by Lisa Grimaldi | December 01, 2004

MunichFairy-tale setting:
The Alps make
a dramatic backdrop
for Munich.

This colorful city in Bavaria is synonymous with Oktoberfest, the exuberant autumn celebration of music, beer, pretzels and wurst. But visitors from outside Germany might not know Munich hosts other celebrations, such as fasching (the country’s pre-Lent version of Mardi Gras) and the December Christmas fair.
    Munich also is home to many of Germany’s leading corporations, such as BMW, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG and Siemens. It is an arts capital, too, with 68 museums and three orchestras with renowned conductors: the Munich Philharmonic, led by James Levine; the Symphonic Orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corp., conducted by Lorin Maazel, and the Bavarian State Orchestra, directed by Zubin Mehta.

Hotel news
Two important properties debuted in the past two years: the 381-room Le Méridien Munich, offering 10 meeting rooms, and the 643-room Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel Munich, which has 21 meeting rooms.
    Munich’s six properties under the Astron flag are now NH hotels: the 253-room NH München Neue Messe, 236-room NH München-Airport, 222-room NH München-Dornach am MCC, 174-room NH München Deutscher Kaiser, 161-room NH Apartments München and 80-room NH München/Unterhaching.
    Two properties under the Dorint flag have opened in the past year. The 307-room Dorint Novotel München City, near the Deutsches Museum and Marienplatz downtown, has a fitness center and five meeting rooms. The 278-room Dorint Novotel München Messe has seven meeting rooms.
    The most recent debut was the 396-room Bayerpost Munich Dorint Sofitel. The property, which opened in September, has 20 meeting rooms and a fitness center.
    This month, the landmark Hotel Bayerischer will unveil its spa. The 13,000-square-foot, three-story facility was designed by Andrée Putman.
    As for coming attractions, Rocco Forte Hotels plans to build an $87.1 million, five-star property in Lenbach Garten, near the Botanical Gardens; opening is set for spring 2007. The hotel will have 160 guest rooms and eight meeting rooms, including a ballroom, plus a fitness center and a spa.

Meeting facilities
The main conference venue is ICM, or the International Congress Center Munich, which opened in 1998 with 19 meeting rooms and 86,400 square feet of exhibit space. The facility is part of the sprawling New Munich Trade Fair Center, which offers 1,836,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Venue update
One of Munich’s legendary beer halls, the Paulaner am Nockherberg, has reopened following a renovation. The venue, which has an adjacent beer garden, accommodates up to 2,000 people.
    Three halls of the city’s old trade fairgrounds, which are now classified as historical monuments, have been transformed into a branch of the Deutsches Museum dedicated to transportation. An on-site meeting room accommodates up to 100 seated.
    Another new museum, Pinakothek of the Modern, showcases contemporary art. The facility has several areas  an auditorium, a conservatory and a rotunda that can be booked for meetings and events. Private group tours of various collections can be arranged.