WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Rocco Forte’s the Charles Hotel, which opened in October 2007 and is a five-star new-build property, is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, one of more than 450 member properties in 80 destinations worldwide. The Rocco Forte Collection consists of 11 luxury hotels across Europe, with five new hotels set to open in the next two years in Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Marrakech, Prague and Sicily. The interior of the Charles is smart and features huge, glossy technicolour photos, flock wallpaper and splashes of retro-patterned upholstery. The building is shaped like a squashed oval, with most rooms looking on to the gardens in front and the corridors facing an inner courtyard.
WHERE IS IT?
On Sophienstrasse (look out for the giant O-shaped sculpture on the corner which marks the turning), opposite the Old Botanical Garden. It is eight minutes’ walk to Marienplatz in the centre of the Old Town, and from Munich’s Franz-Josef-Strauss airport it’s a 30-minute drive.
Bedrooms feature contemporary neutral décor with large abstract prints on the walls. My Classic King room (the lowest category) came with a large workdesk, a wall-mounted flatscreen TV (as part of the evening turn-down service this was switched to a channel showing a life-like fire), cherry wood bench, sofa and coffee table, a minibar, and a bookcase complete with Everyman’s Library editions of works by the likes of Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann.
Other amenities included a safe, umbrella, two free bottles of San Pellegrino water, and wired internet access (get a voucher from reception – it costs €10 for one hour or €20 for 24 hours). Although my bed was made up of two separate mattresses it was comfortable, and I was glad I could open the windows for some fresh air. Bathrooms have heated limestone floors (although it got a bit too hot in places), a bidet, a separate bath and walk-in rainshower, Rocco Forte-branded toiletries, robes, electric scales and a hairdryer. There was also a painting of a nude man (in some rooms it’s a woman) on one wall. Apparently, some guests find this offensive and request to have it covered up, so you have been warned.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
To the right of reception is the 130-seat Davvero restaurant, which is where a high-quality buffet/á la carte breakfast is served from 6.30-10.30am during the week (7am-2pm on weekends). You can also get lunch here from 12-2.30pm and dinner from 6-11pm. In the summer, French doors open on to a terrace, while inside, wooden floors, velvet banquette seating and high ceilings make for an elegant, stylish environment. Although it is an excellent Italian eatery, there are also some Bavarian specialities on the menu, including white sausages with sweet mustard, pretzels and wheat beer for breakfast. The lobby bar, open until 1am on weekdays, is a cosy venue with brown leather armchairs and curved, rose-coloured sofas.
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES
There are seven meeting rooms accommodating from 12 to 65 people, as well as a 300 sqm ballroom that can be divided into three. All but two meeting rooms have natural light and all come with state-of-the-art technology. There is a private dining room adjacent to the restaurant on the ground floor, and a small business centre with two PCs and a printer.
The Charles Spa on the lower ground floor is open from 6.30am-10pm. From the windows in reception you can catch a glimpse of the 15-metre pool. Treatments are available on request and a well-equipped gym with mirrored walls and TV screens, a sauna and steam room are free to use. If you prefer running outdoors, there are jogging maps in reception.
A classy, unpretentious five-star hotel that has positioned itself as one of the most expensive in Munich. Its understated luxury provided the standards expected from a Leading Hotel of the World. The concierge team was helpful and the restaurant excellent.
HOW MANY ROOMS?
There are 160 bedrooms, including 131 Classic/Deluxe King rooms (40 sqm), 12 Executive suites (73 sqm), nine Junior suites (48 sqm), four Classic suites (67 sqm), one Deluxe Junior suite (53 sqm), two Deluxe suites (92 sqm) and one Presidential suite (180 sqm).
The books were a nice touch and although I wouldn’t have had time to read them they inspired me to buy a couple. The big windows facing the park, the tasteful décor and the spacious bathroom were all plus points.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in March started from €445 for a Classic King room.
The Charles Hotel, Sophienstrasse 28; tel +49 89 544 5550; lhw.com