In 1793 Duke Friedrich Franz I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin took the waters at the "Heiligen Damm" on the Baltic coast on the advice of his personal physician Prof. Dr. Samuel Gottlieb Vogel, an event that marked the birth of Germany's first seaside resort.
Professor Dr. Vogel had recognised the healing effect of seawater for treating a range of ailments. Heiligendamm as a location offered climatic benefits in particular, such as moist air with a low dust content, only minor temperature fluctuations, the surrounding lush beech forests as well as no high and low tides. In the years that followed its establishment there was plenty of building work at the "Heiligen Damm", in order to cope with the steadily rising popularity of the seaside resort.
Between 1793 and 1870 master builders Johann Christoph Heinrich von Seydwitz, Carl Theodor Severin and Gustav Adolph Demmler created a unique synthesis of Classical architecture made up of bath and guest houses.
In 1823 the first racecourse on the continent of Europe was inaugurated between Heiligendamm and Doberan and this was therefore the birthplace of horseracing in Germany.
1862 saw the construction of the narrow-gauge railway that linked Doberan with Heiligendamm. In 1910 the line was extended to Kühlungsborn and steam trains are still operated on it to this day.
Heiligendamm has been Germany's most elegant seaside resort ever since it was established. The European aristocracy, even the Czar's family spent their summer retreats here. Heiligendamm remained an exclusive seaside resort with plenty of high-profile guests until 1930. In society back then it was regarded as a must to have visited the place at least once in your life. After the Second World War Heiligendamm's buildings were used as a sanatorium and recuperation facility.
In 1996 the Düren-based Jagdfeld Group acquired Heiligendamm's historic buildings along with 500 hectares of land. After three years of painstaking restoration, Grand Hotel Heiligendamm was opened on 1 June 2003, heralding the rebirth of Germany's oldest seaside resort.