One of Germany`s best Hotels for personal Wellbeing.
A wellness hotel in the midst of an alpine meadow? Really??
Imagine a huge alpine meadow – with wild flowers and grass, surrounded by green mountain pastures, endless forests and impressive mountains, which rise up to almost 3,000 m. No bustling streets or any other sources of noise close by - and a hideaway, which perfectly matches this natural environment – with an English-styled manor as eye-catcher. English? In Bavaria? Yes. In 1913, Mary Isabel Portman, a very well off lady from London, travelled through this romantic valley by a horse-drawn carriage. She fell in love with the landscape and decided to buy the Kranzbach meadow in order o build a manor – as a hideaway for artists and musicians and allowing nature to be their muse (maybe she already thought about wellness?). In 1914 the First World War begins and Mary has to leave Germany. She never got to see her dream house and died in Montreux in 1933. Oh Mary ...! If she had only known what kind of favor she has done to so many people. After turbulent decades and many renovations the KRANZBACH opens in May 2007 – as a wellness and wellbeing hotel (category: 4 Stars Superior).
Photo: The impressive Portman Building with the Karwendel Mountains in the Background.
Bavarian Charm and green Licorice
A charming lady called Andrea escorts me to my room and acts as sort of a guide. “On your left you see the Karwendel, next to that the Wetterstein and on your right you may see the Zugspitze.“ WOW! I have Germany`s highest mountain right in my range of vision. Andrea turns out to be the good soul who is almost always present. Before showing me my table in the elegant restaurant she gives me a brief tour through the herbal garden, close to the buffet. “Do you like licorice?“ What kind of question is that – of course I do! “Then try this herb, just pluck a bit.” I obey and I simply cannot believe it. This green stuff really tastes like licorice. What a great alternative to the real sweet black stuff full of white sugar – although I am not sure if your kids will agree.- For dinner I decide to go for the three-course vegetarian menu – meatless cuisine at its finest! To top that off, you can help yourself at the salad buffet and taste the excellent variety of cheese. Andrea tells me that some of it comes from a local producer – cheese heaven! Before I forget – at Das Kranzbach lots of organic products are offered. Cheers – with a glass of Rioja wine (5.50 EUR), enjoying the stunning view from the restaurant. Boy, I am just here for a few hours and this place has already become one of my hotel favorites. I have a quick look at the bar in the Mary Portman manor – love the different rooms with their edgy design.
Photo: Upper Bavaria can be so cool – Parlor at the Kranzbach
Great that the designers have avoided the typical Bavarian stuff in this place (the female staff are just wearing „Dirndls“ but that`s ok…) – the modern interior with all those funky colors matches the cool understatement of this place. And by the way – the owners avoid the expression "luxury hotel" - they prefer to offer a casual and not too stiff ambiance like in many other hotels (although most guests look pretty distinguished – but ok, I rather see well-dressed than sloppy people).
Photo: Restaurant with a View – Courtesy of Hotel Kranzbach GmbH
Sun Salutation in the Morning
My ample room matches the high standard of the hotel. Highlight is the deck with a view to the spa and the Wetterstein mountains. Ideal for a yoga sun salutation in the morning and a very deep breath – be happy, you are in Upper Bavaria ;-)! Sure, you want to post all your beautiful images on Facebook and Co. WLAN is free of charge and works pretty well. And if not – no problem, just watch nature and relax.
Photo: A good Sleep is guaranteed!
Talking about yoga – the night before I ventured out to enjoy nature – and to my surprise, I discovered a meditation path right behind the hotel. No human being, hardly any disturbing noise – just let go. This is balm for the soul of a stressed city slicker!
Photo: Just let go and follow the Signboards…
Ayurvedic Porridge and a charming Barista
Breakfast is ready! Another WOW effect, of course. A wide array of cheese and bread and everything you need for a great start of the day. I tasted Ayurvedic porridge (see recipe below). Very healthy and rather tasty ;-). The hearty mountain cheese in combination with the “spicy pear” (a delicious homemade fruit sauce) is simply out of this world (and ideal to take home as a tasty souvenir). You can make your own smoothies in the juice bar. And the charming barista prepares a wonderful espresso – finally no waiters running around with those big pots containing bad coffee. Here it`s all about latte, cappuccino & Co.!
Following is the promised recipe for Ayurveda aficionados:
- 500 g Oat flakes
- 1 small piece of ginger
- Raisins as you like
- Nuts as you like
- 300 ml milk
- 100 ml coconut milk
- Honey as you like
- Cinnamon as you like
- Dried chopped papaya as you like
- Orange and lemon drops
Photo: Yesssss – real espresso!
Workout with a View and white Bath Robes
Anyone into more wellness? There are plenty of chic treatment rooms in the „Badehaus“, the hotel`s wellness department. Anti-aging, Ayurveda, yoga, medical treatments and whatever you can imagine. You will find natural water from a spring close by almost everywhere – partly enriched with elder or other fruits. Healthy and soooo delicious! I go for a little workout. Enough stuff to get in shape and that silver-aged personal trainer with her endless babble (educating a few older guys) cannot get on my nerves. I use a few machines and enjoy the beautiful view of finest nature. The only little disadvantage is the temperature in the gym (apart from that chatterbox) – a bit too warm for my taste. ! And good to know – there are five pools to cool down (which can also be used in winter). Snacks are served at the pool-bar for lunch, followed by a cake buffet (I can recommend the rhubarb strudel) – delicious and free of charge (you just have to pay for drinks). There are completely relaxed people all over the place – most of them in white bathrobes. Well, these look pretty cozy and after a while you get used to this kind of uniform (Personally, I prefer to wear my own clothes). Anyways!
Photo: Relaxing on a Mountain Meadow
So much to do and to explore!
Sure, relaxing on an alpine meadow is so much fun but let`s get physical. Put on your most comfy shoes and off we go to all those great hiking trails – or just jump on a bike. You can also practice yoga “al fresco”! Germany`s leading alpine resort Garmisch-Partenkirchen is only 15 km away – have a look at the Olympic Ski Jump and don`t miss to hike through the Partnachklamm, a canyon next to the wild Partnach river. I have a tip for you: my favorite bistro is PANO right downtown Garmisch – delicious snacks, organic bread, excellent coffee and long tables that make for easy and friendly communication (if you want) – and everything with a view on the Zugspitze, Germany`s highest mountain. Simply divine.
Photo: The „Pano“ right in the heart of Garmisch – great Location and delicious Food! – Courtesy of Jeannette Reupsch
A bright Future for the Kranzbach!
Hideaways like the Kranzbach have – in my opinion – a glorious future. Recharge your batteries and forget the world for a while (in particular in times like these when almost every day something bad is happening in the world). „Back to the roots“ and enjoying finest nature. I would love to stay a few more days. The pristine nature seems to have a very positive effect not just on me but also on the staff – everyone is friendly and competent at the same time, a mix which you don`t find too often these days. The „good soul“ Andrea is, of course, present during my checkout and gives me a very nice present – a meditation CD! What a nice gesture (and great marketing tool at the same time). I don`t feel like going back to the city – but I am pretty sure this was not my last visit to this gorgeous hideaway.
Photo: KHL in front of pristine Nature
Photo: Nice little presents – in style!
A few Facts...
How to get there:
- Approximately 90 minutes by car from Munich Airport or by train up to the village of Klais – you will be picked up by hotel staff!
A few special things:
- The hotel only accepts private bookings, no tour operators
- No children under 10 years
- No big events
- The restaurant is only open to hotel guests
- Sustainability - 22 „Green Facts“
More information under http://www.daskranzbach.de/de/das-besondere-an-kra...
Explore the Region- Tips from a Local
Thomas Bontempi is currently completing an apprenticeship in the hotel business at the Kranzbach. He is a real Bavarian jack and shares his personal recommendations.
The little castle that King Ludwig II (known as the crazy Bavarian king... he also built the famous Neuschwanstein castle) got built in his young days is located on a height of 1,867 m. Once in a year, the king came here for a few days to celebrate his birthday on August 25.
Given its size, it is rather a hunting lodge – that`s why it is often called „hunting castle“ although the king himself never went hunting.
The view on Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the uncomparable charm of this building makes it a very recommendable excursion for hikers and nature lovers but also for passionate bikers.
Photo: Happy cows with the Jagdhaus Schachen in the background – courtesy of Alpenwelt Karwendel, Christoph Schober
My secret tip:
Even if you are not in a great shape, you can get there easily by e-bike. Saves time and energy and you will be rewarded with a beautiful sunset on top.
Photo: Sunset at Schachen – Courtesy of Thomas Bontempi
Eibsee close to Grainau
Due to its turquoise blue water, this lake is often called „Bavarian Caribbean lake“ – it sits perched above the village of Grainau on 1,000 m. The lake has crystal clear water, a great jogging trail and eight small islands which you can easily reach by pedal boat. On a beautiful day you can perfectly rest in a beer garden and enjoy the breathtaking view of the lake just next to the Zugspitze, Germany`s highest mountain (2,966 m).
Photo: The picturesque Eibsee – Courtesy of Thomas Bontempi
My secret tip:
The bird swing. This is a rope attached to a tree which you can use as sort of a liana in order to swing right into the water. A cool way to get refreshed on a hot summer day.
Eat and Drink
Right in the pedestrian zone of Garmisch-Partenkirchen: the traditional restaurant offers Bavarina cuisine at its best. On the menu you will find local specialties, classic dishes and a great selection of game from the region.
A must for all lovers of Italian food!
The little restaurant right in the middle of the picturesque village of Mittenwald offers – in my opinion – the best Italian cuisine in the compass. Usually, osterias have a smaller menu compared to classical restaurants. Ingredients are fresh and of high quality which you will recognize immediately. The wine menu will satisfy the needs of wine lovers. Overall, a nice friendly ambiance. Buon appetito! freundliches Ambiente. Buon appetito!
Photo: A taste of Italy in Upper Bavaria – L`Osteria in Mittenwald (Arthur Cupak)
A great reco for hungry hikers and bikers! The small, charming and simple „Stüberl“ (sort of living room...) with a small beer garden is just next to the train station of Klais, a very small Bavarian village. You will immediately enjoy Bavarian hospitality. After a long hiking day or a biking tour just refresh yourself with a „Radler“ (mix of beer and lemonade) and Bavarian goodies.
You will find more information on the region here:
Photo: Schmalensee in autumn / courtesy of Alpenwelt Karwendel / Stefan Eisend