Located on a verdant, tree-lined suburban street, the only thing that distinguishes the Schlosshotel from the other mansions in the neighborhood is a small sign lit subtly in white lights. Not surprisingly, it started out as a private residence. Walther von Pannwitz, the original owner, was a personal advisor to the Kaiser Wilhelm and as fervent a patriot as he was an art collector and attorney. Designer Karl Lagerfeld's renovation, in turn, is reverently Bavarian. Great glass chandeliers hang from the ceilings, plush red rugs cover the floors, and pop-eyed Prussian heroes stare out at you from the walls. Nevertheless, it is neither gaudy nor intimidating, even though there is more gold-leaf in this one hotel than in the rest of the city. In fact, it's kind of cozy.
An Audi picks you up at the airport, which is good, because most cab drivers have problems finding the address. A staff member-dressed in Lagerfeld-greets you at the door with a glass of champagne. Once inside, there's something for everyone; from business travelers to the poodle-toting fashionistas who follow Mr Lagerfeld around the globe. Executives dig the dual-line phones, fax machines and relatively painless computer hook-up. The fashion set dig the spa that offers facial peels and staff on call 24/7. For the rest of us, there's a gym, small, basic, and functional; a wonderful, indoor-heated pool; and an unpretentious restaurant. Rooms are on the small side but the beds are massive and soft with elaborate Georgian headboards. The most warming spot in the house-in both the literal and the figurative sense-is by the 17th-century fireplace in the bar.
The Schlosshotel began life as a home it still feels like one. Well, in many ways, it still is a home - for one person, at least. Lagerfeld has his own suite, which is available, when he's not in town, for anyone with two thousand dollars to blow. And despite the formidable fittings-hand-painted walls, Lagerfeld's personal furniture, and a teal-tiled bathroom-it radiates snugness. Refreshing, isn't it, to know that even the man-with-a-fan needs a comfy pad to call his own.
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