The Reichskuechenmeister, slammed by Rick in the 2015 Germany book (sorry that I do not have access to a later version) is definitely to be recommended. Rooms have all been completely redone and feature air-con in the main house. Elevator. Excellent restaurant with a huge terrace under massive trees and shade-providing, huge umbrellas just installed new in April of 2022. This is one of the town's most reliably excellent restaurants. Is it cheap? Heck no. But the service and quality make up for it. And where are you gonna find air-con in Rothenburg, other than the Reichskuechenmeister? Only one other place - the Hotel Burggartenpalais, formerly known as the Meistertrunk. That is it.
Stayed in the Hotel Burg Garten Palais. Very nice hotel with excellent breakfast, great outdoor patio and very nice staff. ...and yes AC. One of the many shortcomings of guidebooks, they can't physically keep up to date. Booking.com is a place I find to be the most helpful with lodging reviews. You have to have stayed at a hotel to be able to review it. They are usually pretty close to the experience, but you have to read between the lines.
Edit: A review from Booking.com on the Reichskuechenmeister
The old part of the building could use some updates in the rooms. Still using keys for doors which is a bit cumbersome. We didn’t mind but we were surprised that the hotel charged 5 euros/day to use the a/c - not mentioned anywhere. This was mentioned a few times as a negative. Not sure I understand the business logic.
I booked a different hotel in Rothenberg with a/c. When searching, I found several to to choose from. I have spent the last 6 months booking my first trip to Europe. I was told by family who have been visiting Germany for decades that "hotels in Germany don't have a/c" but was surprised to find this not to be true. Affordable places with a/c in Amsterdam were harder to locate, and certain cities were a bit more of a challenge in this arena in Germany, too (Boppard, Germany comes to mind, but I was trying to book a bit closer to arrival date). I used Google's hotel search filter for "air conditioning". I then confirmed on the hotel's website that they had a/c before I booked. This is how I booked all of my lodging for my July trip.
A random date in early September currently shows several hotels in RodT with a/c on Google's hotel search:
This should link to a Google search of hotels in RodT with air con
Thanks for the amazing restaurant suggestion! We are still trying to narrow down that piece of our itinerary, so I always appreciate good restaurant suggestions!
No surprising that the hotel charged extra for AC if the guest wants that extra piece of luxury. I have not encountered that in Germany since the mostly 2 star places I stay don't have AC to begin with, small hotels, Pensionen.
In Paris was the first place (later on at other small hotels in France) I was asked if I wanted AC at check-in, along with breakfast. That was in July 1989, was totally caught off guard by this question so I said no to AC, certainly was not going to pay extra for AC.