Country Hotel Profile: Schloss Berg

Formerly known as the Park und Strand, the newly-christened Hotel-Restaurant Schloss Berg (not in, but named after, the castle) is a relaxing, beautifully situated hideaway, about a 25-minute drive from Munich.

The property, once two hotels, consists of two main buildings on several acres of prime property directly on the eastern shore of the Starnbergersee, below the village of Berg.

In addition to some newly redecorated guestrooms, the lakeside building houses a large restaurant with an outdoor component that consists of a sprawling, multilevel deck/terrace on the lake.

Actually, there are two restaurants, one is more formal with fine linen and glassware and the other is a rustic Bavarian Stube with plenty of rough wood trim. Both offer the same menu and lake views.

Most main courses are in the 20 DM to 27 DM ($12-$16) range. Fried filet of pike-perch in a Riesling sauce with vegetables and rice is 26.50 DM ($15.77) and a quarter of crispy baked duckling with red cabbage and potato dumpling is 19.50 ($11.61).

A room we particularly like in this building is Number 66, a large, corner double decorated in a fresh, contemporary style with separate sitting area and three big windows opening to the lake. It has a comfortable couch and spacious, fully-tiled bathroom. The dollar-guaranteed price for 1997 is $130, less a 10% discount for Gemütlichkeit readers $117.

The Schloss Berg's second building, formerly the Park Hotel, is on a slight rise, perhaps 50 yards from the lakeside. It, too, has lake views but the decor is more typical of the region.

Breakfast for all guests is here in a pretty room with wide windows that look out over the Starnbergersee. Just outside is an inviting terrace for summer mornings.

Guestroom decor is Bavarian country. Room Number 16, a huge double, has a substantial balcony and lake views through expansive windows. The price for Gemütlichkeit readers is $170, less 10% or $153.

There is plenty to keep guests occupied at Schloss Berg. The hotel lends bicycles to guests at no charge, and there are many places to ride, the most popular route being south along the lake past the hundreds of homes where wealthy Müncheners spend their summers.

From May through mid-October, triple-decked lake steamers stop regularly at the hotel to take passengers across the lake to Starnberg for a day of shopping or on a complete three-hour tour of the lake. The full circuit is about $12; a one-stop ride is about $4.

And, of course, the lake is there for swimming and sailing. As a former member of the German Olympic sailing team, owner Eric Hirt, has a keen interest in boating and his hotel can arrange for guests to rent a variety of boats.

Munich is an easy trip via S-Bahn #6, which leaves at 20-minute intervals from the town of Starnberg and stops at the Marienplatz in the center of Munich some 30 minutes later. The fare is about $3, unless one has a rail pass or a Munich Card, in which case the ride is free. The hotel meets guests at the train station in Starnberg, provided arrangements are made in advance.

For those seeking a sanctuary outside the city, but still want easy access to it, the Schloss Berg is a fine choice.

Hotel-Restaurant Schloss Berg, Seestrasse 17, D-82335 Berg, tel 08151/963-0, fax 08151/963-52. Singles $100, doubles $130 and deluxe rooms $170. To obtain the 10% discount on the hotels guaranteed-in-dollar rates, phone 561-833-1251 or fax 561-835-9421.

Rating: Quality 14/20, Value 16/20

May 1997