The Charles Hotel, Munich, Germany – Hotel Review
The Charles Hotel is different. Unlike the typical luxury hotels of Europe, it is new construction (opened in 2007). Its cool white stone exterior nonetheless blends in with its surroundings, such as the 19th-century Justizpalast and the almost secret Alter Botanischer Garten (Old Botanical Garden).
This neo-classical hotel was built as a monument to Italian-born Charles Forte, who became one of England’s greatest hoteliers. I arrived at the Charles after a delay-laden 48 hour trip from New York and the hotel’s muted elegance was both calming and reassuring.
WHERE IS IT?
The Charles’ location gives a secluded feel yet it’s in the heart of the city. The hotel is just five minutes by foot from the Hauptbahnhof, three minutes from a U-Bahn station, and perhaps a mere six minutes from one of the world’s greatest art collections, namely the holdings of three museums, the Alte Pinakothek,, the Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne. It’s also near Lenbachhaus, the former home of Franz von Lenbach, home to the German Expressionists (although it is presently closed until mid-2012 for an extensive renovation). Main shopping streets such as the Briennerstraße and Maximilianstraße, not to mention the Bavarian State Opera, are also nearby.
Upon entering the hotel, you sense a kind of low-key discretion. Everything is luxurious, but not loudly so. The colors in the rooms and hallways are elegant and muted. Some of Lenbach’s paintings are on view in the hotel’s public areas. Despite its 160 rooms, the hotel has an intimate feel. Many rooms have views of the Botanical Garden.
With subdued lighting, the spacious and contemporary rooms are incredibly relaxing, something that simply can’t be said for many hotel rooms. The bed was super comfortable as was the small couch in the room. Bottles of fresh pear and apple juice, along side fresh and dried pears and apples, were on the coffee table as a welcome gift.
The large bathroom was finished in Bavarian limestone and the overnight shoeshine was perfect.
Guests have access to the Spa and Wellness Club, which features a 15-meter swimming pool, sauna, steam room, and five treatment rooms. The gym has a nice assortment of new equipment and it’s open from 6:30 through 22:00.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
There was plenty of elbow room to work, the desk chair was comfortable, and the lighting was good. Internet access was super fast and supported video without a problem. Rocco Forte Hotels offers Easy Connect, which provides in-room broadband and WLAN in public areas.
Upon arrival, I ordered Weißwurst for a late supper. Room service forgot to along send any cutlery but I was too hungry to wait so I made do. The Weißwurst, however, were perfect. The room service attendant brought several bottles of delicious fresh apple juice to make amends when he picked up my tray.
Breakfast in the Davvero restaurant was excellent (Davvero becomes an Italian restaurant for lunch and dinner).
The hotel staff was eager to assist in any way possible. The concierge arranged for my luggage to be repaired (under warranty) with a turnaround time of a few hours. The Charles was a tranquil oasis during my stay and that alone makes me want to return.
(Photos: Accura Media Group)