I booked the Hotel Imperial Vienna online using Cash & Points for this Category 6 property on SPG’s website for a recent stay, thinking it looked like a gorgeous hotel. After I got there and did a little reading, I realized how amazingly rich in tradition the hotel is. It was built as a private palace of Prince Philip of Wurrttemberg in 1863, rumored to be a gift by the bride’s father. A huge park was originally behind the building. When the city built a street between the park and palace without asking the Prince’s permission, the Prince left the place in an uproar. In 1873, the palace was transformed into the Hotel Imperial and the hotel has strived to provide impeccable service ever since.
I took a taxi from Vienna airport to the hotel which took about 30 minutes, but I could also have travelled via train, getting off at Karlsplatz station. Once I stepped out of the taxi, I saw that above the hotel entrance there were four statues, which had been designed to display the virtues of a leader – wisdom, honor, justice, and strength.
During check in, I was told they were renovating the elevator area on the main floor. This was fortunate because I only had to go up the first flight of stairs, and then the Royal Staircase to get to the elevator station there.
In years past, horse drawn carriages stopped right in front of the Royal Staircase off the lobby (which used to be a driveway) to deliver the Prince’s guests to access the private apartments on the first floor. The original cobblestone street is hidden beneath the lobby’s current marble floor. Today the 6400 square foot on the first floor can be booked, and thousands of esteemed past guests include the Queen of England, the King of Sweden, Indira Ghandi, and Michael Jackson. The Danube Mermaid at the top of the Royal Staircase is an original by Hans Gasser. The mermaid hides what used to be a secret passage to the service staircase.
In the hallway on the way to the room, bottled water was offered daily for guests to take.
My 800 square foot Elisabeth suite may have been a bit less grand than the royal accommodations, but just barely. I felt as though I had been whisked through a portal into 19th century Vienna. Each of the Elisabeth suites is unique, and I loved mine. The romantic toned sitting area had an oil painting, walls cocooned in silk, and a shimmering chandelier.
How very grand! And the high ceilings were scalloped with detail.
A few minutes after arriving, the butler knocked softly. He had brought some very special gifts – personalized stationery, personalized luggage tags, and a business card holder complete with personalized business cards that read, “guest in residence” after my name.
A bowl of fresh fruit with silver utensils, a card, and a welcome gift of chocolates waited for me on the table.
Further inspection revealed that the welcome gift was a box of bite size Imperial Tortes, a decadent concoction of milk chocolate, almonds, marzipan, and cocoa crème. Handmade at the hotel, legend has it that an apprentice cook invented the Torte on the occasion of the opening of the hotel in the honor of his Majesty, Emperor Franz Joseph I. They are shipped out worldwide, but can only be purchased at the hotel. I popped one in my mouth. Delicious!
Through the mirrored french doors was the bedroom.
Not two, but three sets of drapes made it easy to have an opaque covering, a slightly dimmer cover, or full blackout.
There was another chandelier in the bedroom. The bed was two twins pushed together, but the mattress was the most comfortable I think I’ve ever slept on.
The TV against the wall seemed a bit out of place with its surroundings.
The bathroom was clean and had all the modern things expected, which is sometimes a challenge at older properties.
There were double sinks, wall outlet for charging, and lighted vanity mirror.
The amenities were from Bulgari’s Vert line.
A bathtub was opposite the sinks.
The toilet room included a bidet and scale.
As an SPG Platinum member, I chose breakfast as the amenity. At 80EUR per person, this was quite a deal, as breakfast at Café Imperial is something special. Laurent Perrier Champagne, made to order omelets, and fried eggs are all served by white gloved attendants. The buffet consisted of hot and cold items, and the freshly made pastries were a standout. The cafe is a prestigious and traditional place for Viennese and international clients to meet over coffee.
To sum up, my stay was flawless. I couldn’t even think of any negatives, except that I would have preferred a King bed rather than twins put together. I would absolutely stay here again.