I stayed at the Hotel Imperial, Vienna during the 1st weekend of June and had a great stay in terms of location, the interiors of the hotel, and the Imperial torte at the café but a very poor stay in terms of service levels. I would probably return to this hotel maybe once more to “test it out” but for now I am sceptical of the value of $$ paid at this hotel. Just for the record, I am a frequent traveller and mostly stay in 5* hotels.
Firstly, the architecture and the interior of the hotel are impressive. It is very old world with fine details and oil paintings all around. Reviews from others in this thread have done a great job describing the interiors. Heads of states and presidents stay here often and once you walk into the hotel lobby you will understand why. The rooms are equally immaculate with chandeliers and marble bathrooms. There are a few rooms that are evidently poorer – these are the rooms made from the old servants quarters – try to avoid these by booking a rate that is a step higher than the lowest rate.
The restaurant is great – the chef that used to head restaurant Korso at the Bristol is the new head chef there – with great large portions! The foods are evidently expensive but nothing out of the ordinary given it is part of a luxurious hotel. I would highly recommend them. Speaking of food, you cannot skip the Imperial Torte. Words cannot do them justice – make sure you get yourself one during your stay!
The location is also great, though not as perfect as, say, the Sofitel. It is 1 minute away from the Musikverein and very close to the U-bahn and the tram stops. There are plenty cafes nearby for great Viennese breakfasts. There is no swimming pool, but the gym is well equipped with an attached sauna, available 24 hours a day.
The service levels, on the other hand, are mediocre at best. The staffs seem to be efficient in what they do but in large part are quite stiff. They do their jobs but do not go beyond what is expected, as in they do not ‘anticipate’ needs as it is usually expected from hotels of this category. You will receive no greetings from the staff walking about, and most will appear busy all the time. I have not had a single person smile at me during my whole stay. The worst of the pack would be the bellman who stands around not making eye contact with anybody throughout my whole stay. The concierge, however well-connected they may be, are also indifferent in their service. At hotels of this level I would expect them to at least look up and smile if they sense someone approaching them. Instead, I had to approach the desk, do an ‘ahem’ to get their attention, and once I made my request known, had the concierge give me the information in a very ‘efficient’ but ‘cold’ way. Maybe I was disturbing him from other things that are much more important?
This really dampens your stay in this beautiful hotel, as your attention is taken away from the luxurious surroundings to thinking about the impolite/indifferent gestures made by the staff you interact with. This sub-par level of service was especially disappointing given that I had just come from The Ring where we were made to feel like valued guests. So if you are planning a stay here, set your expectations right with regards to service levels and focus on the great building you get to stay in. If service is important to you, stay somewhere else.
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