Short history of the „Prinz Heinrich Hotel“ in Qingdao

Compiled by Wilhelm Matzat

When the Jiaozhou Leased Territory had been established on March 6 th 1898, the street plan of the future city was published on Sept. 2 nd 1898 and in October the first parcels were auctioned. The real estate was acquired by the buyers as full property. Among the buyers was a German merchant in Shanghai with the name Philipp Lieder. He had decided, to build a first class hotel for the city of Qingdao, which was now going to be built. He bought a parcel in a good position on the Kaiser Wilhelm Ufer (Taiping Lu) directly on the shore of the Yellow Sea. From January till Sept. 1899 the hotel was built, it got the name Prinz Heinrich Hotel, because Prince Heinrich of Prussia, the brother of the German emperor Wilhelm II., was in that year as admiral of a German cruiser squadron stationed in East Asia and often came to Qingdao. We do not know the name of the architect who designed the PH Hotel. We know that the German firm H. Mandl & Co in Shanghai was the contractor. That is not surprising, as Philipp Lieder was co-proprietor of  Mandl & Co. It sent its employee Wilhelm Buschendorff to Qingdao   to supervise the construction activities and the furnishing of the new hotel. It was for its time extremely modern, because the 40 double-rooms had each its own bath and balcony with the view to the open sea.

Maybe the leading German merchants and bankers in Qingdao were not content with the quality of Lieder’s management of the hotel, in any case they decided to create a joint stock company (in German: Actien Gesellschaft) which should buy the hotel and thus guarantee a high level of the management. On 03.07.1900 this company was founded with the name: “Tsingtau Hotel Actien-Gesellschaft” with the original capital of 250000.- mex. Dollar. 2500 shares, each with the value of 100.- mex.Dollar, were sold. For the controlling board were elected Bertram Rosenbaum in Shanghai, employee of Mandl & Co; Max Homann, director of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in Qingdao; Adolf C. Schomburg, Carlowitz & Co; Carl Rohde, Kiautschau-Gesellschaft m.b.H.    Three days later, on 06.07.1900, the general meeting of the joint stock company bought the Prinz Heinrich Hotel and payed to Mr. Lieder 195000.- Dollar for the building and 30000.- Dollar for the real estate. The executive manager of the hotel changed quite often. Buschendorff left Qingdao in March 1901. He was followed by Kriese, but only for a short time,  until 23.06.1903 it was Hermann Andersen.  From 23.06.1903 until 21.12.1904 it was Wilhelm Buschendorff again, rom 21.12.1904 until 1909 it was Lorenz Storm. From 1909 until Aug. 1914 it was Carl Hundertmark.

In 1903 the Tsingtau Hotel Actien-Gesellschaft decided to build a second hotel. It was erected on the main beach (Auguste-Viktoria-Bay) and received the name: Strandhotel. This hotel had 31 double-rooms with balcony. The architect and the contractor are not known.  In the summer of 1904 the hotel was opened. (The most famous guest of this hotel was Sun Yat-sen in September 1912.) The executive manager of the Prinz Heinrich Hotel was also the manager of the Strandhotel.

In 1905 the company decided to build a concert hall on the north side of the Prinz Heinrich Hotel. The plan for that building was to be won by an open competition, every architect could send in his design. The first prize was won by Curt Rothkegel and his design was realized. The hall could hold 700 persons. It is the first building of Rothkegel in China. (A biography of Curt Rothkegel is in this website.)

In July 1911 the Sietas, Plambeck & company bought the Prinz Heinrich- Hotel and the Strandhotel from the Tsingtau Hotel Actien-Gesellschaft, which then was dissolved. The proprietors of the large department store Sietas, Plambeck and Co were 4 persons: Heinrich Plambeck and Jürgen Block, both lived in Hamburg, and Hans Christian Augustesen and Carl Rohde, both were active in Qingdao. The new proprietors decided immediately to build  a third hotel. As location they chose the area on Taiping Lu between the Prinz Heinrich Hotel and the Central Hotel. The design was made by the architect Paul Friedrich Richter, who was also the contractor. The building got the name: Logierhaus (Lodging House) and was a kind of annex to the neighbouring Prinz Heinrich Hotel. It was opened in June 1912. (This building ist still standing and had for a long time the name Zhanqiao Hotel. Now the  name is: Prince Hotel).

In the spring of 1914 the Sietas, Plambeck & Co bought also the Central Hotel from the proprietor August Pabst.

But a few months later on August 1 st 1914 the World War started, tourism in Qingdao seized and the Prinz Heinrich Hotel was used as a military hospital during the siege.  After the Japanese had occupied Qingdao in November 1914, the German property was confiscated by the Japanese, among it also the property of the Sietas, Plambeck & Co.  The former Prinz Heinrich Hotel was now run by a Japanese firm, also as a hotel, now with the name: Grand Hotel.

At the end of the 1990ies the old Prinz Heinrich Hotel (built 1899) and the concert hall (built 1905) and also the former Central Hotel (created by the Krippendorff brothers) were torn down. Buildings with modern architecture have been raised there. On the site of the old Prinz Heinrich Hotel a new, high class hotel has been put up. Its foreign name is: Ocean Wide Elite Hotel, its Chinese Name: Fa Hai Hotel. In  remembrance of the old Prinz Heinrich Hotel the Zhanqiao Hotel (built in 1912 as Lodging House) changed  its name to “Prince Hotel”.