The ideal blend of Bavarian hospitality and cosmopolitan city chic, Munich was voted the world’s most liveable city in 2007 and it’s easy to see why. Pedestrianised streets, an efficient subway system and multitudinous cycle lanes give cars a wide berth in the city centre in favour of feet and wheels; colourful markets entice with rainbow displays of fresh produce and tickle taste buds with aromas of Weisswurst and Knödle; hipsters, students and office workers enjoy al fresco lunches on the steps of ancient monuments , watched over by alabaster lions and beer halls and everywhere you look, history sits cheek by jowl with modernity.
Sitting at one of the tables outside the Hotel Torbrau’s Schapeau restaurant, there’s a regular wave of applause from beneath the Isartor medieval gate opposite. This weekend is the start to an ‘art in the streets’ festival and an enterprising pop-up bar has laid a crimson strip of carpet, lit it with rows of spotlights and called itself The Red Carpet. Everyone who enters is greeted like a top model on the runway. Sitting here, I’ve got a perfect front row seat for the spectacle yet I’m just a few strides from the privacy, space and comfort of my room. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad metaphor for the Hotel Torbrau and Munich.
Buzz Trips view
The Hotel Torbrau is a stylish, comfortable and warmly welcoming hotel, splendidly situated for exploring the heart of this lively city and manages to cater seamlessly for business, tourist and beer festival goers. Despite its impeccable pedigree as the city centre’s oldest hotel, a constant buzz of activity gives the place a hip feel which, combined with its contemporary décor, laid back style and brilliant staff who make it their business to remember every room number for every guest, create the perfect city base and somewhere you really don’t want to leave.
Originally built at the end of the 15th century and extensively rebuilt following bombing during WW2, the hotel now combines clean, contemporary lines and free wifi with plush carpets, period furniture and heavy drapes to provide a warm and inviting environment. We had a double deluxe room with masses of wardrobe space; a large desk and enough sockets to keep even the most avid social media junkie happy; oodles of floor space and a generous-sized en-suite. As well as fast and free wifi in the room, there was complimentary mineral water, a practice I wish more hotels would adopt and one that more than compensated for the lack of a mini bar.
The Hotel Torbrau has a number of single rooms which are ideal for business or solo travellers, and are a better economic option than paying a single supplement on a double room. Our room overlooked a small courtyard which is popular with smoking guests and if you’re one of them, you should request a room on the 2nd floor for easy access to it.
The hotel lobby is bright and sleek, a lot like the staff who run it who make life incredibly easy for guests. Room keys are ready as soon as you enter the lobby, advice and information is thorough and they even did our online check-in for us (thank you, Andreas, we did get the whole row to ourselves 😉 ), all of it accompanied by genuine smiley faces. The lounges and sitting areas remain in keeping with the hotel’s classic style, with wood panelling, comfy chairs and thick carpets. Don’t miss the quirky little museum set into a recess on the first floor landing. Too small and low a space to use for anything functional, the museum recreates living conditions in what the hotel would presumably have looked like when it first opened its doors in 1490. Completely authentic…right down to the plastic daisy in the serving wench’s hair.
Breakfast is served in the bright and airy dining room on the first floor with views over the busy street below, and combines a self service buffet with waiter service orders for hot meals and drinks. There’s a very good selection of fresh fruits, cereals, cheeses, cold meats, juices, cakes and breads and the coffee is good (poor hotel coffee is one of my pet hates).
A fusion of Italian and Bavarian menus, the Schapeau Restaurant is sited next door to the lobby and is a popular hangout for locals, pretty much throughout the day. Perfectly placed at the entrance to the Alstadt, the pavement tables are a great people-watching spot and the menu serves a tasty selection of snacks and full meals as well as cocktails, coffees, wines and naturally, beers.
Hotel Torbrau; +49 (0)89 24 234-0; double room with breakfast from €215, deluxe from €310, single from €162.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+