My first trip to Vienna for holiday. Usually my taste for hotel décor gravitates towards the modern contemporary. However, as Vienna is such a historic city, why not try something different, a hotel that has old world charm and traditional classical décor? Well, there is no better choice in Vienna than the Imperial.
I arrived by taxi and the bell man quickly took care of my luggage. Upon check-in, I was told wrongly that I was upgraded to a Junior Suite ( actually my original booking was Junior Suite ). Regardless, I was told they have given me a very good room. A staff escorted me to the room for check-in. Shortly after my butler follows to introduce the features of the room.
I soon noticed that the room was not what I wanted as it has a twin bed. The suite, despite very beautifully appointed, also has other issues. I called to ask if they can assign me another suite with a King Bed. The frontdesk staff than showed me another room, an Executive Junior Suite which is more spacious and have an outdoor balcony and a King Bed. However, I was still not happy with the suite because of a slanting ceiling that makes the bedroom rather claustrophobic. The obliging staff than show me yet another suite, which this time has a King Size Bed though it looks slightly less nicely appointed. I took this room.
The first suite that I was checked in to besides the bed was wrong type also have other issues. The walk in closet was located far away from the bathroom. The bathroom shower stall is very small, a triangle area and without a glass door and instead a curtain. Also for some weird reasons, the safe was located high up the ceiling. The suite that I finally settled for has a much better layout as the walk in closet is directly opposite the bathroom. And the bathroom is newer and much nicer. It doesn’t have that piano though and the interior is slightly less bespoke but I will be picking on bones to find any fault.
The room comes with an in-suite entertainment system and LCD TV. The hotel thoughtfully provide some CDs with classical music for guests listening pleasure. The welcome amenities are generous, with a box of chocolate and a full fruit platter. Morever, the butler helpfully provides luggage tags, maps and city guide on check-in. There is a large crystal chandelier in the room. The suite is very clean and well maintained, and I think they did an amazing job considering the hotel and the building is 140 years old.
The bed is very comfortable and the sheets are of high quality. Shower water pressure can be better though. The hotel thoughtfully includes Bulgari bath amenities in the bathroom. During my stay, I did not have any noise issues, except from some street noise.
The common areas and Restaurant
The hotel has a high ceiling lobby and a single restaurant ( Café imperial ). The second and third floor has very nice decoration, hanging chandeliers, sculptures admist marble walls and sumptuous carpets. All very nice. The café imperial however, I do not like. It’s small, and one feels like eating in a small dark restaurant. No wonder most of the guests choose to sit at the terrace but it is also not very spacious.
I had breakfast at the Imperial café for two days and it is buffet style but the selection is not very good. One good point is that the kitchen can also prepare made to order hot food like eggs and waffles on request and it is included in the breakfast package. The food quality is just passable. I find the orange juice too diluted. The bread and pastries are not fresh and hot. The croissants are not flaky enough. It appears that the hotel purchase these breakfast items from a third party supplier and not prepare themselves. Maybe that’s why the quality doesn’t measures up.
I also had lunch at the café as my room rate includes a benefit for one free lunch. Well, fortunately it is free because I won’t pay for it given the poor food quality. The salad is loaded with so much dressing that it becomes inedible. The beef is fine, but nothing that a café along the street cannot prepare better.
There aren’t many facilities in the hotel but then most European hotels are like that. Besides the restaurant, there is a self service gym and business centre and that’s it. There was some renovation work going on during my stay and the lobby was rather noisy. I would suspect it might affect guests staying at lower levels.
The hotel is also located centrally and within walking distance to major shopping district and tourist attractions.
The hotel is 5-star so naturally I am expecting a certain standard. The services seems to be demarked clearly between the younger staff and the older generation staff. The younger staff are clearly more enthusiastic, welcoming and eager to serve and they include the butlers, the frontdesk reception ladies and some of the staff at the café. The older staff come across to me as rather indifferent and impatient. For example, the concierge staff gets kind of impatient when I ask for clarification on directions. Also, their recommendation for restaurants wasn’t very good. I tried one (Rauchfangkehrer ) and find the food quality very lacking and the seating very uncomfortable. See my review also.
One of the older staff in the café, I think he is the captain also appears to have attitude issues. I was having lunch at the café as my room rate includes a free lunch voucher. After I finish my meal, I checked with him if I need to sign a bill and he said “No, nothing to sign. You can go now!”. Granted the restaurant was filling up and I had a free lunch and it is my fault that I was alone but occupying a four seat table, I still think that reaction was very tactless.
Overall, I think my stay is quite good and would not mind to return but I may also try other hotels. The other options of comparable quality will be the Ritz and Sacher Wien but the Ritz rooms are very plain with uninspired Unitarian finishing while the Sacher is not as nicely appointed as well. So in comparison, I think the Imperial Vienna is still better choice and it has that charm and uniqueness about staying at a Palace hotel that is quite hard to duplicate.
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