The centrepiece of the Kursaal building is the marble hall built in 1836-39, often referred to as "Little Rome".
The Marble Hall is one of the architectural highlights in the historic spa district of Bad Ems, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2021. Together with the spa theatre and the casino, it forms the Kursaal building, the magnificent building directly on the picturesque banks of the Lahn.
Built in 1836-39, the marble hall is also known as "Little Rome". The magnificent hall with its murals and columns made of Lahn Valley marble was modelled on the Renaissance Villa Farnesina on the Tiber in Rome. The plans for the ballroom in Bad Ems were drawn up by the Royal Bavarian building inspector Johann Gottfried Gutensohn. The composer Jacques Offenbach worked as concertmaster in Bad Ems for 12 years. Many of his works were premiered here in the Marble Hall. Parts of his probably most famous operetta "Orpheus from the Underworld" were also written during this time. The composer wrote about Bad Ems: "I confess that I have a very special fondness for Ems. Not only is it the source of my health, it also stimulates my creative imagination in many ways."
Large parts of the Marble Hall were built from a very special building material, Lahn marble. This was the name given to the limestone, which was quarried on a grand scale around 40 kilometres to the north directly on the river. Lahn marble can be found all over the world in magnificent buildings, including the Empire State Building in New York.
The "cultural centre" Marmorsaal is still the stage for major cultural events today. The Marble Hall is also an extremely popular location for weddings and other celebrations.