Tel: 49 89 59 99 40
For a hotel located a block from the city's central train station, the Anna offers distinctively clean, modern lines a distinct cut above its neighbors. And for a lower-midpriced place, the facilities are ace: The 73 rooms have cable TV, Wi-Fi, AC, and minibars—free minibars—plus groovy black granite and chrome bathrooms with windows. Also free is a buffet breakfast and use of the nearby posh Hotel Königshof's gym and spa. Rooms are soundproofed, but nevertheless street noise and, worse, bar noise from the Anna Bar—popular with both locals and tourists—can prove a problem. Then again, if a fashionable in-house bar sounds appealing, that could be a plus. There's also a sushi restaurant.
Tel: 49 89 212 00
Okay, so the Vier Jahreszeiten has pulled in some royals in its time, but the even more venerable Bayerischer Hof wins the celeb face-off hands down. Built by architect Friedrich von Gärtner in 1841 so that King Ludwig I (not the mad one) had somewhere nice for his guests to stay, it was bought 56 years later by the Volkhardt family, whose fourth generation still owns and runs it today (after rebuilding it post–World War II and adding the historic Palais Montgelas next door). Now it has 395 rooms, interior-designed to photo-shoot readiness in five distinct styles. Some are the handiwork of architects (subtle textural ones by Siegward Graf Pilati and more opulent South Beach-y ones by Hans Minarik); others are interpretations of African Colonial or romantic country house themes; yet others, by Laura Ashley designs, are rather hysterically Anglophile, with clashing florals, plaids, and saturated color. There are also fabulous suites for the aforementioned celebs (a random sampling: Cher, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingrid Bergman, Muhammad Ali, Luciano Pavarotti, Franz Kafka, Christian Dior, Sigmund Freud, Sophia Loren, and the Beatles). Throw in three restaurants and the rooftop Blue Spa and it is clear this place can't miss.
Tel: 49 89 544 555 0
A striking change from the Baroque grandeur of central Munich, the newly built Charles looks like a sculpted white seashell set on the edge of the Old Botanical Gardens. Although it has 160 rooms and a sleek contemporary design, it's a friendly place that channels the cozy inn-keeping style of Central Europe while at the same time offering au courant amenities such as a small but excellent spa and gym. There's also Davvero, a very good Italian restaurant. Large, plush rooms are done up with thick camel-colored carpeting, cream walls, moss-green cut-velvet armchairs and tweed sofas, and sixties-style geometric-motif throw pillows. French doors open onto a balcony with wrought iron railings and superb views of the city, lighting is intelligently controlled by bedside switches, and bathrooms have deep tubs and walk-in showers, as well as heated floors and towel racks. Though it's clearly aiming at an upmarket business clientele, the Charles pulls off the signature Rocco Forte Hotels feat of being equally appealing to leisure travelers.
Tel: 49 89 242 249 0
Friendly minimalism: The Cortiina is the choice for the budget-conscious aesthete. Situated on a busy back street a few blocks from Marienplatz, the city's commercial and nightlife center, the hotel features a pared-down design scheme that's heavy on stone and wood. Staff is young and friendly, but don't expect porters to come running for your luggage. The 39 rooms are exercises in selective luxury: rain showers and Kiehl's products in the bathrooms, while bedrooms feature flat-screen TVs and little else. However, the look is both chic and soothing, with parquet floors and taupe fabric-covered walls. A few niggles are built into the design, including a hinged partition between shower and bedroom (a glass shower wall stays in place) that is hard to open or shut. There's also a definite absence of inspiring views. But the breakfast is well selected, with quality bread, yogurt, cold meat, and cheese, helping the hotel live up to the boutique ideal of stylish, comfortable accommodation on a budget.
Tel: 49 89 543 350
The Hauzenberger family has been running this hotel since 1955, developing a significant fan club along the way. Don't expect a flash full-service joint; it's more akin to a B&B with exceptionally friendly staff whom you'll get to know—like it or not. The 31 rooms in the handsome Art Nouveau building are varied in size, with some extra-large "family" ones as well as petite singles, but they're all quiet—unless, of course, it's Oktoberfest. Decor is haphazard and rather charming in a tasteless-auntie's-house way, with a mix of midcentury and 1970s-'80s items, floral drapes, and carpets in that shade of blue you only ever see in unrenovated hotels. However, they've embarked on a slow overhaul of their rooms (a few every year), so it's worth asking for one of their recently refurbished ones when booking. To extend the eccentric retro theme, you can upgrade your bed to a waterbed for a small surcharge. All rooms have spotless private bathrooms, cable TV, modem or Wi-Fi, and minibar—from which, if you correctly guess the house's age, you get a free drink! A great big German breakfast buffet is included, as is free coffee and (short) Internet access in the lounge. As for location, it's about a ten-minute walk to the U-Bahn or you can borrow bikes or park a car for free.
Tel: 49 89 212 527 00
From its opening in 1852, this 304-room grand on Maximilianstrasse vied with the Bayerischer Hof for the status of default Munich lodging for visiting heads of state and royalty (the King of Siam once brought 1,320 suitcases here). Such history can't be replicated, and there is a certain gravitas to the gleaming dark wood, black marble, and mirrors of the lobby. Unfortunately, though, the big German Kempinski chain (nothing to do with Four Seasons, despite the hotel's name) has done its best to override this with corporate-looking brocades and carpet. And in the rooms, they've tragically installed a scarlet-orange-gold color scheme, way too much varnished teak furniture, and dorm-room-worthy Picasso reproductions. In short, this really is a business hotel, a centrally located and very well run one. An indoor pool with a swim-against current, limited spa services, a sauna, and bar are on the roof, and there's the Vue Maximilian , the requisite grand-hotel restaurant. But the soul is not quite functioning anymore.
Tel: 49 89 411 190 8 0
The Munich-based restaurateur and hotelier Rudi Kull recently pulled off a coup: He opened the first five-star design hotel directly on the Viktualienmarkt, the bustling age-old market in Munich's historic heart. And like Cortiina, Kull's first hotel and an insider favorite, the Louis Hotel is designed with a chic modern alpine appeal: floors and tables of oiled local wood, doors with woven rattan detailing, and a big natural stone fireplace in the lobby. The 72 white-walled, wood-floored rooms feel both fresh and timeless and feature smart little details: The TV and minibar are hidden away in a fabric-covered armoire that resembles an old-fashioned trunk; some of the bathrooms have closable windows that look into the bedroom and beyond to the sky; and a narrow wooden table works as a desk as well as an urban picnic table. Emiko, the hotel's modern Japanese restaurant, is getting as much buzz as the hotel and is a popular local haunt.
Tel: 49 89 290 980
This snow-white neo-Renaissance town house near Maximilianstrasse and the Hofbräuhaus is straining to be the most luxe thing in Bavaria—and it may be succeeding. Wherever you look there's one more amenity than is necessary: marble bathrooms with Molton Brown goodies; heated floors, and towel racks; a butler to pack and unpack your bags; Wi-Fi and three phone lines; a bedsheet "menu" with silk quilts; and minibars that are free. Everyone gets fruit, newpapers, and shoe shines (a dying tradition), and kids get toys. The smallest of the 72 rooms is around 330 square feet, and many junior suites have terraces. They're all in a subtle neutral palette primarily using light browns, with a Biedermeier-ish vibe. The rooftop pool, with bar, makes up for the lack of a spa, and there's a serious restaurant, Marks.