Stately architecture, luxurious hotels, chic shopping boulevards and award-winning restaurants embody Munich life just as much as its beer garden flair, love of football, the fun-filled atmosphere on the banks of the Isar and all the spots for enjoying a coffee with good friends. So, what does true luxury mean in Munich? It means sitting back and immersing yourself in everything the city has to offer.
And it goes without saying that visitors to Munich can enjoy this experience, too. In fact, all it takes is a leisurely stroll through the city. Add a short pit stop here and there to really get a feel for the atmosphere and you’ve got your very own slice of the Munich lifestyle. The luxury lifestyle starts with your accommodation. With sumptuous spas and gyms, comfortable suites, culinary treats and exquisite service, Munich’s luxury hotels have everything you could want and more.
There’s a good reason why establishments like München Palace, Königshof, Sofitel Bayerpost, Hilton München Park, Bayerischer Hof, Mandarin Oriental, The Four Seasons, The Charles and The Westin Grand rank among the world’s best hotels. Munich is currently launching a number of new state-of-the-art lifestyle and design hotels in the luxury segment in an effort to woo its discerning guests. One of the hallmarks of these new additions is their innovative concepts based on the principle of lean luxury. Be it a boutique hotel with a limited number of rooms or a major hotel project with extensive conference and meeting facilities, these new hotels place less priority on opulence and more on the cultivation of a distinctive, unique style.
Whether it’s Michelin stars or Gault Millau torques, all awards are based on a vision, a great love of food, expert craftsmanship and, last but not least, all the hard work that every creative head chef and their team put in on a daily basis. Munich seems to inspire leading chefs, with the Bavarian capital topping the gourmet charts year after year. A total of eight Munich restaurants have scored top marks ranging between 17 and 19.5 (out of a possible 20) in the 2018 edition of the Gault-Millau gourmet guide. The Michelin Guide 2021 named Jan Hartwig, chef at Munich's Restaurant Atelier, one of Germany's few three-star chefs. The state capital is also represented by three two-star restaurants: In addition to Restaurant Alois at Dallmayr, Les Deux and EssZimmer were awarded. Seven other Munich establishments can adorn themselves with one Michelin star each: the Schwarzreiter Tagesbar & Restaurant, the Showroom in the, Acquarello, the Sparkling Bistro in Maxvorstadt, the Mural and the Gabelspiel in Giesing.
Food and drink go hand-in-hand and, when done well, can create a luxurious experience. The Reinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Law) helps to protect the outstanding quality of Munich’s beers. Bavaria celebrated the Reinheitsgebot’s 500th anniversary in 2016.
While it doesn’t quite reach the 500-year mark, the symbol awarded to Royal Bavarian Purveyors to the court has been guaranteeing good quality for an impressive 200+ years. The title was awarded to craftsmen, producers and companies by the Wittelsbacher dynasty, who once ruled over Bavaria. Nearly every area of day-to-day life was covered by one of these royal suppliers, who were selected to receive the title on account of the superior quality of their goods. Many of these companies still sell their exquisite products today, including the watchmaker Andreas Huber, the jeweller Hemmerle, shoemaker Eduard Meier, fabric warehouse Radspieler, delicatessen Dallmayr and the porcelain maker Nymphenburger Porzellanmanufaktur.
A stroll down Munich’s grandest shopping street, Maximilianstrasse, is the ideal way to catch up with the latest trends from luxury international clothing and jewellery brands or purchase a designer piece or two of your own. The Brienner Quartier in Brienner Strasse reflects the elegance of a high-class shopping culture in its classical buildings. Exquisite stores – some of which remain family- owned to this day – blend the traditional with the modern for a unique shopping experience.
Shopping boulevards are not the only thing that the locals are proud of; Munichers also love their museum scene, too, and are happy to share their passion with visitors. The Deutsches Museum, Alte and Neue Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne and Lenbachhaus gallery are all considered to be among the best museums in the world, as are Museum Brandhorst and the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst (State Museum of Egyptian Art). The fact that Munich’s Kunstareal (Art District) combines great art with chic bars, cosy cafés and beautiful shops is yet another example of the unique way of life in Munich and the city’s ability to seamlessly combine art and the culture of enjoyment, and aesthetes and down-to-earth locals for guaranteed inspiration.
The BMW Museum and BMW Welt pay homage to the culture of automobiles. Exclusive stores, multi-award-winning restaurant EssZimmer, guided factory tours, the Premium Lounge, and a carefully designed vehicle collection package transform a trip to BMW Welt into an exclusive experience. At the Allianz Arena, the stars of FC Bayern treat visiting teams to a different kind of Munich experience. The exciting collections and visiting exhibitions at FC Bayern Museum are sure to get any football fan’s pulse racing.
When it comes to music, the state capital hosts an extensive range of luxurious events. Two of the city’s world-renowned classical orchestras – the Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian State Orchestra – are currently headed up by international conductors, Mariss Jansons and Kirill Petrenko. The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra can also look back on a long list of top-class conductors such as James Levine, Lorin Maazel and Valery Gergiev.
The Bayerische Staatsoper (opera) has a rich 350-year history. Once a year, visitors to the Munich Opera Festival get the chance to experience a star cast performing in outstanding productions. At the Opera for All event on Max-Joseph-Platz, locals and visitors meet in front of the Nationaltheater (opera house) for a live opera broadcast. Throughout the entire season, anyone interested in gaining a glimpse behind the scenes can attend a tour, held several times a week, and a free introduction before each performance.
In Schloss Nymphenburg (palace) and the Residenz palace, Munich has two royal seats, which it has watched evolve over the centuries. The Wittelsbacher family ruled over Bavaria for 738 years, longer than almost any other dynasty in Europe. The Residenz is Germany’s largest city centre palace and the interior design of its magnificent rooms ranges from the Renaissance to Classical styles.Schloss Nymphenburg, the birthplace of King Ludwig II, combines architecture and gardens to create a Baroque Gesamtkunstwerk.
Saunter not speed: Slowing things down instead of rushing around is a rare luxury nowadays. And where better to stop, take a breath and unwind than the green oasis of Munich? Cultural gems, such as the park at Schloss Nymphenburg, the Englischer Garten, Hirschgarten and countless other parks and gardens, like Maximiliansanlagen and the eastern banks of the Isar in south Munich, are an ideal place to while away the hours. If you’re looking for even more fresh air, then try Munich’s beautiful surrounding area with its lakes and mountains.