As home to embassies, international organizations (OPEC and the United Nations to name but two), and numerous large corporations, it’s no surprise that Vienna boasts a fair sprinkling of luxury hotels.
Our local chamber of commerce designates five city hotels as five-star or five-star superior.
The list of hotels below draws on strict official classifications. If you do wish to enjoy a wider choice of high-end hotels and apartments in an imperial city, Booking.com, for example, lists over 30 properties* with five stars.
(I’d write long reviews of them based on intensive research involving whirlpools and various selections from the room service menu, but — alas! — time and budget constraints prevent me from doing so.)
Five star (superior) hotels
At the time of writing, the last official update (late October, 2022) from the Austrian Chamber of Commerce formally classified four luxury hotels in Vienna as five-star (superior) locations. These are:
(The hotel at a past Christmas)
Originally constructed as a city palace for the Prince of Württemberg, the building converted to a hotel in 1873. The Prince’s former apartments are now hotel suites, which gives you an idea of the luxury nature of the place.
You’ll find the Imperial on Vienna’s Ring boulevard, and it’s particularly handy for the world-famous Musikverein concert hall.
As well as top-class accommodation, the Imperial enjoys other claims to fame. For example:
- The hotel featured heavily in Season 2 of the Vienna Blood period drama series, with the pristine historical interior providing turn-of-the-century opulence
- The Imperial Torte, created for the visiting Emperor Franz Joseph at the hotel’s opening
- The hotel’s Christmas lights provide one of the highlights along the Ring during Advent. Understated but elegant (a description which might apply to all the Christmas lights in the centre)
Address: Kärntner Ring 16 | Hotel and booking details*
(Luxury accommodation and icon of the cake world)
Also famous as a home of the Sacher Torte and city landmark in its own right. One of the most central of all the five star luxury locations, opposite the State Opera House. (So suited to slipping into bed with the final aria still ringing in your ears.)
First opened in 1876 by the son of the man who made the original cake. Famous guests include Queen Elizabeth II and President John F. Kennedy.
The Sacher’s coffee house is immensely popular: I cannot recall the last time I passed and did not see a long queue waiting to get inside.
The elegant interiors, classic setting and (surprise!) cake within the café all make a visit worthwhile in its own right, even if you stay elsewhere. And the entrance to the cake shop is just around the corner on Kärntner Straße.
Address: Philharmonikerstraße 4, 1010 Vienna | Hotel and booking details*
Palais Hansen Kempinski
(Another jewel in the centre)
Also among the many museums and town palaces on the Ring surrounding Vienna’s old town. The hotel occupies a building that dates back to the 1873 World Exhibition.
And here’s an insider secret…the Palais Hansen Kempinski sits practically opposite the address Schottenring 23, which few people realise was designed by the father of modern architecture, Otto Wagner.
Address: Schottenring 24, 1010 Vienna | Hotel and booking details*
Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz
(Stay here and you literally sleep on top of history)
A palace completed in the 1840s for Duke Ferdinand of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha. The hotel actually incorporates part of Vienna’s medieval city fortifications.
The palais also has a musical connection (like so many of its colleagues in the city). Johann Strauss II premiered a polka and a waltz here, written in honour of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert.
Address: Coburgbastei 4, 1010 Vienna | Hotel and booking details*
Five star hotels
As of mid-November, 2022, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce also classified one other luxury hotel as a five-star property:
(Notable Jugendstil exterior décor)
Genuinely named after the English port city, Hotel Bristol is another glorious building first built in the late 19th century and then reworked in 1913.
Like Hotel Sacher, Hotel Bristol sits close to the State Opera House at one end of the Kärntner Straße street that quickly turns pedestrianised and leads you down to the cathedral. This also takes you past one of our favourite café confectionaries: Sluka.
Hotel Bristol has a long list of famous guests that includes Roosevelt, Mahler, Gershwin, Puccini, King Edward VIII, and Bernstein.
Address: Kärntner Ring 1, 1010 Vienna | Hotel and booking details*