Discreetly and quietly tucked away in the middle of Munich Old Town, the Mandarin Oriental is surrounded by key cultural, luxury shopping and tourist spots. With a romantic history as the city’s 1880’s Neo-Renaissance ballroom dancing venue where partners often met, the Mandarin Oriental took over the high-ceilinged structure in the early 2000s. In 2016, with the help of interior design FG Stijl firm and dpa lighting consultants, the city’s smallest 5-star hotel – which hasn’t stopped it from winning numerous accolades including Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rating 2018 (the only hotel in Germany) and Condé Nast Traveler US Reader’s Choice Awards 2015 – revamped its interiors to embody Asian influences and Central European flair. With warm cherry woods, golden oriental carpet floorings and wall accents, and Neo-Biedermeier style furnishings, the atmosphere is reminiscent of its urban home but with a distinctly comforting and sophisticated tone.
The property is dramatic in its take on modern-meets-history, effortlessly fusing Bavarian elegance with Asian refinement. The focal point sweeping curved staircase is visible from the lobby lounge accented with hits of green and purple and a rotating display of carefully curated contemporary artworks by the likes of Ellen von Unwerth, Roger Fritz or Sarice Brudet and Temorscha Zoltani. The artworks are smartly chosen and placed, complementing the architecture and bringing the hotel into the present through works that speak to the contemporary tastes of today rather than blending into the backdrop. The two-month exhibition schedule also ups visual interest for repeat guests, as well as allowing those who wish to purchase them to do so.
At the foot of the staircase is the sleek, sexy Insta-worthy independently run Ory Bar with a striking golden fan ceiling feature, velvet seating and buckets of bubbles that slides right into the property’s distinct F&B vibe. Ascend the stairs to find Matsuhisa, an ambiently lit, dark wood restaurant by award-winning Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, the man behind Nobu. As the hotel’s primary dining outlet, it serves a satisfying buffet-cum-served breakfast with self-serve bubbles in the morning (Munich is the highest bubble-consuming city in Germany), lunch, and come evening, turns a bustling foodie hotspot. Serving New Japanese-Peruvian cuisine marked predominantly by the inclusion of heat from Latin America are signature dishes such as Miso Black Cod, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno and a Ponzu dressing, and Crispy Shrimp wrapped in Kadifi with creamy wasabi sauce. The tastefully plated dishes exhibit a restrained, skilled hand – apparent in the expert flavor balancing of the simple Spinach Salad with truffle and dry miso, the just-right cultural fusion of the Kagoshima Wagyu Beef tacos, or the Deconstructed Yuzu Cheesecake.
It is clear why Matsuhisa’s izakaya-style dining and seductive atmosphere has such a strong pull, but under culinary director and Michelin Chef Caspar Bork, Mandarin Oriental Munich has another F&B delight. The Rooftop Terrace, open during the summer, is a well-kept secret for al fresco dining. With spectacular 360 views of the cityscape and Alps, it is a true rarity: Bavarian law dictates no building can exceed the height of the church and the Mandarin Oriental is one of the tallest in the city. The bar-lounge features Asian and Mediterranean touches in the styling as well as the menu, which includes grilled avocado and spicy lobster salad.
The rooms and suites – of which the property boasts an unusual ratio of 48:25 – are spacious, luxurious and clean-lined, blending boutique chic with classicism. With parquet flooring, city vistas, rich fabrics and bespoke furnishings, vibrant Asian touches appear in artworks by Hong Kong artist Wong Kee Chee and citrusy amenities by Shanghai Tang – although the suites feature Diptyque. The interiors boast a cream, taupe, brown and salmon palette that is impressively warm despite the expansiveness of the 325sqm Grand Presidential Suite through to the 33sqm Superior rooms. Each exudes a stylish residential feel seamlessly permeated with 5-star touches such as King size beds dressed in French Porthault linens, walk in closets, floor-heated Estramoz marble bathrooms, complimentary mini bars, Bang & Olufsen or Samsung 890 TVs in the bed and bathrooms, as well as in-room yoga mats. For those in the Presidential Suite – which comes with a private wrap-around balcony, separate kitchen and bar, and potential to add on up to five extra bedrooms – there is access to two hotel cars which the guests are free to drive at their leisure.
Luxe comfort resonates throughout – discoverable in every facet of the hotel, from the subtle, elegant and charming dining team to the compact fitness and wellness area featuring a TechnoGym, Kinesis Wall, Turkish steam bath and Finnish Sauna. It is a property made to feel like an elevated home away from home – but better. With tact and class from the staff, it seems no request is too large – the tales discerned from a quick chat or two with any of the smiling team show that they are ready to take that extra step and find that innovative solution. If you urgently need a picture frame on a all-shops-closed Sunday, they will find one; if you’re off to Prague next, they’ll provide a Prague city guide. Mandarin Oriental Munich is a classically luxurious feel-good, self-care escape worthy of many a return.