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A disappointing stay at a long-time favorite country hotel and restaurant near Bayreuth, the Feiler in Wiesenttal/Muggendorf

Would success spoil Horst Feiler? Such a question never entered our minds as we drove the lovely backroads toward the little hamlet of Muggendorf in the area of Germany known as Swiss Franconia.

Thirteen years earlier, the Feiler had been one of Gemütlichkeit's early discoveries - long before Karen Brown's books put it on the itinerary of thousands of U.S. travelers to Germany - and we were confident in our anticipation of a great meal and pleasant overnight. A warning sign we missed is that the hotel lost its Michelin "red" designation a few years back.

On our first visit, in 1987, we stayed in a kitschy little room with a four-poster canopied bed for about $50 and had marvelous meals that showcased the intensely-flavored wild mushrooms personally harvested from the forest by Herr Feiler. A couple of years later we featured the Feiler in our book, the Fifty Best Country Inns & Small City Hotels of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (regrettably, out of print).

Our description then stands up today: "the hotel is an intriguing stone and half-timbered country cottage. The roof is red tile and window boxes burst with flowers."

"Inside is a hodge podge of fine furniture, antiques, Victorian red plush, tanks of colorful fish and a zoo of stuffed animals and birds. One of its most appealing nooks is a small, but particularly charming inner courtyard overlooked by flower-bedecked balconies and windows."

Of the restaurant and the mushrooms we said, "The dishes that these fungi become are exquisite, subtle, beautifully presented and generally indescribable."