Hotel Imperial - the address number one in Vienna

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Hotel Imperial - the address number one in Vienna

September 27, 2018 - 15:46
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If you enter the luxurious lobby of this hotel located in the very heart of Austrian capital, it will stay forever in your heart, and you will want to come back and back again, since visiting this place one time is not enough to discover all its charm and mysteries.

Lobby | © Natalya Kuznetsova, Glagoliza News

“Now we are driving by Hotel Imperial – address number one in Vienna, destination of choice for monarchal persons and cultural elite”. This is what you will here, if you take a tour bus around the center of Vienna.

If you enter the luxurious lobby of this hotel located in the very heart of Austrian capital, it will stay forever in your heart, and you will want to come back and back again, since visiting this place one time is not enough to discover all its charm and mysteries.

For instance, not many people know that beautiful lobby of the hotel was the place, where owners of the palace arrived on their horses in old times. Or that Emperor Franz Joseph I first visited the hotel in 1879 to have talks with Otto von Bismarck about agreement between Hungary and Prussia.

One more legend says that due to absence of telephones in XIX century, Emperor Franz Joseph I often had to come over to hotel by himself to express his respect to important political guest personally. Quite often guest was not there, and Emperor known for his political correctness, wrote in his diary record starting with “Unfortunately” or “Happily” “He or she was absent”, showing his real attitude to the person.

During his stay at the Imperial Luciano Pavarotti asked to use a piano to rehearse some arias before performance in the State Opera. Concierge had to ask guests whether they mind or not. At first, guests did not believe, but then they were pleased!

Paintings on the walls of the hotel are copies, originals stay in Imperial Palace. However, when Queen Elizabeth II stayed in the hotel, originals were placed into the room, and furniture was replaced by imperial. To do that, furniture and paintings were brought from the museum! Besides, all the chairs were removed from hotel’s lobby, as it would be impolite if somebody is sitting, when the Queen enters the hotel.

Mr. Michael Moser, who worked as a Chief Concierge of the hotel for 30 years, knows all these delicate details. He still keeps all the hotel’s mysteries and anecdotes. He was so kind to take the author of the article around the hotel… But let’s begin with the history…

The Imperial Hotel begins life as a palace for the Prince of Württemberg for him and his wife Maria Theresia, who in fact was a niece of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The architect is Arnold Zenetti from Munich. The symbol of Württemberg’s family is deer and lion. Those two signs can now be seen all around the Hotel Imperial. Young people had a wedding in a small Chapel located inside the palace. Now the location of this chapel is unknown. But later the Prince and his wife decided that the palace is too large for them and moved to a smaller palace in the suburbs.

In 1872 the building was bought by Horace Ritter von Landau who decided to make a hotel there. It was open in 1873 ahead of the Universal Exposition that took place in Vienna. This year is considered to be a year of birth for the Hotel Imperial.

Two more floors were built in 1920s. In 1945 after World War II the hotel was closed and served as a headquarters for Soviet Army until 1955. After significant repair it opened doors again in 1958.

In 1986 the Imperial becomes a select member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World.

The owner of the hotel has changed during its long history. In 1995 ITT Sheraton company bought 47,5% of shares from CIGA Group. Hotel was integrated into exclusive group “The Luxury Collection”. In 1998 shares of hotel were purchased by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In 2016 it was sold to conglomerate from UAE Al Habtoor Group.

Of course, during all these years hotel was renovated and modernized. However, most of its interior keep original appearance as well as its front, which is a very important part of Vienna’s history. This is why today, the Imperial is a quite modern hotel equipped with all the necessary attributes required for today’s life. At the same time it preserved its old history that can be felt in every corner of this mystique and beautiful place.

After luxurious lobby you get to the famous stairs that all notable guests used. It has not changed since the opening of the hotel.

There are 138 rooms and suites in the hotel today. The most beautiful room is without any doubt the Royal Suite. Room’s design kept its original appearance. Only furniture was renewed. Two rooms can be combined into one, and then you will get 700 square meters of luxury. This is very convenient if special guests have some exclusive needs For example, one catholic queen wanted to have a small chapel next door. The priest from neighboring church was invited to hold a service! Originally this room served as a music-room for the first owners. For this purpose it was once used by Emperor of Japan during his stay in the hotel.

In Imperial and Royal suites guests can use services of a butler who can iron not only your clothes, but also a morning newspaper!

Daniela Stoppel, PR and Communications Manager, told the author of this article about modern history of the hotel. Today there are very beautiful rooms with fascinating view of Vienna and suburbs on fourth and fifth floor. During sunny day guests can even see wineries on the mountains surrounding Vienna. Usually artists prefer staying on these rooms, which were renovated from January to March last year.

Large volumes of guest books where famous people left their memory records are carefully stored in the hotel today. You can see records of Yuriy Gagarin, N. Khrushchev, who stayed in the hotel when visited Vienna to meet with President Kennedy, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Karl Lagerfeld, Charlie Chaplin, Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Claudia Schiffer and many others. At various times the Imperial was visited by George Bush, Jacques Chirac, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, Indira Gandhi, Michail and Raisa Gorbachevy, Angela Merkel, Woody Allen, Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Armstrong, Eleonora Duse, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Bruce Willis, Cher, Bill Gates, Johannes Brahms, Eros Ramazzotti. And this is just a part of the list!

A lot of important events take place in the hotel today: conferences, important political talks.

We shall also mention Café Imperial. Cultural elite of Vienna loved to spend time there: actors, composers, musicians, writers and poets. Some of them even gave café’s address as their postal to get letters there!

Very cozy salon-bar 1873-HalleNsalon is located on the first floor. It is decorated as an old library. Guests can relax there after difficult day in easy atmosphere, soft chairs and listening to calm music, enjoying light of old ceiling lamps, as well as wide choice of drinks and appetizers.

OPUS restaurant takes a special place in the hotel. However, this restaurant deserves a separate article. Please, read exclusive interview with Head Chief Stefan Speiser on Glagoliza News.

Hotel Imperial carefully keeps its history and uniqueness for more than 100 years, which makes it destination of choice for guests and citizens of Vienna.

Website of the Imperial:

Acknowledgement: Glagoliza News expresses gratitude to hotel’s personnel, particularly, to Mr. Michael Moser and Daniela Stoppel, for the tour and information for the article.