Das Kranzbach

Das Kranzbach is one of the loveliest hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying in.

Das Kranzbach and I already had something in common – she’s a little piece of England nestled in Bavaria. Commissioned by Mary Isabel Portman prior to World War I, the house is a delightfully extravagant jewel at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.

Das Kranzbach

I’d spent Friday morning dreaming of a spa – saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, followed by a deliciously refreshing outdoor pool. By the time I arrived in Klais (Bavaria’s highest train station, proudly written in calligraphy on the front of the station building), I felt as if I’d spent the past hour and a half in the world’s hottest sauna, and I would never need to visit one again. Deutsche Bahn, sort out some air conditioning!

Klais - highest station in Bavaria

Das Kranzbach’s shuttle picked me up from the station, and upon arrival at the hotel, I was offered a welcome prosecco. Having sweated out most of my body’s water supply, I declined – I needed a cold shower and a lie down.

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Post-shower, I headed out to read my book by the pool. Quickly, curiosity got the better of me, and after a quick swim, I headed up to the ladies spa area to explore. I’d only ever been to mixed spas before, but I think for tourists, ladies-only spas are a brilliant idea. As a Brit, the idea of getting naked in front of a bunch of strangers for the first time isn’t the most appealing, and I love that Das Kranzbach has provided a separate area for just women.

Wellness area - Das Kranzbach

As it happened, I was the only person in the spa the whole afternoon. I whiled away the hours in the steam room, the Finnish sauna (at 85°C, this is a little too hot for me, but with a panoramic view of the mountains, I had to spend a couple of minutes in there), the bio sauna (ca. 60°C, and also with a splendid panoramic view of the mountains), before heading to the lounge area with a cup of Ayurvedic tea and some trashy magazines.

Before long, it was time to head back to the main building, to meet with Klaus King – the manager of Das Kranzbach. We were welcomed with Pimms, and I felt a wave of homeliness flood over me. Klaus King explained a little of the history of Das Kranzbach, and went on to discuss the hotel’s current vision. The main building’s interior was designed entirely by the British design maven Ilse Crawford. And boy, did she do a good job.

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Afterwards, I sat down in the Yellow Lounge (my favourite, wonderfully modern, light and airy), and enjoyed a reading from Munich author Bernhard Blöchl, who on Friday released his first book, Für immer Juli. I’ll write a separate post on his novel, as it deserves its own article.

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Then, we headed into the restaurant, to dinner. Das Kranzbach’s prices aren’t for the faint-hearted – around 200 € per person, per night, but this does include half board. And half board, is, essentially, full board – breakfast, a light lunch (soups and salad, with bread), afternoon coffee and cake and your evening meal are all included in the price. Wine with your meal isn’t, but 5 € a glass is pretty fair.

Thomas Reichl, head chef of Das Kranzbach, focuses on “fresh and light” food, and uses regional, seasonal produce wherever possible. I went for the swordfish tartar with caviar and a wasabi cream to start:

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Before moving on to the fish strudel:

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Before devouring the pièce de résistance: roast beef with a chanterelle crust, green beans and Yorkshire pudding:

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Everyone else went for cherry crumble for dessert, but wanting to save room for the cheese platter, I ate a light mango sorbet. The two metre long table dedicated entirely to cheese was paradise. A waiter guided me through them – Le Timanoix – walnut cheese, infused with walnut liquor, and produced by monks in Périgord. Champagne cheese, creamy yet light. Different German mountain cheeses. Brie, blue cheese, Italian hard cheeses…

I woke early the next morning, having had a night of dramatic cheese dreams. And this was the first thing I saw when I pulled back the curtains and stepped outside:

Not bad, right?

I headed over to the spa area and headed on up to the roof terrace – it was time for a couple of hours of morning yoga.

I have never had the chance to do yoga in somewhere quite so spectacular, breathing in the fresh Alpen air, while overlooking the Wetterstein mountain range. It was quite something.

Energized, we took a shower and I headed on down to breakfast. Now, I was so overwhelmed at the choice, I completely forgot to take photos. I love a good breakfast, and Das Kranzbach might have given me the best breakfast of my life. Two types of smoked salmon, homemade jams, honeycomb, fresh fruits, lots of good muesli, cheeses, hams, bacon, sausage, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs…phew. I didn’t get chance to test out the hams or the cooked breakfast, I was too busy with the rest.

After a wander round, it was time to take the train back to Munich. My short “Erholung” was over, but it did me the world of good. If you’re looking for a luxurious treat for a loved one, I can wholeheartedly recommend Das Kranzbach for a weekend away. The regular rooms are perfectly lovely, but if you do want something out of the ordinary, the tree house (270 € per person, per night) or a room in the Mary Portman house (213 € per person, per night) are both exquisite.

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Dreamy, isn’t it?

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