Built in 1916 by the protestant theologist, philosopher and writer Dr. Johannes Müller, Schloss Elmau was originally meant to become a “space to personal liberty and communal life”. For a long time, this place was paradise for artists, intellectuals and freethinkers, though in 1942 the castle was turned into a resort for the German soldiers that returned from the war’s front, and in 1943 Dr. Müller was put under domiciliary arrest, losing the property. In 1945, Schloss Elmau was repurposed as a military hospital by the US army, and, after the end of the war, it served as a sanatorium and a place of refuge for the many people that had been displaced by the Nazi regime. It wasn´t until 1961 that its ownership returned to its rightful inheritors, Johannes Müller’s children, and music returned to its halls.
In the last sixty years, the Müller family has made great efforts to return the schloss to its past glory, turning it into a cultural hideaway worthy of admiration. Since 1988 it has been a meeting place for academics from all around the world, product of its decades-long effort to reconcile the Jewish people with the German territory through high culture. After a fire took part of the castle in 2005, it was rebuilt as a luxury spa and a place for cultural retreat. The new Schloss Elmau complex opened in 2017 in a solemn ceremony attended by many great personalities from the high culture world. It flaunts two magnificent hotels, five restaurants, a concert hall, and a series of meeting halls in which the future of the world often takes shape.
When you stay at Schloss Elmau, you have a choice to make: will you take a room at the Luxury Spa Retreat, or at the Cultural Hideaway? Both hotels are 5-star rated, and you will always be able to enjoy the facilities of both buildings, except for breakfasts and a couple spas that are exclusive to the guests at the Spa Retreat.
The Retreat, a high-end luxury complex that opened its doors in 2015, is situated just a couple meters from the Schloss, upon a sunny hill that gives it magnificent views. Built to the highest luxury and quality standards, it was originally a temporary residence for the heads of State that attended the G7 in 2015, so every detail inside it is shrouded in elegance literally fit for royalty. Its 47 rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary Italian style, with oriental influences and exquisite materials from all around the world. Bathed in warm sunlight, the subtle decorations create an intimate, relaxing ambience, perfect for those who seek the utmost comfort. The Hideaway, on the other hand, is located inside the schloss, and takes up most of the Schloss Elmau complex. After being rebuilt in 2007, the luxurious interior consists of 115 rooms and suites as well as a concert hall, four luxury spas, five restaurants, three resting halls, a children’s club, two fashion and lifestyle shops, an amazing bookshop and two libraries. The Est Hall, built in 2003, houses the guest rooms, and features great views to the southern mountains. Schloss Elmau’s newest lodging option are the mini-apartments in Gut Elmau, a cosy 4-story building a kilometre to the west of Schloss Elmau and whose guests can enjoy all the facilities at the central complex.
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If what you seek is peace and a good rest, you can’t miss the spas at Schloss Elmau, which offer a wide array of treatments and will help you clear your mind. The adult spa features two sauna areas, each with a steam room and access to the Onsen and the Infinity Pool. To go with it, you will also find a relaxation room with views to the mountain, the tearoom and its warm open hearth, and a terrace in which to bask in the sun, as well as a gym and yoga pavilion to maintain your wellbeing.
All meals at Schloss Elmau are unforgettable experiences: two of its restaurants have been prized with Michelin stars, and at their tables you will find a diverse selection of dishes from all around the world, served by highly renowned chefs. At Fidelio you’ll be served an authentic Asian experience by Anton Pozeg and Rex Corpuz. They prepare a daily menu of the finest sushi, sashimi, and delicious fish and meat plates that will surprise and marvel your palate. Luce d’ Oro is a guest-exclusive restaurant, awarded 2 Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points. It offers a fresh, casual environment with warm wood accents, creating a welcoming and sophisticated atmosphere. Its cuisine amalgamates French and Japanese flavours under the direction of chef Christoph Rainer, and wine accompaniment is provided by sommeliere Marie-Helen Krebs. Each dish is presented in a unique way, making the experience of dining at Luce d’Oro a treat both to the eye and the heart.
La Salle is a family restaurant that has catered to the Schloss’ guests for four generations. It is well known for its plentiful buffets, fresh salads, and the beautiful confections that are served for dessert. Ananda, an adult-only restaurant, serves delectable breakfasts, light lunches and rich cakes, while cheese lovers will be delighted to find Kaminstube, a Chinese fondue restaurant. For those who long for homely warmth and mountain breezes, Elmauer Alm is located a short walk from the Schloss Elmau complex, and serves only the most savoury traditional plates of the region. If you enjoy jazz, you can´t miss El Camino Jazz Bar, with its large windows and mountain views.
Schloss Elmau is located a hundred kilometres to the south of Munich, amidst the German Alps, a region that is famous both for views and for sports such as golf and skiing in the winter months. One of the most popular tours amongst the Schloss’ guests is Ludwig II’s fairy-tale castles and their dreamlike interiors, though the mountains also offer delicious forest walks, corridors beside crystal-clear lakes, and picturesque towns filled with stories. One of the newest entertainments at Schloss Elmau is its collaboration with BMW-I which allows guests to take the brand’s latest luxury cars for a test drive in the scenic roads of this idyllic mountainscape.
So, if you long to plunge yourself in the world of high culture while experiencing luxury at its best, don’t forget to check in at Schloss Elmau next time you visit the German Alps: the possibilities here are infinite, and it is up to you to discover them. Be it that you look forward to a nice family vacation, attending its sumptuous cultural events or simply desire to spend a couple days in paradise, Schloss Elmau is, without a doubt, the ideal place.