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The Charles Hotel in Munich [My First Experience Using Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts]

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I’ve been deeply involved in the points and miles hobby since 2015, so it’s rather surprising that I just tried American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts for the first time. I’ve always been intrigued by the program but never found an opportunity to experience it — until now.

On a recent trip to Switzerland and Germany, I spent 1 night at The Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel, which I booked through American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts (FHR).

In this post, I’ll give you an overview of the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program including how to make a booking and the benefits you’ll receive. Plus, I’ll give you a short review of The Charles Hotel and show you the benefits I received from booking through Amex FHR.

American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts

American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts is a hotel program available to cardholders of:

It offers exclusive benefits to cardholders at over 1,300 luxury hotels all over the world.

Hot Tip:

Fine Hotels + Resorts isn’t the only hotel program from American Express. The Hotel Collection offers guests benefits on stays of 2 days or more. You can read more about both of these programs in our guide to Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts vs. The Hotel Collection.

Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts Benefits

Booking a stay through Amex FHR offers elite-like benefits without needing to have any type of hotel status whatsoever.

You’ll get these perks when you book through Amex FHR:

  • $100 experience credit (varies by location)
  • 12 p.m. early check-in, when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary breakfast for 2
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Room upgrade, when available
Hot Tip:

Cardholders of the Amex Platinum card get up to a $200 prepaid hotel credit annually for a prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts booking or 2-night prepaid bookings through The Hotel Collection.

How To Book a Hotel Through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts

To book a Fine Hotels + Resorts stay, log in to your American Express account and click on Menu>Travel>Book Fine Hotels & Resorts.

How to book Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts
You can book Fine Hotels + Resorts properties once you’re logged in to your Amex account. Image Credit: American Express

Then you can search for a hotel as you normally would. The specific experience credit for each location will be listed in the search results. You’ll also see the Amex FHR hotel designation on each listing (this can be helpful if you’re doing a wide search for hotels that may include non-FHR options).

Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts 100 experience credit
You’ll see each property’s experience credit in the search results. Image Credit: American Express

You’ll be able to pay for your stay with your American Express card at the time of booking or at the hotel. You’ll also have the option to pay with Membership Rewards points.

If you want to use the up to $200 prepaid hotel credit from your personal Amex Platinum card, you must pay at the time of booking (don’t worry, many Fine Hotels + Resorts properties offer a flexible cancellation policy, even on prepaid bookings).

You’ll earn 5 points per dollar if you prepay for your booking, but only 1 point per dollar if you choose to pay at the hotel.

Hot Tip:

While you can pay for your Fine Hotels + Resorts booking with Membership Rewards points, you’ll generally get much better value by transferring them to airline partners.

What Happens If You Cancel Your Amex Platinum Card?

A few months after I booked and paid for this reservation, I ended up canceling the Amex Platinum card used for this booking. I wasn’t sure if I would still get the Fine Hotels + Resorts benefits, but I am happy to report that it all worked out just fine.

For this stay we just needed to provide an American Express card in the name of the person who holds the reservation at check-in (for any extra charges) — it didn’t have to be the card we booked with. When we checked in, we provided my husband’s American Express® Gold Card (as the reservation was in his name) and it was no problem at all.

The Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel

When I was searching for hotels in Munich, location was the number 1 priority. I was traveling with family and we had a lot of activities planned, so we wanted to be centrally located near Marienplatz and the train station.

We ended up choosing Courtyard Munich City Center since it was inexpensive and within walking distance to everywhere we needed to go.

However, I definitely prefer hotels with a touch of luxury, so I kept looking for different options. That’s when I stumbled upon The Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel. The location was excellent, and the price was reasonable after I factored in my Amex Platinum card’s $200 prepaid hotel credit, so I booked it for our first night in Munich as a treat before moving to the more budget-friendly Courtyard.

Entrance at The Charles Hotel Munich
The entrance to The Charles Hotel in Munich, Germany.

Booking The Charles Hotel in Munich

Through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, I paid $473.49 for 1 night at The Charles Hotel in Munich, Germany. I booked using my husband’s Amex Platinum card, so he got a $200 credit, which lowered the out-of-pocket cost to $273.49. He also earned 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar for the purchase.

Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts 200 credit
The $200 Amex Platinum card prepaid hotel credit posted within 1 day. Image Credit: American Express

Check-in and Amex FHR Benefits

We arrived in Munich after taking the train from Zürich, Switzerland. The hotel was only a 5-minute walk from Munich Central Station (Munich Hbf).

During check-in, the hotel agents confirmed that I booked through American Express and was eligible for special benefits. Here’s what I received:

  • Upgrade to a Deluxe Park View Room
  • Breakfast for 2 in Sophia’s Restaurant
  • Food and beverage credit of €100 (~$109)
  • Early check-in and 4 p.m. late checkout (I couldn’t use either of these, but they were offered)
The Charles Hotel A Rocco Forte Hotel lobby
The modern lobby had the coolest blue velvet couch.

Deluxe Park View Room at The Charles Hotel

I originally booked the Classic Room but was upgraded to a Deluxe Park View Room at check-in. At 430 square feet, the room was quite large, especially by European standards.

The Charles Hotel Munich Deluxe Park View Room
The Deluxe Park View Room was very spacious.

At the far end of the room were large windows overlooking the hotel’s front entrance and the park across the street. There were quite a few mature trees outside, so the view was very lush and green.

While it was a bit chilly during my stay, I loved that these windows opened up.

Deluxe Park View Room at The Charles Hotel Munich
The Deluxe Park View Room.

In front of the windows, there was a chaise lounge and a table. There was an additional armchair as well that had a real flower on the side table next to it. This was such an unusual thing to see in a hotel and it added to the understated luxury of the room.

The Charles Hotel Munich Deluxe Park View Room sitting area
My room had plenty of places to sit in front of the large windows.

There was a welcome amenity of fresh fruit on the table. It wasn’t expressly stated, but I assumed this treat was because I booked through American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts.

Welcome tray of fruit at The Charles Hotel Munich
There was fresh fruit waiting for me in my room.

The comfortable king-sized bed was flanked by nightstands, each with a lamp, plenty of plugs, and complimentary Aqua Panna water.

The Charles Hotel Munich Deluxe Park View Room bed
My room had a king-sized bed.

There was a desk and TV across from the bed.

Desk in Deluxe Park View Room at The Charles Hotel Munich
There was a desk and TV across from the bed.

The built-in minibar area had snacks and beverages available for purchase.

Minibar area at The Charles Hotel Munich
There were snacks and drinks available for purchase.

The in-room coffee set-up was located on one of the nightstands, which wasn’t ideal. However, there was a nice espresso machine and real coffee cups and saucers, which is something I really appreciate.

The Charles Hotel Munich in room coffee
I loved the real cups and saucers.

The Rocco Forte-branded cups along with the lush view from my window made for a perfect Instagram morning coffee moment.

Rocco Forte-branded coffee cup at The Charles Hotel Munich
My morning coffee was Instagram-worthy!

Bathroom

My bathroom in the Deluxe Park View Room was large, but not perfect.

Let’s start with the positives first. The bathroom was spacious with a nice stand-up rain shower, a separate toilet with bidet, and a single sink.

The Charles Hotel Munich bathroom in Deluxe Park View Room
The bathroom provided plenty of room to move around.

The amenities near the sink were beautifully packaged and displayed. There was a shower cap, nail file, and Irene Forte citrus body lotion.

Bathroom amenities by sink at The Charles Hotel in Munich
The sink amenities were neatly displayed.

There was a separate soaking tub on the opposite side of the bathroom from the shower and toilet.

Bathroom tub and sink The Charles Hotel Munich
There was a soaking tub that was separate from the shower.

The shower was great — it featured a large shower head, good water pressure, and nice bath products.

The problem (which admittedly isn’t huge) was that the door opened into the shower, so it splashed water everywhere when you went to close the door after turning the shower on.

Shower at The Charles Hotel Munich Deluxe Park View Room
The door to the shower opened in instead of out, which made it hard to turn on the water without getting everything wet.

However, once you were in the shower all was well. I loved the bath products by Irene Forte Skincare — Prickly Pear Shampoo, Almond Conditioner, and Apricot Shower Gel.

Irene Forte bath products at The Charles Hotel Munich
The shower products were by Irene Forte Skincare.

The other issue in the bathroom just seemed silly to me. The toilet and bidet were in a separate room behind a door — which is excellent. This just makes a hotel bathroom (or even a bathroom at home) so much more functional. The problem was that the door was see-through, which completely defeats the purpose of having the toilet behind a door.

Bidet and toilet at The Charles Hotel Munich
The toilet and bidet were in a separate area, behind a door. Unfortunately, the door was see-through.

Dining at The Charles Hotel

One of the reasons I was so excited to book this hotel through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts was the dining perks. As part of my booking, I got free breakfast for 2 plus a €100 dining credit which we used for dinner during our 1-night stay. The dining credit could be applied to food and drinks but not the tip.

Sophia’s Restaurant, located right off of the lobby, was The Charles Hotel’s only restaurant and served modern cuisine with an Italian flair.

Sophias Restaurant at The Charles Hotel Munich A Rocco Forte Hotel
I got free breakfast and a €100 dining credit to use at Sophia’s Restaurant.

Dinner at The Charles Hotel

After arriving at the hotel, we relaxed for a bit in the room before heading down to dinner at Sophia’s Restaurant. Dinner was served daily from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., although the restaurant stays open until 11 p.m.

With high ceilings and a wall of windows looking out onto the tree-lined street, the restaurant felt modern and elegant.

Sophias Restaurant at The Charles Hotel Munich
Sophia’s Restaurant at The Charles Hotel.

The dinner menu was somewhat limited (as is common at high-end restaurants), but there was also a list of daily specials to choose from.

Daily specials at Sophias Restaurant at The Charles Hotel Munich
The daily specials menu featured seasonal items such as Germany’s famed white asparagus.

My husband and I both started with the asparagus soup, which was excellent, and instead of a regular bread basket, we were served bread with fresh roasted garlic, butter, and tapenade. Yum!

Bread service at Sophias Restaurant at The Charles Hotel Munich.
Bread was served with roasted garlic, butter, and tapenade.

My husband ordered the white asparagus with Italian farmer’s ham for his entree (since we visited during white asparagus season) while I chose the stuffed artichoke with leek, truffle, and buckwheat for my entree. It was delicious and unlike anything I have had before.

Stuffed artichoke at Sophias Restaurant The Charles Hotel Munich
The stuffed artichoke was as delicious as it was unique.

For dessert, I tried the yogurt panna cotta. It was just okay, but the basil sorbet that came with it was awesome. We also enjoyed some homemade mango truffles on the house.

Dessert at Sophias Restaurant The Charles Hotel Munich
I had panna cotta for dessert.
Bottom Line:

A €100 food and beverage credit came with my Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts booking. It was enough to cover our entire dinner bill, except for the tip which must be paid separately.

Breakfast at The Charles Hotel

Getting free breakfast at hotels is a big perk of high-level hotel elite status and can save you lots of money. The beauty of booking through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts is that breakfast for 2 is included, regardless of elite status.

Breakfast was served at Sophia’s Restaurant from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. We had a busy day planned so I was looking forward to a nice meal before checking out.

The breakfast was served buffet-style but there was also a small menu with à la carte items available.

Breakfast menu at Sophias Restaurant The Charles Hotel Munich
You could order off of the menu in addition to enjoying the buffet.

It was all included in the breakfast benefit. After ordering a cafe latte, I checked out the buffet.

Breakfast at The Charles Hotel Munich
I started with freshly squeezed orange juice, a latte, and a chia parfait.

There was lots of fresh fruit along with yogurt and muesli.

Sophias Restaurant breakfast buffet at The Charles Htoel Munich
There was lots of fresh fruit on the breakfast buffet.

The selection of breads and pastries was accompanied by butter, jams, and honey.

Bread selection at the breakfast buffet The Charles Hotel Munich
The pastry section is always my favorite.

For those looking for a traditional Bavarian breakfast, there was a station with Munich white sausages and pretzels.

Bavarian breakfast at The Charles Hotel Munich
The breakfast buffet included Bavarian favorites like pretzels and white sausages.
Bottom Line:

Breakfast for 2 is included in every booking made through American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts. The breakfast at The Charles Hotel included both buffet and à la carte items, as well as beverages.

Final Thoughts

On my recent trip to Europe, I enjoyed an American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts booking for the first time. I spent 1 night at The Charles Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel using my $200 prepaid hotel credit from the Amex Platinum card.

With my booking, I got a room upgrade, free breakfast, and a €100 food and beverage credit. Overall, it was an excellent experience and one that made me value the benefits of the Amex Platinum card even more.

The only problem with my stay was that it wasn’t long enough!

The information regarding the Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and was not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns The Charles Hotel Munich?

The Charles Hotel in Munich, Germany is owned by Rocco Forte Hotels. This family-owned business features unique hotels throughout Europe.

How far is The Charles Hotel from the Marienplatz in Munich?

The Charles Hotel is located about 0.9 miles from the Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. The Marienplatz is the city’s main square and is part of Munich’s Old Town.

Does The Charles Hotel Munich have a spa?

Yes, there’s a spa at The Charles Hotel. In addition to treatments, guests can access the Finnish sauna and a steam room, as well as an indoor pool.

How far is The Charles Hotel Munich from the airport?

The Charles Hotel is about 22 miles from Munich International Airport (MUC).

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About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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