After a mixed stay at the Kempinski Munich, it was time to move to a very different kind of hotel.
For the second night I’d chosen the Aloft Munich, a select-service brand (read: budget) located opposite Munich Hauptbahnhof station. This makes it very convenient for anyone intending to travel to/from other cities; the old town area of Marienplatz is just two S-Bahn stops away, and there’s a straight train to the airport. Although the neighbourhood might feel a bit edgy at night due to the presence of adult stores and nightclubs, there’s very little to be concerned about.
While rates at Aloft Munich normally start from €121 per night, prices shot up to €239 for the week I was there. I therefore decided to redeem 37,500 Marriott points instead, getting a value of 0.75 US cents per point (you should aim for at least 0.7 US cents per point during redemptions).
While I could have taken the S-Bahn from Kempinski to Aloft, the former isn’t that close to the station (~7 mins walk), and I didn’t fancy luggage a heavy bag across uneven terrain and steps. So I called an Uber (remember them?), and the 3.5 km journey cost me €10.96 (S$17.54 with my Amaze Card).
If you’ve stayed at an Aloft before, you’ll know that their lobbies are built like social spaces, intended to facilitate meeting and mingling. Think bars, pool tables, and beanbags, with colorful cushions and glamour lighting. Oh, and a glittery disco ball too, because why not.
If noise is a concern, there’s a current moratorium on the operation of indoor nightclubs in Bavaria. That said, the rule may be lifted in October, so it’s best to check with the hotel if they’re planning any disco nights before you book.
Check-in was quick, with roughly four minutes passing from the time I was served till the time I got my keys.
The front desk told me that as a Marriott Bonvoy Gold member, I’d been upgraded from an Urban to a Breezy Room. Truth be told, you’d be hard-pressed to tell.
That’s because the two categories look virtually identical, and the only discernible difference is that Breezy rooms are on higher floors.
But that’s just the Aloft for you. Come to think of it, there’s very little to separate the rooms at Aloft Munich from the ~180 other Alofts around the world. There’s a certain formula to the layout: once you enter the room, the open-concept vanity area will be on your left; the room straight ahead. There’s tiles in the wet area, and carpet in the bedroom.
A television will bisect two sets of desks, with an ottoman beneath it. The bed will be flanked by two square tables, with rectangular box lights and mass-produced art crowning the headboard.
This commentary isn’t meant to be a slight, mind you. People book chain hotels because they want some standard of consistency, and the Aloft is nothing if not consistent.
The queen-sized bed was pleasantly firm, though you obviously won’t get frills like high thread count bedsheets or a pillow menu here. Even though the hotel is in a busy area, my room faced the inner courtyard and was extremely quiet, offering a great night’s sleep. Be sure to request an inner-facing room if you’re sensitive to noise.
At the bedside were Type G outlets and master switches for the room.
While there weren’t any built-in USB ports, charging capability was added courtesy of an alarm clock radio.
The room’s work desk had a comfortable chair and space for all my devices. Charging ports were located beneath the metal flap.
On the desk was a notification about protocols for COVID infection. It should be mentioned that I was staying at Aloft Munich while waiting for my pre-departure PCR test results, which made the information all the more pertinent. The room was decent enough, but I certainly didn’t want to be isolated here for 14 days!
The 40-inch flat-screen TV was mounted at a good height for viewing in bed, and you could reach around the side to access its HDMI input.
On the other side of the TV was a second desk, although this one had no chair.
Two complimentary bottles of mineral water were provided; one still, one sparkling.
A small welcome gift of chocolate marzipan was waiting on the desk, which I think is given to all Marriott Bonvoy members regardless of tier.
Beneath the desk was the room’s mini-fridge. It was empty, allowing for the storage of personal items.
The bathroom area is located next to the entrance. While the vanity area is exposed, the toilet and shower can be partitioned off from the rest of the room by closing the sliding door.
This is where you’ll find the room’s digital safe, ice bucket and coffee/tea making facilities. Several hangers, an ironing board and luggage rack were also stored here.
Water pressure in the shower was good, but it was disappointing the toilet didn’t even have a handheld bidet spray. I thought the Europeans were particular about butt hygiene…
As is standard at all Aloft hotels, bliss shampoo/conditioner and body wash were dispensed from wall-mounted pump dispensers. It’d be interesting to see whether the trend towards bulk toiletries continues post-COVID, given how finnicky everyone is right now.
There’s no swimming pool at the Aloft Munich, but guests can still make use of a medium-sized gym which opens 24/7.
Just like the gym at Kempinski Munich, alternate equipment was blocked off for social distancing, so the actual capacity was somewhat smaller than it first appeared.
Breakfast at the Aloft Munich normally costs €17, but as a Marriott Bonvoy Gold I enjoyed a discounted rate of €12.
To be clear, this spread was no Kempinski Munich. Having feasted on its exquisite selection the day before, everything else was always going to be a let down. Still, it was adequate enough keeping in mind the hotel’s positioning and audience.
The buffet was self-serve, with guests required to don masks and gloves to touch the items.
The bread selection included croissants, various rolls as well as pretzels. Butter, jam, honey and of course Nutella packets were provided.
Cold cuts (including smoked salmon) and a small selection of cheeses and raw vegetables were located in the chiller area.
Hot items consisted of bacon and three kinds of sausages, pancakes and rubbery eggs.
A couple of WMF coffee machines provided cappuccinos, lattes and other coffee drinks.
My modest plate was certainly a stark change from the champagne-fuelled binge I had the previous day, but hey, it got the job done.
Aloft Munich won’t make it to your vacation highlights reel, but perhaps that’s the point. You know a hotel like this has done its job when it pleasantly melts into the background, an unmemorable place you stayed while doing more memorable stuff. It was clean, comfortable and quiet, and you can’t ask for more.
I had absolutely no complaints about my stay, and would heartily recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a budget-friendly option that’s well-connected to the rest of the city (or country, for that matter).