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Home to Oktoberfest, the Bavarian capital of Munich is also at the heart and soul of what travelers tend to conjure when picturing Germany. One example is lederhosen: the traditional leather shorts that the destination is known for. And that’s one of the first things I noticed when I entered the lobby at the brand-new Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor.
Set in Schwabing — a neighborhood that was once the Bohemian center of the city, home to artists and musicians and writers — the hotel has set out to embrace Munich’s creative class, both past and present.
Entering Andaz Munich’s sleek, bright lobby, I took in three things: first, a big, bronze pretzel-shaped sculpture cast by a local foundry and set right at the front door. Doubling as a couch, it’s a nod to the essential food accompaniment to the city’s famously huge, frothy steins of beer. The lobby also features blue skies — projected from electronic panels in a video installation designed to convey the region’s fair firmament (it’s even depicted on the Bavarian flag, in a blue-and-white check pattern). The scenes were captured by cameras set up on the hotel’s roof for several months.
And, last but not least, there’s the lederhosen: a whole wall made of the same leather and copper thread used to create this iconic Oktoberfest garment.
After checking into the property at a small desk that seems to float within the large, open space, I pulled up a seat at the bar. The bar was built underneath 3,000 crystals, which were intended to evoke the era of 1920s cabaret in this neighborhood. Sipping some early afternoon champagne as I waited for my room to be ready, I noticed small groups of young, smartly dressed men and women around me. Munich has become a center for European tech and other startups, and Andaz Munich courts these entrepreneurs and designers with airy spaces in addition to its 2,000 square meters of meeting space.
The 277-room hotel, which opened earlier this year, is also traveler friendly. Accommodations are large and comfortable, with huge windows and a free-flowing design that leads from a leather couch to a bed to an open-concept bathroom, complete with a deep soaking tub and a separate, walk-in shower. Big closets are lit with LED lighting, and several items in the minibar are complimentary.
Over my two-night stay, I spent time in the spa — paddling around in the pool, watching the sun wane over the far-off silhouette of the Alps and enjoying a massage that used local honey in the oil. I had a classic cocktail at the rooftop bar, which is the highest in town and buzzes with stylish locals. It also offers 360-degree views of Munich’s famous spires and domes.
I dined in the hotel, too, which offers several outlets, including The Lonely Broccoli. The property’s signature steakhouse, it serves charcoal- and slow-roasted meats, as well as foraged salads; all feature sauces made from local ingredients.
And like all Andaz hotels, Andaz Munich encourages guests to get outside; for example, a “slow down guide” to the area is placed in every room. The property sits just north of the city’s main attractions, including Marienplatz, Munich’s much-photographed central square. Marienplatz requires a long walk but is also reachable by transit (or car) in about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Englischer Garten, Munich’s massive 1.5-square-mile urban park, is within walking distance.
Relaxed, well-rested and a little hungry, I made my way there on a sunny Sunday. It’s home to one of the city’s best-known beer gardens, so I grabbed a liter of lager and — what else? — a big pretzel, sitting down at a long table near a pond. I was not wearing lederhosen, but the beer was cold, and the pretzel was chewy, salty and delicious. Smaller than the one back in the lobby, for sure — but it did the job just fine.
The DetailsAndaz Munich Schwabinger Torwww.hyatt.com