Matteo Thun Suite at Altstadt, Vienna, Austria - Photo Courtesy - Altstadt-Wien


This artfully designed four-star is located in a five-story building that dates to 1902, in the residential Spittelberg neighborhood. The comfortable red-walled salon where breakfast and afternoon tea are served, looks like the living room of a fashionable friend’s home, with original parquet floors, an open fireplace and lots of cozy reading nooks. The Altstadt’s wide hallways have been left unadorned, almost cold, but behind each door lies an individually decorated wing that holds a cluster of guest rooms ranging from doubles to veritable apartments.

Each interior is unique, and it’s impossible to sum up the different design styles: there’s the spacious Bösendorfer Suite, with a Grand Piano in the living room and a decorative fireplace in the bedroom; the Auersperg Garten Suite, which has a 1,200-square-foot rooftop garden; Marie’s Home, an all-red apartment with a kitchenette and a red tiled bathroom; and the charming Room 53, a double with picture-perfect views of Baroque St. Ulrich cathedral. The owner’s personal art collection is displayed throughout, and includes works by Andy Warhol, Gilbert & George and Niki de St. Phalle.

The newest wing of the Altstadt, which opened in 2006, was designed by Italian architect Matteo Thun, who also created Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole in Italy. Thun’s nine Altstadt rooms, including one suite, are vampy and dramatic—you half expect to find a character from a Schnitzler novella to be draped over one of the velvet-covered fauteuils—with stained-oak floors, dark damask wallpaper, drooping Swarovski-accented chandeliers and black-tiled bathrooms. Suite 9 has a claw-foot tub and a swiveling flat-screen TV on a tripod. It’s all about dark Belle Epoque decadence—I personally preferred the homey feel of the other rooms—and the design has been incredibly well received (rooms are almost always booked).

The young staff is plugged in and eager to assist guests; the hotel even publishes an in-house restaurant guide that’s chock-full of insider tips. Wi-Fi and breakfast are included in the room rate. The MuseumsQuartier is a five-minute walk; the Naturhistorisches and Kunsthistorisches museums are about ten minutes away. Cool cafe-bar Das Möbel is right down the street.

Suite at Grand Ferdinand, Vienna, Austria

Grand Ferdinand

The Grand Ferdinand epitomizes in a hotel what Vienna is today doing as a city: honoring the past through refined, imperial style design with a 21st-century spin. Located in a former 1950s office building, the property is located on the southeastern part of the Ringstrasse. While the service may more closely resemble that of a three-star hotel and the lobby is tiny, the rooms are utterly chic, with walls painted slate gray, beautiful wide board hardwood floors, open-plan bathrooms (some with free-standing tubs) and plush beds with white lacquered Rococo style headboards and crisp white duvets.

There are three restaurants on property. Gulasch & Champagne on the ground floor is open all day and into the evening to the public for snacks and drinks (gulasch and Champagne are the specialties here). Restaurant am Ring is the formal eatery, offering traditional Viennese cuisine in a bright and historic dining room complete with chandeliers, red leather banquettes. Grand Étage, on the hotel's top floor, is open only to hotel guests (and is where they're served breakfast) and serves meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day and into the night. There is a small pool on the rooftop, which has stunning views to the southeast, and a small but well-serviced gym in the basement.

Exterior View - Hotel Husafell, Iceland

Hotel Imperial

As soon as guests arrive at the Imperial, they are surrounded by turn-of-the-century elegance. The soaring lobby, complete with a mezzanine, channels the opulence of the Austro-Hungarian empire with a stucco ceiling, glittering chandeliers and a sweeping red velvet staircase adorned with large portraits of Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph. (It’s hard to imagine that at the end of World War II, when Vienna was divided into Allied zones, Russian soldiers used part of the hotel as a stable; miraculously, the Imperial was hardly damaged, except for a Cyrillic word etched into the colored marble wall that’s visible as you head up the stairs.)

The 138  rooms—those on the lower floors have ultrahigh ceilings—exemplify 19th-century pomp, and are due for a renovation. The multi-colored marble bathrooms are spacious, and most come with a shower and a freestanding tub. The hotel’s location, on the Ring boulevard, means that the Imperial does not have the panoramic city views that guests enjoy from the top-floor rooms of the Sacher.

The staff is professional and efficient, and the concierge team is top-notch, though overall, the atmosphere feels less personal than at the family-owned Sacher. Those staying in junior suites and higher categories are assigned a butler who takes care of everything from unpacking luggage to ironing the morning paper (this is Vienna, after all).

Indagare Plus
Lobby at Hotel Sacher Wien, Vienna, Austria - courtesy Hotel Sacher

Hotel Sacher Wien

This legendary hotel, opposite the State Opera and within walking distance of the Albertina, opened in 1876, and even today its chandelier-lit reception halls and antiques-filled drawing rooms exude old-world elegance. The 152-room family-owned property occupies a city block, with six connected buildings, but its clever layout and cozy public spaces make for an intimate ambiance. Most of the cheerful rooms, designed by owner Elisabeth Gürtler and star French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, are done in a sumptuous 19th-century style with high-quality reproduction antiques, silk-covered walls, white stucco along the ceilings and original paintings from the Sacher’s private collection.

Rooms on the first floor have the highest ceilings; those on higher floors have better city views (request one that faces the opera) and some even have balconies. The in-room design scheme on these floors is more modern, with sleek black lacquer furnishings, bathrooms with floor heating and flat-screen TVs, and the layouts tend to be smaller than those on the lower floors.

Considering that the Sacher is one of the city’s most traditional hotels, service is refreshingly down-to-earth, friendly and high-touch. The concierge team is excellent, most likely due to the fact that the hands-on Frau Gürtler, who has been running the Sacher since 1990, is one of the most plugged-in owners in town: she was the chair of the Viennese Opera Ball for eight years, served as the president of the Hofburg, and is the director of the Spanische Hofreitschule.

A major perk is the tranquil Sacher spa on the fifth floor, which is also open to non-guests. It has a short but terrific menu of treatments featuring Ligne St. Barth’s and La Prairie products. The renowned Café Sacher is located on the ground floor of the hotel, and a miniature version of the famous Sachertorte, which originated in the hotel’s pastry kitchen in 1832, is placed on your pillow during turndown service.

Located at the beginning of the Kärntnerstrasse, one of the city’s main shopping hubs, the Sacher is steps away from the Albertina and the State Opera, but be aware that it is an area buzzing with tourists, especially on weekends. And thanks to its famous café, the Sacher is on most people’s to-do lists, so it is not the most serene setting.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Master Suite at  Hotel Sans Souci, Vienna, Austria

Hotel Sans Souci

Don't be fooled by the purple lighting on the ornate exterior or in the lobby—the Hotel Sans Souci has some of Vienna’s loveliest hotel rooms. Located near MuseumsQuartier and the charming 7th district in the Spittelberg area, the beautiful property was designed by London based firm yoo Studio, and the style in its guest accommodations is one of its strongest assets. The property's 63 rooms and suites are well sized and many feature four-poster beds, marble bathrooms with oversized tubs, prints by Roy Lichtenstein and balconies. La Véranda restaurant and Le Bar offer lovely service and dishes, but most visitors take advantage of their placement nearby some of Vienna’s coolest and best restaurants. There is a spa, gym and indoor pool in the basement.

Fun fact: The San Souci building dates from 1872 and hosted the US army during part of WWII. It was turned into a hotel in 2010

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Copyright 2014 Matthew  Shaw. See licence supplied with this image for full terms & conditions. Copy available at:
Not for use by architects, interior designers or other hotel suppliers without permission from Matthew Shaw

Park Hyatt Vienna

Like much of the imperial city itself, the Park Hyatt fuses past and present. Its historic location—the building was previously the headquarters of Bank Austria and the site was home to Vienna’s first palace—is subtly tied into the décor; gold bars tile the bottom of the pool, meeting rooms feature antique relics from previous tenants and, while modern, the vibe throughout reminds of old-world Vienna.

The lounge looks out on Bognergasse—a typically Viennese strasse with cafés (like the famous Zum Schwarzen Kameel), a vintage-looking Apotheke and pedestrians strolling leisurely. The best of the spacious 143 rooms offer similar views. Accommodations feature achingly high ceilings, lavish marble bathrooms and blackout shades (so at night you are blissfully unaware of the hotel’s location in the city center.) The room types vary greatly, and the higher the category does not necessarily mean the better the room, so it is best to contact the Indagare Bookings Team for assistance with your reservation. Particularly charming are the studio rooms, which, thanks to their location on the sixth and highest floor, feature sloped ceilings and wonderful light.

Of note are the spectacular facilities, including an extensive gym, pool and wonderful Arany Spa. The dining options are equally well rounded with multiple venues including the upscale Bank restaurant, the alfresco Am Hof Schanigarten and the Café Am Hof, a coffee and and pastry shop that is adored by guests as well as locals.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Terrace at Rathaus Wein und Design, Vienna, Austria

Rathaus Wein und Design

This forty-room four-star boutique hotel may not be as centrally located as the Sacher or Park Hyatt, but it gives visitors a chance to stay in a low-key, residential neighborhood. Housed in an 1890s building with a gorgeous original iron elevator, the Rathaus partnered with forty Austrian vintners, and named each room for a different winery (and offers a few choice bottles from the winery in the minibar). The rooms feature attractive contemporary interiors with open floor plans, eleven-foot ceilings, four-poster beds and flat-screen TVs. The most recently completed suites have pretty window alcoves and hand-painted white-and-silver patterned walls.

Every morning, the young and friendly staff prepares a variable spread of small dishes, ranging from hearty sausages, cheese and fresh fruit to more decadent offerings like miniature Punschkrapfen (a pastry covered in pink frosting) and chocolate croissants. The Rathaus has a 90 percent occupancy rate throughout most of the year, so it’s essential to book early. January-February and July-August are the less busy seasons.

The cool café/bar Das Möbel and the romantic restaurant Vestibül, in a wing of the Burgtheater, are each a five-minute walk from the hotel; the MuseumsQuartier is a ten-minute walk.

Aerial view - Ritz-Carlton Vienna, Vienna, Austria - courtesy Ritz Carlton Vienna

Ritz-Carlton Vienna

The Ritz Carlton Vienna opened in 2012, joining the Grand and Hotel Imperial on the Ringstrasse, the tree-lined boulevard that snakes around the 1st District. Housed in four 19th-century historical palaces, the Ritz Carlton merges traditional features like a stunning central marble staircase with a contemporary design scheme. Rooms feature white-on-white fabric headboards and abstract paintings, while some suites have unique aspects like a traditional carved wooden ceiling and chandelier. The elegant property has 202 rooms and suites, a club floor and lounge, an 18-meter indoor pool, and classic Austrian cuisine in the Dstrikt restaurant. It also hosts the first Guerlain spa in Austria, offering a range of treatments for guests.

Both visitors and locals have embraced the cafe’s decadent hot chocolate from the on-site chocolate sommelier, which is best enjoyed on the rooftop bar Atmosphere overlooking a spectacular view of Vienna’s skyline. The buzzy rooftop bar has been so successful that they now offer a small menu of bites and light aperitifs.

Indagare Plus
A premier room at Rosewood Vienna

Rosewood Vienna

Discover and book now with Indagare Travel: Read the Rosewood Vienna hotel review, Vienna's newest luxury hotel on Petersplatz.

Editors' Picks
Indagare Plus
Aerial View - Schönnbrunn Palace Suite, Vienna, Austria - Courtesy Alexander Koller

Schönnbrunn Palace Suite

For aspiring royalty, there is no better accommodation in Vienna than the suite at the Schönnbrunn Palace, which is open to overnight guests. While the city’s top luxury hotels can claim to be palatial and opulent, a stay at the royal family’s former summer residence—an actual palace with over 1,400 rooms—is as authentic as it gets. The nearly 1,800-square-foot two-bedroom suite—complete with a salon, living room and kitchenette—is operated by Austria Trend Hotels, whose nearby Parkhotel Schönnbrunn offers hotel services to guests staying in these sumptuous quarters. The interiors have been restored in keeping with their original décor (the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and feature Maria-Theresa chandeliers, stucco detailing and imperial damask linens. The accommodation’s star attributes are its views; the suite looks out on the extensive formal gardens and the nearly 400-acre Schlosspark.

Suite at  Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof, Vienna, Austria

Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof

Opened in December 2008, the Steigenberger hotel occupies one of Vienna’s best locations: right in the middle of the historic old city, within easy walking distance to the Hofburg and Stephansdom, as well as most major museums and the shops of the Graben and Kohlmarkt. It’s housed in a beautifully restored neo-classical building that dates from 1913, but interiors are decidedly modern, with nods to 1920s Art Nouveau flair. The 186 guest rooms are spacious and well laid-out, with fresh design touches like purple-silver-print wallpaper, leather bed headboards and a bright purple-green color scheme. Suites feature such details as furniture by Austrian firm Christian Einwaller, and sofas and lighting fixtures by Italian companies Désirée and Contardi.

Overall, the interiors are sleek, clean and contemporary, while city views from the top-floor accommodations are unmistakably Viennese (some rooms even have small cut-out windows in the bathrooms overlooking the city). The size, price point and central location of the hotel draw a high number of business travelers, so don’t expect the smooth, white-glove service and discreet vibe of the Sacher Hotel, but for travelers who want a central, well-run base for sightseeing in Vienna, the Steigenberger is an attractive option. The dramatic lobby bar has been embraced by locals as a new hot spot for after-work drinks, while the two-level wellness area, complete with a small spa, sauna and steam bath, offers a peaceful enclave for relaxation at the end of a busy sightseeing day.

The Hofburg, Albertina, MQ, Stephansdom and such shopping streets as Am Graben and Kohlmarkt are all in walking distance. Plus, the U3 subway line literally lets out in front of the hotel.

Deluxe Opera view room at The Guesthouse, Vienna, Austria - Photo Courtsey : Andreas Scheiclecker

The Guesthouse Vienna

Thanks in part to a stellar review by the New York Times upon opening in 2013, the Guesthouse quickly became one of the hippest places to stay in Vienna. Its excellent location and affordable rates only help, and as a member of Design Hotels, it is also suitable for those who prefer a modern style to the opulent grandeur of many of Vienna’s traditional hotels.

The property’s 39 rooms—designed by Sir Terence Conran—are outfitted with contemporary furnishings and graphic art. Despite modern touches, the accommodations feel particularly livable; bookshelves are lined with English and German titles, and the window nooks are cozy—thanks to cushy pillows and upholstered benches—perfect for a quiet afternoon overlooking the charming square that fronts the hotel. Little extras like the complimentary mini bar and heated bathroom floors go a long way. While there is no gym or spa, the ground floor Brasserie & Bakery (open all day) provides a bit of the comfort of a five-star hotel.

All Results


Indagare employees walking up stiars

Enjoy 30 Days On Us!

Start your Self Planner
membership trial today.

Unlock access to 2,000+ first-hand hotel reviews, 300+ Destination Guides and the most up-to-date travel news and inspiration.

Already a member?

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin