Vienna

 

Hotel Imperial’s Royal Suite
Hotel Imperial's Royal Suites occupy the hotel's entire bel-étage.

 

Classic and timeless, the city’s former palaces play host to modern restaurants, museums and hotels.

Hotel Imperial sits on the city’s famous Ringstrasse, the street that encircles the city center. Originally built as a palace in the 19th century for the Duke of Württemberg, the hotel is now considered one of the best and most luxurious in Austria.

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace, now a major tourist attraction, was once an imperial summer residence.

The top accommodations here are the Royal and Imperial suites. The latter (six in all) were once the private chambers of the Prince of Württemberg. They measure from 753 to 1,022 square feet and are detailed with impressive touches like crystal chandeliers, star-patterned parquet floors and 23-foot-high ceilings. The suites come with salons, which provide ideal settings for meetings or cocktails.

The Royal Suites are the crème de la crème of Hotel Imperial (think marble bathrooms and walls upholstered in silk). These suites have been home to crowned heads and state guests, artists and megastars (think Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Bruce Springsteen, George Bush and Prince Charles). Note: Guests in all suites have access to a private butler, who can assist with everything from in-room check-in, personalized business cards, ironing service and early morning coffee service.

While there is no spa on site, guests can arrange to have private spa treatments in-room. The hotel can also make spa appointments at local spas in the area, such as Pure Day Spa. To book treatments for your clients, reach out to Chef Concierge Michael Moser (michael.moser@starwoodhotels.com). He can also arrange private museum tours at Leopold Museum; horse carriage rides through Vienna that include a picnic basket; or even a helicopter ride to mountain restaurant Wirtshaus am Pogusch

 

 

Wine in Wien

Austria has a reputable wine culture that stretches across the country. In fact, it is fast becoming a culinary and wine destination for traveling gourmands. When in Vienna, Luxury Travel Advisor recommends taking a quick trip outside the city to Klosterneuburg Monastery, a 900-year-old abbey that has a rich viticultural tradition and one of  the largest wine cellars in Austria. To make arrangements, contact Sales Manager Peter Stasiuk (p.stasiuk@stift-klosterneuburg.at).

 

 

Musical Note: Hotel Imperial has its own court composer, who can arrange individual and personalized hymns for guests. The on-site composer, Emanuel Schulz, determines clients’ personal favorites over the course of a two-hour music test. After selecting a key and instruments, Schulz tailors a commissioned piece to the liking of the guest. To arrange this special treat, contact Moser.

Getting There: Hotel Imperial is half an hour from the Vienna International Airport, which also serves private helicopters. The hotel can also arrange limousine transportation for guests through Jet-Car Mietwagen GmbH.

Luxury travel advisors can contact Director of Leisure Sales Rosemarie Regner (rosemarie.regner@starwoodhotels.com) with questions.

Possibly the most famous hotel in Vienna is the Hotel Sacher Wien, birthplace of the decadent Sachertorte and a magnet for such past notables as John Lennon and John F. Kennedy. The hotel, on Philharmonikerstrasse, just steps away from Vienna’s ritzy shopping district, was built in 1876, and since then has always been a center for the aristocracy to mix and mingle. Its rooms and public spaces are both striking and unique, especially the Rote Bar Restaurant and Blaue Bar, which are saturated with crimson and azure, respectively.

Wiener Christkindlmarkt
Wiener Christkindlmarkt has been a Vienna tradition for more than seven centuries.

Local Flavor: Both hotel restaurants, the Anna Sacher and the Rote Bar, are popular dining destinations for well-heeled locals. For the best seat in the house, reach out to Jutta Hausl (jhausl@sacher.com).

The hotel’s most touted room is the Zauberflöte Presidential Suite, which, at around 1,775 square feet, includes two bedrooms and a living room. The suite is also outfitted with three marble baths, a Dolby surround sound system, and is a favorite among the A-listers who frequent Vienna.

We love the Sacher Spa, which offers an extensive thermal suite and exclusive treatments (think La Prairie facial and body treatments, and a host of massages). Top Treatment: The most requested are the Time to Chocolate treatments, such as the 110-minute A Symphony in Chocolate, which includes a chocolate wrap, purifying cacao bean peeling massage, chocolate body mask and massage with sweet chocolate body care. Address all spa queries to Spa Director Susanne Özalp, (soezalp@sacher.com). It is recommended to book treatments a week in advance.

Junior Suites at Hotel Sacher Wien
Junior Suites at Hotel Sacher Wien have marble bathrooms with under-floor heating.

Getting There: Hotel Sacher is about 30 minutes by taxi from the airport. For your VIPs, book the hotel’s special limousine service, which picks them up directly from the plane. Contact Head Concierge Wolfgang Buchmann (wbuchmann@sacher.com) to make arrangements. His team can also arrange exclusive tours of palaces and museums with private guides, shopping excursions or even a city tour by private fiaker, an elegant two-horse carriage.

Luxury travel advisors can address questions to Director of Sales Andreas Glück (aglueck@sacher.com) or General Manager Reiner Heilmann (rheilmann@sacher.com). Tip: It is most difficult to book the hotel around New Year’s and Vienna’s famous Opera Ball.

Enrich and Explore

Each corner of Vienna is steeped with enough history and culture to fill weeks of exploration. Travelers with a taste for the refined would be remiss to pass on Kohlmarkt, the most elegant shopping district in Vienna. We were lucky enough to stroll this street at Christmas time and reveled in the thousands of lights that twinkled above Cartier, Chanel and Gucci. The street leads straight up to the Hofburg Palace. Tip: When in town during the Yuletide season, be sure to stop at one of the many Christmas markets that dot the city. Here, you can purchase a host of Viennese sweets and crafts, all while sipping a mug of steaming glühwein, a popular mulled wine that warms the bones.

 

 

Advisor Insight

Betsy Patton of Betty MacLean Travel offers some tidbits on one of her favorite cities. “Vienna is still the Grande Dame of Europe,” she says. “It is elegant and Old World, yet has some very modern touches. Traditions abound in Vienna and many of them surround holidays and music. At Schönbrunn Palace, it is possible to enjoy a dinner concert of Mozart’s music with musicians dressed in period costumes. One of the modern touches in Vienna is a relatively new music museum called Haus der Musik. At this interactive museum, guests can listen to Beethoven’s music in the volumes he heard as he went on to lose his hearing—until the last horn when it is dead silent, signifying the maestro’s total deafness.

“Another fun thing to do in Vienna is an evening in Grinzing, a suburb of Vienna, famous for serving typical Austrian foods, such as Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel, along with Heuriger  wine. It’s very festive in Grinzing at any time of the year and the suburb offers a great opportunity to see the locals enjoy their traditions and some very schmaltzy music!”

 

 

The Viennese coffeehouse culture is bandied about in literature that dates to the 19th century. Viennese love to sit and sip a Mélange (one of the varieties of Viennese coffee) and nibble on delicate pastries like strudel (and of course, the Sachertorte!). The leisurely atmosphere surrounding Vienna’s coffee culture is so ingrained that many of the Starbucks that had opened in the city are now closed. We recommend visiting Café Central, which is just steps from the Hofburg Palace and serves up delicious apple-and-cheese strudel.

Other cultural highlights include Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Hapsburgs, which offers daily tours; the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera; the Spanish Riding School; and the MuseumsQuartier, a collection of Vienna’s museums housed in imperial buildings.