May 15, 2013
By: Meagan Drillinger
Rooftop season has descended upon Munich, we hear, with the opening of China Moon Roof Terrace at the Mandarin Oriental, Munich. The seasonal venue has a 360-degree view of the city, including the Frauenkirche church and the Alps. Open from May through October, guests can enjoy Asian, Oriental and international specialties along with a long list of trendy cocktails. New this year: China Moon has a new corner bar with city views. Guests can also enjoy an art exhibition by painter Shirin Donia.
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I’m not sure there’s a city in the world that gets stereotyped more than Munich. While it’s certainly iconic for the fine German beer that flows freely from its taps, Munich is so much more than gardens of alcohol. Long the seat of Bavarian culture, Munich is the center of German tradition. For a lot of us that means fine beer and maidens donning dirndls, the traditional Bavarian dress you’ve seen in every German tourist brochure since Gutenberg invented the printing press. But as much as Munich has been reduced to stereotype of itself by the outside world, once you get beyond that, there’s a real heart to it. The medieval town is remarkably preserved, down to the clockwork performance of the city hall’s belltower. The English garden the accompanies is the royal residence is glorious to walk around in and even boasts its own outdoor Biergarten around a Chinese tower built in the center of it.
Of course, as much as I’d like to get beyond the stereotypes of the beer maidens handing out liters like it’s nobody’s business, I would be remiss if I didn’t go into just how the beer culture pervades this uniquely German city. Munich has embraced its stereotype, and beer houses like the iconic Hofbrauhaus offer everything that you could want out of a kitschy but simultaneously authentic drinking experience. The waitresses can carry at least eight liters of alcohol at one time, and you would be hard-pressed to find a vegetable on the menu that’s not a potato. In many ways, Munich is the distilled essence of all that is traditional about Germany.
The city itself is not large and almost any hotel will give you great access to all that it has to offer. Most of the big brands have left their mark on the city and some great independent hotels like the Bayerischer Hof join them in offering luxurious beds to sleep off your hangover. Munich is a city that revels in its wholehearted kitschiness, and there’s a certain honesty to that that draws you in the ritual of the city.
The Turks and Caicos is one of our most popular destinations for Christmas break, and for good reason. The sunny beaches and azure waters are the perfect scene for a tropical getaway. Many of the hotels are sold out already, so I thought it would be a good time to let our loyal customers know that there's still some availability if you're looking for at least a full week stay the week after Christmas. Both the Regent Grand Turks and Caicos and the Villa Renaissance still have suites available, so snap them up while you still can.
September 20, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It's our favorite time of year. Sunny days with a slight chill in the air... And Oktoberfest is here! Planning to hit up one of the world's biggest parties in Germany? (Munich is calling your name.) Do it right and don a custom-made dirndl for the occasion. The Charles, a Rocco Forte hotel, has partnered up with Schatzi Dirndl, the well-respected Bavarian costume designer, to dress its guests in style. Not only that, but the hotel will hook you up with beer spa treatments! Reserve the ‘Wiesn Warm-Up Spa Treatment’ and you'll be indulging with a beer footbath, a hops and salt scrub and a revitalizing back-and foot massage, followed by a refreshing Bavarian wheat beer. Did we mention the "Hangover Massage" for post-Oktoberfest recovery? Book the Oktoberfest Package, available from now until October 4 and priced from 925 euros for two nights, and you'll get: accommodations with breakfast for two, one personalized dirndl by Schatzi Dirndl, transfers to and from Schatzi Dirndl for fitting, Bavarian gift in room upon arrival, an welcome drinks.