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Hilton Munich Airport

Kempinski Hotel Airport Munich photo

ABOVE: The glass roof of the Hilton Munich Airport soars high above an atrium lobby.

When you have an early-morning departure, it's reassuring to know that the airport check-in desk is only a 5- or 10-minute walk from your hotel room. And when your room is in a handsome building that was designed by architect Helmut Jahn, sleeping at the airport becomes an even more attractive proposition.

The hotel under discussion is the Hilton Munich Airport (formerly the Kempinski Hotel Airport) at Munich International Airport, which is the gateway to Germany's most popular tourist region. Although the hotel caters primarily to business travelers, leisure travelers are certainly welcome--and on weekends, room rates drop to less than half the normal price, making this luxury hotel more affordable for middle-class travelers.

An oasis of air and light

Helmut Jahn is the German-born Chicago architect whose "New Modernism" is evident in buildings such as the United Airlines Terminal at O'Hare International Airport and the Sony Center in Berlin. In designing the Hilton Munich Airport, he created a spacious, light-filled atrium hall between two rectangular wings with hotel rooms, suites, and conference space.

The atrium is 24 meters or nearly eight stories high, with a curved skylight roof and glass curtain walls at both ends. Imported palm trees, tall glass shelves of potted (if artificial) geraniums, red chairs, and translucent green floor insets add warmth to the glass-and-terrazzo lobby. The overall effect is both spectacular and welcoming. It's also quite distinctive, avoiding the institutional look or the gratuitious glitziness that one finds in so many modern hotels.

Next page: Rooms, restaurants, rates, and booking

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Hilton Munich Airport
Rooms, restaurants, rates, and booking

Also see:
Munich International Airport
Munich Airport Center - shopping and travel services