Hotel in the center of Spa
The Cardinal Hotel was built in the 19th century and owes its name to the red-feathered bird from North America. In its Art deco style, you will enjoy a warm family welcome and a very comfortable accommodation.
It has a free WiFi access in the whole building and a lift leading to the upper floors. There is also a drink vending machine as well as one selling sweets in the hotel lobby. It is possible to rent a secure private garage opposite the hotel. Pets are not allowed on the premises.
In March 1924, Mr Joseph Zangerlé and Mrs Marie Alff, both from Luxemburg, decided to take the plunge in the hotel business and bought the Hotel de Limbourg on the «place Royale» in Spa. They launched «Hotel Cardinal», which was the beginning of a long family history…
Indeed, ten years later, Mr and Mrs Zangerlé ambitiously purchased the two neighboring buildings, respectively the Michel shoe shop and the Leboutte pharmacy. The next generations carried the torch with enthusiasm and success, definitely casting their print on Hotel Cardinal. Mrs Berthe Kneip, Eugène Zangerlé’s wife, especially comes to mind; in spite of dramatic personal drawbacks, she masterfully ran the hotel, the restaurant and the bar.
Her son, José, who got a degree in hotel management, would always be at her side to help her develop the family enterprise. Nowadays, the fourth Zangerlé generation is keeping up the good work alongside their parents. The hotel’s 100th anniversary will be celebrated in 2024.
A prestigious guest
Georges Krins violonist on theTitanic
Ever since his childhood, Georges had developed a strong taste for music. He started attending the Spa Musical Academy and then went on to study at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège where he won the first violin prize in 1908.
With a great international musical career ahead of him, he was first hired at the Trianon Lyrique in Paris in 1910 and then moved on to London to join the prestigious Ritz Hotel orchestra as first violin. So famous was he that he yielded to the proposal of the Liverpool Company CW & Black that was hiring eight musicians to play on the jewel of the White Star fleet for its very first transatlantic crossing. No one knew then it would be their last ! A very eager 23-year-old Georges Krins boarded The Titanic as first violin in the quartet conducted by Wallace Hartley but also as conductor of the string trio playing next to the restaurant, the Café Parisien and on the Grand Staircase to delight the First Class passengers.
It is interesting to know that the musicians didn’t belong to the crew but travelled as Second Class passengers. The luxurious 268-metre-long and 28-metre-large liner Titanic left Southampton on 10 April 1912 to undertake her maiden voyage to New York with 2,224 passengers and crew members on board. The ship looked like a fairy tale floating town.
Georges Krins was born on 18 March, 1889 in Paris to a Parisian mother and a Moscow-born Belgian father. He was the second son in a family of four children. In 1895, the family decided to go back to its roots and thus settled in Spa where his father, Auguste Krins, ran a haberdasher’s shop.
On 14 April 1912 at 11:40 p.m., disaster struck when the vessel hit an iceberg. The orchestra was ordered to play merry tunes up to the end in an effort to prevent the further spread of panic among the passengers. Wallace Hartley chose as last piece of music «Nearer My God to Thee». The Titanic sank at 2.20 a.m. on 15 April 1912; only 687 people survived.
The young Spa musician died in the wreckage of that supposedly unsinkable ship. Like so many others, his remains have never been found. Nevertheless, his listing among the passengers will allow to incorporate him among the victims of the most impressive shipwreck ever. He was the only French-speaking person among the 27 Belgian citizens aboard The Titanic. Two Titanic enthusiasts, Philippe Delaunoy and Olivier Césaretti, took the initiative to affix a commemorative plaque on the facade of Hotel Cardinal, place Royale 21 in Spa, where Georges Krins used to live with his family.
On 14 November 2002, some 90 years after the disaster, the city of Spa honored Georges Krins during the commemoration ceremony that reminds the future generations the heroic deed of that international gifted young violinist whose promising career was cut short by the most devastating shipwreck of the 20th century.
Beneath the plaque, Mr and Mrs Zangerlé, the hotel owners, have had a painting made silhouetting the local hero. The legend of the heroic orchestra was immortalized in the film Titanic in 1997.