SIGHTS in Munich:
Imagine you're going to the cinema! You're sitting down on the leather seat but only as soon as the back rest has reached the right position. Then you'll order your dinner directly to your seat and feast until the film starts. In the new Gloria Palace in Munich you'll feel like being in a film even before the film has started. It took four months until the tradition-steeped cinema at the Stachus was completed in December 2012. After all there was a lot to renovate. The Grand Dame of German film, Ilse Kubaschewski, took great pains when she built it - but that's already sixty years ago. The Kinopolis Group therefore looked for a new concept and the first thing they did was cutting down the number of seats to half of the original number. Every guest now receives a welcome drink and a waiter is ready to take your orders in the cinema hall. They installed several separate boxes on the balcony with specially designed sofas and own footrests.
A team like the FC Bayern München got fans all around the world. The German record champions are the number one on the eternal table of the Bundesliga. In Europe they range among the five most successful teams with six European Cups. But there's more that fascinates fans of Germany's most successful club: the stadium built by star architect Herzog & de Meuron. The view from outside and from the stands are an aesthetic spectacle. But what does it look like behind the scenes? The VIP tour through the Allianz Arena reveals these secrets and opens doors that are usually closed for the common stadiumgoer. What does it feel like to sit on the coaches' bench? What do the VIP boxes look like? Where are the guests of honour pampered during the games? All this will be answered. You can even peep into the sanctuary of the football temple, the dressing rooms. That's where the coach gives either praise or has a whinge during half-time breaks and where bottles are popped after a successful season. In order to be a fly on these walls you don't even have to be a football fan.
The greatest treasures of art history are on display. We just need to open our eyes, pause for a moment and marvel. Let's start our tour with the Alte Pinakothek: You can admire more than 700 masterpieces of European artists from the 14th to the 18th centuries are on display, including famous ones such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Dürer, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Head on to the Neue Pinakothek, a unique collection of European art from neo-classicism up to art nouveau, the romantic Caspar David Friedrich, impressionists like Manet and Monet or the pioneer of expressionism, Vincent Van Gogh. Finally the Pinakothek der Moderne, which, in reality, is four in one: Visual arts, graphic arts, architecture and design of the 20th and 21st centuries under one roof, one of the biggest and most surprising museums of its kind worldwide. Art is not simply hung on the walls. It turns into a happening, something that is searching for a dialogue with the observer. In the Neue Sammlung of the design museum you can sail from time island to time island, docking at the avant-gardes of the 20s and 30s, dropping by the Pop Art design of the 60s and experience post modernism and purism.
SHOPPING in Munich:
apartment20 hits the young Munich fashion scene on the head. With so much success, few manage to resist. In this cult shop you find not only top labels such as colcci, Nolita, Sonja Kiefer, BLC, Gaultier, D&G, Dior, Tom Ford and many more. No, it also brings real glamour and metropolitan flair to Schwabing, which sometimes battles a somewhat provincial image. Many, mostly German, celebrities have been seen, including Basti Schweinsteiger, Ricky Martin or Olli and Simone Kahn. Many people don't know that apartment20 is one of the top-selling fashion temples in Europe. Its founders discovered event culture when most others were still decorating shop windows: Before Christmas you can peek at a real Christmas strip on display, and year-round there are live DJ presentations and video installations of aspiring young directors. Tip: Once a month the shop sponsors gay events in the Kloster Club and every fortnight a club night in Two Rooms. Free tickets for these events are available in the shop.
The success story of Pool began in the mid-1990s when the two managers Cambis Sharegh and Pete Hannewald opened a small store on Müllerstraße. By now there are four stores based in Munich and the online store verypoolish.com - which was founded in 2009 and is worshipped by fashion lovers - that rate among the business family. Pool offers a variety of hip designers like Julius, Maison Michel Paris and Neil Barrett. Apart from high fashion for women and men there is also a sophisticated and cosmopolitan assortment of decorative home accessories, lifestyle and beauty products. The look of Pool is cool and sexy. And that does not come by chance. Co-owner Cambis Sharegh is a known house DJ with gigs in international clubs in Munich, Berlin, London and Cape Town. Furthermore he is a music producer with his own record label. Thus, it's not surprising that Pool is also a trendy address for CDs and vinyl and they also organise parties and events.
In this cosy concept store you can, with good conscience, stock up on precious things to wear, decorate your house with and pamper yourself. The leitmotif is the principle of sustainability: Furniture from plantation teak wood, or clothes by the Natural Wave Label of shop owner Oliver Wiesent. The fashion is anything but boring. Linen is combined with silk, and the classic natural colours with hearty orange and red. Aside from his own, Wiesent also offers other sustainability labels, such as the Spanish EseOEse & Yerse or the Scandinavian Brittinger. If you want, you can ride on the eco wave right in front of your doorstep, since, aside from fashion, furniture and natural cosmetics, you'll also find kitchen ware, home accessories and handmade semi-precious stone jewellery.
STAY in Munich:
The hotelier is an advocate of the theme hotel idea, but with a soft touch: In the Advokat the guest receives personal attention and his inner self is caressed. After the Admiral, which was his first, extremely successful boutique hotel in an old-fashioned, cosy style, he opened the Advokat in 1996 in the look of the sixties: polished travertine flooring, half-curtains at the wardrobe, and globe lamps. The creative class, in particular, appreciate this: Actors, theatre directors as well as people working in the fashion and publishing industry are regulars. In 2006 the Sightsleeping®-jury of the Bavarian Marketing GmbH awarded the hotel's lobby a prize for its loving design. And Vogt won't skimp on endearing little gestures: for example the bedtime reading next to the bed (and not a bible!) or shining red apples on the pillow. Doubles start at 150,- euros a night.
Why book sightseeing tours when you can have a view of the Church of Our Lady from your bathtub? Admittedly, the ultimate view from the giant, free-standing wellness tub is only available from the 77 m² tower suite. Yet even some other, less extravagant rooms provide breathtaking sights from bird's eye view. On top of that, the happening nightlife in and around the centrally located Hotel (near the Stachus square) won't disturb your sweet dreams, since all rooms are entirely soundproofed. Moreover, there are personal climate control, free wireless internet, satellite TV and all sorts of special offers: For example the children package, complete with child-sized bathrobes, slippers and snacks. At your request the staff will also provide a play station or a parlour game selection. Doubles start at 170,- euros a night.
Feel like playing pool, multicultural parties and loads of backpackers' advice? Welcome to the Wombat's City Hostel. The trademarked hostels in Vienna, Berlin and Munich combine the yearning and wanderlust of their founders Marcus and Sascha (both vintage 1968). They have experienced and suffered from everything that can possibly assault you on the backpacker's trail: Snoring roommates, disgusting WCs and bedbugs in your sleeping bag. The Wombat's is guaranteed to be different in every aspect except for the potential snorers. It was twice awarded prizes as the cleanest hostel in the world. Otherwise the hostel offers all the advantages of communal living: Cool parties with two (!) happy hours in the womBar, free city tours, one generous breakfast buffet, a chill-out space with hammocks and roofed wicker beach chairs, Internet café and, last but not least, many likeminded comrades that are ready to hit the road from Munich. A spot in a bunk bed costs 12, a double starts at 35 euros per person - off season. Careful when coming during the Oktoberfest, for New Year's Eve or during the high summer season, which is when prices shoot up. With all their love for alternative travelling - even the globetrotting hostelliers have understood the logic of markets.
EAT in Munich:
When Rudi Kull and Albert Weinzierl decided on opening a new Japanese restaurant in the downtown area of Munich the two gastronomers packed their bags and flew to Tokyo. After they had arrived an educated and culturally interested Japanese explained the national cuisine to them. Her name: Emiko. She took them to the noodle shops and cook shops on the streets. But most important were the izakayas, the simple pubs that are frequented by people who come after their work and order some snacks from the extensive menus. What they saw and tasted was translated by Kull and Weinzierl for their own restaurant. And dining follows the sharing principle there, that means: a group orders several dishes and everybody can try out each dish. On the menu you find appetisers like sweet potatoes and soft shell crabs which are dipped in light sauces.
Nomen est omen in this all-in-one pub of the lazy Munich partying crowd. The concept has been the dernier cri in London, Barcelona and New York for years now, yet in Munich it's already bombed once: The famous club Pacha tried in 2003 to cater to its guests over the entire night-out to no avail. Now the VICE has started over with a similar idea, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, a trendy bar and take-away snacks all in one house on three floors. It doesn't matter whether visitors have their croissant with orange juice as a jolly start for the day or as an after-hour morning bite capping full night clubbing. In the VICE everything is permissible, and even the prices for the changing lunch menu are more than fair at 6.90 euros. A few of words to taste: Melon Carpaccio with roasted seafood and honey chilli marinade, or chopped turkey with ruccola olive paste. If only it tastes half as good as it sounds it would go very smoothly, indeed.
Lilac walls, silver deer heads and kangaroo burgers - there is something fishy about the Waldfee. The menu is one that should make the trolls and elves of the alpine forests happy: Porcini and other mushrooms, cheese pasta from Kärnten and original Wiener Schnitzel, also lots of game and Austrian desserts that taste bewitchingly fantastic. Only the question about the kangaroo remains: What business does the marsupial from Down Under have in the Altschwabing neighbourhood? You never know. But don't worry too much about it, enjoy the enchanted atmosphere, share your giant portion of Kaiserschmarrn with other forest dwellers and be happy to be alive. Because after the Waldfee, you will all live happily ever after.