24 Hours at the Hotel Imperial, Vienna
When it comes to the most famous and most iconic hotels, you inmediately think of the big players such as The Ritz, The Plaza and The Savoy. When you focus on Austria, you are most likely to know The Imperial along with The Sacher. Well, the first one is the one who was once used as a Private Palace of Prince von Wüttemberg and then was turned into a high end hotel. Indeed every famous person or politician of this world has stayed there, including Michael Jackson (who wrote the Earth Song in his Suite), Richard Wagner, John F Kennedy, Queen Elisabeth, Alfred Hitchcock, Angela Merkel and even Mariah Carey stayed at the Imperial - and be sure she felt like the Queen of Austria when staying at the world famous Royal Suite. Well, in fact this is a hotel, every Austrian luxury travel blogger need to stay, and so did we.
After a 24-hours long journey coming from Bangkok (the direct flight was slightly too boring), we finally landed at Vienna Airport on time. To be more precisely, after two Emirates flights, one stop in chaotic Cairo and a slightly alright flight with Austrian Airlines and some of their least motivated crew members. Due to the fact that Airport handling is not the speciality of Egypt, I was rewarded with my Rimowa suitcase being destroyed. So it went from waiting one hour at Cairo Airport to fast handling at Vienna Airport until someone cared about my luggage problem. A few minutes later - and LUCKILY the best part of the day - we were welcomed by our myDriver chauffeur (the same we had to the airport one week earlier), who was super great and friendly! Our drive into Vienna was like a 30-minute spa treatment after all these exhausting things. To be honest, the Hotel Imperial haven't had the most relaxed guests with us (as you can imagine).
So when we drove along the entrance of the hotel, I was a little bit turned off by the fact that no bellmen arrived to help us with the luggage. So there were we: two big suitcases, even with a broken one, entering the lobby by ourselves. It might sounds snobby but when I check in at such a glamorous hotel, a warm welcome is simply essential. There would be problem number two: We finally made it to the lobby (still no bellman around) and were standing there like two aliens. After a journey of 30 hours, I do not look like Tom Cruise or Ryan Reynolds while filming. Although the entire lobby looks glamorous and the staff behaves according to the look, we missed the personal touch - tough this can happen at any Austrian grand hotel and is not a big problem. Unfortunately there was just one front desk attendant and one concierge and while they were handling two guests, we had to wait for a few minutes. During our check-in the telephone rang for minutes and I was kind of shoked to see that there is just one staff member working at the front desk.
As soon as all the paperwork was done (a welcome drink was not offered), we were introduced to the lovely PR Manager Daniela and then the bellman finally has arrived and showed us the suite. From now one everything was going to be perfect and we were excited to see our suite. When considering the Imperial Vienna for your stay in Vienna it is important to bear in mind that you are staying at a true Imperial Palace with all its dazzling and glamour amenities, you're not at the Rosewood or Hyatt. When we entered our gorgeous Elisabeth Suite, there was kind of special feeling overwhelming us. One could feel the splendor of the good old days and I can imagine that female guests start to dream of Sissi - Empress Elisabeth from Austrian (who we also remembered at the review of Schloss Fuschl on Fuschlsee earlier this year and by the way the second Luxury Collection property by Starwood in Austria).
I would say the most impressive parts of our suite were these amazingly high ceilings with its splendid chandeliers, the walls covered in expensive fabrics, the old and super-expensive-looking paintings as well as the ultra-heavenly bed. While I normally expect a separate walk-in shower I was fine with a shower-tub combo for the night. To be honest, I missed the personal touch when it comes to housekeeping: Instead of a Body Lotion next to the vanities there was a conditioner (?) and they did not fill up the toiletries at turn-down service, plus the front desk staff did not inform the housekeeping about our late-check out until 1pm, so they wanted to clean the room at 12.20, which we in fact had to solve. However I very much appreciated the lovely welcome amenities consisting of a set of small versions of the "Imperial Torte" - a square-like chocolate cake, as well as fresh apricots along with a welcome letter in English and German (some hotels decided to have one in each language which I find a little bit more personal). I much appreciated the free water and chocolates at the turn-down service - always so great to see this kind of amenities.
Breakfast is served in the refurbished Café Maria Theresia where they have one room dedicated to the buffet, a terrace and a main big room where all the tables are. Although some local press were a little bit shoked of the refurbished (once very famous) café, I find it kind of nice and more beautiful than before the renovation. The buffet was of extremely high quality with an extremely good selection of cold cuts such as ham, cheese, truffled liver paste and smoked salmon. They also had a cooking station where they prepared fresh eggs and (a big PLUS), they give out Laurent Perrier Champagne for breakfast, so it makes the Imperial breakfast definitely the most exclusive in town and probably in whole Austria! With these bubble final, we enjoyed our late check-out and left the hotel at around 1pm for our train back to Munich.
All in all it was a perfect place for a glamorous layover in between a very long journey and a wonderful ride home and I would recommend this hotel to every traveler seeking for the pure Austrian-Hungarian Imperial feel plus to all SPG (and now also Marriott) Platinum members to score one of their amazing and truly picturesque suites.
We were guests of the Hotel Imperial and Starwood Austria, however as you can read, our review has not been influenced.