STAY in Munich:
Why book sightseeing tours when you can have a view of the Church of Our Lady from your bathtub? Admittedly, the ultimate view from the giant, free-standing wellness tub is only available from the 77 m² tower suite. Yet even some other, less extravagant rooms provide breathtaking sights from bird's eye view. On top of that, the happening nightlife in and around the centrally located Hotel (near the Stachus square) won't disturb your sweet dreams, since all rooms are entirely soundproofed. Moreover, there are personal climate control, free wireless internet, satellite TV and all sorts of special offers: For example the children package, complete with child-sized bathrobes, slippers and snacks. At your request the staff will also provide a play station or a parlour game selection. Doubles start at 170,- euros a night.
The hotelier is an advocate of the theme hotel idea, but with a soft touch: In the Advokat the guest receives personal attention and his inner self is caressed. After the Admiral, which was his first, extremely successful boutique hotel in an old-fashioned, cosy style, he opened the Advokat in 1996 in the look of the sixties: polished travertine flooring, half-curtains at the wardrobe, and globe lamps. The creative class, in particular, appreciate this: Actors, theatre directors as well as people working in the fashion and publishing industry are regulars. In 2006 the Sightsleeping®-jury of the Bavarian Marketing GmbH awarded the hotel's lobby a prize for its loving design. And Vogt won't skimp on endearing little gestures: for example the bedtime reading next to the bed (and not a bible!) or shining red apples on the pillow. Doubles start at 150,- euros a night.
Whether in the King Ludwig or Empress Sissi room - in this guesthouse kitsch is part of the programme. The baroque furnishing blends in perfectly with the renovated Wilhelminian-style houses around the Gärtnerplatz and the Glockenbachviertel, for many the chief party district in Munich. This is where the creative and individualist, the crazy and rare birds live. The neighbourhood, which used to be something of a gay bastion not so long ago, has turned into a haven for a colourful bunch of people with the highest birth rate in the city! The retrograde flair of the guesthouse, however, should not cover the fact that the guest can expect all the comfort of the (post)modern age, including wireless Internet and satellite TV. Tip: The two tower rooms on the second floor are particularly spacious and therefore ideal for families. Doubles start at 110,- euros a night.
SIGHTS in Munich:
Imagine you're going to the cinema! You're sitting down on the leather seat but only as soon as the back rest has reached the right position. Then you'll order your dinner directly to your seat and feast until the film starts. In the new Gloria Palace in Munich you'll feel like being in a film even before the film has started. It took four months until the tradition-steeped cinema at the Stachus was completed in December 2012. After all there was a lot to renovate. The Grand Dame of German film, Ilse Kubaschewski, took great pains when she built it - but that's already sixty years ago. The Kinopolis Group therefore looked for a new concept and the first thing they did was cutting down the number of seats to half of the original number. Every guest now receives a welcome drink and a waiter is ready to take your orders in the cinema hall. They installed several separate boxes on the balcony with specially designed sofas and own footrests.
Nothing may aspire to greater highs than the onion dome of the Frauenkirche - Munich continues to be well-grounded. For comparison: The Cologne Cathedral is almost 160 metres and the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt even 259 metres high. Yet the building regulations have something to be proud of, since from the top of the south tower you have a wonderful view onto the rooftops of Munich as well as the nearby Alps. Construction began in 1468. It must have been conceived as some type of Ark of Bavaria, because the giant building provided room for 20,000 standing people - at a time when Munich, with its 13,000 inhabitants, was really something of a big village. Who knows, maybe some feared the revenge of the devil? He is said to have stomped his foot on the ground, enraged that he had been fooled or out of sheer anger about the imposing house of god. The footprint, complete with a hooked tail, is still visible in the entry hall. Who knows what other mischief Beelzebub is still up to?
The greatest treasures of art history are on display. We just need to open our eyes, pause for a moment and marvel. Let's start our tour with the Alte Pinakothek: You can admire more than 700 masterpieces of European artists from the 14th to the 18th centuries are on display, including famous ones such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Dürer, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Head on to the Neue Pinakothek, a unique collection of European art from neo-classicism up to art nouveau, the romantic Caspar David Friedrich, impressionists like Manet and Monet or the pioneer of expressionism, Vincent Van Gogh. Finally the Pinakothek der Moderne, which, in reality, is four in one: Visual arts, graphic arts, architecture and design of the 20th and 21st centuries under one roof, one of the biggest and most surprising museums of its kind worldwide. Art is not simply hung on the walls. It turns into a happening, something that is searching for a dialogue with the observer. In the Neue Sammlung of the design museum you can sail from time island to time island, docking at the avant-gardes of the 20s and 30s, dropping by the Pop Art design of the 60s and experience post modernism and purism.
EAT in Munich:
In the Westend, Döner and Falafel have been shaping the gastronomic scene for a long time. With one weighty exception: The Augustiner Bräustuben are an important Bavarian remnant for locals, tourists and many Zuagroaste (migrant workers - including from many other parts in Germany). At night up to 500 people sit along wooden tables and benches. It's not an insider tip, just as the Munich Hofbräuhaus isn't, yet it's more down-to-earth and a real experience: Whether it's the waitresses' harsh service, or the Gamsbart-hat wearing card players, or the fair-value Bavarian specialities. The daily special starts at 5 euros, and even the vegetarian choices are surprisingly plentiful. According to the locals, they also brew the best beer in town. Tip: The pollack with herb mayonnaise is the best far and wide - and for 6.70 euros certainly one of the most affordable.
When Rudi Kull and Albert Weinzierl decided on opening a new Japanese restaurant in the downtown area of Munich the two gastronomers packed their bags and flew to Tokyo. After they had arrived an educated and culturally interested Japanese explained the national cuisine to them. Her name: Emiko. She took them to the noodle shops and cook shops on the streets. But most important were the izakayas, the simple pubs that are frequented by people who come after their work and order some snacks from the extensive menus. What they saw and tasted was translated by Kull and Weinzierl for their own restaurant. And dining follows the sharing principle there, that means: a group orders several dishes and everybody can try out each dish. On the menu you find appetisers like sweet potatoes and soft shell crabs which are dipped in light sauces.
You cannot blame the food if you regret walking into the Tantris. And with this kind of superlative quality, the prices go without saying. Depending on the time of the day and day of the week, you'll have to figure 100 to 200 euros per person. However, you will get something really special for it: The Tantris is the pioneer among the German gourmet culture. In the year 0 of its foundation (1971 AD) it was still believed that the Teutonic had nothing to offer to the world other than sauerkraut and curry sausage. Then came Eckart Witzigmann and cooked up two Michelin stars for the Tantris. The Gault-Millau gave 18 points, and today the restaurant with its ambiance full of relish and verve is known to be one of the most important talent factories for creative chefs in Germany. Some find the orange red design of the seventies simply too much. Yet this top-class restaurant is a product of its age, and it didn't bend simply to catch the changing fashions. Tip: You can introduce yourself to the Tantris with the Saturday afternoon special menu. There are four courses including white, red and dessert wine for 115,- euros per person. It's important to reserve beforehand!
SHOPPING in Munich:
apartment20 hits the young Munich fashion scene on the head. With so much success, few manage to resist. In this cult shop you find not only top labels such as colcci, Nolita, Sonja Kiefer, BLC, Gaultier, D&G, Dior, Tom Ford and many more. No, it also brings real glamour and metropolitan flair to Schwabing, which sometimes battles a somewhat provincial image. Many, mostly German, celebrities have been seen, including Basti Schweinsteiger, Ricky Martin or Olli and Simone Kahn. Many people don't know that apartment20 is one of the top-selling fashion temples in Europe. Its founders discovered event culture when most others were still decorating shop windows: Before Christmas you can peek at a real Christmas strip on display, and year-round there are live DJ presentations and video installations of aspiring young directors. Tip: Once a month the shop sponsors gay events in the Kloster Club and every fortnight a club night in Two Rooms. Free tickets for these events are available in the shop.
In this cosy concept store you can, with good conscience, stock up on precious things to wear, decorate your house with and pamper yourself. The leitmotif is the principle of sustainability: Furniture from plantation teak wood, or clothes by the Natural Wave Label of shop owner Oliver Wiesent. The fashion is anything but boring. Linen is combined with silk, and the classic natural colours with hearty orange and red. Aside from his own, Wiesent also offers other sustainability labels, such as the Spanish EseOEse & Yerse or the Scandinavian Brittinger. If you want, you can ride on the eco wave right in front of your doorstep, since, aside from fashion, furniture and natural cosmetics, you'll also find kitchen ware, home accessories and handmade semi-precious stone jewellery.
Tsé & Tsé
Even lamps, vases and baby plaids tell stories - especially when two crazy French women have created them. The Vase d'Avril, for example, the first product of the Parisian designer duo Catherine Lévy and Sigolène Prébois, who are the women behind the label Tsé Tsé: 21 test tubes that will bring a colourful spring flower meadow into your home. Or the Guirlande Cubiste, a lamp in the form of 15 hand-folded white and colouredl paper cubes with mysterious lighting effects. Everything got started with the two designers thinking about interesting objects for themselves, little crazy things that beautified their lives. To this day there is a lot of esprit and joie de vivre in their design, and each piece gives you the feeling of truly owning one-of-a-kind piece. There are only three shops worldwide that carry the entire Tsé Tsé product line. The shop in Munich also offers many other - mostly French - brands for tableware, home accessories and furniture. The great thing about it: Many of the things even fit into your carry-on luggage.