Opened in 1858, the palatial Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich is infinite in its elegance. A former guest house of King Maximilian II, the hotel’s entrance is wreathed by luxury sports cars and manned by immaculately uniformed porters. Beyond the glass-lined vestibule is a dark and sophisticated lobby, lit by a stunning stained-glass dome. Below, high tea is served with delicate china teapots and piped in Baroque music.
The Kempinski has an enviable position on Maximilianstrasse, home to the top fashion boutiques in the city. The main train station and the Bavarian Opera House are only a few minutes away, as are the lively food stalls of the Viktualienmarkt, while the galleries and cafes of emerging Schwabing are a short tram ride from the hotel’s entrance.
The hotel’s 297 guest rooms and suites are split into two wings. My 50-square-metre deluxe junior suite – no two of which are the same – features views across one of three central courtyards, an enthralling art collection, sleek timber floors surrounding a curtain-veiled king-size bed, and a spacious bathroom decked out in black and white tiles. The hotel is also home to the Royal Ludwig Suite, presently the most expensive guest room in Germany at €17,000 (Dh82,303) per night.
The Kempinski caters as easily to leisure travellers as it does to executive road warriors. The hotel’s location lends itself to travellers seeking retail therapy or the arts in Germany’s cultural capital, but its opulent interiors are ideal for intimate meetings in a city that’s home to some of the nation’s most important companies. Munich has also become a serious medical tourism centre, especially for travellers from the Middle East, and the hotel is close to some of the most coveted clinics.
The Kempinski’s staff are very “German” in their professional approach to service, especially at breakfast, which is served in the Restaurant Vue Maximilian, with plenty of smiles but also military precision.
The Vue Maximilian, located on the ground level overlooking Maximilianstrasse, serves regional and seasonal French cuisine with a distinctively modern flair. Highlights of young gun chef Sven Büttner’s menu include the Vier Jahreszeiten salad with champagne vinaigrette, pumpkin pesto and wild mushrooms (€19 [Dh92]); lobster soup with snow peas and king oyster mushrooms (€24 [Dh116]); and pan-fried calf’s liver with fresh green apple (€26 [Dh126]). Business lunches are also available during the week from €25 (Dh121).
The hotel’s location is a massive plus, meaning that all the city’s attractions are close at hand. It also means there’s no long, shopping-bag-laden walk after hitting the boutiques.
The hotel is an existing era-building and a newer wing that was added much later. With long, winding corridors, navigating the hotel can be tricky to reach the pool, breakfast restaurant and the spa, depending on where your suite is.
An elegant and luxurious home-away-from-home in one of Germany’s most interesting and vibrant cities, the Kempinski ticks all the boxes.
The bottom line
Rooms from €366 (Dh1,772) per night, twin share, including breakfast. Maximilianstrasse 17, Munich, 0049 89 2125 2799; www.kempinski.com