For me, a European vacation is as much about the food as the history and sightseeing. So when I learned that Munich’s Louis Hotel is literally on the doorstep of the famed Viktualienmarkt — a permanent open-air market with stall after stall of local meats, produce, cheeses, breads and more, plus a delightful biergarten — I was instantly sold.
What fascinated me upon arrival was that the Louis so adeptly blends this slice-of-Bavaria heartiness with a savvy, sophisticated feel that would be right at home in New York or Paris. This is the secret to its appeal for families: It’s elegant enough to feel special for the grown-ups, yet carries an undercurrent of warmth that kids respond to right away.
You couldn’t get more central in Munich if you tried — the Louis sits right in the heart of the Old Town. The Frauenkirche (symbol of the city, with its twin green onion-dome towers), Alter Peter (Munich’s oldest church) and Marienplatz (the main town square), all lie within a few blocks. Sightseeing from this home base is a breeze: Stops for the U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains, the backbones of Munich’s superb public transport system, are a brief walk away.
Despite the surrounding bustle, the hotel is incredibly quiet. Our room looked straight down on the Viktualienmarkt, which stays busy from early morning through late afternoon, and we never heard a peep. Not even the evening street traffic filtered through the windows.
The Louis’ serene, soothing feel begins the moment you step into the lobby, an expanse of open space, neutral colors and crisp, clean lines that create a zenlike sensibility. Even the corridors are infused with a light scent to add an air of instant calm.
The 72 rooms are pristine and deceptively spare, clad in natural wood and stone and outfitted with handmade wooden furnishings. Worldly design notes reveal themselves as guests settle in: caned window panels; upholstered cabinetry that evokes an old-fashioned traveling case; kilim-style rugs. Although there are few frills, the surfaces are of top quality and textiles feel rich to the hand. Thoughtful extras include heated bathroom floors and custom layered lighting.
Room categories vary in size and view (courtyard, Viktualienmarkt or Alter Peter and Frauenkirche) and have either queen or twin beds. An extra bed for kids can be added on request. All of the accommodations feel surprisingly spacious for a hotel in the city center, but for maximum square footage, book the Louis Room, which includes an expansive living area plus double balconies.
Pricing is a bargain for this level of quality and the über-convenient location. Courtyard Superior rooms, the lowest category, start at 159 € per night, and the Louis Room starts at only 289 € per night.
Small niceties elevate the Louis experience for guests of all ages. Kids are welcomed with coloring sheets, colored pencils and a sweet treat; adults will appreciate the onsite sauna and fitness center. I admit to being a stickler for bath amenities, so I was pleased to find plush robes, cozy slippers, ionic hairdryers, a heated mirror and full-size toiletries.
This also is the first hotel I’ve stayed in with an in-room sock and underwear minibar, a lifesaver for the forgetful among us.
As you might expect from a hotel on the fringes of such an excellent food market, dining at the Louis is a highlight. The onsite Emiko Restaurant offers a seasonal, inventive Japanese menu that features Wagyu beef and sushi alongside vegetarian and vegan creations. Dishes are served family-style to allow the entire table to share and sample. All of Bavaria is known for its gemütlichkeit, which translates roughly to good cheer and good company, and despite the sheen of global sophistication, that’s what Emiko is about.
In fine weather, the restaurant’s open-air rooftop terrace is the loveliest spot in the hotel. It serves dinner only, but drinks and nibbles are available from midafternoon onward. Enjoying the late sun and gazing over the red-tiled rooftops at the church spires nearby is the perfect way to end a day of Munich sightseeing, whether you sip an Asian-inspired cocktail or hoist a German-size mug of beer.
We can help! Our Family Vacation Consultants can get quotes and book rooms on your behalf. If you need more in-depth planning, we’ll work with you one-on-one to create a custom itinerary tailored for your family’s needs and interests. Learn more and send us a request at CB! Vacation Consultants.
Editor’s Note: Louis Hotel hosted Ciao Bambino in order for us to review the property. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Lisa Frederick except where noted.
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