One of my long-term travel resolutions this year has been to reduce the amount of flights I take and explore my surroundings a little better. I wanted to get to know Germany’s lesser known hideaways a little better and felt that two decades of escaping to faraway places left me clueless as to where a good old weekend on the countryside can be spent. Now Smucke Steed has been on dying-to-go-list for a while, I’ve only been waiting for the right timing. Many (German) colleagues working in magazine travel journalism have been going on about this little beauty forever, this summer I finally jumped at the chance myself.

A little fun fact at the beginning: I check out a lot of great places for Travelettes but it has never once happened that I booked a second stay upon departing. Until Smucke Steed. I couldn’t leave this place without knowing for sure I’ll be back. That’s a first. And now I’ll tell you why.


Smucke Steed is a family-run guesthouse in the town northern town of Glücksburg, which translates to something like “happiness castle”. What a coincidence because it is exactly that. It’s a two-hour car ride from Hamburg and five hours from Berlin.

Once there, each room gives you a view on the nearby lake, you’re set in between trees and fields. Glücksburg isn’t one of those northern towns overrun by tourists in summer, it’s definitely up and coming. Locals say a lot of investments and developments were realised over the last few years but it’s definitely still a quiet escape.

Calming down the Scandic way

Smucke Steed has a very distinct interior design. Tine Roß, who runs the hotel with her husband Sönke, has an incredible taste and managed to create a feel that’s calming, minimalist and still cosy. It took me a few hours to adjust: Coming from Berlin, from a flat that’s pretty colourful and, well, full with things, it was definitely a change of scenery to be in a bright big room that only has the essentials.

Feeling at home

Most hotels say they want to make people feel at home but very few actually achieve that. I rarely feel at home in hotels and why should I? I already have a home, so that’s not why I travel. But Smucke Steed somehow strikes a balance between feeling like a long friend whose arms are always open (sorry for the Kitsch, it’s late at night and I’m under the influence of a scented candle and a snorting dog) and a little treasure trove with so much left to explore. It’s magic.

Part of that of course is a breakfast that couldn’t be more locally sourced and self made. Also a plus for me, they have gluten free bread. The “Langschläfer Frühstück” is in fact one of the things I’m most looking forward to when visiting later in autumn, it translates to breakfast for people who love lie-in’s until noon. And who doesn’t when on holidays?


Passionate owners

Tine and Sönke Roß met on a cruise ship, I kid you not. They were both kind of working in the tourism industry and had plenty of experience in what people want when traveling – and what they don’t want. After having lived in Hamburg for several years, they got fed up with the hectic big city life and craved for a home that was more quiet and a job that was more fulfilling than working 9 to 5 for someone else. When Tine told me this story, I found myself continuously nodding. It made so much sense for them to try and find a house on the countryside that they could renovate and turn into a guesthouse. They found one at an unlikely place, in Sönke’s hometown Glücksburg.

In 1898, the place used to be a girls’ boarding school. It was then turned into a communal place for a social welfare organization. And now it’s a bright and inspiring space that makes guests return year after year. You see, I could go on forever and ever! Here are a couple of short tips with things you could do whilst there.

Cycling around

While the beach is only a 10-minute walk away, the easiest way of getting to know the area around Glücksburg is by bike. There’s a small shop in town which also rents out bikes. The owner is hilarious, he and his stories made us stand in the shop laughing for about 30 minutes. If you’re up for a bit of digital detox, ask for a good old map and explore the area by yourself.

Exploring Flensburg

The northern city of Flensburg is a short ferry ride away from Glücksburg and well worth a visit. I highly recommend having a stroll around the harbor, each a “Fischbrötchen” (break roll with fish) and watch the ships arrive and depart.

Strandcafe in Holnis

If you decide to take a bike, you should definitely stop at the Strandcafé in Holnis for a beer or tea, whilst getting cosy in a blue and white “Strandkorb” chair and watch the sun go down.

Bock 19

For dinner, there’s no better place than Bock 19. Thursdays are steak days and oh my, that escalated quickly. We ordered all kinds of sides and drinks and ended up with a rather horrifying bill but agreed that it was well worth it. Less (or no) meat is more, but if you do like that occasional burger, Bock 19 source their meat from local farmers.

Private sauna

And how about coming home to your private sauna in Smucke Steed? You can reserve a two-hour slot anytime while staying there and enjoy some me- or us-time while having a view on the pretty garden. What’s not to love!

Not sure I ever wrote a hotel review that enthusiastic, but I promise that every word is true. Staying there for three days will have the same effect as a two-week holiday somewhere else. Smucke Steed is my personal happy place this year and I have a feeling I’ll come back time and time again.

Disclaimer: Caroline was invited to stay at Smucke Steed,
however all opinions (and praise) are her own.