As one of the brands under Starwood, Aloft had been riding on a rising trend of boutique hotels that provides good service and value. When N booked the hotel for our Munich trip in Dec 2016, I was rather apprehensive that we could find a hotel just over 100 Euros (about SGD 170) per night, especially when the hotel was right across Munich Main Station!
The hotel’s location played a lot to its advantage. Since it was right across the road from Munich Hauptbahnhof, it was also near almost everything the station could offer: accessibility to the rest of the city, shopping (for N and I, being able to shop for groceries is a big plus) and food (from fast food to grab-n-go). There’s even a Starbucks on that side of the road!
The downside is that the station was HUGE. For anyone who visits Munich for the first time (like we did), we took some time to find our way to the hotel (even though it was theoretically beside the station). Read on for the directions afterwards.
The hotel is also a walk-able distance from Karstadt, which was a huge departmental store (good for last minute shopping for souvenirs and branded goods).
The room was hideously spacious. It housed 2 super single beds, 2 desks, 1 bench and then it could still allow the both of us to open our luggage without blocking access to anywhere.
Living up to the chain’s standards, the beds were comfortable and they even provided a bolster (on top of the 2 pillows)! We shared a bed side table between the beds, which also had 2 power sockets (plus USB ports) to charge our phones (i.e. there’s no need to run to the desk to turn off the alarms on the phones in the morning, though the main reason was that we could swipe on our phones before sleeping). Wifi was also provided free of charge, which was good enough for normal surfing and research on the trip; I wanted to upload the photos of the day to the cloud using the wifi, but I must say the wifi was not that satisfactory for that purpose because it took a few hours to upload 300+ photos. However, from such provisions, Aloft can be said to be designed for the millennials in mind.
The room faced the main station, which provided a rather unique city view. Although we were on the first floor, the sound insulation was so good that the only noise we hear from the traffic was from the ambulance.
Like all German hotels, or rather, unlike Asian hotels, all in-room amenities were provided for, except for bathrobes and slippers, which were just good-to-have. The most glaring absence was toothbrush and toothpaste, so guests be aware.
There was also absence of night lights, so when one goes to the bathroom at night, the other person would be awakened by the light. Not that one has to turn on the light in the room itself; there is a switch that just turns on the light in the toilet area. However, there was no door between that light and the room, and there was this frosted-glass partition between the toilet and the room that allowed the light to flood into the room. This is a stupid design, especially when there was no way to use a blind to filter out the light.
The bathroom was also generous in space. The shower, toilet and vanity area had their own zones and each of them had their own wide spaces.
The vanity area had a wide counter top that could place both our toiletries, and some more. The wardrobe was opposite the counter top, and that was where the in-room safe, coffee making facilities and plenty of storage could be found.
N was satisfied with the heated shower, while I was not that happy with the strength of the jets. The shower head could be tuned to eject a swirling jet, which was interesting to watch, but had little practical use. Adjusting for heated water was easy, unlike those found in Asian countries which required one to juggle between 2 taps.
Shampoo and body gel was provided, but there was also a holder provided in case one needs to use something else (like facial cleanser).
N and I were not on a staycation, so we did not really explore the gym and pool. We knew there was an existence of a gym (which was on the 1st floor), but there was no info on pool.
The business centre was a simple set-up of 2 PCs and a printer, which was sufficient for us to print our booking confirmations FOC.
There was also a snack corner on the ground floor. I call it snack corner, because one could only make hot beverages and microwave stuff over there, other than picking up packaged food. However, Aloft calls it dining area, and charges for food taken from the corner. Yes, it sounds absurd to an Asian, because in Asian hotels, food in such a set up is FOC.
The reception, or the ground floor in general, was decorated to have a chic feel. In fact, they pasted stickers on the floor to tell us where would be a good spot for taking selfies (check out mine below). There was also one in the lift, although I must say both the lighting and the background were not selfie-worthy.
Warning: Negative language ahead.
Speaking of reception, the staff at the reception was friendly upon check-in, allowing us to have a room even though we arrived before 12pm.
That was literally where all the service ended.
On Sunday, we returned to our room to find that the bath towels were not replenished. N called the reception, and someone responded with floor rugs, explaining that the laundry did not deliver the bath towels. That was absurd. I just finished my shower, and I was expected to dry myself with floor rugs.
I called to inform that I found that service recovery appalling and would be writing in to complain. Thereafter, someone came with 2 bath towels and asked in an intimidating tone, “Is that OK for you already?”
I had strong opinions about this incident.
First, they would have known about the bath towel shortage right from the time they made up the room to the time we found out about the towels – 6 hours at least. Yet, there was no attempt to turn the situation around. For eg. they could have went to buy new towels.
Secondly, the first ‘complaint’ was met with excuses (note: not explanation) and a meek attempt at service recovery. I said meek, because who gives guests floor rugs in place of bath towels? What was more, the fact that they could produce 2 bath towels after I left harsh words, meant that they had the solution for service recovery, but decided not to employ that in the first place. That was very unprofessional.
Thirdly, the person who finally delivered the towels lacked service finesse totally. There was no service language used, the tone was not remorseful, and the body language was hostile.
Therefore, I rated Aloft very badly in terms of service recovery and service attitude.
The next cause of concern was safety in the hotel.
Every morning, at about 7 – 8am, 2 women in tudung would knock on our doors. When we called the reception to inform that we were disturbed, no one responded. (Strike One)
When N wrote in to feedback, he was told that those people MUST either be guests or staff, because no one else could go up to the guest level without the access cards.
First, staff would not have knocked on the doors of guests who put up “Do Not Disturb” signs at the door. Secondly, why would the same guests knock on the same door every morning? Even if they had mistaken us for their friends, they would have found out by the 2nd morning that their friends were in a different room.
I worked in the security industry for 6 years, I know very well that card access is NOT a foolproof security measure; anybody could have sneaked up to the guest level. The hotel management’s response is worrisome, because they were treating a security lapse with nonchalance.
This is especially important for 2 things:
Train stations are often targets of terrorists, and Munich Main Station is under ‘red alert’. Hotels within the immediate vicinity of the train stations may not be able to control what does on at the stations, but they definitely should have control over what happens in their premises, and that is their obligation for guests when guests booked a room with them.
Next, do note that the area south of the main station (where the hotel is) is an unofficial red light district. The main road Aloft is facing is busy, but one block thereafter, the roads are quiet and shady characters appear from the shadows without warning. N and I had the audacity to walk on that part of the city when we were returning from Marienplatz one night, so we could vouch for how unsafe we felt when we were in that area.
Therefore, it is all the more important that Aloft should take its security seriously. Otherwise, even if the room is clean, spacious, comfortable, cheap or near a major transport node, I will advise one to stay away for his/her own personal safety.
How To Get There
After reaching Munich Hauptbahnhof, find your way to the ground level, also known as Bahnhofplatz (Station Plaza).
Once at ground level, face the trains, then turn left and walk all the way to the exit. Near the exit, if you see Burger King on the left and Starbucks on your right, you are definitely in the right direction.
Cross the road and you are at Aloft.
p/s: The green man at the traffic lights only appear for a short time. If you are hauling plenty of luggage, be prepared to take refuge on the road island halfway across the road.
80335 München, Germany
(49)(89) 540 237 0
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|Other Service Staff||0|
|Room Service / Room Make Up||0.5|
|Special Request / Response to Queries||0|
|Airconditioning (Cooling / Heating / Ventilation)||0.5|
|Overall comfort / cosiness / decor / ergonomics||0.5|
|Space: Placement of Toileteries, towels, clothes etc||1|
|Others (Eg. Lounge, Business Centres, Spa, Free Snacks)||0.5|
|Rating||Your mojo: Hotel is only for a place to freshen up.|
|Neighbourhood||Beside main station, so tend to be shady.|