Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, Munich $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
From its opening in 1852, this 304-room grand on Maximilianstrasse vied with the Bayerischer Hof for the status of default Munich lodging for visiting heads of state and royalty (the King of Siam once brought 1,320 suitcases here). Such history can't be replicated, and there is a certain gravitas to the gleaming dark wood, black marble, and mirrors of the lobby. Unfortunately, though, the big German Kempinski chain (nothing to do with Four Seasons, despite the hotel's name) has done its best to override this with corporate-looking brocades and carpet. And in the rooms, they've tragically installed a scarlet-orange-gold color scheme, way too much varnished teak furniture, and dorm-room-worthy Picasso reproductions. In short, this really is a business hotel, a centrally located and very well run one. An indoor pool with a swim-against current, limited spa services, a sauna, and bar are on the roof, and there's the Vue Maximilian , the requisite grand-hotel restaurant. But the soul is not quite functioning anymore.