Heiligendamm is a district of the spa town of Bad Doberan and is located on the Baltic coast in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania between Wismar / Kühlungsborn and Rostock / Warnemünde.
From Berlin, Heiligendamm can be easily reached by car in about 2.5 hours on the A20 / A19 / A24. From Hamburg you need to Heiligendamm about 1.5 hours via A1 / A20. If you arrive by train, get off at Bad Doberan and change to the historic Molli railway to Heiligendamm station, bus or taxi. It is then still about 6 km drive along the longest historic lime tree avenue in Germany.
The name Heiligendamm has its origins in a legend that in the 15th century during a violent storm surge which threatened Bad Doberan, according to prayers of the Cistercians of the local monastery, a "holy dam" towered up, keeping the tide away from the city.
Friedrich Franz I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, founded the seaside resort Heiligendamm in 1793 as a seaside resort according to models in England. The first buildings - the Kurhaus and the Logierhaus - were designed according to Palladian models by the master builders Severin, Seydewitz and Demmler.
"Heic Te Laetitia Invitat Post Balnea Sanum" - where joy awaits you after a healthy bath - is the historical motto of Heiligendamm, inserted in lapis lazuli colors over the columns of the spa house, today's Grand Hotel-Restaurant . Later Heiligendamm developed into a sophisticated seaside resort for nobility and society.
The first villas were built west of the Kurhaus with Villa Krone, Marien-Cottage and Alexandrinen-Cottage, later Haus Brahn was added. The eastern villas were built in two phases, from 1844 Villa Perle, then the villas Greif, Möwe and Seestern. In the second construction phase, around 1858, the four villas Schwan, Hirsch, Anker and Bischofsstab followed. In the second row, lined by 19 Doric columns colonnades were built around 1857 retail outlets for the place. The Princess Reuss Palais was built around 1900 behind the house Bischofsstab.
The seaside resort was funded by revenues from the Grand Ducal Casino in Bad Doberan. After forced closure of the casino in the wake of the founding of the North German Confederation in 1867, the Grand Duke decided after a major storm surge in 1872 to sell the Heiligendamm. It was bought by a corporation under the direction of Baron Otto von Kahlden in 1873, who had a new building Grand Hotel built east of the spa building and extended the lodging house with a transverse construction (T-shaped) to the sea. He personally acquired Heiligendamm in 1885 for just under 800,000 Reichsmark. 1886 began the expansion of the narrow gauge railway, the historic steam train with the current pet name Molli.
His son Rudolf von Kahlden sold the ensemble to Walter John-Marlitt in 1910, son of the extraordinarily successful writer Eugenie Marlitt. He had to sell Heiligendamm as early as 1911 to a group of creditors. The resulting "Ostseebad Heiligendamm GmbH" was taken over in 1912 by the Lübeck banking house Wolff. The Liechtenstein banker Oskar Adolf Baron von Rosenberg-Redé, who lived in Zurich, from 1923 the shares of the bank and the deficit hotel ensemble. Dresdner Bank gradually took over the shares of O. A. Rosenberg & Co., Zurich, in the 1930s. In 1939 the bathing establishment was confiscated by the German Reich and then used as a military hospital for military purposes.
However, some villas such as the house Bischofsstab were sold in 1939. The "Kameradschaftsbund Deutscher Polizeibeamter" was quartered here. After 1990, the house Bischofsstab and the Princess-Reuss-Palais were rebuilt as "Hotel Residenz" and operated until 2004.
Dedicated to camouflage during World War II, the ensemble survived the war and served to shelter refugees. Later, it first used the Russian army for recreational purposes, then the GDR mainly as a clinic and spa, but also as a college of applied arts. The historic town center was bought in 1996 by investor ECH Entwicklungs-Compagnie Heiligendamm. In the spring of 2003, the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm started operations. Since 2010, the restoration and rebuilding of the villa ensemble is underway.