My very first time at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof was more than decade ago when I attended a party in the hotel’s impressive Ballroom. When I left the glamorous event that night, I remember stepping out into a mild summer night with clear star-filled skies.
Today it is a freezing, grey winter day as my taxi pulls into the Promenadeplatz, approaching the 168-year-old Bavarian Grand Dame in the heart of Munich. Among the great hotels in Munich, the Bayerischer Hof is the most historic. It was built in 1841 by appointment of HRH King Ludwig I. Damaged, partially destroyed and rebuilt several times, it has been family run for more than 100 years by the Volkhardt family with directrice Innegrit Volkhardt currently representing the fourth generation.
Not that I have been a stranger to the Bayerischer Hof since my first visit. The hotel has some outstanding facilities I have frequented on several occasions while in Munich: whether it’s falk’s Bar, the beautiful bar located in an impressive historic mirrored room with high stucco ceilings, Trader Vic’s, the hotel’s Polynesian restaurant and bar which, apart from great pan-pacific cuisine serves best Tiki Puka Puka between here and Papeete, or the rooftop icebar, this hotel caters to pretty much any social occasion you can think of.
As I get out of the taxi today and step into the warm lobby I am happy to hear the typical Bavarian greeting “Grüss Gott”, a pleasant reminder that I have arrived not only in Munich but in the heart of Bavaria. It feels good being back in Munich. This city makes you feel at home instantly.
My Junior Suite on the fifth floor is surprising: black backboards in front of red walls with photographic painted portraits and black and white striped furniture give the room a great cosmopolitan atmosphere. As a matter of fact, the Bayerischer Hof never stops surprising you. It’s the sheer variety that is so unique about it: African inspired guest rooms with elephant images and patterns reminiscent of the Serengeti, Art Nouveau rooms designed by Count Pilati with lacquered wood and strong earthy colors and very traditional palatial rooms in the secluded Palais Montgelas building part.
And then of course the variety of restaurants and bars is dizzying: apart from the above there’s the Bavarian Palais Keller, the Piano Bar, the Jazz Club and even a theatre.
September 2009 saw the introduction of yet another design concept with two restaurants by Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt. Finding the right designer took Innegrit Volkhardt three years of research and travel to Europe‘s finest restaurants in Paris, Milan, London, Barcelona. Eventually she discovered Axel Vervoordt following a private invitation.
Renowned for his private residences, chateaus and apartments, the Atelier and Garden restaurants at the Bayerischer Hof are two of very few public spaces Vervoordt designed.
It’s the clarity, warmth and authenticity that strike you as you walk in and look around. The Atelier really feels like one and the Garden gives you the feeling of sitting on a sun filled patio.
Make your way up to the top floor and another surprise awaits: the hotel’s pool features a glass roof letting plenty of daylight in. In the summer the roof may be opened fully, turning the top floor into an outdoor area.
The terrace is accessible in the winter as well and today it is covered in snow as I step out, admiring the fantastic views. They are the same views you have from the breakfast room.
The next morning, I’m up for an early breakfast and while I am sipping on my café latte the sun rises over a clear blue sky that is too cold for clouds. Like a wandering spotlight, it lights up one building after the other, making the city’s signature monuments shine: the beautiful Frauenkirche, Munich’s landmark dome, the Rathaus and the Alte Peter are all right opposite.
Once again you are reminded that it is the heart of Munich you’re in. It is hard taking your eyes off this majestic sight but it is time to leave, Munich is waiting! As I step out into the crystal cold morning I can’t think of a better way start into the day…