Oktoberfest is just around the corner

Right in the middle of a great summer full of festivals and celebrations, it’s time to start thinking about the next big event in Bavaria’s capital! In less than ten weeks, the world-famous Oktoberfest will kick off. From September 20th to October 5th, multitudes of visitors will descend on Munich to join the party…☺

Oktoberfest 2014 Schedule

On Saturday, September 20th, the festival kicks off with, as it does every year, the arrival of the Oktoberfest tent patrons. And, as always, they will be led by the Münchner Kindl, the young monk featured on Munich’s coat of arms. At 12 noon on the dot, the Mayor of Munich will declare “Ozapft is”, officially opening Oktoberfest by tapping the first barrel of beer. The Oktoberfest costume and riflemen’s parade will follow the next day. Some eight thousand people will parade in traditional folk costume through the city on their way to the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest tents are set up. Plenty of typical regional music will accompany the marchers. A spectacle you definitely don’t want to miss.

During the second weekend of Oktoberfest, traditionally called the “Italian Weekend”, guests are welcomed from all over the world and the Oktoberfest takes on an international flair. This could be your best chance to get to know a young Bavarian gal or just have some cross-cultural fun. That Sunday, the so-called “Bergfest” marks the half-way point in this year’s festival with a huge concert featuring the Oktoberfest bands.

The following weekend is the last weekend of Oktoberfest 2014. It kicks off on Friday, October 3rd, with the public holiday marking the day Germany was reunited in 1990. The holiday and three-day weekend guarantee a full house for the finale of Oktoberfest 2014. So if you love a good party and want to jump right in, you should definitely plan a trip here for Oktoberfest. The same applies to anyone who hasn’t yet made it to this year’s Oktoberfest: don’t miss your last chance for a real party! On the final Sunday, there is a traditional gun salute at noon and the action finally draws to a close shortly before midnight…

What’s new?

The festival tents and patrons at Oktoberfest have stayed the same for a long time, but the new Oktoberfest manager has opened things up, bringing in some new blood. For example, the well-known Hippodrom tent will be replaced this year by the Marstall tent. So this year’s task has been set: to test extensively whether the new tents are just as good ;)

Oktoberfest Tips

In general, when heading to Oktoberfest, a visit to one of the many tents is an absolute must, as this is where the dancing, singing and celebrating takes place! Although all of the tents together hold approximately 100.000 revelers, finding a seat can still be quite difficult. If it’s just the two of you or you’re on your own, then you still have a good chance of finding a spot at the table to enjoy some Bavarian hospitality. For those traveling in larger groups, making a reservation well in advance is advised! But beware, you can only reserve whole tables of 8-10 seats. Table reservations are available directly from the respective tent hosts, but you need to be quick and bring a lot of patience.

Tip: If the large tents are already full, it’s worthwhile calling some of the smaller tents. They have an equally great atmosphere and the party can be just as fun. ;)

You should also book your hotel room as soon as possible, because the beds in Munich get booked quickly for Oktoberfest. From the Platzl Hotel, you can reach Oktoberfest in just five minutes after a short walk to Odeonsplatz and taking underground lines 4 or 5.

For all those who want to visit the world’s largest folk festival for the first time: Please note, Bavarian folk dress in the form of pretty dirndls or jaunty lederhosen, which is all part of the fun. All of Bavaria loves to show off its dressigns and invites visitors to join in and feel like a real Bavarian.

Tip: For starters, you don’t necessarily have to be in a full dirndl or lederhosen. For example, newcomers, can simply wear a plaid shirt or a blouse, a chic costume hat or a cute Bavarian costume scarf.

And finally: don’t forget to take a little souvenir home for your family to mark the fun you’ve had in Munich. Gingerbread hearts are always a nice touch, or maybe you’ll win a real Bavarian rose for your loved one at one of the many shooting stalls.

Either way, the team from Platzl Hotel wishes you lots of fun celebrating in Bavaria!

picture source: erdquadrat / flickr.com

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The Most Beautiful Spots on the Isar

The Isar River is Munich’s #1 recreational area! Numerous areas along the riverfront invite you to linger and enjoy the views, while the river, that gets its start in the Alps, is real paradise for cyclists, barbecue lovers, fans of beer gardens, water lovers and walkers.

Whether on foot or by bicycle, you definitely need to cross the Großhesseloher Bridge at least once, as the views over the Isar are simply stunning…

Close to the bridge is Waldwirtschaft, one of the best-known and most popular beer gardens on the south side of Munich. This romantic beer oasis offers typical Bavarian specialties under the sheltering shade of old trees. Stop in for a snack and, with some luck, get a chance to listen to a live brass band while cooling off with a fresh draft of beer.

A little further north, you will find one of the most famous sections of the Isar riverfront: the Flaucher. This park is a great place to have a barbecue, go for a swim and just chill out. The pebble beaches at the Flaucher are probably the most popular spots along the Isar in Munich and are definitely worth a visit!

If you prefer things a bit more quiet, just ride a little further past Waldwirtschaft. The further upstream you travel (towards the south), the fewer people you’ll run into. If you make it all the way out to Schäftlarn, you’ll even be rewarded with a unique, unobstructed view of the Alps…

PS: From there, it’s an easy train ride on the S-Bahn back to the Platzl. In just 35 minutes, you’ll be back to your hotel in central Munich without even having to switch trains.

picture source: aprott / istockphoto.com

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Live action: Running for a good cause

Munich is considered beeing a pioneer of modern city runs: for 35 years, the City Run has been taking place in the Isar metropolis, and has taken participants through the English Garden and Ludwigstraße, among others. ‘Sport Check’ is organizing the run this year on the 29th of June, whereby participants can choose between three route lengths: Half Marathon, 10 and 5 kilometre runs. For young sportsmen up to 12 years of age, DAK-Kinderlauf (Children’s Run) is being organised as an activity for them. The fittest companies in the city will be determined in the company rankings…

Also, Platzl Hotel is being sportive this year, and will send its best athletes into the field. Although Hotel staff generally cover many miles for their guests, special preparation is needed for the endurance run. That’s why the end of June is the right time for regular running training. Also, Director Heiko Buchta has taken up the challenge, and has been practicing diligently for the run in the courtyard garden. You can track the training progress of our runners in the coming weeks on Facebook. For special motivation, we are making a sporting donation commitment: for every kilometre that our participants run or walk, 20 euros will be donated to the Nicolaidis Foundation. This foundation helps children and young adults who have lost an important caregiver.

You can track live on Facebook how director Buchta and our employees are faring in the June 29 charity. Cheer for the Platzl’s runners and encourage them to run for one or two additional kilometers. The more we run, the more donations come – so, to all of us: Off we go! ☺

Picture source runner: Ed Dunens / flickr.com

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A new wind is blowing through Platzl

Change in Platzl leadership! Have no fear: the rudder is staying in the family. Peter Inselkammer Senior has now made it official: he will withdraw from Platzl operations and pass the reins to his son Peter Inselkammer Junior. It is clear that this withdrawal does not mean retirement for the senior—he will continue to stay in the background as a ‘wise man’ of the traditional hotel. However, the pressures of deadlines and the great responsibility are now off his shoulders. He refers to the time saved as ‘the greatest achievement, the greatest luxury,’ he is able to have. He will now use this luxury for his favourite hobby: he wants to invest time and capital in the research of the most sustainable and cleanest form of renewable energy—deep geothermal energy.

However, you must not worry about the Platzl Hotel, because it will stay in competent hands. Mr Inselkammer Senior has no worries regarding his successor continuing the family tradition of success. Concerns are also completely unnecessary, because the passing of the baton has been planned for a long time. 15 years ago, Peter Inselkammer Junior took over the operations and since then, he has taken on more and more tasks from the father in the administrative, operational and strategic area.

The passion for ‘Bavarian hospitality’ will be maintained by Junior without a doubt; after all, he grew up in a family where the host mentality was celebrated all this life. What direction is the Platzl headed in under the new leadership? ‘Preserving the tradition, but maintaining an openness to modernity’, promises Peter Inselkammer Junior.

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Summer Highlights 2014 in Munich

Summer is beginning and that also means that the season of outdoor events is now open! Since there being a lot of them in Munich is emblematic of Bavaria, we have compiled the best summer highlights in this post—this way your summer city trip is sure to be a great success!

Cinema at the Olympic Park

From mid-May to mid-September, special film experiences in the open air are waiting for you. Set in the magnificent Olympic Park—spend warm summer nights in front of the giant screen, which plays the best German and international blockbusters. You decide whether you wish to admire them from the deckchairs or from the picnic meadow. Unique in Germany: The cinema season in Olympiapark also shows movies in digital 3D. The dreamy evening backdrop of the Olympic Park, and the beer gardens surrounding the outdoor cinema make the experience complete. By the way: every World Cup match of the German team is also shown on the big screen ☺

>> The program and the tickets

Kocherlball for the entire world

There is an interesting story behind Kocherlball: Towards the end of the 19th century, every Sunday at dawn, domestic workers from the local manor houses used to meet every day for a boisterous dance, and so managed to compensate for the drab work. On the 200th anniversary of the English Garden, the ball was introduced in 1989, and has since then been held annually at the Chinesischen Turm (Chinese Tower)—this year it will be held on 20th July between 6 to 10 o’clock. Meanwhile it is of course not limited to domestic workers, but is a pleasurable experience for all Munich residents, and visitors from all over the world.

>> For the impressions of Kocherlball

Munich Summer Night’s Dream

We are curious to see if the record number of visitors at the tenth anniversary last year can be topped again. If the weather plays along on July 26, and nothing prevents it from happening, because the program of the Munich ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is again very illustrious this year. Look forward to Bayern rocker, Haindling, the singer-songwriter, Amy MacDonald, and the soul king, Xavier Naidoo. After the end of the show, when darkness falls, the highlight of the event will begin: fantastic fireworks await you!

>> The program and the tickets

Royal Water Music on Lake Starnberg

For all friends of the classical masters and enjoyment of discerning music fans, the cruise MS Starnberg, offers a wide variety of events this summer with exactly the right party programs. Dine like the Wittelsbach Kings and listen to the sounds of Vivaldi, Mozart and Mahler. You will benefit from the excellent acoustics of the main salon on board. A cultural historian will tell you captivating and amusing anecdotes and fascinating stories from the times of the Bavarian kings. As a major highlight of the evening, the water music will be complemented by magnificent baroque fireworks!

>> For the dates & prices, as well as the seating plan

Picture source Olympiapark: Robert Köhn / pixelio.de

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A Munich must: The Tollwood Summer Festival

‘Culture, Life and commitment to a better future’ – This is the motto of this year’s Tollwood Summer Festival in the Olympic Park.

The Tollwood, which has long since become an institution in Munich’s cultural life, to be held between 02 to 27 July, promises this year to once again be a varied and exuberant spectacle. Since 1988, the Festival has enriched the dominant Bavarian Christian culture with its multicultural orientation. This is reflected at all levels of the festival: from the stellar landscaping program, to the catering. Another characteristic that has become anchored in the character of the festival from the beginning, is the combination of profit and non-profit. The revenue from rented stands and sponsors has always allowed it to largely offer a free cultural program, which annually attracts highly lauded and ambitious musicians, comedians, performance artists and performers. But the highlight of this year is likely to be the presence of Bob Dylan, who will hold one of his few Germany concerts at the Tollwood.

As a forum for ecology, Tollwood also utilizes ecological insights, and serves as a platform for environmental-philosophical exchange. For example, organizers are committed to decreasing CO2 emissions, and the entire festival catering is certified with the ‘organic seal’.

Can you receive so much pleasure enjoying life and culture, and yet be as environmentally friendly anywhere else? Then visit the Tollwood Summer Festival in the Olympic Park, using public transport to get there from the Hotel Platzl in 30 minutes. It is best to take underground line 3 from Marienplatz to the Olympic Park. From the station, it will take just five minutes to reach the Tollwood Summer Festival, which opens its doors for you from Monday to Friday between 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m..

For more information, you will find a program overview and a list of items here.

The Platzl Hotel wishes you lots of fun and lots of entertainment!

Picture source Tollwood: FHgitarre / flickr.com

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Bear-sized offspring in Hellabrunn

The Tierpark Hellabrunn (Hellabrunn Zoo) has been pleased to have twin off-springs in the polar bear enclosure for half a year now! On 9 December last year their mother Giovanna brought the two little ones into the world. But as baby bears are considered particularly sensitive, and unnatural stimuli could endanger them, the public was initially only allowed to participate in the young lives of the cute twins via a video diary. Overall, the birth and development of the twins was an unprecedented media event, because a polar bear birth was recorded in colour for the first time worldwide.

This was followed by almost daily videos—including cuddles, first drinking, and attempts to walk or the mother giving them a licking bath–in which Internet users received touching insights into the bear family life. It was a fascinating project that illustrated the rapid development of babies: born barely half as big as a human infant, on the day of their first outdoor foray they had already achieved the dimensions of an English bulldog. It was the 19th of March, when after 14 weeks of age the polar bear twins and the mother and children’s home was shown live to zoo visitors. In April, followed by the double ‘baptism’, the right godparents were chosen from among more than 20 applications. Do you also want to get to know Nela and Nobby? Then visit the Tierpark Hellabrunn, which is open 365 days a year for you between 9 am and 6 pm — especially now in the summer, the best time!

The exact opening times, a zoo plan, and tips for convenient directions can be found here.

We at the Platzl Hotel wish you animal fun ☺

Picture Source ice bear: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

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The Platzl Hotel in Munich’s old city centre is a traditional 4-star superior hotel with a rich history. In order to give you, the many long-term guests and life of the hotel, an insight into the early years of the hotel in Munich, we will tell you about the history of its origin and the most important milestones of this traditional hotel.
The story of Platzl Hotel Munich can be divided into two major sections.
The “old” Platzl Hotel opened on July 9, 1956, with approximately 200 beds in 130 rooms. At this time in the upper floors of the former Platzl there was still the Platzl-Bühne/Platzl Stage (today’s Hard Rock Cafe Munich). The operators of the first Platzl were initially Carl and Hilde Groß, who had already since the spring of 1953 held the lease of the Platzl-Bühne, which had been rebuilt after the Second World War. On 1 April 1973, the Groß couple ended their successful career as landlords in the Platzl after 22 years, and handed over the hotel and the restaurant to the Ayinger Brewery, which operated both from then on in-house. Peter Inselkammer, one of the sons of the married couple, Franz and Maria Kreszenz Inselkammer, became the Managing Director of the Platzl Hotel Munich.

The foundation for the “new” Platzl Hotel – at its current location on Sparkassenstraße 10 – was in a sense defined by the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
On this site once stood the imposing Pfistermühle building, which unfortunately suffered considerable damage to its structure in World War 2 in the bombing of Munich.
Despite the attempt at preserving the building with a makeshift roof, and the continued use of the still-functional stone ovens by Hofpfisterei, the plot was increasingly neglected after the Hofpfisterei moved out in 1964. In order to again create a beautiful and uniform cityscape, and leave a positive impression on the world for the Olympics, the city of Munich decided to demolish many of old war ruins. The destroyed part of the Pfistermühle and the tower of the old Hofbrunnenhaus was subsequently converted into a parking lot. Already at this time Franz Inselkammer had commissioned a development plan for a hotel in this area, which was authorized in 1971, but not immediately implemented. This plan was to integrate extant architectural remains of the old Pfistermühle and a modern cubist block with roof terrace floor and flat roof.
Peter Inselkammer, the Inselkammers’ son, took up his father’s idea for a new building again in 1978, but rejected the already approved development plan, and created an entirely new concept. The new building was meant to better fit into the existing architecture of the old city centre, and with Munich’s cityscape.
The new concept was to extend the historic rooms of the historically protected Pfistermühle, and also to maintain the traditional Platzl-Bühne/Platzl Stage (the facade of which was also under preservation orders). The rooms on the upper floors, however, were to be renovated. This draft was approved on 6 August 1986. Thus a new hotel arose on the historic site of the former Bockbierkellers (Bock Beer Cellar). On November 16 the “old” Platzl Hotel closed, and just one day later demolition began. The foundation stone was laid in April of 1987. On July 20, 1988 – after just 20 months – the first guests were able to stay in the new 4-star hotel. The then finance minister and later Bavarian Premier, Dr Max Streibl, opened the new hotel officially on September 12.

Today, the Platzl Hotel Munich comprises 167 rooms in the premium Bavarian style. These rooms were extensively renovated in 2006. This includes a Junior Suite and a “Bavarian Suite”. Furthermore, the hotel features six event rooms, a restaurant Pfistermühle in historically protected vault ceilings from the 16th century, the Bavarian public house “Ayingers”, and the Platzl Bar. On the fifth floor of the building there is a recreation area (“Moorish Kiosk”) with fitness room, wet area (sauna, aroma steam bath, foot bath and jet showers) and a rest area modelled after the Moorish kiosk at the Paris World Exhibition commissioned by King Ludwig II in 1876. Since 1957 the hotel has been in the possession of the Inselkammerr family. Peter F.J. Inselkammer, the son of Peter Inselkammer, now acts as the managing partner. Since 2013 Heiko Buchta, the new Hotel Director, can also be counted as part of the “Platzl family”.
You can now read a detailed account of the moving story around the Munich Platzl in Cornelia Oelwein’s book, “Das Münchner Platzl – Lebensfreude im Quadrat. Die Geschichte eines traditionsreichen Münchner Quartiers“ (“The Munich Platzl – zest for life in four walls. The story of a Munich hotel rich in history”). The book was published by Knürr Verlag in 2003.

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“Der verrückte Eismacher” (“The crazy Ice cream maker”) – a special treat

Everyone knows about the many beer gardens that make the Munich Summer unique, but the warm Munich season also offers you many other highlights. For example, a mouth-watering refreshment on hot days is of course often provided by a delicious ice cream.

Probably the most unusual ice cream creations that have ever existed are available in Munich, at “Der verrückte Eismacher” on Amalienstraße. He lives up to his name, and provides courageous customers with exotic, curious and first-class creations. If you eat a spaghetti ice cream here, you will taste the tomatoes, the basil and the meat of the Bolognese sauce. Champagne ice cream springs from the kitchen of the ice cream maker alongside roast pork or liverwurst ice cream, and those who have only reluctantly left the beer garden, may also enjoy a beer ice cream at “Der verrückte Eismacher”. Munich is newly amazed every day, because every day there are creations that previously no one would think of as ice cream. Nobody, except the “Der verrückte Eismacher”! If your spirit of adventure has been overtaxed, we are happy to reassure you: Matthias, the cheerful face of “Der verrückte Eismacher”, also designs many varieties that satisfy the sweet tooth. Have you ever eaten Mozart ball, fig and walnut, or apple sauce pancake ice cream? Come and have a taste of Munich’s heavenly temptations.
The Platzl workforce is in agreement and will only reveal this much: Yummmmmmmmyy ☺

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Well-mannered in the beer garden – Do’s & Don’ts for the outdoor season

Beer garden time has finally reopened, and where better to spend it than in Munich, where beer gardens are all around? In order to avoid treading on the toes of any veterans of the original Bavarian “fresh air togetherness”, and so that you can freely enjoy your visit to the beer garden, we have compiled the most important rules for a harmonious beer garden visit.

Let’s start with the things that you can do without provoking sidelong glances: It is perfectly okay to bring your own food. In fact, this involves an ancient tradition that has been preserved into the present. You should however order something to drink, even if you will be waiting in vain for conventional service. The traditional beer garden operates by self-service in this respect. What you may do and also should do: Toasting! And as often as possible, to your heart’s content, with anyone who catches your eye – in the beer garden there are no social, societal or cultural boundaries.
At which point we have come to the things that you should avoid: Don’t turn away strangers who would like to sit with you, unless your beer bench is really already full. On the other hand, you should also not take a seat uninvited. The question “Is this seat free?” is indeed expected, but also essential. Although bringing your own food was mentioned above, that does not mean that you can order out into the beer garden. And finally: Place your mobile phone on mute! Ringtones disrupt the typical beer garden atmosphere, and what would a beer garden visit be without the sound of the wind in chestnut trees, birdsong and the murmur of the crowd?
The team from the Platzl Hotel wishes you a good time in a well-mannered, traditional Bavarian beer garden! ☺ It is simply always an experience that you shouldn’t miss out on…

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