Dating back to 1880, this Neo-Renaissance property has always been an upmarket destination and originally housed the city’s ballroom. It’s been a hotel since 1990 and was taken over by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in 2000. The entire ground floor and first floor were refurbished two years ago.
Where is it?
In the heart of Munich’s old town (altstadt), very conveniently located for shopping with swish Maximilianstrasse and its boutiques and designer stores a couple of minutes to the north. Marienplatz (the central square) is just a five-minute walk, while Munich International airport is a 30-minute drive.
What’s it like?
Its corner location lends itself to some extravagant architecture, with a wedding cake-like turret conjuring a fairytale Bavarian appearance. Doormen are warm, welcoming and professional. Heavy doors lead into a light, open lobby with plush gold-flecked carpet, white walls and a grand sweeping staircase, which one can envision ballgown clad beauties gliding down. The look is classic but with hints of modernity, such as the simple lines of the extravagant tapering pillar in front of the staircase – glamour of the refined, sophisticated sort. Art deco-style upholstered furniture is widely spaced with sofas providing incentive to linger here. The décor references Munich’s vernacular style, but there are also Far Eastern flourishes in the artwork and accessories, such as the temple lions dotted throughout the interior.
The concierge desk seems to be able to offer assistance with anything, from sorting out tours of the city to charging phones (they have chargers for every make) and helping with flight cancellations – all services I availed myself of during my stay. And staff have an uncanny knack of somehow making guests feel special yet at home.
There are 48 guest rooms and 25 suites, each with a distinct look, though all are on a theme of East-meets-West. Accommodation varies in size from the Superior Rooms, which range from 33-35 sqm, to the 325 sqm Grand Presidential Suite. I was in a Mandarin Room, 40-50 sqm. Each room has a different layout. In my case, the door opened into a spacious entrance area, from which the bathroom and the rest of the room led off. The bedroom has parquet flooring and oriental rugs in warm neutrals, with cherrywood Neo-Biedermeier-style furniture. The king-size bed has a down comforter and crisp linen, and was voluptuously comfortable – when I rested my head on the plump pillows my face was almost entirely enveloped as it sank into its downy embrace (a nicer experience than it sounds). The bedside tables feature a drawer with controls for all of the lighting and a room service switch.
A sofa and coffee table – on which a bowl of fruit is placed each day, as well as cutlery to eat it (I never did get to grips with how to eat an apple with a fork) – sit opposite a sideboard with Bang & Olufsen flatscreen TV and a Nespresso machine on top. The complimentary mini bar offers a selection of beers, mineral water, with snacks in the adjacent cupboard. My only complaint, and a very British one at that, is that tea is notable in its absence, as is a kettle.
Storage, meanwhile, is notable in its generosity, with a capacious walk-in wardrobe offering a place for everything. Also in the closet space is a yoga mat, should you be itching to keep your downward dog posture up to scratch. I wasn’t…
The work desk is large, with plug sockets and universal plug converter. There is a tablet from which you can find local information and order breakfast etc. Wifi speed is fast and each room has a mobile phone so that you won’t miss calls to your room.
My bathroom is clad in pink marble and features a vanity unit, walk-in shower, bath with handshower, and separate toilet and bidet with its own door. The floor is heated – wonderful after a day traipsing Munich’s chilly winter streets. Toiletries are from Shanghai Tang and you won’t have to worry if you’ve forgotten anything as there are razors, toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as an Egyptian cotton bathrobe.
I found the turndown service at night extremely comforting. My MO slippers were placed beside my bed on their own little sheet, the staff had noted whether I’d been drinking sparkling or still water and put the corresponding type next to my bed, my pyjamas were neatly folded and there was a flower on the pillow.
Food and drink
There are four food and drink options. The dining highlight is Matsuhisa on the first floor, from the renowned chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa (of Nobu fame), which serves excellent Japanese-Peruvian fusion – including the famous black cod. The sleek interior has a hint of decadence that comes into its own of an evening, thanks to low lighting, and a palette of brown and gold, with plenty of luxurious natural materials, including stone, leather and wood. Although the atmosphere in the evening is buzzing, tables are well spaced, ensuring privacy in conversation. Solo diners might plump to eat at the bar at the open kitchen and goggle at the dexterity of the chefs.
This is also where the extensive breakfast spread is served. It’s not included in the room rate but should you splash out on it, it will negate the need to eat for the rest of the day. There is a buffet of several types of pastry, continental meats and cheeses, olives etc, cereals, fresh fruit (exotic and not), a range of milks, plus an a la carte selection of hot dishes.
The main bar in winter is the ground floor Bar 31. It’s open in the evenings with snacks served and good cocktails, as they should be at these prices. The Lounge in the lobby also serves food and drinks throughout the day. It’s a nice place to take a coffee or afternoon tea, or just relax.
In summer (May to September), the rooftop bar opens – when I visited in snowy March it was off limits. Guest can dine al fresco up here on an eclectic menu of Asian, Mediterranean and Arabic classics, or sip a cocktail while drinking up the 360 views of the city.
There are three meeting rooms offering space for up to 150 guests, with internet and wifi and equipment of all kinds at an extra charge. Events can be catered and a complete office set up is available in rooms. There is also a business centre in the lobby, with computer, printer and fax.
In the summer months the rooftop pool (open to in-house guests only) is open. There is a small fitness centre (not busy during my visit), with a Turkish steam bath and sauna.
Mandarin Oriental Munich’s relatively small scale means that there is a friendly, personalised, boutique feel despite its luxury levels. Staff endeavour to make guests feel entirely looked after, and they are extremely knowledgeable about the city. Facilities are good, décor is elegant yet homely and the entire experience is one of comfort and ease. Excellent bar and restaurant offerings add to the overall sense that it would be quite easy to ignore the charms of the city outside and simple enjoy the brief respite from not having to worry about anything at all.
- Best for Staff that go the extra mile and superlative levels of comfort.
- Don’t miss The rooftop bar in summer and delicious Japanese-Peruvian food from the stable of superstar chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
- Price From €600 a night for a Superior Room with queen bed.
- Contact Neuturnmstrasse 1, 80331, Munich, Germany; +49 89 290 890; Mandarinoriental.com