In the quiet residential district of Lehel, Hotel Opera is a stately, palatial building with a relaxed, refined feeling once you get through its doors. Moreover, despite this feeling of being an oasis, you're effectively nestled in a plum location, between the Englischer Garten and the city's Old Town. Service is as stately as the building itself (some guests think staff could do more to be welcoming, although we found them to be very professional).
The street the hotel is on can be accessed through the neo-Renaissance arcades of the Ethnology Museum. But the best insider tip of this hotel has to be its secret river: via a small glass panel in the garden you can see the River Isar running underneath the property. Back in the day, when the building was a deli, the owners used it for fish.
Rooms are decorated in an elegant style—lots of Empire, some art deco; some even have glassed-in balconies. There are no minibars, but guests can order room service around the clock. All rooms are different. For two friends in separate single beds, we like the sloping ceilings and balcony of Room 46; for couples, the romantic canopy bed in Room 45 is lovely.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There's no air-conditioning, which is a surprise at this price.
Some rooms have baths, some showers: It's worth checking when you book--most are quite small.
The hotel's lobby is all white columns and handpainted walls, with plants dotted around adding to the conservatory feel. It's small, but opens out onto the hotel's lovely little courtyard.
That courtyard comes into its own in summer, where guests can enjoy their tasty breakfast in the space decorated with orange and lemon trees. The silver coffee pots are a nice touch. The hotel's restaurant and bar are not on-site - Gandl, a Mediterranean restaurant, is 100m away.
Bar Lehel is around 200m from the hotel, along the Old Town walls, offering international food and then morphing into a happening bar at night, with cocktails and DJs.
The hotel is very central, and almost all sights are within walking distance. There's an U-bahn stop very close by, too.
There's good Italian food--particularly pizza--at the very close by Salotto (1-minute walk). Or splurge for dinner at the Kempinski's swanky one-Michelin star Schwarzreiter (6-minute walk).
Abandon refinement for an evening and embrace tradition at the legendary three-floor Bavarian beerhall, Hofbräuhaus München (9-minute walk). Or try cocktails and dancing, Cuban-style, at Cohibar City (5-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Some hotels make you breathe a sigh of relief when you come through the entrance, and Opera is one of them. It's not perfect--the restaurant is not on-site, and the hotel is not cheap--but it has that sense of comfort from the moment you enter, and that's hard to beat.