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the luxury hotels of Vienna

the luxury hotels of Vienna

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Old Sep 29, 13, 7:37 am
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the luxury hotels of Vienna

Where to stay in Vienna? The answer to this question depends upon your own tastes and budget. Do you want to have a taste of the old Vienna and the imperial lifestyle of its aristocratic past? Do you prefer comfortable contemporary accommodations with the up-to-date amenities offered by the best luxury hotels? Here are my thoughts. As always, these are my personal subjective opinions, and I cannot evaluate service. Others can and should disagree!

Five star traditional hotels at the top price point

You can choose between the two leading five-star traditional hotels in the heart of Venice, the Imperial and the Sacher Wien.

Hotel Imperial, a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, was built 150 years ago as a private palace and converted to a hotel 140 years ago. Because the hotel is undergoing some renovations, I did not get the full effect of its lobby (some of which was closed off from view), but I can report nonetheless that the lobby is elegant — with crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and art — without being intimidating.

The Imperial is the hotel of choice for clients who want a taste of classic, formal Vienna. Guestrooms are high-ceilinged and classically decorated with padded silk wallpaper, elaborate and formal window drapes, crystal chandeliers, and furnishings that match that style. We were shown a Deluxe Room which had a sofa and more space than the lead-in Classic room category (which would be too small for most luxury guests). The Deluxe we saw was nicely sized for a room of this category.

During our stay, we were upgraded to a spacious Imperial Junior Suite. One entered from the hallway into a small entrance area, which led to a dressing area and beyond that to a large bathroom with dual vanities, soaking tub, and step-in shower. Our particular suite had an open floor plan with the sleeping area to the left, a desk in the middle of the room, and a seating area off to the right. Tall windows provided views onto Ringstrasse. Although the dimensions of the room were somewhat narrow for the length, I nonetheless enjoyed our stay in the Imperial Junior Suite.

We were also shown an Elisabeth Suite; this suite category and higher comes with butler service. The room was very grand with 20 foot ceilings, a set of sliding doors separating the bedroom from the living area, and an additional powder room.

The Royal Suite is a super WOW accommodation. Located at the corners of the buildings, the suite had 12 meter high ceilings. Impressive but not necessarily "homey," this accommodation will fulfill the longings of the most regal guests!


Sacher Wien is the other top five-star traditional option in Vienna. The only privately owned five-star hotel in Vienna, its owner has taken a direct role in its interior design to very favorable effect. In contrast to the Imperial — more "old world" with darker colors, heavier drapes, more use of velvets, etc. — rooms at the Sacher have a fresher and cleaner appearance than the Imperial. While public spaces still maintain the vivid, traditional colors of old Vienna, guestrooms have a lighter, more residential feel. Taupe is used as the base color, with accent colors either of green, yellow, rose, or gold.

Floors 1-5 at this hotel feature more classically decorated rooms. Because of high occupancy during the time of our visit, we were able to see only a very pretty Junior Suite. Decorated in taupe and a sea foam (green) color scheme, it was furnished with the hotel's original antiques and a crystal chandelier. Wood paneling, painted with multiple off-white shades, gave a sense of depth, all creating a very pleasant environment. The bathroom had double vanities, soaking tub, step-in shower, and separate WC.

Floors 6-7 feature rooms whose comfortable classic contemporary design incorporates touches of the traditional (paintings and accent pieces). We were able to see a 1 BR Suite (literally just moments before the guests arrived). A very attractive beige and blue room, it was large and had a modern bathroom with separate powder room. This particular Suite was larger in size than the one other Suite we saw on the floor which, though smaller, had a great outdoor terrace from which to take in the sights of Vienna.


Traditional hotels at a slightly lower price point

If the Imperial and the Sacher Wien are the traditional five star choices in Vienna, I consider the following to be high 4-star traditional hotels at a correspondingly lower price point.

Hotel Bristol is the other Luxury Collection hotel in Vienna. Built 120 years ago right next to the Opera House, the hotel served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army after Austria was occupied by the Allies during World War II.

Virtuoso guests are pretty likely to be upgraded from a lead-in Classic to a Deluxe room here. The classically decorated Deluxe rooms at the Bristol are not as nice as those at the Imperial. Though high ceilinged with historical fireplaces, they feel a bit smaller. The room we were shown had a single vanity in the bathroom and a shower in the bathtub. Step-in showers are available; it's important to make to request to be blocked in such a room with a step-in shower. The Bristol's WOW accommodation, the Prince of Wales Suite, is named after Prince Edward (who abdicated the British throne) who lived here. With a living room, office, and library in addition to a master bedroom, these suites can also connect to adjacent guestrooms to create a 3BR Suite. Very attractive, with much more of a residential feel than the Imperial's Royal Suites!

The Bristol has a new contemporary wing, occupying part of the hotel's second floor (space previously utilized for meeting space). Rooms in this wing are decorated in a distinctly contemporary style and come in two categories. Grand Deluxe rooms (the same size as the traditional Deluxe rooms) are brand new rooms offering modern interiors with a bit of an edge. The bathroom had dual vanities, soaking tub, and step-in shower. Bristol Suites are very spacious. A large living room features tall windows, and doors separate it from the master bedroom. With two full bathrooms, this is an extremely attractive and comfortable Suite.


Grand Hotel Wien is not a Virtuoso hotel but has a lot to recommend it. The Grand is eager to welcome our clients and is willing to provide Virtuoso-like amenities. I am trying to arrange some Brownell-exclusive amenities!

Built in 1840 and renovated in 1994, the hotel has 205 rooms with three room categories (Superior, Deluxe, and Exclusive) and five suite categories. Guests step into a large lobby decorated with fresh flowers. The hotel has three restaurants, including two which boast two Michelin stars each; a spa; and a gym. Superior rooms (there are 88 of them) constitute the majority of the hotel's inventory). These are quite small, 30-35 sqm, and could be termed "Classic" rooms. They have recently received a soft goods renovation. Bathrooms offer dual vanities and a WC, but only a shower in the bathtub.

The strategy at the Grand is to book a Deluxe room (there are 36 of them) as there is a very good chance to be upgraded to an Exclusive room (of which there are 51). Exclusive Rooms are sized like an open Junior Suite. These rooms have silk wallpaper and the original wooden moulding and trim. their bathrooms have a tub, step-in shower, dual vanities, and WC.


Executive summary:

Imperial - elegant classical Viennese
Sacher - traditional Viennese with a lighter, more residential feel
Grand - traditional Viennese, at a lower price point and superior to the Bristol's traditional rooms
Bristol - didn't care for their traditional rooms, but Grand Deluxe rooms and Bristol Suites are a good bet for attractive contemporary hotel rooms
Ritz-Carlton - contemporary hotel in a traditional building
Sofitel - ultra-contemporary hotel



Five star contemporary hotels in Vienna

The new Ritz-Carlton Vienna is a very impressive new hotel for the right guest. Located on Ringstrasse, the hotel was developed from four adjacent private palaces. Maintaing the historical exteriors of the buildings, and preserving some very attractive interior architectural features (such as the grand marble staircase in one of the palazzos), the Ritz-Carlton features brand new, contemporary living spaces and public areas. Jessica noted that there is a "seamless transition between old and new," not easy to accomplish, but Ritz-Carlton has succeeded. Cool contemporary interiors incorporate natural browns (from hardwood on the floors and doors), greys, and beiges; splashes of color help keep the rooms visually interesting. Floors are a combination of carpeting an hardwood, and all rooms are high ceilinged.

There are 117 Deluxe rooms measuring 38 sqm. Bathrooms have single vanities, soaking tub, step-in shower, and a WC. Premium rooms are larger at 48 square meters; specify your preference for single or double vanities in the bathroom. The hotel has nine Executive Suites ... and the only Club Lounge in Vienna. Any room can get Club access for a supplement of 100€.

The hotel has a very cool rooftop bar with fantastic views over the city; a spa; large indoor pool; and a great restaurant, Distrikt.

The Ritz-Carlton is recommended for guests who want all the up-to-date comforts of a modern hotel, while staying in an historic building right on the Ring.


Sofitel Stephansdom Vienna

The best feature of this hotel is the commanding view of central Vienna afforded guests staying in Luxury rooms, as well as from the bar and restaurant on the hotel's top floors. The hotel is housed in an ultra-contemporary glass and steel building that makes a bold architectural statement.

The Sofitel will appeal [only] to guests who go for the coolest and trendiest hotels. Rooms are designed in one of three color schemes — white, dark grey, or black — and everything in the room (except the bedding, which is white) uses that color. The white room has hard white floors, walls, ceilings, furniture, bathroom fixtures, etc. They felt industrial and beyond minimalist to me. Rooms feature large windows with panoramic views of Vienna, Luxury rooms having striking views of the dome of St Stephans.

Last edited by DavidO; Sep 30, 13 at 12:16 am
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Old Sep 29, 13, 2:05 pm
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Thanks for all of the great information, David!
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Old Sep 29, 13, 4:54 pm
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Great reviews as always!

Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
The new Ritz-Carlton Vienna
...
The hotel has nine Executive Suites ... and the only Club Lounge in Vienna. Any room can get Club access for a supplement of 100€.
Not sure whether you were referring to Virtuoso hotels only or hotels in Vienna in general, but the Intercontinental Hotel Vienna has a Club lounge, located on the 20th (?) floor IIRC. The hotel isnīt in the same league as the ones you listed, but is a solid 4* hotel IMO with fairly competitive prices.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 12:18 am
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Not sure whether you were referring to Virtuoso hotels only or hotels in Vienna in general
I was reporting what the Sales Manager told me :-)
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Old Sep 30, 13, 1:51 am
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Great summary of the Ritz Carlton.

I am certain the RC Sales Manager doesn't see the IC as playing in the same league. Anyways, I stayed in February for 3 nights and probably the best in Vienna right now in terms of product and service.

Some pictures of my stay.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 4:49 am
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Thanks for posting DavidO.

I have always received wonderful service at the Bristol and also my parents like this hotel a lot.

Very fair reviews- some people have felt the service at the Imperial a bit "cold" at times however I have never experienced this personally.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 9:14 am
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post

Executive summary:

Imperial - elegant classical Viennese
Sacher - traditional Viennese with a lighter, more residential feel
Grand - traditional Viennese, at a lower price point and superior to the Bristol's traditional rooms
Bristol - didn't care for their traditional rooms, but Grand Deluxe rooms and Bristol Suites are a good bet for attractive contemporary hotel rooms
Ritz-Carlton - contemporary hotel in a traditional building
Sofitel - ultra-contemporary hotel
Totally agree with David's assessment. I do like the very modern Sofitel though, after having lived in Vienna for 7 years it's always amazing to wake up (and fall asleep) to the wonderful views of the Vienna old town and St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Vienna is seeing a flurry of hotel openings currently, including some smaller (self-proclaimed) luxury hotels like Hotel Sans-Souci and The Guesthouse. I for one am really looking forward to the Park Hyatt, which will open 2014 in an unbeatable location, right in the old town. The Four Seasons is still announced (german source) for 2015 at the Riemergasse site, but I think there are no construction activities yet.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by vienna-resident View Post
Totally agree with David's assessment. I do like the very modern Sofitel though, after having lived in Vienna for 7 years it's always amazing to wake up (and fall asleep) to the wonderful views of the Vienna old town and St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Vienna is seeing a flurry of hotel openings currently, including some smaller (self-proclaimed) luxury hotels like Hotel Sans-Souci and The Guesthouse. I for one am really looking forward to the Park Hyatt, which will open 2014 in an unbeatable location, right in the old town. The Four Seasons is still announced (german source) for 2015 at the Riemergasse site, but I think there are no construction activities yet.
I agree that the Park Hyatt is one of the most anticipated openings for next year (at least for me!).
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Old Sep 30, 13, 10:22 am
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The building of the Imperial is priceless in my eyes. Also I like to try the new RC. Iīm not sure which hotel I take next time....

P.S. You didnīt mention Palais Coburg.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 6:37 pm
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I was once upgraded at the Bristol to the Prince of Wales Suite and it is indeed a WOW suite. There is also a in suite gym and sauna and the fit and finish of the suite is exquisite.

One of the best aspects of the Imperial is you can walk out the rear of the hotel and be at the Musikverein -- the Concierges at both the Bristol and Imperial can secure tickets to prized concerts, especially for the Vienna Philharmonic.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 6:57 pm
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I prefer the Bristol to the Imperial; the latter is simply too over-the-top rococo for me (the smaller room sizes are not an issue for me since I always travel alone).

Another advantage to the Bristol is that it is easy to go back to one's room during intermission at the Staatsoper, and to return in plenty of time for the next act.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 1:57 am
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Originally Posted by Non-NonRev View Post
IAnother advantage to the Bristol is that it is easy to go back to one's room during intermission at the Staatsoper, and to return in plenty of time for the next act.
Absolutely
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Old Oct 23, 13, 11:00 am
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Certainly add the Kempinski to the list.
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Old Jan 8, 14, 8:34 am
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Ritz Carlton vs. Sacher

Any thoughts on this? I have stayed at the Sacher and Imperial in the past. I will be there for two nights on business next week.

Last edited by speedbird001; Jan 8, 14 at 8:35 am Reason: didn't add copies
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Old Jan 14, 14, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by speedbird001 View Post
Any thoughts on this? I have stayed at the Sacher and Imperial in the past. I will be there for two nights on business next week.
i guess too late now for help?
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