Second stay in this Schloβ Elmau, few kilometers from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Arriving there is striking. After 5 km in a mountains and snowy road with dark forest around, the big castle emerges illuminated by night with its tower and high walls. First time we came, we expected a very typical Bavarian decoration inside. And we were wrong. This is a very successful mixture of ancient aspects with modern and contemporary elements. White is dominating in the main public rooms (lobby, corridors, main dining room) while the library or the bar are strictly going on to a warm and cozy red enhanced by gold lights. This is superb without any ostentation.
I was assigned a deluxe junior suite with balcony. First I must mention the quality of light there. Thanks to the whole open window, a pure light is always enlightening the room. And the view is very relaxing on a snow field with a small hilled forest and, then, high pick behind. Superb!
The bed is very comfortable and we can enjoy a rest area with sofa, table and a desk. Light wood furniture makes the ensemble very relaxing with only small light red panels (with small elephants) on the sofa and behind the bed. On the floor: wood everywhere and heated stoneware in the bathroom. I really like it even if I must mention dimension are the one of a room rather than a real junior suite – I never saw the rooms but they might be too small compared to the German standards. I must add storing area which is a real one with enough hangers and special drawers for the shoes. Bath items are excellent: Blenheim Bouquet by Penhaligon’s. Housekeeping should only think about renewing them at least once per day!
A strong asset of the Schloβ Elmau is its spa – hopefully forbidden to children under 16. It is a separated thee-storey modern building which makes me think of Uma Paro, Bhutan. In the basement, a real gigantic Moroccan style hammam with the whole equipment and staff (even loukoums!) on the ground floor: a vast comfortable relaxing room opening on the mountain with firewood, warm blankets… There are an excellent wet hammam with salt to help you sue and one of the most beautiful hotel saunas worldwide: it is really hot, with hot floor as well, it is very large with two big window on the snow field and the forest. Everywhere, there are crushed ice distributors which are essential to respect the sauna liturgy. Of course, another room is organized so that you can have tea, fruits, water and books. Outside is a heated salted outdoor pool with snow around. That is magic. Upstairs are the treatment rooms with a good troop of therapists even if I was not completely convinced by their capacity to adapt them: they are delivering learned gestures and no more while real therapist MUST adapt the treatment to the specificities of the patient. Upstairs is a roof pool I never used as I only came for wintertime.
The food is included in the price of the room which will let you forget bills to sign. Nevertheless, drinks are not included which will let you the opportunity to have a look on the wine list, mainly focused on German wines with great propositions. At the bar, the menu is very well done: not so many cocktails but a lot of simple mix such as Campari Orange which is one of my best. In the morning, breakfast is served in the gigantic main room. It is very German with good quality buffet. For lunch, I only tried the menu from the spa which is simple and Asiatic orientated; the pomegranate and pineapple salad is superb. For diner, we chose the gourmet restaurant. We had a very good souvenir of our last time stay and I wondered why they did not get any star from Michelin. That last diner gave me some explanation: Too many service mistakes, a minimum of 25 minutes between each dishes and some trouble with the recipes and products (scallops had no tastes but the one of the curry only with too many salt, dessert looked nice but was very badly balanced with low quality chocolate). We were really disappointed and went back to our room at midnight. This is too long after a half day skiing. Other solution is the main restaurant we never tried. And there is an Asiatic restaurant we tried for our first stay: It is basic and not really good for people who traveled a lot in Thailand and South-East Asia.
For activities, the hotel strongly aims on ski with easy transfer to different spots (
The Managing director, Herrn Kienast, is one the most efficient hotelier I have ever seen. He anticipated everything and has an extraordinary talent for organization. He succeeds in managing a hotel where families with young children and quiet couple looking for resting can meet themselves without any troubles. That makes me love that place.