InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden
Getting there is half the fun when you visit the InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden. Few hotels offer amenities such as a twisty drive via the Alpenstraße. My car’s navigation system guided me through the fog as we climbed to an altitude of 1000 meters. Even though it was dark, I could sense how incredible the view would be.
And, come morning, the view was incredible. The InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden, built on the site of Field Marshal Hermann Göring’s house near Hitler’s Berghof mountain residence, is promoted as being “between heaven and earth,” set on a small plateau 1000 m high overlooking the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden in Berchtesgadener Land, Bayern (Bavaria) adjacent to Salzburg, Austria. Innately beautiful, the Nationalpark contains five main mountain ranges; one third of the park is rocky and glaciated, a further third is covered in mixed woodlands of spruce, beech, fir, and other conifers; alpine pastures comprise the remainder.
The views continue unimpeded throughout the hotel, thanks to the generous use of floor-to-ceiling windows. Despite the soaring ceilings, the hotel has an intimate feel to it.
Prior to its opening in early 2005, the issue of the appropriateness of building a resort in the same place where Hitler enjoyed the incredible views and conceived of his evil deeds was strongly debated in Germany and elsewhere but, to me, the hotel’s presence is a confirmation of how good triumphed over evil.
The hotel’s 138 rooms range from spacious doubles to suites and all have one feature in common: eye-popping views of one’s surroundings. The view was enough to cause me to take several hundred photos at different times of the day (and night) over the course of my stay. Luckily, the view is easily accessible from the restaurants, the lobby, and the spa.
My room became my own private mountain retreat. Many rooms (including mine) have fireplaces. When I returned each evening, I started the fireplace (gas-fired) and sat looking out at the view. The room had a flat-screen TV but I didn’t really see how it could compete with what was on the other side of the window.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
Internet access was quite fast. Desk and chair were very comfortable and lighting was excellent both at the desk for work and in bed for reading. The only problem I had was finding sufficient electrical outlets but then I discovered they were concealed behind an elegant wooden panel built into the desk.
The hotel is perfect for small- and medium-sized meetings with two boardrooms, two conference rooms, a ballroom that can accommodate 280 for a reception and 156 classroom style, and state-of-the-art equipment. And you get the views, too.
Panoramic Restaurant 3’60 lives up to its name and serves an incredible buffet breakfast (the chef was kind enough to share his secret for making Müesli; he added apple juice in addition to the milk), as well as lunch and dinner. The kitchen is positioned behind a wall of glass. At dinner, I couldn’t resist ordering Salzburger Nockerl, a vanilla dessert soufflé with peaks that resemble the clouds I could see from my room.
The Michelin Star Le Ceil wasn’t open when I was there but friends have reported that it’s worth the two-hour drive from Munich even if you are not staying at the hotel.
The Mountain Spa offers treatments that feature indigenous ingredients and has heated indoor and outdoor pools (try that in the snow!) in addition to two saunas, a steam bath meditation rooms, and treatment rooms. The fitness center never closes. There is much to do including horseback riding, biking, tennis, paragliding, water aerobics, and boating on the Königssee. There are lots of activities for children including a cooking class.
The InterContinental Berchtesgaden Hotel and Resort is set in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe, the rooms were so comfortable I considered moving in, dining (be it breakfast or dinner) is memorable, and the staff does its utmost to make one feel relaxed and welcome. This is one of those rare hotels where I would be happy to go out of my way just to visit it again.
InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden
83471 Berchtesgaden Germany
+49 (8652) 97550
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.