Today (July 1, 2015): Review of the Mandarin Oriental Munich (Germany).
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Mandarin Oriental Munich
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Tucked away in a quiet side street, Mandarin Oriental Munich offers an enticing mix of Oriental style, German charm and internationally renowned service. With 73 beautiful rooms and suites, acclaimed restaurants and a stunning rooftop, Mandarin Oriental Munich aims to delight in this city known for its annual beer and sausage Oktoberfest. Bust despite the luxurious setting of this hotel, I was confronted with a double disappointment during my stay.
Have you ever stayed at this hotel? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my slideshow & Youtube clip):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The hotel enjoys a central but quiet location in the heart of the Bavarian capital’s Old Town. It’s only a 5 minute stroll to Munich’s historic Marienplatz (where you can connect to the subway system) and a 35-minute drive to the airport.
- The hotel is housed in a beautiful historic Neo-Renaissance building. The latter was originally constructed in 1880 and served as the city’s opera house, before being converted to a hotel in 1990 and eventually being purchased by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in 2000.
- The hotel is managed by the legendary Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, one of the most exclusive luxury hotel brands in the world, providing 21st century luxury with oriental charm in each of its hotels.
- The hotel has 73 spacious rooms & suites (they are in the process of expanding their property and adding new rooms). Rooms on the top floors come with views over the city’s iconic rooftops or nearby Hofbräuhaus beer gardens. All rooms & suites are generously sized and are designed with an East-meets-West aesthetic. I stayed in a ‘Superior Junior Suite’, which featured high ceilings, heated parquet floors, an elegant open plan design with a soothing cream and brown colour palette, a large marble-clad bathroom (with Molton Brown amenities) and a spacious walk-in closet.
- The minibar is complimentary, which is a nice touch. In addition, there was a huge welcome fruit platter in the room upon arrival, which was replenished daily with different fruits.
- The stunning rooftop pool is open during the warm summer months and enjoys phenomenal 360 degree views over Munich with the Alps as a backdrop. Heated to a comfortable temperature, you can take a leisurely dip or do laps to stay in shape.
- Some years, during the colder months, the rooftop is transformed into a winter playground, with a cozy alpine chalet, where you can warm up with classic Bavarian cuisine served by staff wearing traditional clothes.
- As you would expect from a hotel of this caliber, the service is superb and impeccable. Both management and staff will go that extra mile and offer assistance beyond their professional requirement to make your stay is as enjoyable as possible.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The Mandarin Oriental Munich is without any doubt one of the most luxurious hotel in the Bavarian capital. However, it’s not perfect (yet) and my stay was affected by several major issues:
- Initially, I had booked a stay for September 2014, but when I was on my way to the airport to catch my flight to Munich, I was contacted over the phone by the hotel’s management to inform me that the hotel was overbooked, and that I could not be accommodated at the hotel that night. They offered me an alternate hotel, which I declined (since the whole purpose of my trip to Munich was to stay at the Mandarin Oriental), after which they refunded my (prepaid) hotel stay and offered me a 2 night voucher for a future trip. While very disappointed by this event (which I did not expect from the Mandarin Oriental brand), I felt somewhat relieved that I found out about this before my Munich trip (and not during check-in at the hotel). The hotel management was very apologetic about the ordeal.
- In December 2014, I decided to give it a second chance and I used my voucher for a stay in March 2015. But while I was upgraded to a suite and received a bottle of Champagne upon arrival (which was a nice gesture), the luxury experience was spoiled by the fact that the hotel was undergoing a major renovation: the grand lobby, restaurants and rooftop were all closed, while they moved the reception and breakfast area to a couple of joined rooms. I am still clueless as to why I was not informed about this when I made the booking through the hotel 3 months before, although they were aware at that time of the upcoming renovation works (the hotel only mentioned the renovation process for the first time in a reply to my email that I sent a few days before my stay to remind them of my arrival). A second great disappointment!
- Rooms are spacious and come with all modern amenities you may think of, but the overall room and bathroom decor has a somewhat dated look. The good news is that hotel will refurbish its rooms once the renovations of the lobby and restaurants are finished.
- WiFi is only complimentary when you book a published rate on the official Mandarin Oriental website or when you book a suite. Otherwise, you will be charged for WiFi (18 euros for 24 hours).
- Breakfast buffet was very limited, although this probably was a direct consequence of the renovations (since the breakfast area was set up in 3 adjoining, small rooms).
It takes many good impressions to undo a bad first impression. But unfortunately, the hotel did not succeed to turn around my initial bad experience with them, despite the fact that I am a huge fan and supporter of the Mandarin Oriental brand (I recently enjoyed a superb stay at their Shanghai property). I was disappointed a first time when the hotel bumped me, and a second time when I did not live the full Mandarin Oriental experience (which the hotel could have easily avoided by informing me upfront of the renovations and advising me to postpone my visit). IMHO, during a renovation of this magnitude in a property of a world-known luxury hotel brand, it would have been more appropriate to close the hotel or substantially lower the room rates. Having said that, in autumn 2015, the renovations will be finished and you will be able to experience the newly designed lobby, bar as well as the brand new Matsuhisa Munich restaurant by renowned Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 5/10 (due to renovations)
- Rooms: 6/10
- Food (breakfast): 6/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: mediocre: 6.8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at Mandarin Oriental Munich when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, free WiFi, and $100 USD food & beverage credit). You need to log in or register (for free) to view and book these Virtuoso perks.
- Save money: book your room with an additional 10% off making use of a Best Rate Guarantee.
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Mandarin Oriental Munich.
- Room tip: request a high floor for the best views.
- Book your stay through the hotel website to enjoy complimentary WiFi.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Munich is spring, before the summer’s peak season starts, with often sunny albeit cool days. In the summertime you can opt for a light sweater for Munich’s slightly chilly evenings, which is ideal biergarten weather. The city’s main event is the annual beer and sausage Oktoberfest that attracts millions of visitors who want to party (but take a coat for those cool and sometimes rainy days). Winter, except for the holiday months of December and January, comprise low season, but is ideal for a ski excursion to the nearby Alps.
HOW TO GET THERE
Munich can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane, the airport is a 35-minute cab ride from the hotel (traffic dependent) or a 40 minute by subway to Marienplatz, followed by a 5 minute stroll. Check the Wikipedia page of Munich International Airport for the lasted updates on airlines that offer direct flights to the Bavarian capital.