An icon on Munich's grand boulevard
Though now a grand dame of Munich’s hotel scene, during its early years Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich was something of a trailblazer of modernity.
Opened in 1858 as the Zu den vier Jahreszeiten, it was one of many jewels in a magnificent boulevard that quickly became known as one of the most prestigious addresses in Europe.
The hotel’s renowned architect, Wilhelm Gottgetreu, created a structure that combined classicism and gothic designs with telltale signs this new project was at one with the modern age of industry: running water, gas lights and baths, steam engines in the cellars for hot water and heating.
Major investments for the 1972 Munich Olympics and in the 2000s means this prestigious Munich hotel has 67 superb suites and 230 rooms. It has a highly lauded restaurant, spa and offers just about every service you would need or want.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• Though thoroughly modern in many ways, the original classic gothic architecture and furnishings in the lobby take you back to the traditional grand properties of yesteryear.
• Butler service is available in the most opulent suites, though a similar level of service is also open to any guest prepared to pay for it. The hotel also has its own limousine service.
• The hotel’s central location on Maximilianstrasse can’t be beat. The famed Bavarian State Opera House and the Bavarian State Ballet reside on the famous avenue, as do boutiques like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
• Topped by a wonderful, colorful glass dome, the lobby serves British-style afternoon tea that continues to be a big favorite (as are the sweet delights from the hands of patissier Ian Baker).
• Atop the hotel is a lavish spa complex with an indoor pool flanked by loungers from which you can take in the Munich cityscape from floor-to-ceiling windows.
What to Know
• It is a 10-minute amble from Marienplat to the hotel on Maximilianstrasse. Rooms facing the street offer a great view of Munich’s premier shopping avenue.
• Look for the Lady in Red in the lobby. Employed at every Kempinski hotel, she is dressed in red and assists the concierge, offering insider tips on her city.
• Are you a fan of the city’s Alte Pinakothek museum? Photos of European paintings from the museum wallpaper accent walls in the rooms.
• No two rooms are the same though there is an attractive combination of classic and modern decor in each of them. You’ll find marble bathrooms, fine art, designer chairs and other furniture pieces (some by Philippe Starck) and work desks.
• Though the building is steeped in history, the rooms are equipped with modern amenities like mounted flat-screen TVs, Bose stereos and Wi-Fi.
• The 2,045-square-foot Maximilianstrasse-facing Royal Ludwig Suite is top of the line. It is adorned with fine art and furniture, silver candelabras, silk curtains, a Jacuzzi and a Finnish sauna. The suite has six TVs, 24-hour butler service and airport transfer included.
• Obatzda, a beer garden classic, is a Bavarian cheese mixture with chives. The Schwarzreiter variation comes under the rubric Munich Cold Cuts, meaning accompanied by thinly sliced bacon, tartare, smoked trout and Alpine cheese.
• Schwarzreiter Tagesbar & Restaurant reflects the values of the luxury hotel itself: decidedly Bavarian but always with the aim of providing a contemporary, modern experience. It is named after the smoked schwarzreiter fish (from the Bavarian Alps), said to be a favorite of Bavaria’s King Ludwig II.
• Bavarian cuisine can be a heavy affair, with a preponderance of roasted meats. The restaurant’s interpretations are more refined — think pork cheeks served with chestnut celery, or Bavarian duck with red cabbage, prawn-duck rolls and brezl knödel (pretzel dumplings).
• Though an upscale restaurant, you are made to feel welcome whether you are simply sitting with a coffee or with a multi-course a sumptuous dinner.