Luxury hotels in Vienna are booming like never before. When I moved from my hometown Vienna to London 10 years ago, local luxury was confined to heritage sites like Schonbrunn Palace, a handful of rather outdated palace hotels and lonely luxury shops, and even less gourmet restaurants. With the growing influx of well-heeled Asian and Middle Eastern travellers in search for suitable hotels Vienna Austria just had to catch up with the city’s reputation of fine baroque architecture and first class classical music events.
MAKEOVER OF PLUSH HOTELS, INTRO OF MODERN URBAN CHIC
Vienna’s traditional luxury accommodation has been banking on old-world charm: Located in historic town palaces, they boast upholstered French-style furniture, silk wallpaper, sparkling chandeliers, gold plated mirrors, marble bathrooms, and heavy brocade curtains. To match modern day comforts, hotels such as the Sacher and Palais Coburg have received thorough makeovers in the past years. Hotel Bristol is next in line, with refurbishment work starting this summer.
Meanwhile, modern urban luxury accommodation has found its way into Vienna: Do & Co, The Ring Hotel and Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom are the most prominent examples.
International luxury hotel chains Ritz Carlton, Kempinski, Park Hyatt, Four Seasons and Sans Souci are now rushing to open their first local sites in the next 24 months.
ROOM PRICES ARE STILL A BARGAIN
Room prices for five star temples in Vienna have been modest, compared with other European luxury hotels: While guests pay an average USD 400 (EUR 300) per head and room for a luxury hotel in Vienna, they need to pony up for example around USD 920 (EUR 700) in Paris (source: Kohl & Partner, June 2011).
However, despite the imminent explosion of hotel room capacity, luxury room fees are expected to go up. Experts see Viennese hotel prices in the five star segment move up towards an average EUR 400 in the future.
BEST EXISTING LUXURY HOTELS
Legendary Viennese hotel; regularly hosting international celebrities like Jane Fonda, Liz Hurley and Isabel Allende; located behind the Vienna State Opera; stunning modern roof top suites; sells Vienna’s signature cake Sachertorte and offers chocolate spa treatments.
Price range (all indicated prices are averages, and based on per room per night): USD 520 to 6,430
Luxury suite palace hotel for travellers with discerning expectations; only Relais & Chateau hotel in Vienna; historic wine archive stocking a collection of more than 60.000 bottles of wine; exquisite gourmet restaurant run by chef Silvio Nickol.
Price range: USD 890 to 3,570
Flamboyant Ring boulevard palace hotel with a track record of international royals among its guests; part of the Starwood Hotel Group’s Luxury Collection Hotels; only Austrian luxury hotel to offer personal butler service included in hotel price; located next to Vienna Philharmonics’ concert hall Musikverein.
Price range: USD 430 to 1,010
DO & CO Vienna
Vienna’s first modern luxury boutique hotel; exciting mix of urban chic with Austrian elements and owner Attila Dogudan’s Turkish roots; smart-crowd Onyx Bar offers stunning views of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and historic pedestrian area.
Price range: USD 230 to 2,040
Hotel Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom
Award winning black and white design jewel by Paris architect Jean Nouvel (European Design Award 2011 for New Build Hotel); best luxury hotel view of Old Vienna; bar and gourmet restaurant Le Loft in large glass cube with 360 degree views; located in trendy district Leopoldstadt, within walking distance from city centre.
Price range: USD 300 to 570
LUXURY HOTEL PROJECTS
Ritz Carlton, Schubertring 5-7
The hotel chain is reported to take over the original Shangri-La Hotel that was to open in February 2011. The interiors are all done and the hotel is ready for occupancy.
Planned opening date (all projected opening dates are based on official data from November 2011): May/June 2012
Hotel Sans Souci Vienna, Museumsstrasse 1 / Burggasse 2
The historic townhouse at the triangle between Museumsquartier, trendy seventh district and Ring boulevard will finally be renovated, and is scheduled to house the Sans Souci Group’s local luxury boutique hotel and apartments.
Planned opening date: end 2012
Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, Schottenring 20 – 26
The Kempinski Group is transforming one of Vienna’s finest town palaces along the Ring boulevard, right next to the Old Vienna Stock Exchange.
Planned opening date: spring 2013
Boutique Hotel The Guesthouse, Führichgasse 10
None other than British star architect Sir Terence Conran will design this classic contemporary boutique suite hotel between the Vienna State Opera and the Albertina museum. It is Sir Terence’s second hotel project in Vienna, following design hotel Das Triest.
Planned opening date: 2013
Park Hyatt Vienna, Am Hof 2
Park Hyatt will use the historic flagship building of Austrian Länderbank, located on grand square Am Hof, a stone’s throw away from luxury shopping miles Graben and Kohlmarkt.
Planned opening date: 2013
Hotel im Palais Schwarzenberg, Schwarzenbergplatz 9
The palace hotel between the Upper and Lower Belvedere, owned by the Viennese Schwarzenberg family, is to get a thorough makeover in order to become Vienna’s first six star accommodation.
Planned opening date: 2014/15
Four Seasons, Riemergasse 7
The Four Seasons Group plans to transform the former Viennese Commercial Court building. Construction is reported to start in early 2012.
Planned opening date: 2014