first class around the world luxury travel magazine


Updated  06/01/2020




BRENNER'S SPA HOTEL & SPA (*****L): A combination of  modern and traditional design of the highest standard, and a secular  art of savoir make this hotel a world famous legend since more than 135 years. Generations of statesmen, movie stars and authors stepped into the exquisite interior of this grand hotel characterized by a timeless style and unmatched level of service. The halls and public rooms will impress the spoilest guest. We would say that the Brenner's Park can be somehow compared with the Hotel Le Bristol, in Paris: same ownership (Oetker family), and same palatial impression. You just feel like you have reached the summit of what the five star hotel industry can provide. 

The large rooms have a view on an aristocratic park, the Lichtental Allee, and lushy surroundings. Re-designed under the supervision of Maja Oetker, they have all that very peculiar charm that makes you feel like the guest of a prestigious prestigious, rather that the client of a luxury hotel.  

A palace hotel distinguishes itself by the splendor of its suites. Those located in the «Brenner's City Palais», historic building displaying  600m² of a breathtaking luxury over three floors. Its 200m² Royal Penthouse Suite, complemented by two large balconies overlooking the Lichtental Allee, is impressive. Comprising a lounge with fireplace, two bedrooms, and even a separate room with private cinema (also suitable for meetings and dinners) it has a high-tech Bang & Olufsen video and audio equipment. Sough after by visiting statesmen, it offers a high level of security with bullet-proof windows. There is free and secured high-speed Internet access and plenty and special services attached to this very luxurious apartment: separate entrance, private concierge service, private lift to the Spa, etc.  

The Park-Restaurant is the jewel in the Brenner's Park gastronomic crown. Under the direction of Andreas Krolik, it is fully committed to premium quality in cuisine, cellar and service. Awarded one Michelin star and 17 out of 20 points by the Gault Millau restaurant guide, it has seating for 45 guests for elegant, gourmet evening dinners. The warm, relaxing Wintergarten is reputed for its light, Mediterranean cuisine. We enjoyed very much our post-dinner glass of Cognac in the The Oleander Bar, adjoining the Kaminhalle, with the romantic strains of discreet piano music. 

The Brenner's Park ennobles itself with one of the best equipped and most prestigious SPA in Germany. A world of relaxation and tranquillity, it features a unique range of  programmes and tailored made treatments in a ritzy, very mundane atmosphere. In addition to classic and traditional treatments for face and body, the SPA offers a preventative sport  and nutrition programme as well as first-class medical support. 

The welcoming and friendly staff  displays much attention and eagerness to make this hotel one of the most lovable in Baden-Baden. 

This Leading Hotel of The World, a treasure of the Oetker Hotel Collection, is one of our favourite hotels in Germany. This is certainly one of the most expensive, despite of attractive special offers and packages. 

BRENNER'S SPA HOTEL & SPA: Schillerstraße 4/6 
76530 Baden-Baden, Germany 
PHONE: +49-7221-9000   FACSIMILE: +49-7221-38772 



ALPENHOF MURNAU (****L): One hour drive from Munich, the lively and picturesque capital of Bavaria, the Alpenhof Murnau is located in the heart of Upper Bavaria, in a little bit of heaven, situated right on the border of the nature reserve called Murnauer Moos. The ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the legendary King Ludwig II's Schloss Neuschwanstein, and the 2,962 meters high Zugspitze marking the boarder with Austrian Tyrol are vicinity. The clear waters of the Staffelsee are only a few blocks away. Romantic, baroque, natural and warmly hospitable, the region is a Paradise for lovers on a honeymoon, sport freaks, and for anybody looking for freedom and beauty. 

The Alpenhof Murnau displays an alpine architecture matching fairly well the landscape. It welcomes guests from all over the world in a stylish country house. It doesn't look like an hotel: there is an intimate reception lounge, with beams and wood furniture which at first sight create a warm and peaceful atmosphere. No front desk manager; but a smiling lady in her traditional Bavarian dress, ready to assist the guests anytime, and anticipating any of their request. 

There is only 77 rooms, ranked in five categories: 

The Standard Rooms are situated in the annex. They have a private shower. The Comfort Rooms, in the main building, have a cosy corner unit, a large bathroom, and a desk. Also in the main building, the Deluxe Rooms display large sitting area. The Suites, composed by a connecting lounge and bedroom area, have a very spacious bathroom, with separate guest-restroom. The  very exclusive Maisonnettes have lounge and bedroom area on two floors, and two bathrooms. Each category of rooms is fully equipped with telephone, minibar, satellite TV, radio,  in-room safe, and a balcony to enjoy the breathtaking garden and mountain view. 

German hoteliers tend to be influenced by the "Kempinski design" nowadays; luckily, there is no urban high-tech influence in the Alpenhof Murnau rooms: spacious 100x210 double beds are made out of wood, with rustic appliances and furniture. Sofas are smooth and classics. Some chairs may be installed on the balcony for a romantic breakfast. Businessmen or artists would like to spend the all day sitting there, looking -and hopefully finding- inspiration. 

As hospitality is inseparable from good food, the Alpenhof Murnau is also reputed in all Upper Bavaria for its restaurants, composed of one vaulted room (the Moosberg Castell: ideal for a well chilled beer and local specialities) and a more elegant room (the reputed Reiterzimmer: for romantic candlelight dinner). "Mild Veal head Carpaccio with Lobster and French Dressing perfumed with Shallot", "Venison Leg with Wild Garlic, Stewed Asparagus and Brown Potatoes", "Fillet of Sander on Beet roots and Oscietra Caviar", "Soft White Cheese Quenelle with Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote" are among the most recommended specialities. The cellar displays good regional wines, like  "Würzburger Stein Müller-Thurgau Kabinett Trocken, Bürger Spital zum Heiligengeist VDP , Franken 1996", "Oberrotweiler Eichberg Spätburgunder Weissherbst Trocke, Freiherr von Gleichenstein, Baden 1997", or "Mimus Spätburgunder Trocken, Dr. Heger, Baden 1995". 

The Alpenhof Murnau, though not that much business oriented, nevertheless provides relaxing and efficient plans for conventions. 

Plenty of sport activities are available, and the very pleasant Moosberg thermal spa, offers complete relaxation  in a comfortable ambience. Besides swimming pool (15x5 m), sauna, tepidarium, solarium and fitness area, there is a health centre under doctor supervision, and a professionally managed beauty studio. 

Prices are still reasonable. A double Standard Room costs approximately EUR 167. A Comfort Room is EUR 197. A Junior Suite is EUR 271. These prices are for high season.  Major credit cart accepted. 

One of the best choice the traveller can make in the splendid region of  Bavaria-Tyrol. 

ALPENHOF MURNAU : RamsachstraBe 8, 82418 Murnau, GERMANY 
PHONE: +49-8841-4910             FACSIMILE: +49-8841-491100 



SCHLOSS HUBERTUSHÖHE (****L): One of the most distinguished "schlosshotel" in Germany,  this listed building strategically stands less than one hour by road from central Berlin (60 kilometers). Offering hedonistic guests, looking for fresh air and extended leisure, amazingly unspoiled natural surroundings 60 kilometers from the bustling capital city of Germany. 

The Geheime Königliche Kommerzienrat Georg W. Büxenstein, one of the most influential and wealthy industrialists of the time, had this jewel built in country mansion style at the turn of the 20th century. His circle of friends included the Crown Prince; he was also a confidant of the Emperor, who was the same age. His printing works was processing bank notes for the German Imperial Bank. As a patron of the arts, Büxenstein commissioned artists, sculptors who worked in wood, stonemasons and art glaziers. Their works give the interior the rich variety of styles guests can still enjoy nowadays. After 1916, the hunting parties and imperial receptions were hosted by a new owner: the textiles manufacturer Rudolf Bamberg. In the Roaring Twenties it was the favorite venue of galas staged by the Berlin fashion scene. Plans for extensive restoration were drawn up at the end of 1992. Absolute priority was given to landscape conservation and protection of the building as a historic monument. Schloss Hubertushöhe was opened as a hotel and restaurant on 1 June 1998 and once again became what it had already once been: a prestigious address in the Berlin area. 

This unique and exclusive ensemble sets in superb surroundings: which make it much more than a castle hotel, but also one of the richest resorts you may find in Germany. Step out of the hotel, and you are on the shores of the  crystal-clear Storkow Lake: listening to the euphoriant gentle lapping of its waves. Around you five hectares of woodland: with valuable secular trees, singing birds you sometimes just can hear anywhere but here, and that fresh air which makes you glad to be part of this wonderful world. Sports and fitness are widely available, with sauna, solarium, massages, boat rental, fishing, bicycle rental, and  elbow shooting. Three 18 Hole golf courses, riding, hunting, and tennis are available, 8 kilometers away from the hotel only. 

The topnotch 18 rooms and 4 suites, each of them unique and luxurious, provide a peerless feeling. Respecting the historical design of the castle, matching its timeless elegance and exclusive materials, they are all equipped in the four star deluxe standard of modern comfort. 

Rates for a room are approximately EUR 128 - 348. You are expected to pay EUR 261 - 435 for a suite. Including a full buffet  breakfast. Major credit cart accepted. 

Ideally designed for the highest profiled tourists, the Schloss Hübertushöhe is also perfect for businessmen, with its classy and high tech conferences facilities which can host between 20 and 30 people.  
Last but not least, with an unforgettable atmosphere, the Windspiel Restaurant, at Schloss Hübertushöhe, has become one of Germany's finest tables within a very short space of time. Thomas Linke, its executive chef, is recognized as the best in the Brandenburg region. 

A stay in this wonderful castle is indeed a feast for all senses! 

(Annual closing in January). 

SCHLOSS HUBERTUSHÖHE: Robert-Koch Strasse 1, D-15859 Storkow, GERMANY 
PHONE: (49) (033678) 430     FACSIMILE: (49) (033678) 43100 



HOTEL RÜBEZAHL (****): Within reach of Augsburg, Munich, Ulm, Stuttgart and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, close to both Austria and Swiss, this luxurious classic Alpine lodge looks like a jewel amid a breathtaking scenery. With all the traditionally comfortable pleasures of an old Bavarian house, wonderful timber panelling and furnishings, we discovered one of the most relaxing family run resort in the all region. 

Located in the charming Schwangau traditional village, across the meadows in the green foothills, the Hotel Rübezahl offers its guests a "One million Dollar View" of both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. How could we describe that feeling to wake up to the fabulous fairy tale views of the King Ludwig II whiter shade of pale residence? Several rooms and suites have breathtaking views of both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau: fully equipped with shower (or bath) and toilet, colour TV, minibar, personal safe, IDD telephone, balcony or terrace, they are the reference for tasty comfort. Apartments and suites are available: configured for 2 to 6 persons, spreading over 50 to 80 square metres (160 250 sq.ft.), with living room, and separate bedroom. This Alpine Heaven also displays its plush Honeymoon suite, with canopy bed: its happy guests can enjoy their Champagne breakfast, before joining an organized trip to the royal castles. Isn't it somehow the height of romance? 

All guests are VIPs, indeed: they can use the hotel's sauna and solarium with whirlpool, let children enjoy the Fun & Sports facilities, escape from the hotel on a mountain bike, wander across the wild forests, or visit the nearby Fussen, with interesting churches and old historic buildings. More sophisticated activities include roller blading, horse drawn carriages tours, skiing direct at mountain "Tegelberg", fishing, golf, tennis, swimming, boating on the Alpsee and other lakes... Or, why not?, simply relaxing with an aperitif in the cosy conservatory ("Wintergarten"), where you can watch the moon rise over the castles and the spectacular mountain scenery.  Gourmet dinner is served in the Hotel Rübezahl's elegant restaurant or, more casually, in the cosy country house style "Zirbelstube". 

The hotel is well worth its four star; while rates are three star only... If not that elegant, we should have included it in our "On the Cheap" category! Prices (per person) include elaborate buffet breakfast with local specialities. High season goes from May till October, including period of carnival, Easter, Christmas and New Year. If you stay lesser than 4 nights in the low season, you are expected to pay for the high season's rate. Single room cost approximately US$ 40 -  52.  Double room is about US$  32 - 37.  Apartments US$ 42 - 52. Suites US$ 48 - 68. No charge for children up to 4 years old sleeping in parent's room without extra bed. Special packages are available for guests staying 7 or more days. 

Though remote in the heart of a natural area, the hotel is easily reachable by public transportation. Munich Riem Airport is 128 km away. A Fussen railway station stands only 3 km away. 

A great place in a great location. 

HOTEL RÜBEZAHL: Familie Giselle und Erhard Thurm, 
Am Ehberg 31, D-87645 Schwangau, GERMANY 
PHONE: (49) 8362.8888      FACSIMILE: 8362.81701 



SCHLOSS MONCHSTEIN (****L): An oasis of silence, over a land of history and culture: such is the Schloss Monchstein. Settled on the top of the Monchsberg hill, a green paradise easily accessed by the rocky paths winding sinuously up from the edge of the Old City, this superb castle well shaped by the end of the XIVth century and restored three hundred years later with the addition of a tower and chapel, became a deluxe hotel in 1947. Less famous than its proud rival, the Goldener Hirsch, the Schloss Monchstein doesn't look the role of a challenger anyhow: its "raison d'?tre" is not social life, but superlative rest away from the crowds. Intimacy is a key to its success. Set with 17 rooms and suites, each different from the next, tastefully decorated with period furniture and precious items, this jewel of a hotel is definitely ritzy. Let's say, without any hesitation, that they are the most luxurious in town. 

The service is discreet and distinguished, making the guests feel like they have a home away from home, should  they be so fortunate as to have such a high echelon of staff in their own abode. We were very impressed by the Paris Lodron restaurant , and we most heartily agree with the "Gault and Millau" gourmet guide which ranked it as the best one in Salzburg. Very original is the tiny chapel, famous from the Tokyo:  plenty of Japanese couples travel round the world to get married here, then to enjoy honeymoon in an incredibly romantic room with a view atop the Old City, the river Salzbach, the Schloss Mirabell and its garden " a la  Française". Ex-votos have long since been replaced by shining copper plates engraved with the exotic names of the couples who sealed their love here : you see quite a lot! 

Besides the Nippons, many stars have enjoyed the Schloss Monchstein, at least once in their life: think of Peter Ustinov, Claudio Abbado, Mickey Rooney or Lucciano Pavarotti, they have all walked the paths of Prince Architop Paris Lodron, and of Catherine of Russia who were, some centuries ago, its first distinguished guests. Open on a 25 hectares park befit for romance... and jogging, the hotel is also equipped with a tennis court. It is  regularly and deservedly awarded and praised by the world media:  named "Urban Sanctuary of the World" by "Hydeway Report Magazine". You will find it love at first sight. 

SCHLOSS MONCHSTEIN : Monchsberg Park 26-ib, Salzburg 5020, AUSTRIA 
PHONE: (43-0662) 84.85.55-0                    FACSIMILE: 84.85.59 



ALMDORF "SEINERZEIT" (****L): Between Salzburg and Slovenia, boarding the "Nockerberge" (the most beautiful national park in Carinthia), and close to the SPA city of Bad Kleinkirchheim, this exceptional hotel opened in 1995. Though four stars deluxe, the Almdorf Seinerzeit actually doesn't look like a palace. With three main buildings and 21 chalets, surrounding a small lake where one can fish for trout on Summer time, and ice skate on Winter, it looks like a traditional Carinthian hamlet: "Almdorf Seinerzeit" means "old alpine village". Very scrupulous care has been taken during its construction. The architect used only 100% natural regional materials, asking local people to build up the hamlet just like their ancestors would.  The result is splendid: the Almdorf Seinerzeit looks like much more an ethnological open air museum than a hotel. 
The decoration inside the chalets seems a daydream: in a complete opposition to the standard setting in most of the hotels nowadays, the touch remains completely personal. Wood and its exquisite essences- is everywhere: in accordance with that specific touch of rusticity Austrian people transforms in the greatest comfort. Dishes, lamps and carpets even  the most neglected piece of decoration gets its own story (and sometimes History!). Wood is used for heating the chalets even when they are empty !  Mattresses are made out of natural latex and lamb wool. Space is not a problem here: each chalet is about 75 square meters, divided on two floors: there are two bedrooms, a vestibule with kitchen, a sitting room, and two bathrooms including an old style one, with a tub made out of massive pine wood. There is also a very large terrace and even a private garden. If foreigners just start discovering the Almdorf Seinerzeit, the place already received a multitude of awards from part of the German speaking media: all of them emphasized, besides the very exceptional location, that anticipating service which pleases guests accustomed to stay in palaces hotels. It is here completely family oriented: which is even better than in a grand hotel. You stay in a somehow "super deluxe Gasthaus", where everything is made a very personal way, and where the guests express their own satisfaction directly to their hosts: not under written form, on a questionnaire which would be directed on the desk of a pale marketing manager. We don't want to play that stupid IN and OUT fashion game, but we would like to mention that the hotel is now a favourite spot for Austrian and German TV stars. Maybe are they looking for some comfortable simplicity here? 

The Almdorf Seinerzeit neglects nothing, indeed, to make a stay even more pleasant. After skiing the all day down virgin runs, or after enjoying a Summer walk across the green paths, some relaxing herbal baths are offered to the guests: the medical herbs used on the purpose can only be find in this pollution free area. No tourists to pick them up all around. You enjoy this privilege of being unique. The treatments are actually relaxing, and relieve cramps, rheumatism and even gout. We heard the hay baths were particularly efficient on the matter. The SPA treatment room is so beautiful, with its wide goldsmith's fireplace and its wooden tubs! There is also a sauna, of course: on request you can use it on your very own. The "Fellacher"  restaurant, warm and rustic like the rest of the hotel, offers generous breakfasts, and proposes "a la carte" delicious and somehow confidential specialities from the segregated Carinthian mountains. You don't have to feel uncomfortable if you are fitness oriented: those afraid of "Knodels" and "Strudels" accompanied by draft beer or "Sekt" will find their equilibrium in the special vegetarian menu. 

One can reach the hotel by train + taxi, from Salzburg: it makes the curious traveller discover a breathtaking alpine landscape.  If you are actually on a hurry but what a pity! - then take a domestic flight to Klagenfurt, then a regular bus to Patergassen. 

The Almdorf Seinerzeit received  recently the Dingh Trophy for Cultural Affairs Award (Taiwan), the National Tourism Award (Austria),  the British Airways "Tourism for Tomorrow" Highly Commended Award 2000, and has been selected by the Congres Mondial de la Jeune Chambre Economique de Cannes (France). 

Rate is much affordable, at EUR 180 - 368 per day, double occupancy, including breakfast, plus afternoon tea/coffee and cakes! Sauna is complimentary for hotel guests. 

It goes with our highest recommendation. 

HOTEL ALMDORF "SEINERZEIT" : Fellacheralm, A-9564 Patergassen, AUSTRIA 
PHONE. : (43)                             FACSIMILE : 




GRAND HOTEL PALACE - SCHLOSS MAUR (****L):It takes few words to describe this legendary hotel: magnificent and enchanting! The Palace peaceful and luxurious atmosphere leads you all along ritzy lounges, long corridors, vast rooms and a lush park. Franz Kafka favourite hotel in Südtirol, it remains more than ever enveloped by an elegant and aristocratic late 19th Century ambiance which suddenly erases the monotony of everyday life.  

Much attention is paid to the guests: should they be young honeymooners or “people” reviewed in the “Who’s Who”, they all princely receive same innumerable attentions. Which is one of the first qualities of the hotel. The 125 rooms and 12 suites, richly appointed with much taste, equipped as one might expect in a four star deluxe hotel (IDD telephone, Sat TV, safe, air –conditioning), all show particularly elegant bathrooms. Choose those with a view over the large, blue-lagoon swimming pool: they are particularly relaxing and quiet. 

The hotel last but not least quality is its superb relax center, transforming the Palace into one of the most attractive beauty-farms in Italy. This space of absolute well-being, with a soothing and regenerating atmosphere, makes the guest rediscover the pleasure of feeling well: both in mind and body. It takes only few days to recover all your vital energy, thanks to a personalised and exclusive programme of treatments.  

Rate stands in the EUR 90 – 175 bracket.  

A lavish hotel. 

GRAND HOTEL PALACE – SCHLOSS MAUR:    Via Cavour 2,  39012 Meran (Südtirol), ITALY 
PHONE:  (39) 0473.27.10.00                            FACSIMILE:   0473.27.11 .00 


VILLA EDEN (****L): This family run top luxurious property has guest’s individual requests and needs at heart. Striving to be the best in the wellness business in South Tyrol, motivated by the residents’ well-being, the scientific advisory council of the Villa Eden is always looking for new methods and possibilities, in order to prepare an incomparable wellness vacation. 

The happy few (like Diego Armando Maradona, Giuliana Benetton, Ornella Muti…) wander around the spectacular landscape park with a panoramic view of lovely Alto Adige: merely interrupted in their meditation by concerts of the numerous birds. They swim either in spacious indoor or outdoor pools. They relax in elegant and large rooms reflecting the impressive nature of the estate and its long ago Art Nouveau style.  

This beauty and health resort blossoms as a source of regeneration and contentment. Just a few minutes' walk from downtown Meran.  In an absolutely serene village quarter: far from any hustle and bustle. 

The Villa Eden provides personalized diets and specialized treatments aimed at three areas: weight-loss, anti-stress and beauty. Supplementing these programs are a variety of treatments calibrated to suit the needs of each individual, determined by an extensive check-up. The method used combines several diverse therapies: osteopathy, hydrotherapy, dietary control, and stimulation of the chakra (points of concentrated energy according to an oriental theory).  

Although 10 days a required to be fully restored, it is possible to undergo only a week of treatment. 

Last but not least, the hotel rates –depending on the selected treatment, season and length of stay- can match all budgets. Lots of package and special offer available and updated on a regular basis on the resort homepage. 

VILLA EDEN: Winkelweg, 68    39012 Meran (Südtirol), ITALY 
PHONE: (39) 0473 23 65 83                     FACSIMILE : 0473 23 47 90 


MIGNON RESIDENCE (***L): Rifiano, a jewel in the crown of the Alto Adige, lies in the heart of South Tyrol, on the sunny side of Meran. Favourite holiday destination of Emperor Franz Josef and his legendary wife Sissi, it nestles among vine-covered slopes and orchards. Towered over by the peaks of the splendid Texel Groüp Nature Reserve. A sub-Mediterranean climate and breath-taking contrasts between Alpine and southern landscapes form the framework for an enjoyable vacation for all kinds of guests, ramblers and families: those wanting an active or restful holiday. With a range in altitude from 300 to 3000 metres, Rifiano offers endless new challenges. All ways lead back to nature: whether on the paths along the irrigation channels or the higher panoramic routes, the whole-day tours for hobby ramblers or the stony trails in the mountains. 

The Mignon stands in this Garden of Eden: amidst immaculate snow on Winter, and blooming orchards on Spring and Summer. With a splendid panorama from all balconies and windows on Schenna Palace, Meran and the Alps. More than a pension, this looks like a small resort tailored made for relaxation. There is a covered heated swimming-pool, a sauna, and a solarium. The large balconies and lawn are tailored made for those wishing to relax and breath the invigorating oxygen of the mountains.  

The large, brand new rooms and appartments are very comfortable. All equipped with bathroom, IDD telephone and TV Sat.  

Like in most of the hotels in South Tyrol, half board is possible. Even recommended… as the pension small Bierstube serves succulent Italian and Tyrolean specialities... Some guests come back, just for the excellent table! 

The Mignon is quiet, indeed; though by no mean dull. Franz, the friendly manager, entertains his guests with a smile. Many excursions (wine testing, visit to the nearby Villa Tappeiner or the Reinhold Messner Castle) and trekking can be organized from the pension, in one of the most attractive and picturesque regions of Italy. 

Indicative rate, per person/night, including a generous buffet breakfast, is EUR 29 / 38 (low / high season) in a double room, and EUR 45 till 66 in an appartment (depending on the size – a large “type A” appartment can host up to 5 persons-  and season). 

This very attractive place is opened all year long. 

MIGNON HOTEL & PENSION: Via Hohlgasse 38, 39010 Rifiano presso Merano, Alto Adige (Südtirol), ITALY 
PHONE: (39) 0473 24 11 10                         FACSIMILE: 0473 24 14 47  




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