My absolute favorite hotel in the cosmopolitan city with a heart is the Mandarin Oriental Munich. This house shines in all facets: Centrally located in the center of Munich, the rooms and suites offer extremely comfortable attention to detail. The service is always warm, the food is delicious, the culture pays homage to the tradition of the international hotel chain Mandarin – without neglecting the local characteristics. Everything is simply at the highest level, just like the sisters and brothers in the selection of German luxury hotels.
But in times of pandemic, I can feel very clearly: the hospitality industry is changing. Munich’s hotel landscape is being redesigned. Fresh hotel players are entering the market, the old top dogs must now assert themselves against young, lively concepts or even quietly capitulate.
The hotel industry in Munich has been in this process of change for a long time. This is how the traditional Hotel Königshof am Stachus changed hands. The house will no longer exist in this form. In 2023, a new type of property will come here – perhaps a new milestone in the hotel industry? Bayerischer Hof and Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski will try to assert their position, although the newly created Rosewood Hotel in the unique inner city location will be on equal footing from the start in one to two years. At least! The hotel brand is known as one of the best in the world and is therefore probably more on a par with Mandarin Oriental.
Hotels like Sofitel in Munich will get it even harder in the future. Accor now operates world-class hotels under excellent brands; keep an eye out for Raffles or Fairmont. If you are interested in design, then look to Mama Shelter, Delano or Mondrian. Munich’s Sofitel does not belong in this category. In the end, luxury is always about everything.
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Design gem in the center of Munich: Louis Hotel
There are exciting hotels, which were previously hidden in the shadow of the big players, and which now finally throw the veil of mediocrity. The design hotel Louis on Viktualienmarkt certainly breaks new ground with its orientation. Maybe even past the big players? The location overlooking probably Germany’s most famous delicatessen, Viktualienmarkt, is excellent and the decor inside is special.
Until now, the house has been run by stage restaurateur Rudi Kull, who plays a key role in shaping Munich’s gastronomy. After some years, he decided to sell the hotel to the company Atlantic from Bremen. The house fortunes are now in luxury-tested, professional hands. The company owns, among other things, Severins Resort & Spa on Sylt, is building another branch of the same name on Tegernsee and is now closing an interesting niche in Munich with the Louis Hotel.
The Frauenkirche with its two towers, the extensive English garden, the Oktoberfest (you may still remember) and of course the delights of the Viktualienmarkt are the landmarks of the southern German city at the foot of the Alps. Owning a hotel and / or restaurant near one of these landmarks automatically attracts the attention of travelers and visitors, right? I admit that the Louis Hotel has so far lived in the shadow of the mandarins on my city agenda. So I am so much the happier to have experienced this jewel on Viktualienmarkt myself.
I arrive in Munich in my car at half past four in the morning. The streets are snowy, it’s cold. I am tired of the long drive and will spend the remaining time before my meetings as quietly as possible. Hopefully the check-in process does not take that long. Fortunately, these thoughts are completely unnecessary. Adarm, the night boss from Turkey, is already waiting for me with a warm and bright smile. “Welcome, I’ve been waiting for you. Just leave your car, I’ll take care of your car and bring your luggage directly to your room.”
Carsten K. Rath discovers a niche hotel as a design gem in the center of Munich
This greeting sounds like soothing music to my ears. This is exactly the service I was hoping for. Everything is prepared, I do not need ten seconds to check in. I show my vaccination card and, as if by magic, I am taken to my room. As if Adarm can read my mind, we postpone the scanning of personal information and credit cards until later, when I’m rested. I did not even have to ask for it.
I later learn that this exceptional service experience was not a one-hit marvel, but is lived across all levels of the Hotel Louis. Almost as if the trip had become acquainted with Asian traditions. My first impression was so surprisingly confirmed: General Manager Mike Fuchs worked for Mandarin Oriental for many years. The hotel has been changed, the Asian attention to detail has remained and is now passed on to all staff.
It separates an excellent manager from mediocrity, at least I experience great dedication on the Viktualienmarkt. Distinctive craftsmanship is also reflected in the loving design of the individual rooms. Lots of wood and warm colors give a very comfortable feeling. Almost like coming home.
The Louis Grillroom restaurant offers cozy places to end the day. In summer you can enjoy the view of Viktualienmarkt from the terrace, but the windows also offer an excellent view of the bustle indoors. The focus is on grilled food, or rather on bonfires. Vegetables of all kinds, vegan dishes, fish and of course meat get their delicious barbecue taste here.
On my first evening, I decide on a composition of different types of vegetables and am amazed at the delicate taste and intensity of the flavor. Nevertheless, my personal dinner recommendation is a bit more meaty: Cauliflower with bacon. Solid home cooking at a high level.
Conclusion: Munich is diverse
The Hotel Louis gives the motto “small but mighty” a luxurious touch and can certainly serve as a new benchmark for design and boutique hotels in the center of Munich. Another jewel that exudes the charm of a private residence, a private luxury apartment in a central location, is the Geisel Hotel, which is managed by Nikolai Bloyed as the group’s CEO. This hotel is also moving into an exciting hotel niche, although due to its size it does not offer all services. I will continue to look for special hotels for you in the charming Bavarian town. For one thing is certain: Munich is moving.
The Louis Hotel is not yet included in the rankings of “The 101 Best Hotels in Germany”. Will it be among the top addresses in the German hotel industry in 2022? My impression: yes. At the end of November, here in Handelsblatt, you will find out if my impression has become a reality.
About the author: As a former major hotel owner and operator of a travel platform, Carsten K. Rath is a professional globetrotter. He travels to all the hotels he writes about for Handelsblatt at his own expense. Rath is the mastermind behind the ranking of the “101 best hotels in Germany”, whose partners include Handelsblatt.
More: Ranking “The 101 best hotels in Germany” – Four Seasons Hamburg and Schloss Elmau together at the top.