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 lists five city hotels in the five-star superior or five-star classification. I describe them below.
Five star (superior) hotels
At the time of writing, the last official update (late January, 2021) from the Austrian Chamber of Commerce formally classified four luxury hotels in Vienna as five-star (superior) locations. These are:
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 are 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 details*
Also famous as the home of the Sacher Torte and a city landmark in its own right. One of the most central of all the five star luxury locations, opposite the State Opera House. (So perfect for 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.
Like the Imperial, the Sacher has plenty of screen fame, perhaps most notably as a location in The Third Man.
Address: Philharmonikerstraße 4, 1010 Vienna | Hotel details*
Palais Hansen Kempinski
Also on the Ring surrounding Vienna’s old town with museums and town palaces. 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 details*
Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz
A palace completed in the 1840s for Duke Ferdinand of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha. Stay here and you literally sleep on top of history, since the hotel 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 details*
Five star hotels
As of late July, 2021, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce also classified one other luxury hotel as a five-star property:
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 (look for Jugendstil architectural elements from the time).
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 details*
If you do wish to enjoy a wider choice of luxury hotels and apartments in an imperial city, Booking.com lists around 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.)