Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna
Kaerntner Ring 16 · Vienna1015 · Austria 
· Phone:
(43)(1) 501100
· Fax:
(43)(1) 50110 410

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· Weather:
Variably cloudy,
8 °C
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Aussenansicht des Hotel Imperial, Wien
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Imperial Architecture - Tour of the Hotel

The luxury hotel was originally built as the private palace of Prince Philip of Würrttemberg from 1863 to 1865. The Prince was married to a grandniece of Emperor Francis Joseph I. There are documents that even suggest that the palace had been a morning gift by the bride's father, Archduke Albrecht. Famous Munich-born Arnold Zanetti was the architect. A huge park, extending to St. Charles Church, was located behind the building. When the city administration had a street built between park and palace without asking the permission of the Prince, and when a pit was excavated to construct Musikverein, an enraged Prince of Württemberg left the place. Rumor has it though that he received a generous financial compensation.

An investor, Horace Ritter von Landau, bought the magnificent palace. On time for the opening of the Universal Exhibition in Vienna, it was inaugurated as Hotel Imperial in 1873. It was, however, not inaugurated by Emperor Francis Joseph I himself as is often wrongly told. While the Emperor never opened hotels, it would have certainly pleased him. The hotel had made great efforts to be granted the "K & K" accolade but only received it in 1918, a few weeks before the Monarchy fell apart - and so the title became invalid again.

Famous guests

Let us guide you through the rich history of the hotel. Learn more about the personalities who lived here, the stories and anecdotes and many more details. 

Visit the history timeline ›


The Lobby
Directly above the entrance you can see four statues on the building's exterior. Sculptor Franz Melnitzky created these portal figures displaying the allegories of a leader's virtues: (from left to right) wisdom, honor, justice and strength. Who today steps into the Imperial's lobby through the imposing revolving door is not aware that he follows the trails of horse-drawn carriages. Beneath the lobby's marble floor you still find the original cobble stone pavement. Today's main entrance was a driveway in the past.
Carriages passed here, halting at the ceremonial staircase. The livery-clad servants opened the carriages and the guests walked up the broad staircase to the first floor. The large hall on the ground floor was spacious enough for the carriages to turn before they left through the entrance onto the Ring Boulevard once again. In the past a horse stable was located on the grounds of today's Marble Hall. Rumor has it that horses once were watered in the niches of today's Hall Salon; the salon, after all, used to be an inner courtyard once.

The revolving door is custom-made and can be stopped any time. The two wings can be opened and the red carpet can be rolled out to welcome state visitors - flanked by guards - in truly imperial style.
The Mezzanine
During the interwar period a ceiling was installed above the lobby on the mezzanine floor. That's how the Gobelinsaal, the Tapestry Hall, came to be. Until 1994 the lobby was relatively low and little attractive.

When in the course of a large-scale renovation the room was removed again, the stucco uncovered and the hall reconstructed according to old sketches, the Hotel Imperial was rated best hotel in the world by the readers of renowned Conde Nast Traveler magazine in 1995.

The mezzanine floor, by the way, was an architectonic feature of Vienna around 1900 to avoid building regulations. Thus, there were only few floors on the paper but the height of the building was increased by intermediate floors such as basement, raised ground and mezzanine floor. That's how people bypassed the (above all financial) constraints associated with additional floors.
Mezzanin - Hotel Imperial Wien
The Royal Staircase
In the past, the horse-drawn carriages halted in front of the Fürstenstiege, the Ceremonial Staircase at today's lobby, allowing the guests of the Prince of Württemberg to step out and ascend to the private apartments on the first floor, the Belle Etage.
The walls of the Ceremonial Staircase are not made of marble but of so-called stucco lustro - a very sophisticated and expensive technique resembling genuine marble. If you put your palms on the wall they don't feel cold - as is the case with genuine marble - but turn warm instead.

The Donauweibchen (Danube Mermaid) is an original by Hans Gasser. A copy of the Imperial's nymph is located at the Viennese Stadtpark. The legendary Donauweibchen is a mermaid living at the bottom of the river having been held responsible for men's drowning.

Where today's Donauweibchen is located, there was a passage to the service staircase in the past. Above the Ceremonial Staircase you see a painting by Emperor Francis Joseph I, presumably at the age of 34, painted by Zaszer. Even in times of occupation and when the Imperial was the Russian headquarters after the war, the painting remained there and was never removed. The Emperor has endured alas - a typical feature of Vienna.

Above the door arches on your way up to the Belle Etage you see the Württemberg emblem, today the logo of the Hotel Imperial. The lion symbolizes the power of the realm, the stag its fast expansion. The same heraldic animals also adorn the gable of the house; however, the gable was only installed at the hotel's opening, whereas the former palace bore a cupola-like roof.
Fuerstenstiege - Hotel Imperial Wien
The Belle Etage
The paintings on the Belle Etage once more depict Emperor Francis Joseph I wearing the uniform of a field marshal with the Maria Theresa Order and his wife, Empress Elisabeth "Sisi". The original paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1875), created in 1864, are located at the Vienna Hofburg Palace. The secret lies in the Emperor's right shoe: His toe-cap apparently follows the onlooker wherever he turns.

The Belle Etage's anteroom is already a foretaste of the imposing Imperial Suites of more than 23 feet of height. The entire front of the Hotel Imperial can be booked as a combination of 6,458 sq ft. Three smaller rooms between the two Imperial Suites (Franz Joseph and Maria Theresa), however, are often reserved for bodyguards of distinguished guests. From here you can also beckon to the people (if around) from the balcony - as once did the Queen of England, Indira Ghandi or the Kind of Sweden - and even Michael Jackson.
Beletage - Hotel Imperial Wien

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Concierge service - personal and at the highest level

Head Concierge Manfred Grassauer and his team - Orlando Donato and Gregor Hasengschwandtner - are bilingual, certified destination experts, proudly wearing "Les Clefs d'Or", the gilt insignia of the celebrated international concierge society, and eager to reveal the secret treasures of the city.

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The Concierges of Hotel Imperial, Vienna

The Concierges of Hotel Imperial, Vienna

Concierge Recommendations

The whole year round, our concierges have the best tips to explore Vienna. Feel free to ask them directly or get some inspiration from our concierge recommendations:

Cemetery of St. Marx

Vienna offers a variety of places to admire during spring time. The awakening of the trees and flowers shows the splendor of the nature. A wonderful hideaway to admire the impressive colors of the lilac is at the St.Marx Cemetery. You can also visit the grave of virtuoso Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The sculptor Florian Josephu-Drouot is responsible for the present appearance of the tomb stone, which he restored in 1950.

Open: Daily 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

See next recommendation
The Winter Palace

Originally built as a lavish stately residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, then acquired in the eighteenth century by Empress Maria Theresa before being used for the Court Treasury and later as the Ministry of Finance, this Baroque jewel in downtown Vienna has finally been restored to a centre of art and culture. With the opening of the Belvedere’s new – and fourth – exhibition venue, the principal rooms of Prince Eugene’s state apartments are now accessible to the public.

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Welcome to Vienna

Discover the most beautiful places of Vienna. Whether you do this on your own or let the concierges be your guide - it will be an exceptional experience.

The current weather in Vienna

28   Today
Cloudy with sunny breaks
P.O.P. 20%
01   Sunday
Isolated showers
P.O.P. 40%
02   Monday
Cloudy with showers
P.O.P. 90%
03   Tuesday
Mainly sunny
P.O.P. 20%
04   Wednesday
Cloudy with sunny breaks
P.O.P. 30%
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At Hotel Imperial, Vienna, no wish is left to be desired

The Imperial concierges know the hotel and city by heart. In an effort to provide the highest caliber recommendations, they attend more than 50 theater and opera performances a year, and are happy to help guests secure tickets. Additionally, they are always happy to provide insider tips about special sights in Vienna

The concierge team at Hotel Imperial, Vienna strives to meet all requests, no matter how out-of-the ordinary. They already achieved such uncommon tasks as presenting a toothpaste collector with a particular Austrian tube. For a guest who was accustomed to completing the New York Times crossword, Concierge Michael Moser had his Les Clefs d'Or colleague in London fax a copy of the puzzle.

Limousine Service

The concierges will take care of your convenient limousine transfer to and from the Airport or railstation.

Here you'll find further useful information for your arrival >

Ticket Service

Everything will be arranged for your needs - tickets for the theater, opera or concerts in the adjacent Wiener Musikverein.

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