By John O’Ceallaigh
Little seems to change in Vienna, which is part of its appeal, but a welcome breakthrough was heralded this week when Rosewood Vienna became the first international-brand luxury hotel to open in the Austrian capital in over eight years.
Occupying a 19th-century landmark on the Old Town’s Petersplatz square, the august building was previously a banking group’s headquarters purposefully placed in appropriately prestigious quarters. It is minutes from many of Vienna’s best shopping streets and dining districts, as well as St Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg Imperial Palace.
Designed and revived by locally based A2K Architekten and BEHF Architects, alongside London-based interior designer Alexander Waterworth (who has worked on Rosewood Bermuda and Soho Farmhouse), the converted building now features 72 guest rooms and 27 suites spread across five floors. Grandest of them all is the one-bed Presidential Suite, which stretches to about 170sq metres and features an eight-person dining room and kitchen alongside the expected lounges; city views from here are apparently “unparalleled” and the suite has its own address. That’s a nice PR-friendly tidbit that already has precedent within the Rosewood portfolio: Rosewood London’s beautiful Tony Chi-designed Manor House Suite has its own postcode.
Dining options will be varied too. Neue Hoheit Brasserie, with an adjacent terrace, serves European cuisine – there’ll be an emphasis on Austrian specialities and local wines; dainty, pretty, first-floor Salon Aurelie accommodates up to 16 guests for afternoon tea and light Viennese specialities – aesthetes will no doubt appreciate the wallpaper here, which took 40 days to paint by hand; sixth-floor Garden Room is an indoor-outdoor private dining and events space. The rooftop Neue Hoheit Bar sounds promising too, given Rosewood’s reliability when it comes to creating really refined but relaxed drinking dens.
(I’m a big fan of their settings in London, Paris and Madrid. Rosewood London’s Scarfe’s Bar continually debuts highly creative drinks menus and when I visited that latter property, Rosewood Villa Magna Madrid, shortly after its opening in November and spent a very nice evening in its Tarde.O bar eating tapas and sampling a small number of the 400-plus concoctions its mixologists can rustle up at a moment’s notice. Another nice touch was the effort and ceremony that surrounds their signature Negroni, which is distilled for 72 hours in a clay pot that is flirtatiously left in sight on the bar counter. For now, the team at Rosewood Vienna will only say their drinks are served with ‘an innovative twist’…)
Elsewhere the hotel will feature its own Asaya Spa with five treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy relaxation room, gym and hair salon. Rosewood expects it to become known as one of the best city spas in all of Austria.
All in all, the property should prove a very welcome addition to Vienna. The last newcomer to enter the city’s luxury market was Park Hyatt Vienna, which opened in 2014 and is also located within a renovated bank. It’s a beautiful property and its gargantuan 820sq metre Penthouse Suite, which I was lucky enough to stay in a few years back, is a knockout, but its notable that the Austrian capital has otherwise seen far less investment in recent years than so many other European capitals.
Initial guest feedback from Rosewood Vienna is very promising too. My extremely well-travelled friend Sven Schulz was one of the very first guests to check in over this past weekend and when I asked for his take on the place his response to the brand-new property was already effusive: “I looove it. It feels like a fantasy where you’ve been transported into a contemporary aristocratic home, but with amazing dining options, brilliant meeting rooms and lots of great decorative details. Plus the F&B offering overall is stunning – it matches what you might expect to find in New York, but comes with a casual European nonchalance.”
As first impressions go, particularly with staff still finding their feet, that seems to be a very good one.
Rates at Rosewood Vienna start from €700.
If you’d like to know more about the hotel, including details on how to access extensive additional privileges and benefits with your best-available-rate booking, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LUTE is a luxury-travel consultant and content agency that works with hotel groups, tour operators, tourist boards, airlines and more. You can learn more about LUTE here. For frequent luxury-travel updates, follow LUTE and LUTE founder John O’Ceallaigh on Instagram.