There are other significant city-centre post offices that have been turned into hotels – Perth’s COMO The Treasury, for instance, and even Washington DC’s Trump. But Sofitel Bayerpost in Munich, Germany, uniquely offers an alpine chalet experience into the bargain.
Room 624, Suite Naturelle, reminds me of Courchevel. All three external walls are seriously sloping, from a height of one metre. Also, apart from internal walls and the pale-green seagrass-type carpeted flooring, everything is mid-brown wood. I have all mod-cons, plus pristine copies of the New York Times, Vogue and Wallpaper (I also have two different safes, for his and hers tiaras?).
Apparently there are three other themed suites among the total 396 key-count. What would the good citizens of the Bavarian capital have thought back in 1893, when their central post office opened right next to the main train station? The sorting office, which operated for a full century, has been converted into a soaring open atrium, a testament to how much dark burgundy marble can be put into one space. I take a walk around the immediate locale, stopping en route to the main rotating front door to enjoy a pop-up exhibition of metre-high black and white photographs, Pretty Woman-style. Style from years past leads to new-look style, just right for today.
I dine casually in the bar with GM Gerhard Struger, who oversees Accor’s luxury for this part of Europe. An amuse of plant-based tartare preludes a tasting of salmon bites followed by a superb rump, which comes on a big wooden platter with a Laguiole knife, and an ordered side of Mediterranean vegetables. I love the bread selections, especially brown slices with nuts in them. We drink Graf Reippenberg 2016 Spätburgunder trocken.
Breakfast, in La Délice brasserie, offers two set choices, basic with cold cuts, or pay extra to add a hot. My basic comes with a silver dish holding, linen wrapped, more absolutely delicious breads – yes, you can always count on ‘real’ breads in Bavaria. Lidded WECK glass jars hold apple chunks adulterated by bits of melon, and bircher muesli, and an open plate comes out with a gargantuan selection of cheeses. My egg-white omelette is topped by chive bits, and a big tomato half and some fried potatoes. The coffee is outstanding but the cups are so small I seem to need at least half a dozen refills – and then, as the car whisks me away, I realise my copy of today’s New York Times, brought to me at breakfast, looks as if it has been ironed – is this more German efficiency?