Vienna has some wonderful luxury hotels for a pampered stay in the city | Tomas Marek / Alamy
With its traces of imperial history, progressive art and cultural scene and culinary treasures, Vienna offers plenty to the discerning visitor, including a wonderful section of luxury hotels. Culture Trip rounds up the best hotels to choose for a special stay in Vienna.
In both 2018 and 2019, Vienna was crowned the most liveable city in the world by the Mercer study and The Economist Intelligence Unit, and it’s easy to see why. The Austrian capital mesmerises not only with its food scene with delicious apple strudels and melange coffees, but also through its impressive musical and cultural offering. The trendy bars and restaurants and the modern infrastructure attract people from all over the world and all walks of life. For a truly indulgent stay, pick one of Vienna’s luxury hotels, which feature everything from stunning design to well-endowed wine cellars and exquisite art.
Composer Johann Strauss performed at the Grand Hotel | Courtesy Grand Hotel Wien / Hotels.com
In 1894, composer Johann Strauss performed his 50-year jubilee in the Grand Hotel. And today, the five-star hotel still draws revered guests from around the world. Located on the Ringstrasse in the heart of Vienna and surrounded by cultural attractions such as the Vienna State Opera, the Grand features 205 rooms and suites, 15 of which have terraces perfect for enjoying an al fresco coffee or an evening drink. Rooms are plushly decorated, with draped curtains, richly patterned carpets, grand wooden furniture and corniced ceilings. Honoured with three toques from French restaurant guide Gault Millau, head chef Roland Huber cooks up innovative cuisine at Michelin-star restaurant Le Ciel by Toni Mörwald. There’s also an on-site Japanese restaurant and a separate sushi bar, as well as the Grand Brasserie, meaning guests are spoilt for food choice. At breakfast, try the hotel’s honey, which is produced by over 70,000 bees in the hotel’s rooftop hives.
The Imperial was built in the 1860s for Duke Philipp of Württemberg, and was designed as a palace in the Italian Neo-Renaissance style. Located on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, it was soon transformed into a hotel for the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair. On the first floor, a painting of Emperor Francis Joseph I, together with his wife, Empress Elisabeth, fondly known as ‘Sisi’, hangs as a reminder of Vienna’s glorious imperial era. The tastefully furnished 76 rooms and 62 suites continue this theme, mixing the timeless grace of 19th-century Vienna (think antique furniture, rich fabrics and elegant chandeliers) with modern facilities and amenities, such as a rooftop gym with a sauna. It’s a truly spectacular place to stay, and the hotel prides itself on offering Vienna’s only butler service to guests in every suite.
In the early 1800s, kitchen apprentice Franz Sacher created what is now known as Vienna’s most famous cake, the Sachertorte. Some 44 years later, in 1876, Franz’s son Eduard opened the now-legendary Hotel Sacher. With 149 guest rooms, the Sacher is one of the few family-run luxury hotels in the world. The elegant Art Nouveau building in which it is housed is filled with precious antiques such as a richly decorated tabernacle secretary’s cupboard in the lobby and a gold-framed mirror in the Idomeneo Suite. There are plenty of spectacular places to eat and drink within the hotel, too, including the green-velvet-walled Grüne Bar, the crimson-carpeted Rote Bar and the midnight-blue Blaue Bar. There’s a babysitting service, and dog sitters and walkers are also available on request.
Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha commissioned the 1845 Palais Coburg, which was designed in the Neoclassical style, with cream columns lining the terraces that surround each floor, arched windows and a sweeping external staircase. Today, the noble residence offers 34 suites located right in the heart of Vienna. The two-level Viktoria Suite boasts a large terrace with a garden view and an original Biedermeier writing table, while the other suites are equally smartly decorated. There’s a gourmet restaurant, but it’s the wine that’s particularly notable here: the six wine cellars house some 60,000 bottles spanning four centuries. The oldest Dom Pérignon in the Champagne Cellar is from 1962, and the Yquem Cellar stores at least one bottle of each vintage of Château d’Yquem (a prestigious vineyard from the Gironde region in France), starting with 1893.
Previously the Sofitel Vienna, this five-star hotel on the banks of the river Danube was recently rebranded as the SO/ Vienna, and now boasts 182 rooms and suites, a sleek spa and a stylish gym. The building was originally designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, who created a striking, glass-fronted building with a large freestanding vertical garden in the interior courtyard featuring 20,000 different plants. The luxury spa will soothe the senses not only with its Jacuzzi, steam room and alluring treatment menu, but also through its minimalist design in a white, black and grey palette. Spoil yourself with a body scrub made of volcanic rhyolite particles from Stromboli, Sicily, or experience the antioxidant power of Goji berries combined with Macadamia oil.
With a decadent palette of dark green, greys and blues, and eye-catching accessories from famous Viennese glassware company J & L Lobmeyr and porcelain manufacturer Augarten, the Grand Ferdinand’s signature style is creative, yet utterly slick. Situated in downtown Vienna, the hotel is near to must-visit attractions such as the Vienna State Opera and the MuseumsQuartier. The Grande Suite takes the hotel’s extraordinary design to the next level, with its exotic palm trees, glamorous round sofa banquette and freestanding bathtub, as well as private access to a rooftop pool overlooking Vienna.
The Hotel Sans Souci is the ideal place for art lovers to stay in Vienna. World-renowned designer Philippe Starck’s creative team designed each of the hotel’s rooms individually, and the result is truly stunning, with a range of rooms in different styles. The hotel also houses an impressive collection of modern art, with original paintings by Roy Lichtenstein, Allen Jones and Steve Kaufman. For the ultimate in relaxation, there’s also a spa with a sauna and pool, as well as a fitness centre. The 65 rooms and suites are located in the Bohemian quarter of Spittelberg in Vienna’s seventh district. To learn more about Vienna’s art scene, the 45-minute Vienna Street Art Tour starts just a few minutes on foot from the Hotel Sans Souci and takes attendees to some of the most impressive creations of the Viennese street-art scene.
This 30-room, four-star boutique hotel is located on one of the most popular shopping streets in Vienna, Mariahilfer Straße, and close to Kärntner Straße, Vienna’s luxury shopping area. After a long day exploring Vienna’s best boutiques and international fashion stores, relax in the exquisite wellness area of Hotel Das Tyrol, which has a sauna and steam bath. Decorated with gold Bisazza tiles, the spa features two huge saltwater aquariums full of dazzlingly coloured fish. You can rest on comfortable loungers and marvel at this infinitely calming sight before heading to the light therapy shower, Finnish sauna or steam room for the ultimate in relaxation. The rooms themselves are equally relaxing, with soft lighting and furnishings in muted colours.
A restored 19th-century townhouse, the House of Time has been sumptuously designed. Situated in multicultural Leopoldstadt, Vienna’s 2nd district, it’s close to the open-air market Karmelitermarkt and within walking distance of the Inner City. This area has recently gone up in the world, evolving into a trendy neighbourhood popular with artists. The hotel’s suites are individually designed with different themes. For example, the Love Boat in Saigon suite has a private cinema and a roof terrace, as well as fittings from across Asia including a Japanese dining table. The House of Music suite features artwork by renowned artists, a cello and a Philippe Starck-designed bathtub. Extra-large beds with a three-degree slant, no metal fittings and red underfloor lighting are among the special features intended to guarantee a good night’s sleep.