Hotel Review: The Grand Hotel Wien, Vienna in Austria
Vienna is known for its imperial palaces and baroque grandeur, and this regal Austrian capital is rightly considered one of the most cultural cities in the world. Famous for an unrivalled arts and music legacy, as well as a stylish coffee-house culture and unabashed taste for the high life, Vienna encapsulates the magic of old Europe. Unsurprisingly, this sophisticated city isn’t short of five-star hotels, but if you want to experience traditional imperial grandeur at its best, there’s only one place to stay: the Grand Hotel Wien.
First opening its doors in 1870, the Grand Hotel Wien was the country’s original “Grand Dame” hotel and Austria’s first luxury accommodation, and it soon found itself at the very centre of Viennese social life (it was notably a favourite of Johann Strauss, the composer of the ‘The Blue Danube’ waltz). Now a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, here’s how it measures up today.
The Grand Hotel Wien enjoys a prime position right in the heart of Vienna, so you’re within easy reach of most of the city’s main attractions. If you’re a music lover, you’ll be pleased to know that the famous State Opera House, Musikverein and Jazzland are mere minutes away by foot; if you prefer museums and galleries, then the Natural History Museum, the Belvedere and the magnificent art at Kunsthistorische are just a short stroll away. If you’re planning on a spot of shopping, then Vienna’s most upmarket shopping districts – Kärntner Straße, Kohlmarkt, Graben, and the Ringstraßen Galerien – are all minutes away.
STYLE & CHARACTER
While first impressions can be wrong, that’s definitely not the case at the Grand Hotel Wien, which was designed by renowned architect Carl Tietz. Walking into the palatial lobby – all shiny marble, glistening chandeliers and sweeping, ornate staircase – sets the tone for this hotel’s inimitable style and character, which merges Belle Epoque opulence, period features and old-world charm with modern conveniences. It’s hard to imagine a more opulent hotel, but despite its lavishness, the Grand Hotel Wien isn’t stuffy or pretentious; as soon as you walk through the gold and glass doors you’ll get a sense of its relaxed, welcoming ambiance – helped in part by the piano player, who serenades guests in the lobby.
The 205 bedrooms and suites are as beautiful and grand as the lobby suggests, ranging from the 375-square-foot Superior Rooms to the magnificent 2,400-square-foot Presidential Suite – which comes with its own kitchen and dining room, as well as an enormous marble bathroom with a whirlpool. All rooms are decorated in classic Viennese style, with antique furniture, plush carpeting, and floor-to-ceiling windows cloaked in thick and expensive draperies.
It all feels very Louis XV; if you ignore the plug sockets and electrical conveniences, it’s easy to imagine you’ve stepped back a few hundred years. The colour schemes are subtle and elegant – think soft yellows, golden browns and gentle greens – and the sleek marble bathrooms come stocked with indulgent toiletries.
FOOD & DRINK
There are five dining options at the Grand Hotel Wien, the most celebrated being the newly renovated Le Ciel by Toni Mörwald. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves up elegant Austrian and French cuisine from the seventh-floor, and you can eat inside, in the sparkling dining room, or outside, on the panoramic roof terrace. Also on the seventh-floor is the chic Unkai, a popular Japanese restaurant with an adjoining sushi bar.
Breakfast is served at the Grand Brasserie overlooking the Ringstrasse, and downstairs, the Grand Café serves up Viennese specialties and traditional pastries. The Kavalierbar on the mezzanine is known for its classy cocktails, and with its cosy chairs, dark wood and open bar, is reminiscent of a British-style club. Yalla – Fresh & Spicy, offers authentic Middle Eastern food – and if you fancy retreating to your room, all dishes are available for takeaway.
SERVICE & FACILITIES
Service – as you’d expect from one of the world’s leading hotels – is impeccable. Staff at the front desk are bright and smiling, cases are whisked away to your rooms before you can blink, and the concierge will happily point you in the direction of the city’s best bars, cafes, museums and shops. The 2,150-square-foot Grand Spa 605, with its lovely Spanish-style tiles, is just as stylish as the rest of the hotel, yet its exposed brickwork and cutting-edge technologies reflect a more modern side of the hotel. In the spa you can kick back in the sauna or steam room, or relax under state-of-the-art LED mood lighting. If you’re feeling more active, the gym is well-equipped with cardio and strength-training stations, or if you’re looking to be pampered, the treatment menu is one of the most extensive in Vienna.
Located in: Ringstraßen-Galerien
Address: Kärntner Ring 9, 1010 Wien, Austria
Phone: +43 1 515800