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Hotel review: Mandarin Oriental Munich (Germany)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (July 1, 2015): Review of the Mandarin Oriental Munich (Germany).

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.

Mandarin Oriental Munich features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most spectacular rooftop pools and Europe’s best hotel rooftops.

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

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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 Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in 2000.
  • 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 spoiled by two major and some minor 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 Champagn upon arrival (which was a nice gesture), the luxury experience was spoiled by the fact that the hotel was (and still is) 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.


MY VERDICT
  • 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 GUEST & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Mandarin Oriental Munich (and receive many free perks).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
  • Request a high floor for the best views.
  • Book your stay through the hotel website to enjoy complimentary WiFi.

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.


HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

FRUIT PLATTER IN ROOM

FRUIT PLATTER IN ROOM

BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE IN ROOM

BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE IN ROOM

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

VIEW FROM SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

VIEW FROM SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

VIEW FROM SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

VIEW FROM SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE

BATHROOM

BATHROOM

BATHROOM AMENITIES

BATHROOM AMENITIES

BATHROOM

BATHROOM

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE AT NIGHT

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE AT NIGHT

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE AT NIGHT

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE AT NIGHT

CHOCOLATES IN ROOM

CHOCOLATES IN ROOM

TURNDOWN SERVICE

TURNDOWN SERVICE

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE AT NIGHT

SUPERIOR JUNIOR SUITE AT NIGHT

VIEWS FROM THE HOTEL'S ROOFTOP

VIEWS FROM THE HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

VIEWS FROM THE HOTEL'S ROOFTOP

VIEWS FROM THE HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

VIEWS FROM THE HOTEL'S ROOFTOP

VIEWS FROM THE HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

BREAKFAST AREA (DURING RENOVATION)

BREAKFAST AREA (DURING RENOVATION)

BREAKFAST AREA (DURING RENOVATION)

BREAKFAST AREA (DURING RENOVATION)

BREAKFAST AREA (DURING RENOVATION)

BREAKFAST AREA (DURING RENOVATION)

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

MANDARIN ORIENTAL MUNICH, GERMANY

MANDARIN ORIENTAL MUNICH, GERMANY

TOWER ROOM

TOWER ROOM

TERRACE VIEW

TERRACE VIEW

SUMMER ROOFTOP DINING

SUMMER ROOFTOP DINING

ROOFTOP SWIMMING POOL

ROOFTOP SWIMMING POOL

GRAND PRESIDENTIAL SUITE

GRAND PRESIDENTIAL SUITE

EXECUTIVE ROOM

EXECUTIVE ROOM


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4 Comments on Hotel review: Mandarin Oriental Munich (Germany)

  1. Sorry you were disappointed with your stay. We had 2 stays in February 2014 and both were superb – obviously we were not bumped and there was no renovation going on. My SO was sick during one of the visits and the who;e staff went above and beyond in making sure that was made comfortable. Wonderful service for us. Hope you can return with better results

    Like

  2. Cynthia OBrien // July 2, 2015 at 3:06 am // Reply

    Hi there just wanted to say how much I LOVE your posts and advice! Extremely helpful and always welcome to get your emails! You have truly helped me plan my trips! You all should open a travel agency! You are ROCK stars! Thank you!

    Cynthia

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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