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MunichOctober 13, 2008 By: Mary Winston Nicklin Travel Agent
Bavaria's cool capital celebrates 850 years
Oktoberfest has just come and gone in Munich, so it’s only fitting that we take a look at the excellent hotels in the festive Bavarian capital so that your clients can appreciate next year’s event—touted as the biggest festival in Europe. Note: Accommodations can fill up a year in advance of Oktoberfest’s annual bacchanalia. Munich is world-famous for its stein-clinking revelry, and the city’s origins help explain its beer-brewing tradition: München means ‘home of the monks,' as the city was named for an 8th century monastery. Today, there are more beer gardens than you can shake a stick at. But there’s a lot more than beer and bratwurst in this cosmopolitan town. For a city that’s celebrating its 850th birthday this year, Munich is as vibrant and creative as they come. Baroque architecture and a picturesque old town stand in contrast with cutting-edge design found in slick, new buildings. Nestled at the rolling foothills of the Alps, Germany’s third-largest city is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the country, surpassed only by Berlin in numbers of tourists.
A guest room at the Kempinski Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten
Where to Stay
Possibly the most famous accommodations in town are found at the 150-year-old Kempinski Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, which has achieved worldwide renown for its service and location. Perfectly situated on Maximilianstrasse, Munich’s premier address for boutiques and theater, the Kempinski is within walking distance of the very heart of the city. The magnificent lobby sets the tone for your clients’ luxurious stay: Under a stained-glass dome, depicting the four seasons, guests take tea in what’s been called “Munich’s nicest living room.” This is where A-listers like Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Gianni Versace have stayed—so the 303 rooms (including 65 suites) meet the standards of even the most exacting guests, and are appointed with custom-made furniture and the latest technology. Kids are also spoiled here; they’ll find kid-size bathrobes, slippers and stuffed animals in-room. And dogs are welcome (for an additional charge of $36 per day).
The Kempinski recently renovated the rooms facing the Maximilianstrasse, including 22 suites. (The non-renovated suites are called, simply, “traditional suites.”) The Deluxe Junior Suites are distinguished by their painted ceilings, showcasing details from paintings from the Pinakothek Museum. Designed in black granite and white marble, the bathrooms have high-tech televisions integrated into the mirrors and under-floor heating. The new Superior Suites are located in the historic wing of the hotel, and feature a separate living room and bedroom. Also in the historic wing, the Executive Suites are 860 square feet in size. The best suites are the Deluxe Two-Bedroom Suites, Presidential Suites and the 2,045-square-foot Ludwigsuite, the most exclusive in the hotel with a painted ceiling, dining room, sauna, and Molton Brown bath amenities. From the master bathroom, a guest can soak in the tub while peeking through a round window to the bedroom. Contact Verena Eberwein ([email protected]; 49-89-2125-2600), assistant to General Manager Stephan Kaminski, for VIP requests. Chief Concierge Massimo Francucci ([email protected]; 49-89-2125-2112) can also help with arrangements for your clients.
All hotel guests have free access to the Well Seasons Club, sprawling over the hotel’s sixth floor. Opened in June 2006, the spa overlooks the rooftops of Munich and the spires of the Church of Our Lady. Your clients can sunbathe on the roof terrace, hit the gym (stocked with the latest Technogym equipment) or experience “Sanus per aquam” by soaking in the pool, Turkish hammam-style steam bath, ice fountain and grotto shower. Reserve a Cellcosmet facial or Swedish massage by contacting Spa Manager Tom Hildebrandt ([email protected]; 49-89-2125-2155).
A Classic Room at The Charles Hotel, with interiors designed by Olga Polizzi
The newest five-star hotel on the scene is The Charles Hotel, opened by the Rocco Forte Collection in October 2007. Managed by Frank Heller ([email protected]; 49-89-544-555-1302), The Charles is home to an elegant Italian restaurant, top-notch spa and the largest pool in Munich. Custom-built with a striking contemporary design, The Charles boasts plush interiors styled by Olga Polizzi, the Rocco Forte Collection's director of design. The 160 guest rooms encompass eight different room categories, from the 430-square-foot Classic Rooms (the largest standard rooms in Munich) to the palatial Monforte Presidential Suite. In addition to the designer furnishings, all rooms feature artwork by celebrated Munich artists and spacious bathrooms tiled with original Nymphenburg porcelain and equipped with separate tub and raindrop shower. In the Deluxe King rooms, French balconies open onto the Old Botanical Gardens.
The luxury hotel chain recently launched the Rocco Forte Suite Experience to pamper guests with exclusive benefits (not available in Junior Suites). Your clients will enjoy in-room check-in, complimentary packing and unpacking, classic breakfast and complimentary use of a Nokia cell phone for all local calls. Internet access, in-house movies and dry-cleaning service are also included. For the best views, choose the Monforte Presidential Suite or one of the three adjacent suites on the eighth floor that provide sweeping views of the Alps from a large rooftop terrace. Note: These eighth-floor suites can connect. Travel advisors can contact Markus Luethge, senior sales manager, ([email protected]; 49-89-544-555-1411) or Anette Schlemmer, PR manager ([email protected]; 49-89-544-555-1460) for VIP bookings.
As expected at a Rocco Forte hotel, the service is exceptional. Head Concierge Heidi Velz ([email protected]; 49-89-544-555-1120) can arrange limousine sightseeing tours, exclusive night shopping excursions and private tours to Neuschwanstein, the grand Bavarian castle that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The Hotel Laimer Hof in Munich's quiet Nymphenburg neighborhood
Munich has excellent mid-range hotels as well. Guests prize the warm hospitality at the Hotel Laimer Hof, run by Alexandra and Sebastian Roesch, both of whom are a wealth of information about the surrounding Nymphenburg district. Striving for the highest guest satisfaction, the couple welcomes guests like family. Guests have even been known to go jogging with Sebastian in the Nymphenburg Palace Park, just a few minutes away. Dating from 1886, the neo-Renaissance villa is now configured with 23 guest rooms priced at $115 (single) and $144 (double), including a lavish breakfast buffet. (Breakfast can also be served in the privacy of guests’ rooms.) The building itself is protected as a historic-listed monument in this quiet, leafy neighborhood. The best rooms to book are the two “Tower” rooms on the second floor because of their spacious size, ideal for families.
Each of the 10 rooms at the Pension Gartnerplatz is individually decorated
Another good value is the Pension Gärtnerplatz, a small, family-run pension housed in an old townhouse near the Gärtnerplatz Theater in the Glockenbach District. Of the 10 individually decorated rooms, the most popular choices are the König-Ludwig-Zimmer and the Sissi-Zimmer. There are also two rooms with balconies opening to the courtyard. Your clients will enjoy complimentary wireless Internet and satellite TV. Owner Andrea Auer ([email protected]; 49-89-202-5170) is happy to help with your bookings; she can also give great insider tips about the local restaurants, bars and museums. Room rates are $103 (single) and $140 (double), including a rich breakfast highlighting the region’s high-quality, organic products.
For more about Munich accommodations, check out our Agent Advisor information on the city.