A Grand Dame, Constantly Evolving

Munich’s Legendary Bayerischer Hof Could Easily Rest On Its Laurels, But Its Fourth-Generation Steward, Innegrit Volkhardt, Keeps Updating It For The Times
A Munich Icon

Munich’s most legendary hotel—and one of the best in all of Germany—stands proudly on Promenadeplatz, its stately 19th century façade perhaps giving the impression of an old-time grand dame. But what’s inside is anything but stuffy—it’s a wildly fun mix of old and new, high and low. Step inside and you’ll find the elegant lobby with its stained-glass dome, the three-Michelin-starred Atelier and its more casual incarnation, Garden, and an outpost of the famous tiki bar Trader Vic’s. Spread over seven floors, the property boasts 337 rooms and suites, five restaurants and six bars (including a rooftop bar and nightclub in addition to the aforementioned Atelier, Garden, and Trader Vic’s), a private cinema, pool, and spa.

Bayerischer Hof has played host to a who’s who of international celebrities, intellectuals, politicians, and jetsetters, including Sigmund Freud, Sophia Loren, Angela Merkel, Mick Jagger, Mohamed Ali, the Dalai Lama, and Michael Jackson, whose fans created a shrine to him outside the hotel after his death. It was originally built in 1839 for King Ludwig I of Bavaria, bought by Hermann Volkhardt in 1897, and has been run by four generations of the Volkhardt family ever since. “I’m a hard worker because my life is my profession. It’s really one life,” Innegrit Volkhardt, the hotel’s current managing proprietor explains.

The new Penthouse Garden Suite is an oasis of contemporary design.
The retractable roof-covered pool at the hotel's 14,000-square-foot Blue Spa.
The restaurant Atelier—designed by Axel Vervoodt—recently received a third Michelin star.
It’s a wildly fun mix of old and new, highbrow and playful.
The Latest Improvements

Rather than let the hotel rest on its laurels, Innegrit has continually sought to improve and update it to keep guests coming back, whether they’re traveling on business or leisure. The latest in her series of upgrades includes the recent transformation of the north and south wing by acclaimed Belgian designer, art collector, and antiques dealer, Axel Vervoodt, the luminary behind the hotel’s ultra-sleek restaurants Atelier and Garden. The two-year, nearly USD $15 million project created a total of 29 new rooms, including a stunning penthouse suite featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with fantastic views of Munich. With the aim of creating a haven of tranquility inspired by Japanese wabi-sabi, Vervoodt’s primary inspiration for each room was its orientation. South-facing rooms, which receive the most light, are done up in bright colors and materials, while north-facing rooms feature a darker color palette.

“Axel instantly understood how to provide the warm-hearted and discreet tradition of hospitality at Bayerischer Hof with exciting, contemporary accents,” Innegrit explains. “The rooms exude an incredible sense of tranquility and comfort, and invite guests to stay longer.”

The crowning achievement of the redesign is the gorgeous new Penthouse Garden Suite, a more than 3,700-square-foot oasis of contemporary design. Sunlight flooding in through the floor-to-ceiling windows bathes the suite in light. Reclaimed wood, bronze, stone, and other natural materials lend the suite an earthy feel. Guests can relax in the spacious living area and cozy up by the fireplace, unwind in the steam room, soak in the hot tub, and savor a meal on the terrace. Check in for a couple of nights and you’ll feel homesick for the hotel when you go home.