When one is at a city like Munich with city attractions beckoning at us to explore them, the least we expect of our accommodation in the city is for it to be stay-able. As long as it meets the criteria of convenience, cleanliness and safety, the trip will be made up by the offerings the city has.
That was why N and I would agree to book a 3-star hotel at the city fringe.
When we returned from our Hallstatt trip, we were still star-struck and reeling from the magical wonder of the Austrian snowscape. And of course, we wanted to recover from the long journey from the alps.
When we pulled in to the Hirschgarten train station at Munich city west, a light drizzle greeted us. Even though the hotel was right beside the train station, the short journey was exposed to long fetch (the railroad stretched from either side of the road) and that short walk was both cold and wet. Add on to an ongoing construction at the pedestrian walk, pushing luggage on the stone-strewn pavement became an arduous task too.
Therefore, even though the crisp architecture lines of the hotel was right before us, it seemed dreary against the grey sky.
Once we stepped into the lobby, the mood changed.
Heated environment aside, the modern decor was filled with fun, popping colours that vowed to spruce up our moods. The decor theme extended into the room and was essential in refreshing every tired traveler’s mind!
The lady at the reception was well-trained and friendly. She addressed N (who booked the room) by name, and actually remembered his name and greeted him when we passed by the lobby several times later that day! She was also helpful in giving us directions to the supermarket hub that was within the building cluster, but did not have a direct / obvious access from the hotel (I’ll explain that later).
The room was as spacious as the one in Hallstatt, though not as big as Aloft Munich. In fact, when compared with a traditional room, this room was much smaller. Instead of a full working desk, we had a couch that was accompanied with a side table good for working on a laptop. In replacement of a TV console (the flat screen TV was mounted on the wall), there was a cantilever where all the coffee-making amenities could be found; this would also be where travellers can find space to place their personal belongings after a day of exploration.
Similarly, instead of a wardrobe, there was a small closet (with an in-room safe at the bottom) as well as some big knobs on the wall for hanging coats. Here and there, there was space to open up our 27-inch suitcases without hindering our access to the door (recall the room at London’s hub by Premier Inn Tower Bridge). However, they made up for the lack of space with innovative and thoughtful design elements; I could also find places to store my day’s shopping at the bay window!
Speaking of the window, the room we stayed in had a superb view of the city. Being the only skyscraper in the area, Holiday Inn Express’ rooms provided great views, especially with the railway tracks extending into the horizon. The only downside though, is that there was a concert venue just across the street. Luckily for us, there was only an event on one of the nights we stayed there!
Of course, on the more technical side, the hotel is new, so it was designed for the new-age travellers, who require power sockets by the bedside and strong wifi! Yes, after my description of the room, this hotel is actually very good for one to just hole up in there for the whole day! 😀
The bathroom, though incomparable to Aloft, is large in hotel standards.
The area around the sink can hold all our toileteries and more. Within the shower, there is a good-sized receptacle for your own shower foam, shampoo and facial cleanser combined.
The shower itself was also a joy. Other than responsive taps that churns out water at the temperature you want (on a cold winter’s night), the jets pelt out like little hands massaging your back, without feeling like being run over by a stampede.
Post-shower, the towels were thick and soft, and there was hairdryer, so you won’t feel cold and miserable stepping out of the shower!
We noticed at the onset there was no toothbrush/toothpaste at the sink; but fret not! Because customers are free to claim them from the reception! Well, considering such complete set of bathroom amenities, Holiday Inn Express is your answer to all the LAGs ban on flights that make travelling unpleasant!
Om Nom Nomzzz
The hotel, though lacking in gym and pool, had a functioning cafe and business centre. The breakfast included in the package was at the cafe, and considering the 3-star status, the spread was very good indeed.
There was the usual spread of bread and pastry, the latter of which were yummy, crispy yet soft inside. They even provided a range of spreads, unlike many established hotels that only provided 2 or 3 options. There was also coffee machines (in fact, 2 of them). No… Not those that provides filtered coffee, but those that spouts coffee in the likes of Espresso, and Cappuccino!
The highlight was none other than the pancake-making machine. Yes, with a press of a button, your pancake would be made, from scratch before your eyes! It was a very interesting device, which unfortunately, my video of the machine in action was a total failure…
Seating wise, the cafe was more like, well, a cafe, rather than a hotel restaurant. The chairs were also in the theme of funky colours that contoured around our sleepy butts and the tables were in arty-farty glossy white.
The only downside was that they also catered to tour groups from a certain country. On our last morning, our breakfast timing coincided with theirs, and not only did we have difficulties getting seats, we also had to queue up for food and the coffee machine was also damaged by them (because they tried to handle the machine even though they had no idea how it worked). The whole place was also became very noisy (I wondered why they would shout at each other during conversations so early in the morning). It was not a beautiful end to our stay in Holiday Inn Express, but the other aspects of the hotel more than made up for that unpleasant episode.
And what would my review be, if there was no mention of how-to-find-supermarkets? 😛
In short, the hotel is located in a building cluster that also housed 3 hypermarts. The buildings were arranged to surround a plaza, and the hotel’s main entrance faced the main road, so we were wondering how best to access the marts.
The staff on duty told us to go down to basement carpark, exit the carpark, cross the service road, and we would be there. To be frank, I disliked that suggestion; for one, we had to return to the reception to confirm the instruction, because when we were in the carpark, there was zero signs to the supermarkets (and the carpark was cavernous).
When we finally got our stuff, we actually found an easier way between the hotel and the supermarkets.
Exit the hotel’s main entrance, turn left, take a public elevator (it was just by the roadside) to the plaza below, walk straight after exiting the elevator, and once you reach the main plaza, you will see the supermarkets. The total walking distance was about 5 minutes.
As mentioned, there was a cluster of 3 marts, so there was no shortage of shopping needs. The difficulty was then, which one to shop in? There was the one with cheaper items, but at packaged at family sizes, and the other one with a wider variety at a higher cost.
Security and Safety
Other than being in a much safer neighbourhood than Aloft Munich, the hotel was guarded with a security officer, and requires card access to the residential floors. When you are at the supermarket area, you will realise this was more of a residential neighbourhood, and the residents were all well-groomed and less gruff than the variety of people seen at the hauptbahnhof. There were no strange people knocking on our doors early in the morning (or at night for that matter), so all in all, I thought this was a rather safe place to be in.
Why Stay at Holiday Inn Express Munich City West?
The combination of cheap room with superb room quality made this a supervalue-for-money option. Although the hotel is on the city-fringe, it was just a stone’s throw from the train station (Hirschgarten), which was in itself just 3 stops from hauptbahnhof, so it was not all that bad in terms of accessibility.
Also, it was near supermarkets, in a safe neighbourhood and had friendly staff and good food to top the experience off!
p/s: Even if the food in the hotel was not to your liking, good food in the city centre was just 3 stops away 🙂
How to Get There
Holiday Inn Express Munich City West
Friedenheimer Brücke 15, 80639 München, Germany
+49 89 4438880