From the moment you step inside, the elegance of the grand Hotel Imperial of Vienna surrounds you. The palatial presence with golden gilded crown molding, staircase and banisters are bathed in the luxury of long ago. Rich wood accents, periodic paintings, sumptuous fabrics and warm cream walls, will wrap guests in opulence. Built in 1863, the Hotel Imperial was originally home to the Prince of Württemberg, though was sold in 1873 and turned into a hotel.
In addition to Austrian royalty, Hotel Imperial has hosted actors Charlie Chaplin and Sarah Bernhardt, musical greats Herbert von Karajan, Richard Wagner and Luciano Pavarotti, and the heads of state from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and England. One notable visit was that of President Kennedy and Soviet leader Krushchev in June of 1961. Of course, a year later both leaders faced off during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Suites are lavishly adorned in rich warm colors, silk fabrics, tapestries, and furnishings of the period, though are completed with some modern luxuries too. The bathrooms are dripping in marble, and each one comes equipped with a spa shower and soaking tub. A plush and comfy robe is available to slip into after your bath or shower. Common amenities in guest suites include wireless internet and an extra large television with satellite cable. Plus, every room has a view of Vienna.
Two services accompany suite packages: Butler Treatment and Royal Treatment. Butler Treatment does as the name implies and actually includes the services of a white-gloved butler. He’ll meet you at the airport and attend to your every need: from the flowers placed in your room to the wine you drink to the music played through the BOSE surround in your suite, the butler will see to it all. And Royal Treatment takes butler service to the next level: your butler will drive you around town in a complementary limousine, while tending to your every need.
The dark wood-paneled walls of the Restaurant Imperial prepare the senses for a culinary experience you’ll never forget. Classic Viennese dishes like smoked salmon, goose liver and grilled octopus are served, followed by rich chocolate desserts and sweet wines to tickle even the most discerning palate.
In the afternoon, you can stop by Café Imperial and enjoy a light meal and coffee (the Austrian way) while reading one of the international newspapers that they actually iron by hand to remove the wrinkles.
Before you retreat to your suite for the evening, a stop by Bar Maria Theresa for a nightcap is in order. Piano music fills the space, lavishly decorated in warm regal red and gold. Black-tied attendants with white gloves pour your favorite drink. Small clusters of intimate seating throughout allow guests to feel relaxed and at home.
On Sunday, you can experience an Imperial Champagne Brunch. Jazz music fills the marble and crystal hall and the aromas of the brunch buffet will occupy the senses.
After a day in the city, the spa and health center can help you unwind before a heavy dinner. The health center is equipped with numerous state-of-the-art fitness machines. The sauna is lovely after a workout. And if you’d like a massage, the concierge service can make a referral.
Though he hasn’t lived there for 140 years, the luxury of the Prince of Württemberg survives at the Imperial. But it’s the dedication to service and hospitality that will make you feel like lord of the manor, a long lost Hapsburg happily returning home.
- Address: Kaerntner Ring 16, Vienna A-1015
- Rooms: 128
- On site: One restaurant, bar, cafe, gym
- Hotel Program: Starwood Preferred Guest (Category 6)
- Reservations: 1-800-325-3589
- Price: $$$$
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