We have taken note that the new owners had put an end to the saga that this hotel had opened its doors in 1026. However, the story was cute: We are told that the hotel stood here as early as the year 1026, and that within its walls in that year the Emperor Conrad II, his son Henry III, and Rodolphe, the last King of Burgundy, held a conference. Six years later Conrad won a battle over the Bergundians and annexed Western Switzerland to Germany. It was this historic meeting of three monarchs in the old inn that caused it to be named the Three Kings.
Historians now have provided evidence that the “Three Kings” (3 Könige am Rhein, Des Trois Rois) were first mentioned in 1681, and opened as a newly built hotel on 16 February 1844. But where comes the Royal name from? It is most likely as simple as that: Drei Könige or “Three Kings” (Trois Rois) is a popular name for inns and taverns located near trade routes. It is a reference to the three wise men from the Orient: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, also known as the Three Kings.
The first official record of the “Three Kings” or “At the Three Kings” at Blumenrain 8 in Basel dates back to 1681. The hostelry was always located close to the main trade and travel routes by water and over land directly at the so-called Schifflände.
Over the decades the hotel became a hostelry for the nobility. The landed gentry and artistocracy all met and still meet at the Three Kings. The Basel aristocracy holds it family events at the hotel and the most important state receptions are also held there. Crowned heads, diplomats, traders and leading personalities from the worlds of science and culture all lodge at the Three Kings.
Over the centuries, the owners of the hostelry added various buildings, for the most part former homes of noblemen. In 1841 and 1842, the wealthy master tailor Johann Jakob Senn acquires the estate. Senn has the buildings torn down and has a hotel built according to the plans of Basel architect Amadeus Merian. Its façade and perimeter still define the building today.
Officially and as a grand hotel, Des Trois Rois opened on 16 February 1844.
A number of different owners run this world famous hotel. In 1936, a new era begins: the owners appoint directors and are no longer personally responsible for the running of the hotel. The hotel undergoes many partial renovations. In 1976, Count Guy de Boisrouvraye’s company takes over Des Trois Rois and in 2000 his daughter sells it to the Richemond Group.
In 2004, entrepreneur Dr h.c. Thomas Straumann acquires the history-laden hotel. He has it renovated back to the period around 1844 according to national heritage criteria. At the same time the hotel is also fitted with a luxury infrastructure to respond to the needs of the most demanding guest – as befits one of Switzerland’s leading hotels.
On 20 March 2006, «Les Trois Rois», the hotel with the richest tradition in Basel, reopened its doors to the public once again.