The spacious and graceful proportions of the Burg Gartenpalais's rooms speak of former wealth and glory. In Rothernberg ob der Tauber, it's a mansion standing in a row of grand houses in what is now a quiet back street, but was once a chic part of town. It became a hotel only in 1976, when the present owners bought and converted the 14thC merchant's house. The rooms, sensitively restored, still have decorative plaster ceilings, carved wood doorways, and, in the warmly intimate dining room, coffered and panelled walls and ceiling. The 17 bedrooms are decorated in subdued colours, and the 40 sq-m wedding suite has a painted canopy bed. Rothenburg is built on a high crag, and the rooms at the front have a view to the vally below.
  December is high season here - people come for the Rothenburg Christmas market - but it is a charming stop all-year round. The chef, who trained here, prides himself on his plain cooking and serves robust Franken and also Swabian food, along with a range of lighter international dishes. In summer, foreign visitors - from Europe, America, even Brazil and Japan - can dine in the pretty, peaceful rose garden. Many return each year.