When the well-loved Hotel Raphael, which opened its doors in 1990, joined the Mandarin Oriental chain last June, many feared that its perfect blend of traditional Bavarian Gemütlichkeit and worldly modern comforts would be lost. But the worries were unfounded. Housed in a neo-Renaissance building with a white turret at its center and situated near the legendary Hofbräuhaus in the old town, the Mandarin Oriental Munich still provides an intimate atmosphere. The spacious hallways, sweeping staircases, and cathedral ceilings on the second through fourth floors—all with touches of lavender and muted yellows—convey the feeling of a stately home more than that of a hotel.
The decor of the 73 rooms—all with complimentary minibar, heated bathroom floors and mirrors, and heavenly cotton-satin sheets—is similar, but almost every layout is unique. Two to keep in mind: 604, a junior suite with views of the Bavarian Parliament from the bathtub; and 704, a suite with a turret that offers a spectacular panorama of the city.
A sophisticated afternoon high tea in the lobby transports you back in time. But at Mark's restaurant, one floor up, the 29-year-old chef, Holger Stromberg, cooks dishes of the future—crêpinette of venison and spring chicken on parsley purée with truffle dumplings, ravioli of goose liver with sweet corn and black pudding, and an artful lobster terrine. Stromberg, who partially trained at the Michelin three-star Le Crocodile in Strasbourg, is currently president of the Jungen Wilden (Young Wild Ones), a collaboration of 20 German chefs who've been gaining a reputation for daring cuisine. A few dishes were too complicated, and some flavors seemed mismatched, but most worked magic on the palate.
Rooms: $285-$1,110. Dinner: $60. Neuturmstrasse 1, Munich 80331, Germany; 49-89-290-980; fax 49-89-222-539; www.mandarinoriental.com.
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