A charming stay amid Munich's gardens
The Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel is one of the most prestigious new-build properties in Munich and has been regarded as such since opening in 2007 as part of a major regeneration project adjacent to the city’s old botanical gardens.
The Rocco Forte-owned hotel curves round the former gardens, now a pleasant city park expanse. The renovation of the area has transformed the look and feel from what was — for Munich, at least — a slightly insalubrious quarter to a smart, well-kept and attractive location. From here you can reach much of the city’s best sites in minutes, including historic Königsplatz square.
Because it is a new build, designers purposely created the largest average room size in the city. The hotel has a spa, swimming pool and very good restaurant and bar.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• Though a new piece of architecture, the inspiration for the design of The Charles Hotel owes much to the grand hotels of the Côte d‘Azur. Elegant and refined, it is light-filled and spacious.
• The Munich hotel is at the gateway to the city’s museum district. Lenbachhaus, home to a major permanent exhibition of the hugely important Blue Rider artist group, is six or seven minutes away. Further world-class art museums are within 10 minutes by foot.
• Some rooms look out over the old botanical gardens with a wonderful vista that combines greenery and the Munich cityscape. Just beyond here is the 19th-century Justice Building, across from Karlsplatz Stachus, which is the opening to huge shopping areas and the heart of the Altstadt.
What to Know
• Convenience is a major perk at the city hotel. It takes a single S-Bahn ride of 40 to 50 minutes from Munich airport to the nearby main station. Once checked in, the Altstadt is 10 minutes by foot and a couple of minutes by S-Bahn. The main station is a great starting point to easily transport you to just about anywhere in Munich and even the Alps.
• All rooms are soundproofed, necessary because there are major roads in the direction of the main station, plus trams and the general hustle and bustle of city life.
• Every weekend, there is a kids club where a childcare professional conducts a slew of activities. There is also a miniature set of step ladders leading to the lobby registration area where kids can fill out their own details, helping to make them feel included in the excitement of arrival. Rooms have both bathrobes and slippers for children.
• A total of 24 rooms of the 160 are suites, which are all situated on the wings of the luxury hotel. The best is the top-floor Royal Suite Montforte — it has a sundeck overlooking the city gardens, a Bechstein grand piano, an open-living plan and a luxurious bathroom complete with a steam bath and rain shower.
• Standard rooms are a minimum of 430 square feet, and are filled with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. They have bathrooms with walk-in showers, tubs, separate toilets and bidets.
• An understated stylishness pervades the décor in all rooms, many of which have French balconies. All have limestone bathrooms with heated floors.
• Reflecting its botanical gardens location, the hotel carries the theme of botany as a gentle leitmotif throughout, from the spa to the restaurant to the rooms.
• Executive chef Michael Hüsken took over The Charles’ restaurant space in 2015 and opened Sophia’s Restaurant & Bar anew. Italy and Asia are major inspirations for his culinary creations, which are entwined with Bavarian flavors, locally sourced.
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served amid the backdrop of huge floor-to-ceiling windows and the parkland behind.
• The Late Riser Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. on weekends, which means a full buffet plus eggs Benedict to order, for example, until 2 p.m.
• The food is fresh and imaginative and seasonal — a winter salad might consist of radicchio, lamb’s lettuce, pear, blue cheese and walnuts, while a main course could be venison with black salsify and corn bread.