Having tracked the delicious design developments of lifestyle aparthotel brand, Locke, since their London debut in 2016, it was our pleasure to call their latest and most ambitious project home for a few days whilst pumping gallons of fine German beer into our stomachs during this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations.
As is par for the Locke course, here at WunderLocke, rooms are geared toward mid- to extended-stays and as such were the perfect base for exploring Munich, its suburbs, and Bavaria at large. The 360-apartment project is located in the emerging neighbourhood of Obersendling, however a direct metro link runs travellers straight to the heart of the city in no time at all. From there, Munich is compact, walkable, and charming in all the ways one may expect of this enigmatic corner of Southern Germany.
Back to WunderLocke, though, which sees a mammoth old Siemens office building given quite the overhaul from regular collaborators, Holloway Li. Taking it back to its bare bones, the building has been left at its rawest, with oodles of exposed concrete softened by pastel hues and a series of biophilic interventions; only an impressive 1960s terrazzo staircase, restored to its former glory, remains from the old design details. Where the old is gone, the new runs riot, with natural materials bringing warmth and ‘wunder’ to the austere strip-back.
Avoiding excessive redevelopment of the old office block has not only nodded heavily to the surrounding area’s industrial heritage, but more importantly allowed Holloway Li to boost the project’s sustainability credentials. “This project builds and expands upon our interest in adaptive reuse and salvage,” explains co-founder and creative director, Alex Holloway. “As a studio, we have developed a particular understanding of how to express the bones of existing buildings as part of the renovation process and strategy, using the embodied carbon of a host property, with a light touch approach to refurbishment. Here we challenged ourselves to expose the host structure whilst transforming the space without over-cladding or excessive development.”
Aside from WunderLocke’s impressive aesthetics, the serious substance begins with a series of F&B offerings conceived by the founders of a much-loved local Michelin-starred restaurant, Mural. A 70-cover all-day restaurant, coffee shop, wine and cocktail bar, and rooftop bar (not yet open during our stay) are capped with a fine dining ‘chef’s table’ concept. “The scale of WunderLocke enabled us to imagine a completely original culinary concept,” reveals Mural founder, Moritz Meyn. “It is a unique destination, and we wanted to reflect that in our concept for Mural Farmhouse – approaching it based on the same spirit and on the same philosophy of all the restaurants of the Mural family to create an original immersive gastronomic experience.”
This means an ‘eat local, drink natural’ ethos that follows the farm-to-table movement, and sees ingredients supplied by local artisan producers. Truly defining the 0km concept, an urban farm is well underway on the hotel’s expansive rooftop (set to open in Spring 2023), with views over to the Bavarian Alps offering further connection to nature from the heart of the city. In stark contrast, the seventh-floor Mural Farmhouse Bar is a discotastic den of hedonism with plush padded walls, rich wood panelling and kitsch odes to the glamour of 1980s Italian nightlife. It’s the hotel’s hidden wunderland.
Thanks to Holloway Li’s biophilic interventions, though, you never feel completely disconnected from nature when wondering around the hotel; lush and leafy greenery is everywhere, and makes for an inspiring space to sink into a comfy armchair and catch up on a bit of work in the beautiful ground floor co-working space. Lightening fast WiFi, a curated soundscape from internationally renowned Munich-based DJ duo, Public Possession, and a well-stocked bar (dishing out local helles in traditional stoneware steins during Oktoberfest) make a few hours of work pass easily indeed.
In their finishing stages during our stay, but now open for stays, are a first for Locke: a series of seventh-floor suites that include two staggering penthouse suites. The 126 square metre WunderLocke Penthouse Suite is the cream of the crop, and is an exceptional space to call home for however long your Munich stay may be. Its own singular aesthetic sets it apart from other rooms throughout the hotel, a stand-alone bathtub makes for optimum relaxation, and a mural from local artist Monika Morito makes it seriously Instagrammable, but it’s what’s not in the room that truly sets it apart.
All the top-floor suites have their own rooftop terraces, but the WunderLocke Penthouse really is one to write home about; vast and luxurious with loungers and your very own hot tub from which to enjoy the views across the city and to the Alps beyond. “This was our first opportunity to design penthouse suites for Locke,” says Alex Holloway, “and we were spoiled by the panoramic views the building afforded.” With power showers, Kinsey Apothecary toiletries, Smart HDTVs with Chromecast, and a full kitchen with washer/dryer, one might just want to bed in for the duration of their stay here.
An exciting new proposition for urban accommodation, Locke’s European expansion has a new centrepiece in the charming city of Munich. From co-working to fine-dining and all it offers in between, WunderLocke brings together all we’ve loved from this design-forward aparthotel brand and supersizes it. As the project continues to evolve with the opening of its rooftop next year, we can’t wait to check back in on the progress. Wunderbahr! (Sorry.)