Vienna has by world standards less large truly 5-star hotels than you can count on both hands, of which three now fall under the Marriott International umbrella (The Bristol, Imperial – both Luxury Collection – and The Ritz-Carlton). Grand Hotel Wien and Hotel Sacher (tops in this year’s Conde Nast Reader Choice Awards) are part of The Leading Hotels of the World. There’s also Palais Hansen Kempinski, and a Park Hyatt, the newest, opening in 2014. The next most recent is The Ritz-Carlton, which opened in 2012, a combination of four historic buildings with high ceilings, a grand staircase, marble, dark wood floors and many of the details often not found in modern builds, yet with a contemporary vibe.
Located adjacent to the 28-acre Stadtpark on the Ringstrasse (a grand boulevard around the old city) it features 202 rooms of which 43 are suites and junior suites. Highlights include The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, located on the 7th floor. It offers five food presentations throughout the day, the excellent farm-to-table District Steakhouse (steak tartare prepared table side), the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar (from April to September) and small, but well supplied 24-hour fitness center, including a 60-ft. indoor pool. There is also meeting space and a spa.
The Ritz-Carlton was ranked #1 in Austria by Travel + Leisure in 2015. From Trip Advisor, it gets mainly Excellent (506) and Very Good (109) reviews compared to Poor and Terrible (11 combined). Of the four negative reviews in 2016, three related to a lack of recognition for guests who were high-level Marriott Rewards members. The other was critical the sandwich selection in The Ritz-Carlton Club was the same everyday. During my stay last month the sandwiches changed over the two days I was there.
Tony Huffman, CEO of Dayton, Ohio-based Huffman Travel says he regularly books customers into the hotel and always gets positive feedback both on style, service and standards of the accommodations.
Top is the 1-bedroom Presidential suite (2,045 sq. ft.) with a connection option to a Club Suite to make it 2 bedrooms (and 2,800 sq. ft.). Located on the 2nd floor, the suite features high ceilings, dark wood trim and paneling, Hermes furnishings, a living room with fireplace and bar, dining table seating 8, balcony overlooking Beethoven Park (via the second unit), a foyer security system, soundproof and bullet-proof windows. The bathroom has separate rain show and deep tub, double sink, toilet and bidet, plus heated floors. You also get Club access.
One-and-Two Bedroom Club Suites (8)
There are 8 Club Suites of which four have the ability to add a bedroom to make them into 2-bedroom suites. Three are corner suites facing the Ringstrasse (on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors) and another has city views. Four (202, 231, 421 and 637) have balconies and you can specifically request these.
These suites are 1,292 sq. ft. in the 2-bedroom configuration and 893 sq. ft. in the singular version. They all have walk-in closets, separate showers and tubs and an extra half bath, plus heated flooring in the bathroom and include lounge access as well.
There are 10 Executive Suites (731 sq. ft.) with separate living and bedrooms, and additional half bath making them suitable to hold meetings. The high ceilings make them feel particularly spacious. You can face the city or Ringstrasse, which if you want to keep your windows open mean you get the clang of the streetcars, something that is either charming or annoying. Suite 604 has a step out balcony.
Restaurants and Bars
Dstrikt Steakhouse is a farm-to-table steakhouse with charcoal grill and provides tables on two levels in an L-shape giving the restaurant an intimate feel. There is outdoor seating in the nice weather. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I went, service was excellent, professional and friendly, and when I advised our waiter I was tired, we were able to dine quickly, something that doesn’t always happen in Europe.
Opposite the reception on the ground floor down a few steps, the lounge offers lunch and dinner, plus a traditional Viennese afternoon tea and cake service is available daily.
Atmosphere Rooftop Bar
Located on the 8th floor, Atmosphere Rooftop Bar offers nice views while it is open April to September. From the end of November until Christmas it becomes a Christmas Market with little wooden houses to provide shelter, serving warm winter drinks and dishes such as raclette. You can also host private parties up to 120.
D-bar is a classic bar on the ground overlooking the Ringstrasse also featuring Viennese coffee, draft beers and cigars.
The Club is on the 7th floor and is a rectangular shaped split between dining tables and lounge areas and is a good place to hold informal meetings if you don’t want guests in your suite. You also get the Club Concierge who can assist with business needs, such as printing documents, notary, as well as dining reservations or arranging sightseeing. There are continuous offerings of snacks and more substantial food throughout the day, including a hot breakfast. There are complimentary drinks, including local wines, beer and mixed drinks.
Meetings and Events
There is about 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space on the 1st floor, including 2 boardrooms, 3 breakout rooms (all with natural light) and the Crystal Ballroom (there are over 2,000 pieces of Egyptian crystal embedded in the walls).
Fitness and Spa
The Fitness Center is open 24 hours and features Life Fitness cross trainers, treadmills, bicycles, barbells to 44 lbs., plus shoulder, neck, chest and back machines. There is a rowing machine with water tank for a realistic rowing feel, yoga mats, stepper and medicine to 11 lbs. There is a 60 ft. lap pool open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Separate men’s and women’s changing rooms include steam and sauna rooms.
The spa has six treatment rooms, including two couples’ rooms. A nice feature is that when you take the elevator from the spa (in the basement) back to your room it is programmed so it will only open on your floor. In other words, no stops, so you don’t have to worry about running into other guests in your workout gear or bathrobe.
– Travel + Leisure’s 2015 World’s Best Hotels Awards – #1 in Austria
– Best Hotel Spa – Condé Nast Traveller Middle East – 2014
– Top 10 Best Hotels in Central Europe – Condé Nast Traveler US – 2014
– Austria’s Best Hotel Bar – Falstaff Magazine – 2014
– Austria’s Best Luxury Hotel Spa – The World Luxury Spa Award – 2015
Out and About in Vienna
The Mercer Report ranked Vienna as the world’s “most livable city” for the seventh year in a row in 2016. If you have a few extra hours or a few days, there is the Kunsthistorisches Museum featuring works from Rembrandt, Brueghel and Arcimboldo. There’s the State Opera, palaces, cathedrals, city plazas and old town, lots of shopping, Christmas markets during the festive seasons and plenty of diverse eating. In fact, Michelin has rated 66 restaurants in the city. And of course there is Ball season in Vienna, with 400 separate events and over 300,000 participants. You can also arrange your own private Ball and invite as many or as few friends as you wish. You can also arrange private after hours functions at Belvedere Palace, home of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (pictured above). Ours included a private concert followed by ballroom dancing.