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August 2017 - Special Report, Bayerischer Hof, Munich
This Week In Las Vegas
While this week’s newsletter features a Special Report on Munich’s Bayerischer Hof hotel, I’ll be in Las Vegas for six days attending Virtuoso Travel Week, a confab of over 2,000 luxury focused travel advisors. In the 1980s and ‘90s I was publisher of a B2B magazine read by travel agents, then took a 14 year break from the industry, a period during which many people thought agents would be replaced by online travel agencies. It hasn’t worked out that way, particularly in the luxury segment. With more luxury hotels, signature suites and a wide world of interesting experiences you want, finding a good advisor has become the best way to make sure things are done right. If you don’t use an agent, I recommend it.
PS — We keep all past issues on an easy to access website DG Amazing Experiences where you can find both newsletters and special reports.
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Bayerischer Hof Munich:
It’s walking distance of the Cathedral Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), Viktualienmarkt square, the opera, museums, the Residenz palace and the Hofgarten park and located at the start of a pedestrian arcade with exclusive shops and in the banking and business district. Munich has luxury hotels managed by Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski, Rocco Forte and Sofitel. There is also the Hotel Konigshof, and then of course the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. However, the only commonality is they are each unique. In other words, Munich remains immune from cookie cutter luxury, for better or worse.
We recently stayed at the Bayerischer Hof, which dates to 1838 when King Ludwig I expressed his desire for a first-class hotel to Joseph Anton von Maffei who then commissioned Friedrich von Gärtner, the king’s favorite architect. There have only been two owners, and the current proprietors have been on duty since 1909. The hotel was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombs at the end of World War II before being rebuilt. The hotel has been at the center of history, including being a main headquarters hotel during the infamous Olympic Games of 1974.
The owners remain focused on renovating and updating the 340 rooms, of which 65 are suites and throughout the connected buildings there are styles from different updates and just different styles which span various tastes, making selection of suites particularly important. The unique nature of the buildings which make the hotel also mean that there is literally and endless variety of suites, some of which are designed to be luxury apartments suitable for extended stays.
Amenities throughout include high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi/cable, Samsung flat-screen TVs with wireless keyboards, more than 380 TV channels, over 200 films, 200 radio stations, 2,000 CD albums, games and so on. There is secured underground parking in case you are popping out for a drive on the autobahn.
The star studded guest book has included Ben Affleck, Brigitte Bardot, Ingrid Bergman, Orlando Bloom, Nicolas Cage, Charlie Chaplin, Julie Christie, Joan Collins, Sean Connery, David Copperfield, Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise, Miley Cyrus, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, and we’re just in the “Ds,” You get the picture.
The hotel has also housed some of the world’s most famous politicians, leaders and rulers, including Vladimir Putin, Kofi Annan, Sheik Hamad bin Al-Thani, Ehud Barak, Willy Brandt, David Cameron, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Richard Holbrooke, John Kerry, Henry Kissinger, Helmut Kohl, John McCain, Angela Merkel, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Donald Rumsfeld.
In terms of location, it’s 22 miles to Franz Josef Straub Airport and under a mile to the main train station. Munich’s main trade fair ground is about five miles away while the ICM International Congress Center München is also about 5 miles. The Munich Olympic Park is about three miles and the Allianz Arena (football stadium) is about six miles away.
From Trip Advisor, the Bayerischer Hof gets four stars. Negative reviews center around that some rooms need updating (stick to the suites), Euros 14 for a glass of wine (We’re from New York so that doesn’t shock us) and lack of attention by the staff. In a big hotel like this, we think it pays off to book through a travel agent that does lots of business with either the hotel or Leading Hotels of the World, where it’s a member. We’d suggest either your assistant or agent sends the hotel a note stipulating you are a VIP to make sure you don’t get lost in the what is a large luxury hotel. At the same time, we would happily go back.
While there are 65 suites, what’s interesting is that there are several groupings that are particularly good if you are traveling with extended family or planning an extended stay.
Royal Palais Floor (up to 18 adult guests)
The Royal Palais Floor is located in the historic Palais Monteglas, a separate annex built in classical style dating to 1811. The suites and rooms combine modern comfort and privacy, including lifts to the suite straight from the underground parking garage and the option of exclusive use of the kitchen. The rooms and suites can be individually combined to give you exclusive use of the entire third floor of Palais Monteglas building.
Together, this ensemble includes room numbers 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39, giving you the entire third floor.
Suite 32 is 1,018 sq. ft. with a view over the Promenadeplatz, a living room with large seating area, antique desk and Samsung hi-fi system with Blue Ray player, bedroom with walk-in closet, marble bathroom with double wash basin, circular bath tub, shower and bidet, corridor with kitchenette including cooking plate, refrigerator and Nespresso coffee machine. It can be combined with 33 and 35 into a two- or three bedroom suite or with the entire third floor. Suite 33 at 635 sq. ft. also has a view over the Promenadeplatz, combined living and bedroom with two separated beds and seating area, walk-in closet, large marble bathroom with shower tub. Suite 35 at 958 sq. ft. is a corner suite, also with views over the Promenadeplatz, living room with large seating area, dining area, desk, Nespresso coffee machine, 55˝ flatscreen TV and Samsung hi-fi system with Blue Ray player, bedroom with walk-in closet, wheelchair-friendly bathroom with seat, rain shower, bath tub and washlet, separate guest toilet. When sold with 32 and 33 it is called the Royal Palais Suite and takes up 2,604 sq. ft. The additional five rooms which complete taking over the floor brings your total space to 4,908 sq. ft.
You also get free access to the Blue Spa, free access to the Night Club with live entertainment, and additional services such as babysitting, a dog package, and selection of cushions and blankets can be arranged.
Presidential Floor (17 adults)
Also in the Palais Monteglas, the Presidential Floor reflects classical design as seen from Siegward Graf Pilati. Again, lifts to the suite straight from the underground car park and special security glass in the living area of suite 49 give extra security.
The rooms and suites can be individually combined to nearly 6,300 sq. ft. of space, so again, very good for CEOs, heads of state, celebrities and family groups. The ensemble spans the entire 4th floor with numbers 40, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49.
Suite 49 at 1,001 sq. ft. includes a living room with open fireplace (above), large seating area, desk, windows with bulletproof glass to BR 3-S, Nespresso coffee machine and Samsung hi-fi system with Blue Ray player, bedroom with walk-in closet, marble bathroom with whirlpool and shower, and separate guest toilet. At 893 sq. ft., Suite 43 features a living room with seating area, desk, small gallery with circular stairs and Grundig hi-fi system (radio, CD), bedroom with access to dressing room, marble bathroom with double wash basin, shower tub, and separate guest toilet. The 731 sq. ft. Suite 45 has a view to the inner courtyard and two entrances, living room with large seating area, desk, Nespresso coffee machine and Samsung hi-fi system with DVD player, bedroom with walk-in closet and access to the marble bathroom with double wash basin, shower tub and bidet. The Presidential Suite combines 48 and 49 at 1,280 sq. ft. or the for the entire floor, 6,286 sq. ft.
Royal Bavarian Floor 3 (16 adults)
A tribute to Bavarian royalty and Ludwig I, this floor combines 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 330, 331, 332, and 333. Suite 328 is 893 sq. ft. designed in traditional country house style, and features a lounge with view over the Promenadeplatz and wood paneling, large seating area, desk, dining area with tile oven, Nespresso coffee machine and Samsung hi-fi system with DVD player, bedroom featuring canopy bed, marble bathroom designed by Philipp Starck with double wash basin, bathtub and shower. Combined with 327 and 330 it becomes the Royal Bavarian Suite at 1,506 sq. ft. Additional rooms which give you the full end of the third floor in the building brings the total space to 3,928 sq. ft.
Royal Bavarian Floor 4 (14 adults)
Like the Third Floor, the Royal Bavarian Fourth Floor features traditional country house style. Suite 428 at 914 sq. ft. includes a lounge with view over the Promenadeplatz and wood paneling, large seating area, desk, dining area, Nespresso coffee machine and Samsung hi-fi system with DVD player, bedroom featuring canopy bed and sofa, marble bathroom designed by Philipp Starck with double wash basin, bathtub and shower. Including 427 and 430 becomes a Royal Bavarian Suite and expands to 3,605 sq. ft. for the “floor” with 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 430, 431, and 432.
Panorama Suite 705
The 1,087 sq. ft. two-bedroom penthouse-style suite includes a living room with a ceiling height of 15 feet, panoramic windows, open fireplace, dining area with kitchenette including cooking plate, basin and refrigerator, large seating area, desk, Nespresso coffee machine, circular stairs to the bedroom and 55˝ flatscreen TV, gallery bedroom with view to the living room, walk-in closet and small roof loggia, second bedroom featuring canopy bed, marble bathroom with double wash basin, whirlpool, steam bath with shower and bidet, separate guest toilet, wardrobe included in the entrance area, 800 sq. ft. roof top terrace with fountain and private access to the Blue Spa.
Panorama Suite 725
The two-bedroom 1,399 sq. ft. tower suite includes a living room with dining area, large seating area, desk and Nespresso coffee machine, fully glazed gallery bedroom with view to Munich’s monuments, sitting area and separated wash room, work- and bedroom with walk-in closet, marble bathroom with double wash basin, whirlpool and steam bath with shower, and separate guest toilet.
Panorama Suite 759
You will feel like you are stepping into Bavarian with this 1,108 sq. ft. two-bedroom suite in traditional country house style, large living room with two dining areas, different seating areas, desk, Nespresso coffee machine, 55˝ flatscreen TV and Samsung hi-fi system, French balcony, bedroom with walk-in closet, marble bathroom with double wash basin, rain shower and bathtub, separate toilet, wardrobe included in the entrance area. Rooms 758 and 761 can be connected.
Panorama Suite 770
Panorama Suite at 1,141 sq. ft. features a living room with free-standing open fireplace, large seating area, dining area, desk, Nespresso coffee machine and Samsung hi-fi system with Blue Ray player, panorama balcony with wooden deck and view to the “Frauenkirche”, bar with ice cube machine, refrigerator and basin, bedroom accessable via walk-in closet, marble bathroom with double wash basin, steam bath with shower and bathtub, separate guest toilet, wardrobe included in the entrance area.
Atelier (above) with Silent Garden is a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant with seasonal dishes. Palais Keller is Bavarian classics beneath a historic vaulted ceiling, and even has its own bakery. Blue Spa Lounge with winter garden and terrace provides views of Munich’s rooftops, serving healthy cuisine and barbecues. Roof garden and roof garden lounge with sun terrace are for champagne breakfast buffet and à la carte breakfast. Trader Vic‘s is Polynesian recipes from a beech oven, cooked according to original traditions.
The Blue Spa Bar is drinks and a unique view over the old town. Polar Bar (above) is hot snacks and drinks. Falk‘s Bar is a modern bar serving its own award-winning menu as well as German classics. Trader Vic’s and Menehune Bar are for cocktails from the South Pacific in an exotic atmosphere. The Night Club Bar and Piano Bar are classic cocktails and snacks accompanied by live music.
The astor@Cinema Lounge (above) is a private cinema to view the latest films with comfortable sofas. The Night Club is one of Munich’s noted jazz clubs. Comedy at Bayerischer Hof is boulevard theatre, and Piano Bar features renowned pianists with intimate concerts on Fridays.
At nearly 14,000 sq. ft. spread over four floors with views of the Munich skyline, there is a 50-ft. lap pool with sliding glass roof, steam bath, saunas, solarium, sun terrace, and gym. The spa offers an extensive range of treatments and massages and there is a beauty center and hairdressing salon.
There are 40 air-conditioned banquet and function rooms accommodating from 10 to 2,500 guests. There is a 17,000 sq. ft. banquet space featuring an art deco style and sliding glass roof. Palais Monteglas features classic salons, including the majestic Königssaal room. The Cinema Lounge can be used for presentations, film screenings and private events, seating 38.
Best Business Hotel in Germany: Business Destinations; Best Business Hotel in Munich: Der Feinschmecker, Global Finance, €uno Magazine; Best City Hotel in Germany: Diners Club Magazine; Best German Hotel amongst the 100 World’s Best Hotels: Institutional Investor; Winner in the ‘Classic Hotels’ Category: World Hotel Awards; Hotel of the Year: Gault Millau, Der Feinschmecker, Goldener Schlüssel Guide; Member of the Gold List: Condé Nast Traveller; One of the 50 Best Hotels Worldwide: Institutional Investor; One of the Greatest Hotels: Travel & Leisure; Top spot amongst Germany’s grand hotels Der Feinschmecker. Rrestaurant and bar awards: Atelier, 2 Michelin stars: Guide Michelin, 18 points: Gault Millau; Garden restaurant, Restaurant of the Year: Diners Club Magazine, 15 points: Gault Millau; Trader Vic’s restaurant, 14 points: Gault Millau; Falk’s Bar, Bar of the Year: Aral Schlemmer Atlas, Germany’s Best Bar: Gault Millau; Top spot amongst Germany’s hotel bars Der Feinschmecker
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