Kempinski Spa, Munich

Kempinski Vier Jahreszeiten, Munich is found on Maximilianstraße, one of the city’s four royal avenues along with the Brienner Straße, the Ludwigstraße and the Prinzregentenstraße. This luxury five-star hotel was built in 1858 and belongs to the Kempinski chain and is also part of the prestigious Leading Small Hotels of the World group. After entering through the grand regal entrance, we were directed towards the lifts weaving our way through the smartly dressed guests.

The Kempinski Spa is hidden within the depths of the hotel, with inconspicuous signposting and little corridor lighting. Bizarrely the reception desk is situated in the main swimming pool room, I immediately got the impression they were lacking in space. It is certainly a boutique spa with small changing rooms and only a few treatment rooms. However they utilise the space well, with sun loungers and a tiny bar area giving variety for visitors.

The team here offer a large range of treatments, which are carefully and thoughtfully chosen to ensure the needs of all guests are met. I was amazed to learn about the HydraFacial options, a high tech treatment which works miracles on troubled skin. This spa was the first hotel spa in Europe to offer the HydraFacial, evidence of their forward-thinking approach. Other spa treatments focus on the seasons: massages and facials specially designed for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

We tried two of the body massages between us, the detoxifying Spring in Your Step for me, and more traditional Classic Massage for my friend. The classic body massage is well suited to male guests who are in need of a relaxing treatment without the faff. Using richly moisturising oils the massage calms every muscle in the body leaving you feeling lighter and brighter. I was delighted to be trying a more specialised massage… using a brushing technique, the body is stimulated and revitalised. Kathrin was one of the best therapists I have met in a long time, stopping frequently to check the pressure on each area of my body and ensuring that the massage was tailored to my needs. This massage particularly works on the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins and impurities from the body. The dry brushing is designed to awaken a sluggish system before the muscles are nourished and soothed with an oil-based massage. Kathrin worked hard on my upper back and neck to iron out my tension and knots, and left me feeling relieved and in a state of total relaxation.

Hot tea and a quiet nap by the pool completed our time at the Kempinski Spa. Considering my first impressions of this unusual spa, I found the treatments to be memorably beneficial, and the staff here definitely proved  that this is not just another hotel spa, but one which deserves to be acknowledged in its own right.

More information on the Kempinski spa here.

Many thanks to the Munich Tourist Board for their help with this trip.

Hot on the Highstreet Week 235

I was surprised and thrilled by the shopping scene in Munich. Hidden in huddles on small side streets, the shops here are unique and characterful. Design is big on the agenda and I was pleased to discover unique concept stores, jewellery studios, stationery shops and best of all local designers. Here are my top five shops from the Munich highstreets.

Falkenberg: I want my home to look like this shop. Falkenberg owner Sabine presents a carefully curated collection of beautiful and intriguing things including fine furniture, books, clothes, stationery, candles and jewellery from designers across Europe. The best concept store in town.

A Kind of Guise: A Kind Of Guise was born from the idea of creating products which are equally well designed and of high quality in terms of both production and the materials used. All the garments are made locally in Germany, and are immaculately tailored. I loved the thick winter shift dresses and lovely shirts.

Saskia Diez: A renowned jewellery brand in Munich, the work of Saskia Diez is delicate and thoughtful. I particularly liked the ultra thin rose gold rings, and the special fragrances, Silver and Gold that she recently created.

Papierladen: It is no secret that I am a total stationery addict and this is where I got my Munich fix. An array of stylishly arranged books, pencils, paperclips and other writing paraphernalia. It is known to locals as “the one with the beautiful papers”… I couldn’t agree more.

Cheers from Downtown: Another Munich born brand who recently opened up shop to offer local designers work to the public. The team are friendly and enthusiastic and the clothes are cool and inspiring. A great place to buy a stylish German souvenir.

Things to do in Frankfurt

When choosing a destination to escape to for a weekend break I consider several factors: flight time, size of city, and cost of trip. And so, though an unusual choice for a leisure holiday, Frankfurt proved to be the ideal place for a 1-night getaway with a friend. 40 pounds for flights, 60 minutes on a plane and a small enough city centre in which almost everything is in walking distance.

To Stay

Roomers Hotel– Seductive and stylish this design hotel is a luxurious place to stay in Frankfurt for the weekend. Located in the centre of town and boasting a chic bar & restaurant, and stunning rooftop spa, it is a brilliant option for both business and leisure visitors.

To Eat

Carmelo Greco– Considering the size of the city Frankfurt has a large number of Michelin star eateries, predominantly to cater for the business customers. Carmelo Greco is a lovely, relaxed restaurant offering delicious refined Italian cuisine. I could not fault the service, quality of food or ambience, it was the perfect way to spend our only evening in the city.

Magarete– This trendy restaurant is must try in the city. Offering modern German cuisine in an arty cool dining space it is always full of fashionable, beautiful people.

Zeit Fur Brot– Translating to ‘Time for Bread’ this inviting café makes all the bread and pastries on site everyday with organic ingredients. At the end of the day they donate the leftovers to the homeless. I don’t normally like cinnamon rolls, but the freshly baked variety here was utterly irresistible, soft, sweet and warm it was very comforting and the perfect snack with a cup of coffee.

To Drink

Plank café bar– This all-black corner café is found in the red-light district. Visit for cake and coffee in the day or at night for a glass of fine German wine. The Plank crew love music and live bands often play, entertaining the evening guests.

The Parlour– Impossible to find and certainly just for in-the-know cocktail aficionados, this tiny bar is setting the mixology trends in Frankfurt. Speak to talented bartender Maxim Kilian who will create you a magical, perfectly mixed drink or order from their inventive list. We tried all kinds of wonderful creations, but I would recommend the Bourbon-based and well balanced Napoleon Dynamite.

Lorsbacher Thal – cider and apple wine is a speciality in Frankfurt and this traditional tavern is the ideal place to try it. Sit at one of the communal wooden tables, admire young charming surroundings and enjoy a refreshing glass of apple wine.

To Do

MMK museum– Frankfurt’s Museum for Modern Art was founded in 1981, it is known as the ‘piece of cake’ because of the unique shape of the building. Exhibiting thrilling and innovative shows, I saw a thought-provoking exhibition inspired by The Divine Comedy in which Heaven, Hell and Purgatory is interpreted by contemporary African artists.

The Dom – With so many high-rise financial buildings it is pleasant to see this historic cathedral and tower, dating back to the 14th century. Climb to the top of the tower for impressive 360 views of the entire city.

Staedel Museum– The main art gallery in Frankfurt has an important collection of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from seven centuries. The building goes underground in a fascinating extension with a curved ceiling, on ground level there is an amazing and unique garden accenting with circular skylights on the floor.

Villa Kennedy Spa– Indulge and revitalise at this outstanding spa. Located in the grand Villa Kennedy hotel this spa is a pampering palace. Have a soothing massage then enjoy the indulgent facilities, I particularly loved the Turkish steam room and the granite-lined pool which overlooks the lush garden.

To Shop

Tia Emma– This multi-coloured little shop is a delight for kids and adult. Crowded shelves display trinkets, stickers, toys, stationery and other useless but wonderful artefacts. You’ll need to sit down after all the excitement, and grab a coffee and slice of cake from the shop’s café.

Designe Kleine– This miniature design store is definitely worth visiting. Owner Susanne Stahl rents out the display boxes to showcase and sell the work of other designers. There is always an eclectic mix to discover inside, and even when the shop is shut you can use the 24 hour vending machine outside to the shop which dispenses surprise design creations, different every time for 3 Euros a pop.

Apfelweinhandlung: This site was previously home to the beloved concept store Colekt which recently shut. Owner JB’s minimalist shop serves and sells his own brewed apple wine, a Frankfurt specialty. Just 8 Euros a bottle, this delicious brew uses eight types of apples including rare varieties from old German apple trees. Chat to JB about the fascinating process and buy a bottle to take home.

Bitter & Zart– A chocolate shop to inspire and excite. The beautiful interiors wow, with wall art designs by Renata Kos and Oriana Fenwick complementing the cabinets of rainbow hued chocolates. Sit nextdoor in the seductive velvet clad café for Parisian tea or coffee from locally based roaster Jorges.

Many thanks to the Frankfurt Tourist board for their help with this trip, more information here.