Tel: 43 1 24 188
More than 15 years after designing HaasHaus, which sits like a postmodern exclamation point amid the imperial glory of Vienna's Stephansplatz, Pritzker Prize–winning local architect Hans Hollein has returned to freshen sections of the interior. He is a master of reflected light, and a standard double at this new 43-room hotel features no fewer than 12 light sources that play off the teak floor and millwork, suede wall tiles, and retro-inspired furniture, and is especially atmospheric at night. The main attraction here, however, is the food. Do & Co is Austria's most famous caterer, and the popular top-floor restaurant attracts Vienna's see-and-be-seen crowd with its menu of traditional dishes, such as Tafelspitz (boiled beef), alongside sushi and sole meunière. Staff seem every bit as hip as the clientele, but the service isn't quite as polished as the design.
9 Karntner Ring
Tel: 43 151 5800
Not far from the Staatsoper, the 205-room Grand Hotel Wien—housed in the renovated Palais Corso—looms over the Ringstrasse. The imposing façade hints at the Baroque finery within. Guestrooms are enveloped in silk wallpaper, marble, and mahogany, and have Internet access. The Grand Café serves a buffet breakfast and Austro-European dishes (hold on to your opera ticket for a complimentary post-Carmen glass of Champagne), while French Le Ciel and Japanese Unkai are local favorites for fine dining. In the Kavalierbar, the bartender mixes classic cocktails and presents a fine selection of cigars. High standards are satisfied at every turn—except for the fitness center (tiny) and pool (absent).
Tel: 43 1961 1960
Forget "have a nice day" and "sleep in peace." Hollmann's brainier, heartfelt motto—"Here I am human, here they let me be"—comes courtesy of Goethe and defines the endearing aura of this genuine boutique hotel; the love child of Austrian actor turned chef and hotelier Robert Hollmann. Always keeping things intimately personal, the converted Art Nouveau town house offers a cozy parlor (complete with honesty bar, open fireplace, and library), two orange bikes for rent, and 16 (expanding to 25 by spring 2008) whitewashed, homey rooms roused by jewel-tone throws, and built-in cabinets. There's also a range of little surprises—among them a daily fruit bowl, a chalkboard message welcoming you by name, a ready-to-play CD of Viennese cabaret songs, and a shoulder bag packed with slippers and a kimono, for the small hotel sauna. What gives this authentic find a slight edge over the Hotel Alstadt is the central Old Town location, a five-minute walk from St. Stephen's Cathedral, and the estimable Hollmann Salon, the hotel's sister bistro, which features some of the best locally sourced, organic Austrian cuisine in Vienna (3 Grashofgasse; 43-1961-1960-40).
Tel: 43 1522 6666
This 42-room boutique hotel is spread over five floors of a converted 19th-century town house located near the MuseumsQuartier. It offers wildly varying accommodations, from compact to loftlike, so ask for details when you book. All the variety only adds to the sense of an organic, personalized hotel, as do the cozy lounge and breakfast room (breakfast buffet and afternoon tea are included in your room rate), the pieces of candy-colored furniture (such as the orange egg chair) that punctuate most guest rooms, and the presence of owner Otto E. Wiesenthal himself, who drifts up and down the central wrought-iron staircase welcoming his guests and straightening the edges of the Alstadt's Warhol-to-Gilbert & George art collection. Adding to the sense of whimsy are the nine new neo-baroque-style rooms designed by Italian architect Matteo Thun, with massive chandeliers, dark damask wallpaper, and a soft-focus nude pinup framed on the ceiling above some of the beds. Ask for the room with the freestanding club-foot tub.
1 Kaerntner Ring
Tel: 43 1 51516 0
"Centrally located across the street from the opera house," this hotel has rooms that "take your breath away" with rich textiles and marble, crystal, and gold accents. Ask for a top-level room overlooking the Ringstrasse"in the evening, you can watch the sun set over the mountains." Korso bei der Oper updates classic Viennese fare, and "the dining staff provide excellent service without hovering."
5 Landstrasser Gurtel
Tel: 43 190 1310
The first Daniel Hotel, launched in the city of Graz in 2005, was such a hit that Vienna's version, opened in 2011 near the Schloss Belvedere, seemed inevitable. Situated in a converted 1960s glass office building, the hotel serves as a pointed contrast to Vienna's baroque grande dame properties. In fact, the 115-room Daniel keeps prices bargain-basement by dispensing with the froufrou. That means you won't find anything resembling a desk, closet, or artwork, or any real sense of place, in the small pared-down (some might say spartan) whitewashed rooms. However, the big beds, open concept bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs may be enough compensation. And most guests, in any case, seem to collect in the very social, multitasking reception-cum-hangout area, which includes a bakery, café, terrace, and a small shop selling an eclectic collection of universal hipster buys: white cotton shirts, leather bags, and the puzzling hammocks that hang in some of the higher priced rooms, as the only concession to whimsy. If you need to escape to a more baroque version of Vienna, there are Vespa scooters for hire.—Raphael Kadushin
16 Karntner Ring
Tel: 43 150 1100
In 1873, the former residence of the Prince of Württemberg was redone as the discreet Hotel Imperial. Since then, boldface names from Queen Elizabeth II to Charlie Chaplin to Brangelina have settled in among the velvet brocade curtains and cherry cabinets. This 138-room hotel veritably drips with royal treatment—right down to the hand-ironed newspaper your butler delivers with the morning coffee. While the lack of a full-service spa and the nine-euro-per-hour Internet charge won't win the slightly drowsy Imperial a new wave of digital fans, the supernal room-service—order the Tafelspitz with chive sauce—is something worth e-mailing home about.
Tel: 43 151 4560
The extensive renovation of this 1876 local landmark began in 2004 with an updating of its infrastructure and a new 3,200-square-foot spa. But the refreshing of the guest rooms, under the direction of French designer Pierre Yves Rochon, was a more involved project that went through several iterations based partly on feedback from loyal customers. The result, finally completed in 2011, is a smartly edited compromise that wisely kept the best of classical Viennese baroque grandeur, so that the 148 rooms and suites still offer gilt-framed oil paintings, neoclassical nightstands, and glass chandeliers. But the guest rooms also feature a full tech toy box, a softened pallet of pink, yellow, and light green, enlarged marble bathrooms with double sinks and flat-screens TVs built into the mirrors, as well as some cleaner neo-baroque accents, such as high mirrors behind the beds. The smart blend, balancing the best of fin-de-siècle Vienna and the new siècle, carries over into the rest of the hotel. Service is still impeccably old-school, and the formal Anna Sacher restaurant and Café Sacher still do justice to traditional cuisine, but now there is a trendy Sacher Eck wine bar and, of course, that spa, which includes saunas, steam baths, and a Klimt treatment (think La Prairie facial treatment with 24-karat gold).—Raphael Kadushin
Tel: 43 1 515 84
The perfect-scoring Old Town location of this residence once popular with Hungarian aristocrats (hence the hotel's name, meaning "king of Hungary") and next to St. Stephen's Cathedral "couldn't be better." Sharing space with Mozart's former home, the small family-owned hotel has traditional rooms with "chandeliers over the beds"; those added in 2009 have more modern furniture and vibrant fabrics. The "very charming and outstanding" restaurant cooks up Austrian specialties such as potato goulash with grilled turkey sausage.
Tel: 43 151 8180
Built in the mid-19th century by Duke Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the neoclassical Palais Coburg is gorgeously grand. It sits on top of the Braunbastei (the 16th-century ramparts, parts of which still survive) and is nicknamed Asparagus Castle, thanks to its skinny central columns. It's been a hotel since 2003, when major, historically correct renovations were completed. The 34 suites have gilded chandeliers, sorbet-colored walls, and in some rooms, heavy silk drapery. What they lack in atmosphere they make up for in size and views—the hotel stands on the Ringstrasse. Suites are named after European rulers who were members of (or close to) that über-elite Saxe-Coburg and Gotha clan: Victoria, Ferdinand, Boris III, Maria da Gloria (aside from the four modern suites, with their glass and steel, spotlights, and sloping eaves). Guests of all the suites get to play in the third-floor spa (with pool and hammam) and to try the fancy, modern cuisine of chef Christian Petz at the Restaurant Coburg as well as the ambitious wine list in the Wine Bistro's pretty garden pavilion.
Tel: 800 333 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 43 1 22 780
Fax: 43 1 22 780 77
Making no secret of its trendy intentions, the mod 78-room Radisson Blu—a renovated Art Nouveau bank—has a prime location near Kohlmarkt and is directly across the street from the Café Central. While the public spaces are all pupil-dilating drama, especially the original bank vault, now converted into a shimmering glass-framed lobby area, the guest rooms have a present-day feel. The shower-only bathrooms (suites have tubs) have the standard-issue contempo palette of beige and browns and come with the usual tech toys (CD/DVD players, free broadband, flat-panel LCD TVs). There's also an in-house Italian restaurant called Sapori, the buzzing H12 wine bar, and a fitness room and sauna.
8 Kaerntner Ring
Tel: 43 1 22 1 22
This majestic 68-room hotel on the Ringstrasse offers a more casual air than neighboring grande dames. There's no pseudo-Hapsburg decadence, gold faucets, or red velvet behind the nineteenth-century facade: The decor throughout is uncluttered, with easy-on-the-eyes browns and creams, while color-coordinated prints hang instead of oil paintings, toning down the opulence. Rooms come with original moldings and a Nespresso machine. The seasonal food at At Eight, the restaurant, is inventive and mouthwatering, diminished only by a dining room with somewhat bland furnishings. Impeccable service adds the finishing touch of personal luxury, and the less formal look doesn't take away from the five-star quality of the residence, which is a welcome, less expensive alternative to the usual Imperial- or Art Deco–style hotel.
Tel: 43 1 906160
Austria's conservative capital got a jolt of off-kilter chic with this 18-story tower by French starchitect Jean Nouvel. Located along the Danube Canal (across from the Schiffstation catamaran landing), the 182-room Sofitel lies just outside the city's historic first district, commanding wide-angle views over the skyline and St. Stephen's Cathedral. Minimalist style is the driving force here: Nouvel reportedly banned flowers from the lobby and minimized the presence of signs and other visual distractions. The all-gray guest rooms on the cathedral side have bare (though heated) floors and sleek sliding panels covering the windows; north-facing rooms with views over Prater park are white-on-white (and have curtains); and the truly style-obsessed can request one of the three all-black rooms. Spared from total aloofness, the hotel integrates city life through its design-focused shopping center, while two restaurants attract a local crowd: Le Loft, an airy rooftop restaurant-bar by three-Michelin-star chef Antoine Westermann, and Neni im Zweiten, a branch of a beloved Israeli restaurant in the city's Naschmarkt. Though courteous and competent, staff are not quite laser-focused: An overzealous bellman might carry off the bags with the documents you'll need for check-in. The overall effect makes a stay here feel less Viennese and more like a journey into the flourish-free vision of a master architect.