Munich, the clean and green Bavarian capital, is a melting pot of art, fine dining and architecture, all of which converge at Bayerischer Hof.
The history of Bayerischer Hof — the grand dame of the Munich luxury hotel scene — makes for a rich tapestry. Few hotels come from such regal beginnings: indeed it was the brainchild of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who expressed his desire for a first-class hotel in the Bavarian capital, to industrialist Joseph Anton von Maffei. Von Maffei acted accordingly, enlisting the king’s favourite architect Friedrich von Gärtner to build the hotel. As the story goes — upon Bayerischer Hof’s opening in 1841 — the king frequented the hotel rather ceremoniously to bathe twice-monthly.
A lot has changed throughout the hotel’s illustrious history, but it still possesses its allure, visited by the great and the good: think music royalty, Hollywood doyennes and world leaders. Much of the original hotel was destroyed by bombs during WW2 before being rebuilt, and it has grown to encompass a number of listed buildings (including Palais Montgelas) that flanked the original building, giving it a labyrinth-like quality. This lends a charming fusion of old and new, untouched heritage sits alongside modern flourishes. The hotel is a true family affair, run by four generations of the Volkhardts since 1897. Innegrit Volkhardt has been at the helm as Managing Proprietor since 1992, innovating through collaborations with artists and architects to put a fresh spin on this constantly evolving gem.
The main entrance is on Promenadeplatz, a leafy enclave that feels so serene, you may well forget you are right in the beating heart of the city. Upon arrival, the 19th-century regality is palpable thanks to the grand hotel facade, marble clad lobby, and twinkling chandeliers conveying old world opulence. The hotel jovially refers to itself as ‘a city within a city’, a description that proves rather apt given the abundance of on-site boutiques (from Bonpoint to Buly) and the array of dining options – but more on that later. However, for a spot of sightseeing all major hotspots are nearby; in fact Frauenkirche and the opera house are visible from the panoramic Blue Spa terrace. For shopping the hotel is near Marienplatz city centre, Maximilianstrasse for the best designer boutiques and Viktualienmarkt for an authentic Bavarian market experience. Those wishing to experience Munich's artistic leaning should seek out Pinakothek der Moderne, one of the largest contemporary art museums in Europe.
There are 337 rooms, of which 74 are suites — including sleek Panoramic and Presidential options — plus, one created in honour of King Ludwig I which remains largely untouched. There is a room to suit everyone’s aesthetic preference. All rooms are high design, no matter where you find yourself in the hotel, from the chintzy Laura Ashley rooms (a vision of frills and florals) to the latest rooms carried out under the exacting eye of Belgian architect Axel Vervoordt. These peaceful havens are modern and minimalist with muted tones, plenty of wooden accents, and natural stone bathrooms finished with delightfully spacious baths for a post-dinner soak.
Looking to blow the budget? The pièce de résistance is the Penthouse Garden Suite, with unrivalled views across the Munich skyline.
Whilst the Bavarian beer halls are a major draw of a trip to Munich, it may be hard to prise yourself away from Bayerischer Hof. With four restaurants and six restaurants, you can experience the best of Munich’s dining scene without stepping foot outside the hotel.
The Garden restaurant, executed under Axel Vervoordt to resemble a winter garden with a retractable glass roof, serves up Bavarian classics and European fare. Think Barbary duck with a sour cherry compote, or the lightest of wiener schnitzel on a bed of potatoes, washed down with a delicate glass of Reisling. It proves as popular with locals as guests, regularly playing host to business lunches.
For a livelier affair head to Trader Vic’s, an institution since 1972, nestled in the belly of the hotel. Serving up a Polynesian feast, ideal for group dining, this is accompanied by an impressive cocktail menu. Opt for the signature Mai Tai cocktail served in a Tiki glass. Deliciously fruity and drinkable, be warned, they truly pack a punch! The two Michelin-starred Atelier, is the crowning jewel and the month-long waiting list speaks for itself. Expect classic French cuisine with Asian flair, artfully executed by head chef, Anton Gschwendtner.
Falk’s Bar — the hotel’s original hall of mirrors — is an icon in its own right. It was remarkably the only room to survive the bombings of WW2, making the original stucco ceiling and mirror-lined walls all the more impressive. Stop by for a pre-dinner French 75 and soak in the lively atmosphere. Night Owls should make their final pit stop at the hotel’s Night Club; a vibrant spot that plays host to jazz nights from Tuesday to Saturday.
Shake off last night's Mai Tai with a few lengths of the hotel's pool, part of the 1300 square meter slick spa envisioned by architect Andrée Putman. Perched high above the Munich skyline, guests can enjoy spa amenities including Finnish sauna, a steam bath, or simply recline on the sun terrace with a glass of Champagne enjoying the panoramic views. The spa also boasts an impressive menu of treatments, including the Blue Spa Signature : an invigorating 80 minute ritual combining classic, aromatherapy, Shiatsu and Thai massage to unfurl coiled muscles, lengthen limbs, and leave you feeling like you are floating on air...
Starting rate for an Axel Vervoordt room EUR 680 per night
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