So, what are you up to this summer? Going to Germany, right? I mean, with both England and Scotland having qualified for the Uefa 2024 Euros (and with Wales still in with a chance via the play-offs) 14 June to 14 July is surely blocked off in your diary? It certainly is in mine. And with four matches being played in Munich, I know exactly where I plan to be when it comes to kick-off: in Italy’s northernmost city.
Oh, do keep up! That’s what locals and regular visitors call Munich. It’s a fabulous city and, yes, rather Italianate with its cafes, bars, parks and open spaces for promenading. And it’s where hotshot former Hotspur, Harry Kane, the England captain, is now plying his trade to excellent effect, having netted 24 goals in his first 21 games for Bayern Munich.
Having done a recce the other week, I can’t wait to go back and fret not, if footie ain’t your thing (it’s certainly not Mrs Ray’s: she’s got her eye on July’s Munich Opera Festival), there’s much else to do in this bewitching city. And plenty of places to stay, too, with my pick of the pops being the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, despite what Rocco Forte, the Mandarin or the new Rosewood will tell you.
The HBH is slap dab in the middle of town in Promenadeplatz and hard to miss thanks to the six-metre-high aluminium statue of the late 18th-century Bavarian statesman Maximilian von Montgelas outside, next to the bizarre, regularly-tended, tat-laden ‘shrine’ to the late Michael Jackson, who used to stay here (in room 32).
The hotel opened in 1841 (allowing King Ludwig I to wander over for a bath, a facility that the nearby royal apartments lacked) and has been owned by the same family since 1897.