The chaos of the last year meant there was a long list of luxury hotel and villa launches that never got the love they deserved, but with some sort of end now finally in sight and the prospect of pan-European travel becoming more realistic, The Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich warrants a second look.
A new type of accommodation offering from Hong Kong-based The Langham Hotels & Resorts, the property is an exclusive-use residence embedded in the centre of the 490-acre imperial estate of Nymphenburg Palace and adjacent to the still-active Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. Originally an 18th-century manor house, the 9,000sq ft building was meticulously renovated over two years and today features seven bathrooms, four bedrooms, three living rooms, a dining room and kitchen, fitness centre, conference suite, home cinema and wine cellar.
Muted though its debut last year was, the residence’s arrival in some ways couldn’t be better timed given the increased interest the pandemic has directed towards exclusive-use properties. Says Langham Hospitality Group CEO Stefan Leser: “The residence will provide the services and amenities of a luxury hotel stay with the personalised touches of a private home. Our guests will have ample space, privacy and exclusivity, alongside the full complement of The Langham signature services in a beautiful regal setting”.
Should they wish to remain sealed up in situ, guests will have a retinue of Langham assistants made available to them and might enjoy dinner parties centred around the 12-person dining table or cocktails in their landscaped gardens. Rooms are kitted out with Sonos music systems and Sennheiser audio systems, and decorated with original handmade pieces from Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. More generally, Munich-based interior design firm Mang Mauritz Design has made sure every space looks appropriately posh, put-together and pretty – which are adjectives that could just as easily be used to describe Munich itself, Germany’s most well-to-do (and somewhat conservative) city. Illuminating the staircase, wall fixtures are shaped to resemble blooming flowers; silk carpets are by Jan Kath, one room is decorated with vintage birdcages, each populated with dainty porcelain birds.
Still, undoubtedly the property’s most impressive selling point is its setting and the opportunities for exploration provided therein. From the dining table, guests look directly upon the main palace and in every direction they can admire glimpses of one of Bavaria’s grandest attractions.
While staying in the Axel Vervoordt-designed penthouse suite at the city centre’s Bayerischer Hof Munich hotel a few years back, I made a day trip to the palace, memorably sidestepping ice skaters as I walked to the building upon a frozen canal, and was wowed by its ornate beauty as I ambled from one cavernous room to another. Its gardens and grounds are vast and ribboned by streams and cascades. Fascinating ancillary buildings include its Mastall Museum, crammed with gilded ceremonial sleighs and horse-drawn carriages.
In ordinary times, there’s plenty to see and plenty of people who want to see it – the palace receives hundreds of thousands of visitors in a regular year – but The Langham Nymphenburg Residence guests will be able to sidestep the scrum. Instead they can avail of private visits to Nymphenburg Castle and private tours of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, while the creatively inclined will be offered the opportunity to practise Majolica pottery painting in private workshops and in warmer weather it will be possible to float along the Nymphenburg Canal aboard a private gondola.
It’s a proposition that calls to mind another major European opening that was also impacted by the pandemic: Airelles Chateau de Versailles, Le Grand Controle had been due to open as a 14-key hotel within the grounds of Versailles When the property finally opens in June, its guests will also be able to enjoy private tours of the palace. They’ll additionally enjoy direct access to the Orangery, Lake of the Swiss Guard and French gardens, and will have the opportunity to sail Versailles’ 1,670-metre-long Grand Canal, glass of champagne in hand.
Another property worth knowing about for parties who want an exceptionally grand European exclusive-use residence with all the services and amenities of a hotel is Lake Como’s Villa Sola Cabiati, managed by the team at the nearby Grand Hotel Tremezzo. One of the most remarkable properties in which I have ever stayed, the 16th-century waterfront mansion is of immense architectural importance, strewn with heirlooms and antiques, and awash with impressive aesthetic accoutrements.
The Langham Nymphenburg Residence, Munich sleeps eight guests and costs from €35,000 per night.