Schloß Elmau, Bavaria, Germany Review

By Jonathan Spira on 25 October 2010
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Just 100 km (62 miles) from Munich at an elevation of 1060 meters, a castle hotel named Schloß Elmau beckons.

Since my arrival was in the late evening, I imagined how beautiful the view must be as I drove the last few kilometers, the beautiful and dark forest illuminated by my car’s headlights.

As I pulled up to the door, the doorman ran out to greet me – by name.

They were obviously expecting me and, given the late hour (9:30 p.m.), I was clearly the last guest to arrive for the day.

Come morning, the view was nothing if not spectacular. Schloß Elmau is nestled at the foot of the Wettersteingebirge, a range of mountains that includes some of Germany’s largest, including the 2969 m (9740 foot) high  Zugspitze.

Indeed, the view was exactly as I remembered it as this was not my first visit to Schloß Elmau.  Years ago, as a student at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (University of Munich), I traveled to Schloß Elmau with a group of students.  At the time, Schloß Elmau was just a nice castle hotel.  However, following a major renovation after a fire that occurred in 2005, Schloß Elmau was reinvented as a true five-star luxury hotel and spa, reopening in 2007 (the Schloß originally opened in 1916).


I was lucky enough to get one of the few tower rooms, which meant that I had majestic views to the south, west, and east. Everything in the room was about the view including the bathroom, which was separated from the main room by a glass divider, giving me the opportunity to enjoy the views from the shower as well.

Getting to the room added to the mystique of the castle as it required a short hike up several flights of stairs after taking the lift to the fourth floor.

The Schramm mattress was extremely comfortable and I woke up each morning refreshed and ready for the next outdoor activity.  The room was equipped with a Loewe flatscreen television (something I would imagine goes unused in most rooms as the view is far more compelling than any television programming), a Bose radio with iPod dock, and a minibar that offered juice and snacks at no charge.

Schloß Elmau is designed for longer visits – indeed my stay of three days was far too short.  There are 130 rooms including five family suites with two bedrooms and the rooms in general are family friendly; some even come with sofa beds and kitchenettes.


Unlimited (wired) Internet access is included in the Schloß Elmau Pauschale (flat-rate package).  A comfortable desk and chair were waiting for me but I have to admit that I was more motivated to hike and wander than to read e-mail.

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