Austria is an architourist’s dream. When you’re not marvelling at gilded palaces, you’re trying to make sense of a modern creation that looks like an alien. A tour of great Austrian architecture almost always includes your hotel, especially if you book these gems on Culture Trip.
From baroque masterpieces like Salzburg Cathedral and Belvedere Palace in Vienna, to the modern Friendly Alien that is the Kunsthaus Graz, no country does architecture quite like Austria. Small wonder, then, that its hotels always seem to offer something a bit special when it comes to design – both inside and out. Whether it’s a glistening exterior, natural thermal water running through taps or an oval chaise longue window, when you travel through Austria, the building you stay in is part of the adventure. Here’s where you should stay.
Courtesy of Hotel Gasthof Hirschen Schwarzenberg / Booking.com
The Hotel Gasthof Hirschen Schwarzenberg is as much an art museum as it is accommodation in one of prettiest villages in the Bregenzerwald. Each of the rooms in the 18th-century Henchen – one of two buildings – are dedicated to an artist whose works are part of the family collection or have made a big impact on the hotel or Schwarzenberg. While the Henchen is filled with antique furniture, its sister structure, Wälderhaus, is more modern – but equally inviting.
With the Albertina Museum, Augustinian Church, Hofburg, the Vienna State Opera and beautiful Burggarten park as neighbours, the Guesthouse on Albertinaplatz has a location that’s tough to beat. The inside isn’t half bad either. The 1960s former youth hostel has undergone a major revamp courtesy of Conran & Partners, with minimalist modern furnishings ensuring surroundings that are as cosy as they are elegant. Black-and-white photos by Austrian photographer Wolfgang Zac up the cool factor.
A ski and wellness hotel in the centre of mountain village Lech, Hotel Arlberg makes hitting the slopes a doddle. The local ski school is on the hotel’s doorstep, while its boot room connects with the town’s local ski and rental shop. If swishing down a mountainside isn’t your bag, there’s the Arlberg Spa that, with its natural wood and Alpine granite interior, taps into the dramatic surrounding landscape.
Architecture lovers rejoice. Not only is Do & Co located in the unique Haas Haus, designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Hans Hollein, but it’s across the way from the gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral – famous for its four towers, the tallest of which is 136m (446ft) high. In addition to being an architectural marvel, the glistening, curvaceous Do & Co is also the perfect viewing platform to take in the Cathedral and Stephansplatz, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.
An ecofriendly hotel in the Ziller Valley, DasPostHotel has spectacular views of the Alps and interior decor by Harald Margreiter that’s brilliantly barmy. In a combination of traditional and kitsch, log cabin walls sit next to bright floral wallpapers and headboards, green mosaic glass bathrooms and painted vintage furniture. In the kitchen, chef Marcus Duchardt serves up high-quality Austrian cuisine including a “bio-vital” breakfast.
In what is the latest chapter in a 600-year history, the Blaue Gans has been turned into one of Salzburg’s best boutique hotels. As you’d expect from accommodation in the Museum and Art Scene District, opposite the Festival Hall, there are creative touches wherever you look. Owner Andreas Gfrerer has assembled 120 artworks that are scattered throughout the house, including an automated rabbit that dances to Black Magic Woman.
Looking like Vienna’s answer to London’s Cheesegrater high-rise, the Hotel Topazz – with its huge oval windows and dark tiled exterior – will stop you in your tracks. The monochromatic interior is just as striking, featuring hand-painted wall coverings, brass tables and marble and chrome bathrooms. The standout suite is the Prestige Topazz that has a chaise longue window where guests can recline and take in Vienna’s city centre.
A hideaway that looks out over the spa town of Bad Gastein, Hotel Miramonte will make you feel relaxed even before you dive into its dizzying array of treatments. Chakra balancing and fusion stone massages, detoxifying hay and herb wraps and yoga lessons with mountain scenery are all part of the lineup. So devoted is Hotel Miramonte to wellness, the natural thermal water that Bad Gastein is known for is available on tap.
Located in Bizau in the gorgeous Bregenz Forest, Biohotel Schwanen is a rambler’s heaven. Nearly 50 hiking routes featuring Alpine scenery surround the property, including the barefoot hiking trail at the Bizauer Moos Moor. Walkers staying at the hotel are fuelled by grub at restaurant SWAN, where Antonia Moosbrugger and her wilde weiber (wild women) create dishes inspired by mystic Hildegard von Bingen.
Owned by the same family since 1956, this boutique hotel manages to be a quiet bolthole despite its location right on the extremely busy Stephansplatz in central Vienna. Triple-glazed windows mean that the noise is well and truly kept out – even the bells of the nearby St Stephen’s Cathedral. Thanks to the hotel’s central location, a lot of major sights are a stroll away, including Mozart’s House and the Vienna State Opera.