Stephan Kaminski: Business and leisure on Munich’s grand boulevard

As early as 1850, King Maximilian II start­­ed an architecture competition for his planned, though never realized, pro­­ject of an Athenaeum at today’s Max-Weber-Platz. This was the beginning of what is probably the most famous and elegant shopping mile in Germany, Max­­i­­milianstraße in Munich. With this pro­ject, Maximilian II, the son of King Lud­wig I, not only wanted to emphasize his understanding of urban expansion, which differed considerably from his father’s, but meant to demonstrate his absolute willingness to promote a new style of architecture, a mixture of various stylis­tic periods where the English Gothic Re­­vival and the architectural idea of skel­­eton frame construction of the 19th century prevailed.


A deliberate decision was taken to use a new development axis towards the east, which was not based on any previous struc­­ture. While the Max-Joseph-Platz square in front of the Residence palace is still characterized by the Clas­sicism of Ludwig I, the new buildings start right behind Palais Toerring-Jet­tenbach. The first new building was the Hotel Vier Jah­­reszeiten (1856–1858). The intention was to create a truly elegant hotel be­­cause by the mid-19th century, modern times had begun even in the hitherto rather sleepy me­­tropolis on the river Isar.

According to Maximilian II, the planned hotel was to be “the most beautiful hotel in town”. The royal architect Ru­­dolf Gottgetreu satisfied the king’s desire: He designed the impressive architecture, the splendid interior and the particularly stylish furniture. He al­­so included the latest technical achieve­­ments of the early industrial age such as electricity, running water or paternoster lifts.


In 1858, the new hotel was finally opened with great pomp and immediately ac­­claimed by the highest circles of society. And this has not changed to the present day: The “best hotel in town” is appreciated by its guests for its unique combination of traditional and mod­­ern features.
The hotel’s attractiveness is due to its excellent location and its appeal to local, national and international guests – trends and tradition, business and leisure are united here.
Maximilianstraße is one of a kind in Germany. Nowhere else are culture, lei­­sure and business so close together.

A variety of cultural venues such as the Bavarian State Opera, the Res­i­den­z­thea­­ter and Kammerspiele theatres and sev­eral museums within walking distance determine the social ambience and cos­­mopolitan image of Max­i­mil­ian­straße.
During the day, shopping is the predominant activity, as luxury shops and fancy designer boutiques are lined up side by side. At noon, streams of business people leave their prominently sit­­uated offices to have a quick lunch.

That relaxed and warm atmosphere typ­­ical of Bavaria is not noticeable be­­fore the evening. Then shop owners and clerks socialize with white collar people to chill out and spend what is left of the day in one of the cosy bars or cafes.


Today Maximilianstraße is considered to be the most glamorous street in Munich.

Upmarket retailers and service providers line Maximilianstraße to display life­­style in its truest sense. From art to culture to culinary delights and fashion – only the very best of everything.
Maximilianstraße is known far beyond Munich for its unique shopping atmosphere. For tourists to Munich, pottering about Maximilianstraße is a must. The jewel among Munich’s shopping streets has a royal start at Residenzstraße and it ends in a stately environment at Maximilian Bridge.

The Maximilianhöfe shopping mall adds another highlight to the glamour of Max­­imilianstraße, again enhancing its at­­trac­­tiveness and cosmopolitan ap­­peal. Famous fashion designers and re­­nowned companies are eager to set up a shop or rent offices at Max­i­mil­ianhöfe.
Galleries, theatres, the Bavarian State Opera and the most elegant fashion, jew­­ellery and accessory shops of the city are concentrated here.


This is what makes Munich one of the most expensive cities in Germany and gives it that very special flair. Nowhere else are there so many rich and beautiful people and such an amount of “dolce vita” to be found, and this is why the mil­­lion-resident metropolis is called “Mo­­na­­co di Bavaria” in Italian. In addition, more than six million overnight stays make Munich, the third-largest city in Germany, one of the most popular destinations for city trips in Europe. Since in Munich, despite its 1.3 million inhabitants, people find it easy to feel at home and orientate themselves, the city is sometimes referred to as “village of a million people”. This homeliness is also reflected in the daily urban life. There is always time for a cup of coffee or a little talk.

The listed lobby of the Hotel Vier Jah­reszeiten, which is sometimes lovingly called “Munich’s most beautiful living room”, is a very popular place to meet for a cup of tea in the afternoon, both among guests and among local citizens.

Over the past two years, the management has invested almost 18 million euros in the hotel to make the rooms and suites shine in new splendour. The old master paintings from the Pina­ko­thek gallery are particular eye-catchers in the rooms.

Munich is and will continue to be a city for “repeat offenders”. If you have ever been there, you will not be able to re­­sist the magical attraction of the “me­­tro­po­­lis with a heart”, which is a per­­­fect place for business and leisure alike.

kaminski-2The author started his career at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten as an apprentice and bellboy in 1975, learning the hotel busi­­ness from the bottom up. Af­­ter various stints in Germany, Hungary, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, he has been managing the long-established Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten since 2006.