Historical aerial view from the year 1918.
The history of BENEN-DIKEN-HOF begins in 1841. 1949 the Johannsen family acquires the former farm in Keitum on Sylt; farmer Claas Johannsen takes over the farm from his father in 1963. Ten years later he and his wife Sara, who has a special feeling for beautiful things, develop the old stable and barn into a hotel. Easter 1973 the small Garni BENEN-DIKEN-HOF opens with just 18 rooms – and a philosophy very special for the time.
After inspiring journeys through Germany and Scandinavia the Johannsens set up four basic rules for their hotel, which are still valid today:
1. a guest may never stand before locked door, he is always cordially received.
2. the hotel should always be cuddly and warm.
3. the light must always be switched on.
4. breakfast is served until one o’clock at noon
With their farm, the Johannsens run one of the first hotels in Keitum. The small Sylt village is only just being discovered, tourism took place in Kampen and in Westerland in the 1970s. The BENEN-DIKEN-HOF becomes famous for its warm, unaffected hospitality. The Johannsens are hoteliers with heart, self-taught people full of inquisitive enthusiasm for the new.
While Sara Johannsen gives every room in the BENEN-DIKEN-HOF a very special ambience, Claas Johannsen stands at the bar in the evening, chatting and discussing with the guests. You want to be an ‘island on the island’. And this island is growing. Plots of land in the immediate vicinity are being added, on which further houses are being built. First the KapitänsHüs, then the NorderHüs, later the WesterHüs, DikHüs and SüderHüs will be built on 20,000 square meters. 18 rooms become 40.
In 1996 the Johannsens pass on their enthusiasm for the BENEN-DIKEN-HOF and its guests to their son Claas-Erik, who takes over the hotel with his wife Anja. The next generation carefully continues the history of the hotel, contributing their ideas and experience without changing the character of the farm.
With good taste and attention to detail, Anja and Claas-Erik Johannsen begin to renovate room after room, a large, modern swimming pool is created, along with extensive wellness and beauty areas. Behind the WesterHüs they build the TerpHüs, where guests in a smaller circle can also meet or celebrate. The BENEN-DIKEN-HOF will also have a restaurant, which will initially be available only to the house guests and will later develop into a popular fish restaurant with an impressive wine cellar under the name KØKKEN.
In 2013 the last extensive expansion took place: on one of the two meadows in front of the KapitänsHüs, SenHüs and LönHüs are being built, with a central underground heating plant for the entire hotel complex in between. The entire SPA area under KapitänsHüs, WesterHüs and NorderHüs will be renovated and expanded to 700 square meters. A spacious toilet facility, a milon® Circle and a modern swimming pool with a surface area of 75 square meters will be added.
On Sylt today there are countless hotels and guesthouses, but only few originals like the BENEN-DIKEN-HOF, which has remained an ‘island on the island’. Even if Sylt is sometimes turbulent or hectic – those who want to retreat will find their place here. The people at BENEN-DIKEN-HOF keep their traditions alive, but at the same time offer enough space for new things and maintain a balance between modern service and warm hospitality.