I was lucky enough to spend a couple of nights in Vienna not so long ago and was astounded to learn that the number of overnight stays in the city is growing at close to 10 per cent a year. The increased demand has brought with it, of course, a bevvy of beautiful hotels. Here, some of my favourites.
Hotel Daniel Vienna
At Hotel Daniel Vienna, creative touches include an Erwin Wurm boat sculpture hanging over the roof and an urban garden, where seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs (tomatoes, grapes, pumpkins, strawberries) grow in manicured beds. Guests are welcome to pick their own to snack on.
Breakfast in the Scandinavian-chic dining room is a highlight, with fresh pastries served alongside plates such as fig and pecorino salad drizzled with honey from the hotel’s rooftop beehive.
The 116 rooms are all slightly different — some come with walnut-lined walls, others with hammocks or dazzling views of the Schloss Belvedere, a short walk away.
Nostalgics may want to book the silver 1952 Airstream trailer in the garden, fitted with a foldout bed and freestanding bathroom.
The hotel even rents out bicycles and Vespas.
25hours Hotel Wien
Once a student hostel, this whimsical hotel has a circus theme: playful murals of big tops color the walls while juggling balls are provided for guests’ amusement.
Three new glass-covered floors top the original six-story building — the 34 rooms on the original floors are already welcoming guests while the newer floors are due to open in March.
The views are amazing, showing a Gothic church, particularly beguiling at night, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Two Ringmaster Suites look out over the Vienna Woods and the cool Seventh District that the hotel calls home.
We also like the private terrace and slick, all-black kitchen.
At Urbanauts, former shops and disused workshops are transformed into hotel rooms at ground level.
The pilot loft space, Die Schneiderin, was once a tailor’s shop and now comes fitted with Wi-Fi and mini-bar snacks included, a good selection of DVDs and magazines, Viennese Saint Charles bathroom amenities and two bicycles.
Guests enter a code to get into the room and are welcomed with a note (written on an old typewriter, nonetheless) and map offering a thoughtful selection of neighborhood recommendations for eating and shopping.
Ten new street lofts are set to open in coming months.
The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna
Occupying four historic 19th-century buildings on the city’s Ringstrasseboulevard, the Ritz-Carlton group’s flagship hotel in Austria has old European glamour, but with modern details.
The pick of the 202 rooms are the Club Suites, which come with views of the city or a leafy courtyard. They also have marbled bathrooms, Aqua di Parma amenities, feather beds, Nespresso machines, Bang & Olufsen appliances and private terraces.
The Presidential Suite has restored ceiling frescoes, a library, open fireplace and 3D TVs.
Other cool details: a steel pool with underwater music piped in, the country’s first Guerlain Spa, a restaurant dedicated to mod-Austrian fare and wines and a rooftop bar with gorgeous views of the city.
A member of the Design Hotels group, this cutting-edge property comes with just 32 rooms and suites, each borrowing details from 1930s Hollywood.
Located in Vienna’s UNESCO-listed Innere Stadt, or First District, it’s surrounded by museums, galleries and coffeehouses.
The hotel is an earthy collage of brown marble, high-gloss wood, art deco-inspired fixtures and brass detailing with sassy splashes of color in artwork as well as velvet and leather furniture.
The restaurant, Bloom, serves organic Austrian fare alongside hotel owner Martin Lenikus’ own brand of eco-friendly wines. The rooftop garden has great views of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Hotel Sans Souci Wien
The newly opened Sans Souci Wien hired Yoo (the design firm backed by the likes of Philippe Starck and Jade Jagger) to decorate its rooms and residences with original artwork by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Allen Jones, Picasso and James Rizzi.
The focus on design is apparent in the mural mirrors and photo art by Hubertus von Hohenlohe and designer furniture by Charles Eames and Arne Jacobsen Egg.
There’s a slightly dated but fun “pimp your stay” option for a romantic bedroom setup with rose petals or champagne tasting at the bar.