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“Designer tea” at the Kontorhaus in Keitum on Sylt

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Located at the edge of the captain’s village of Keitum on Sylt, the Kontorhaus represents a special sort of venue indeed: for in what tea trading post (“Kontorhaus”) can you not only sip from a seemingly infinite variety of teas, but also select your home furnishings or, if you choose, even try living in them before you make up your mind? And in a designer’s heaven at that?

Quaint Keitum captain’s village in the heart of the North Frisian island of Sylt is known for noble, reed-thatched captain’s houses with romantic frontyards ringed by rosebushes. Mentioned in records in 1216 for the first time, in 17th and 18th century Keitum a goodly number of well-to-do captains built themselves homes to live out their lives on land, which is how it got its captain’s village moniker. Enriched by whaling, Keitum was actually the main village on Sylt until the mid-19th century. Today that title goes to close-by Westerland, where visitors arrive conveniently on Air Berlin, among other attractions.

Keitum the village of captains

Symbolic anchor in the Keitum captain’s village

The vast marsh grasslands and the panorama of the Wadden Sea make Keitum a special relaxation destination. And this is exactly what the Kontorhaus Keitum takes advantage of: Located at the southwestern end of the village beyond where the tracks and Keitum’s country lane end, the cluster of buildings lies at the edge of those green meadows and offers a sweeping view of the Wadden Sea. In 2004, the architect couple of Franziska and Wolfgang Zaeske took over what had been a carpenter’s workshop until the ’80s and then a tea house.

A rare tea variety: Tai Mu Long Zhu

A rare tea variety: Tai Mu Long Zhu

Feelingly, with trained eye, they keep adding to the fine tea assortment more and more of an esthetic and of culture: since 2006, jazzman Wolfgang Zaeske invites artists and writers to their house and, since 2012, to the adjoining tea room and its sun terrace with wicker beach chairs and a vista across grassy expanses to the distant levee.

Tea room in the tea trading post

Tea room in the tea trading post

Tea pots in the Kontorhaus tea room

Tea pots in the Kontorhaus tea room
(check out the reflections without the sly photographer…)

In the tea trading post (Kontorhaus = trading post) not only do the hearts of tea lovers beat faster, for here anyone can find beautiful home accessories, designer objects, collector’s pieces and antiquities – all of them acquired in the same caring and detail-obsessed way.

Interior decoration

Decorative apples

The Kontorhaus Suite Hotel

And finally, since 2013, a guest house also invites you to stay longer. The architectural ambiance is keyed off the color white and in countless details lets on that someone who knows their stuff has been at work here: Asymmetric door knobs make it clear where to push, the handles are ingeniously recessed in closet doors. Every shadow gap is placed exactly where it should be. All suites either come with their own loggia or terrace. With wicker beach chairs. Goes without saying…

Living room in the Kontorhaus

Living room in the Kontorhaus

Palatial Lambert furniture encourage guests to linger, the Swedish Hästens beds let them sleep on cloud nine.

Double bed in the Kontorhaus

Double bed in the Kontorhaus

However, the Zaeskes would not have arrived where they are today if they did not already have the next stage of expansion in their sights: for today the otherwise already indulged guests lack a wellness area. But since the suite hotel with only 7 suites and an alcove room will not want to add a giant-sized wellness zone, they plan on a small wellness oasis in the front garden that couples can reserve on an exclusive basis. A private spa, so to speak. Ingenious…

There are even more reasons why we highly recommends a visit to Keitum: We ate very well in the Butcherei. We also heard Salon 1900 spoken of highly.

Butcherei Grill & Bar

Butcherei Grill & Bar

Wine in the Butcherei

In addition to the Kontorhaus Keitum, good lodgings are to be had, among others, in the Aarnhoog Hotel or the Benen-Diken Hof.

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About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog travelmemo.com. In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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