
  • Choice of pillows
  • Powerful, unattached hair dryer
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Easy-to-set alarm clock
  • On-site restaurant and bar
  • 24-hour room service
  • In-room coffeemaker
  • Large, complimentary laptop safe

Schlossgut Gross Schwansee

Am Park 1
23942 Gross Schwansee, Germany
tel 49 38827 88 48
http://www.schwansee.de