What: Château de Cheverny Where: Loire Valley, France Once upon…
Who: Annabelle Countess of Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff
Where: Gräflicher Park Hotel & Spa, Bad Driburg, Germany
Annabelle Countess of Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff actually always dreamed of a life far away in the big world, after she finished her studies in art history in Berlin and worked for several galleries and museums. But it turned out different: the art historian – who was born in Pakistan and raised in Seville, Barcelona and Essen – fell in love and so ended up in the east of Westphalia. There, in Bad Driburg near the Teutoburger Forrest, her husband Marcus Count of Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff leads the stores of the family business in the seventh generation, consisting out of five convalescent homes, one mineral spring and the “Gräflicher Park Hotel and Spa” (Royal Park Hotel & Spa) with over 1.500 employees. Annabelle, mother of three children, is leading the business communications of the count’s business. Not to forget the special focus on art, that plays a major role in the house of the family.
MyStylery: When you arrived to Bad Driburg, the city didn’t really have the status of an art-mecca…
Annabelle von Oeynhausen: (laughs): … not really. That’s why my friends literally felt for myself. Today it’s the opposite. In the Diotima community that was founded by myself, we realise art projects and organise readings and concerts. That’s my real passion. The newest project is an observation deck located in a maze, for which Marcus meant, that we could hire a carpenter. With Michael Sailstorfer we could find an international artist for our design. Unfortunately this costs a lot and won’t be realisable without incentives.
MS: The Count’s Park has long been associated rather as a place of cur than with art.
AvO: Actually the past level was rather like “men in string vests with beer bottles”. The health reform then brought the change. Cures with certificates of illness don’t exist since 1995 and all spa resorts had to reorient. We changed the whole construction eight years ago, back to its original high standards, and we established the Count’s Park to a hotel resort with spa. It was a large construction site for two years. And there’s always something to look after. One’s never done.
MS: What makes your resort “Gräflicher Park Hotel und Spa“ so outstanding?
AvO: When Caspar Heinrich von Sierstorpff, the ancestor of Marcus, founded the hotel in 1782, it was a noble place just from the beginning. Our family leads it now for 233 years. And there exist only a few hotels with a private landscape park of a size of 64 hectare. Isn’t that a paradise?! Meanwhile our hotel counts to one of the best in Europe, considering its F. X. Mayr-Cures and a 1.500 square meters big spa. A steam sauna in the cellar alone doesn’t automatically make a wellness hotel.
MS: You’re not really the type of hillbilly that seamlessly integrates in a royal family and its special traditions. How was that for you?
AvO: It wasn’t easy to arrive here. We lived in a small house in a forest in the beginning. I missed the big city life. I’m now very happy with my actual living situation, in love with the landscape, the nature and my job. Nowadays I won’t be able to consist the socialising in the city.
MS: In the beginning you wanted to prove yourself and you were very engaged in the family business. With a positive feedback?
AvO: I was working for ten years without any interruption. When my daughter then went to boarding school, I realised, oh now she’s gone, and I’ve missed her. I then pulled myself back and concentrated more on the private.
MS: Is there nothing that can bring you out of rage? You seem to be thoroughly relaxed.
AvO: (laughs): Oh for sure! On Easter an employee set up tons of rabbits, which had nothing special and I didn’t like them at all. Creative processes like this one have to be coordinated with myself. BvH
Gräflicher Park Hotel & Spa
33014 Bad Driburg
+49 5253 95230