Sofitel Munich Bayerpost, review: Contemporary chic in a historic setting

THE LOCATION

Hard to beat, especially if you're arriving or departing by train from Germany's third biggest and arguably most-loved major city. Sofitel Munich Bayerpost, after all, is next door to the sprawling main railway station, Munchen Hauptbahnhof. International rail services to Austria and Italy arrive and depart from this important terminal, making the hotel exceptionally convenient if you're travelling onto other Eurozone countries. Many of Munich's major attractions, and the splendid city centre itself, are also within easy walking distance in this pedestrian friendly city.

THE SPACE

The 396-room, eight-storey hotel is, as its name suggests, built inside a vast former post office.  The Sofitel Munich Bayerpost's classic Wilhelmina-period facade, from its days as a Royal Bavarian post office, conceals a striking contemporary interior. The public spaces of the hotel, both externally and internally, are beautifully and moodily lit at night.

THE ROOM

The contemporary design of the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost's public areas extends to its rooms, with my snug 27-square-metre "luxury room" very much boutique-cum-design hotel in style. It's jam-packed (perhaps a little too much so for its size) with features such as a workspace, iPod station, Nespresso machine and a natural stone bathroom with rain shower, all enclosed with sliding, and slightly clanking, frosted glass doors. When the bathroom is not in use, the doors to it can be slid opened to give the room a more spacious feel. Due to its location, boxed between a railway station and its concourse as well as bland inner-city office blocks, this can be a hotel where the beauty lies within. My room looks out onto a small narrow atrium with the doors of other rooms on the opposite side.

THE FOOD

In Munich for just one night, having travelled from Hamburg en route to Venice, I waste no time heading out of the hotel to experience the city, ending up at one of the many historic and huge beer halls for dinner (a Munich must). If you're eating in at Sofitel Munich Bayerpost there is DELICE La Brasserie, serving French cuisine in keeping with the Sofitel brand's Gallic heritage as well as the somewhat tucked-away Restaurant Schwartz & Weiz for breakfast. Elsewhere is Isabar, a swish drinking hole with its own patio area for the warmer months.

STEPPING OUT

One of Europe's showpiece cities, Munich, for any visitor, offers a wealth of urban experiences and cultural activities. The magnificent Karlzplatz, or Stachus, is a short stroll from the hotel while further on is Marienplatz, the captivating city centre with its plethora of historical buildings, department stores, restaurants, beer halls and markets. Close to the hotel, too, is Englicher Garten, one of the world's largest inner-city parks. If you're in town long enough, consider a guided tour of Munich's 1972 Olympic Park, which includes one of the most architecturally impressive Games stadiums with its unique tent-like roof structure.

THE VERDICT

If you don't mind staying in a marginally less desirable part of town, you'll enjoy both the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost's architectural elegance, tasteful, and at times daring, adaptive reuse and its convenience to both the main railway station and the city's myriad attractions.

ESSENTIALS

Doubles start from €182. Bayerstrasse 12, Munich. See sofitel.com/Munich

HIGHLIGHT

The successful mix of old and new in the hotel's adaptive reuse design.

LOWLIGHT

The area around the hotel can be a tad on the seedy side, especially at night, though it doesn't feel threatening.

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Anthony Dennis was a guest of Accor Hotels (accorhotels.com), Railbookers (railbookers.co.uk) and Qantas (qantas.com).

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