A gracious, modern stay in Munich
48 Rooms / 25 Suites
The stately Mandarin Oriental, Munich has led something of a varied existence, though its fantastic neo-Renaissance façade has survived intact. Its first owner, Johann Kilian Stützel, was also its architect, and when it was finally completed in 1800, the building opened as the Centralsäle in glorious fashion with a packed masked ball.
The Centralsäle quickly became one of Germany’s premier locations for dancing due to its impressive ballroom. It has hosted controversial theater plays, housed a Bavarian battalion during the first World War; it was converted into a wool factory, then an antique business, before coming under a Bavarian state preservation order in the 1980s.
Part of the Mandarin Oriental group since 2000, extensive renovations to the lobby in 2015 brought in a lighter, more modern feel — the re-creation of the renowned 1897 August Endell-designed Jugendstil relief above the curving central stairs is a joy.
Bar 31 is now a real focus of attention, with woods offset by a marble bar, and huge windows ensure it is a bright space during the day. In the evening, clever lighting provides the right atmosphere for themed nights and top-notch smaller meals.
The luxury hotel’s China Moon Rooftop Terrace provides some of Munich’s best views of the historic cityscape. On clear days, the Alps appear to be within touching distance and the rooftop’s 360-degree panorama allows vistas of the twin towers of the Frauenkirche, plus the Altstadt’s oldest church, St Peter’s. In fact, the whole scene is only improved by the rooftop’s guest-only swimming pool and an expertly made alfresco cocktail. Stay for a moonlit dinner and dine on a mix of Asian, Mediterranean and Arabic fare.
With 48 rooms and 25 suites, the Munich hotel leans more towards boutique status than large international chain, but that doesn’t mean you miss out on any of the luxury amenities Mandarin Oriental is known for.
Each room has a warm, modern feel and subtle Asian influences — sink into the plush cream, browns and golds of the room, which offset stellar city views. Rooms range in size from 355 to 538 square feet, while the suites start with the 549-square-foot Superior Junior Suites and head through a host of others up to the 969-square-foot Tower Suite. The latter are unique spaces that have circular sitting rooms surrounded by curved windows and decked out in original Chinese artworks and artifacts.
The Presidential Suite is 1,292 square feet and include Swarovski crystal chandeliers and valuable Asian art, including 6th-century Tang-era artifacts, a kitchen, dining area, a master bedroom, Bang & Olufsen TV and media system, a master suite with a steam room, and a butler service, if requested. The top-of-the-line, 3,498-square-foot Grand Presidential Suite provides all of the aforementioned amenities and services, plus five additional bedrooms.
For newcomers to Munich, overnighting in the center of the city is a must, which means staying as close to the historic Altstadt neighborhood as possible. Nearby beer gardens and Wirtshäuser — pub restaurants that often house cavernous beer cellars — attract millions of visitors every year.
Though more likely to be packed with tourists than locals nowadays, the world’s most famous is the Hofbräuhaus and it is situated just feet from the Mandarin Oriental. Indeed, some of its rooms provide a perfect view of the old beer hall itself.
Created by renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Matsuhisa Munich focuses on Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, delightfully revolving around seafood, including a traditional sushi bar. Anticucho Peruvian-style tofu steak, scallops with spicy garlic or wasabi pepper sauce, and grilled beef fillet with teriyaki sauce highlight the thoughtfully innovative menu, the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere in this city.
The adjacent Bar 31 serves cocktails that range from classics to international to Asian-inspired drinks.