The stakes could not have been higher for the opening of the Rosewood Munich. Not only is it a much-watched hotel project in one of the city’s grandest buildings (the former Bavarian State Bank), it is also the Germany debut for Rosewood, the Hong Kong–based hospitality brand, and the first luxury property to open in the city since 2007. In short: this year’s most-anticipated arrival. Now, barely a month after the official opening, the first visitors as well as an enthusiastic local scene have already embraced the hotel as a decided game-changer in the Bavarian capital, with interiors that expertly toe the line between very elegant and very cozy; a fantastic spa and buzzy restaurant; and 132 rooms, suites and so-called “houses” (signature suites) that are tricked out with above-and-beyond amenities.
The combination of a former state bank building plus another historic edifice could have resulted in an overly masculine, cold architecture, but in the capable hands of Munich-based architectural firm Hilmer Sattler and London–based interior magicians Tara Bernerd & Partners, the whole thing has been transformed into something rather extraordinary. The original grandeur has not been lost: the façade is all-Rococo pomp and the entrance’s marble staircase splits dramatically beneath a ceiling fresco depicting Bavaria (the state’s allegorical patron). But already the lobby that has been conceived as an oversized living room underlines the sense that this hotel, while respectful of history, has no intention of giving up a modern aesthetic and vibe.
Rosewood’s tagline – “a sense of place” – can sometimes sound a little generic (after all, which hotel group would claim they are in pursuit of the opposite?) But here, Munich and its state of Bavaria shows up in so many details, both small and large, that a stay can become a veritable mini-treasure hunt of local lore. The curated contemporary art collection is multi-medium and cool, including works by Kristiane Semar, a Munich artist, who creates bold portraits, and Olaf Hajek, a renowned German-based illustrator. Ceramics throughout, meanwhile, hail from the historic artisan workshop at the Nymphenburg Palace. The whimsical book selection (present everywhere, including in the restaurant) offer a far-reaching regional deep-dive, with topics ranging from Alpine chic and the history of the dirndl to Thomas Mann and Richard Strauss. Even the wooden board games in the rooms hail from Kustermann, one of the city’s most unique shops (think a mash-up between an old-school hardware store and Bergdorf Goodman’s tabletop department).
Guest rooms are spread across five floors, with the largest signature suites (that remind of generously sized city apartments) on the top floor. Thanks to the merging of several buildings, all accommodations are slightly different in layout, which makes them feel more personal. Lovers of soaring ceilings will be happiest on the lower floors, while the romance of slanted roofs with exposed beams are found on the top. Like the common spaces, rooms are stylish and deeply comfortable, with a mix of wood, stone and carpeting, King-sized beds with many pillow options, custom-built furniture with a retro-Art Deco vibe, and pendant light fixtures that make for a softly moody ambience (though by no means dark).
If the devil is in the details, here it it can only be described as a traveler’s angel: the amenities kit in the bathroom includes nail-clippers, razors and toothbrushes. The hairdryers are Dyson, complete with so many accessories that you’re half-tempted to try out a brand-new hairstyle. Beautifully inlaid boxes contain every conceivable convertor for devices, while bedside tables include wireless charging trays (sleek leather, of course) and delicate gilded platters for depositing jewelry. A particularly stylish touch are the mini-bars housed in the bottom drawer of a custom armoire that also holds a Nespresso maker and, in the higher-category rooms, a selection of pre-mixed cocktails.
One thing to note: this is not the hotel for sweeping city views, even though the König Maximilian “house” (one of the signature suite-apartments) comes with a terrace that looks onto Kardinal-Faulhaber street, with its assembly of historic palais, and onward to the onion domes of the Frauenkirche. Most of the guestrooms and suites, however, overlook two internal courtyards, which further imbues a sense of being tucked away, even though you’re truly staying in the center of the action. The Rosewood is within walking distance to all the major sights and museums, as well as to many recommended restaurants, bars and cafés. (Read: Upon Arrival: Munich’s Altstadt)
A word of advice: even if you have an ambitious sightseeing program, build in some downtime sur-place. There’s the understated, 13,000+ square-foot Asaya Spa, with six treatment rooms, including a wellness suite, a small indoor pool, two saunas, a steam room, and a gym with the latest Technogym equipment. One of the beauty partners is local cult-brand Dr. Barbara Sturm. Then, after a treatment, have lunch or dinner at the Cuvilliés restaurant, whose name hides yet another local factoid: the 17th-century architect masterminded the building’s façade. The restaurant (and also, colorful-cool Bar Montez) were designed by Munich-based interior designer Caroline Dippold whose studio has masterminded some of the city's most original and beautiful restaurant, bars, exhibitions spaces and boutiques. Cuvilliés describes itself as an “Alpine-inspired brasserie,” which mostly means travelers looking for hearty Bavarian cuisine as well as those craving a lighter touch will be equally happy here (also: portions are somewhat on the modest side, so even that spinach-dumpling of Wiener Schnitzel does not have to overwhelm).
Most cozy is having a tea or glass of wine in front of the stone-clad fireplace at the entrance of the winter garden, claiming a seat at the sleek Bar Montez, which will also be a venue for live music, or, if you’re lucky, scoring the code for the tiny speakeasy hidden behind a door that looks like a wardrobe.
In the coming years, Rosewood has ambitious plans for a slew of European hotels, including the re-openings of the iconic Bauer Venice and Schloss Fuschl, near Salzburg (both projected for 2024), followed by properties in Milan and Rome. If they are all as thoughtfully designed and executed as this special newcomer in Munich, then the hotel-fanatic traveler has a lot to look forward to indeed.
Related: Upon Arrival: Munich’s Altstadt
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