Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, Munich, Germany – Hotel Review

By Jonathan Spira on 19 June 2014
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A children’s fairy tale reflects on how a chair may have been too large, another too small, and the third “just right.” The  Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, a hotel I’ve stayed at regularly since childhood, has that feeling about it, and may be why it has become my “Stammhotel,” or regular hotel, in Munich, the city where I attended university and visit several times a year.

When the property opened in 1858, during the reign of Maximilian II, who built the hotel on the elegant boulevard that bears his name, it was state-of-the-art. One hundred and fifty years later, it remains that way, although the gas lighting was eventually replaced by Edison’s invention, and Wi-Fi has replaced the telegraph.

The hotel epitomizes the tradition of the grand hotel, one where elegance and relaxed formality meld to offer guests something truly rare and where I imagine Dr. Otternschlag, in the 1932 Edmund Goulding film with Greta Garbo and John Barrymore, repeating his famous line, “Grand Hotel. Always the same. People come. People go. Nothing ever happens.”


A suite at the Vier Jahreszeiten


For this visit, I was in a newly renovated Superior Double Room that could best be described as quiet and exuding functional elegance.

A large closet lined the entry way and the room’s creamy tones were bright and cheery. Natural light flooded the room. While not overly large at 258 square feet (24 square meters), it met my needs during a two-day stay in which I did not plan to hold business meetings en suite.

The Vier Jahreszeiten offers a wide variety of rooms and suites, and I’ve stayed in many of them over the years. My fondest recollection is a suite that my mother stayed in while visiting in Munich: the living room had a grand piano and, to my delight, it was in perfect tune. The hotel had expanded from 180 to 340 rooms for the 1972 Olympic Games, and a major renovation was completed five years ago. The hotel currently offers 303 rooms and suites.

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