Meeting Hotels à la 1873: Palatial Pads
"I have never had such a beautiful room in any hotel in the world." The person behind the quotation? Charlie Chaplin. But which hotel was he talking about? The Hotel Imperial Wien, located directly on Vienna's Ringstrasse boulevard, is probably the highest profile hotel in the city. You could say that the Imperial is something of a living legend, having played host to hundreds of heads of state and superstars from all over the world over the years. When music god Richard Wagner descended from on high to stay at the Imperial, he and his family took no fewer than seven rooms. The Imperial has always been a source of inspiration for the Viennese: Sigmund Freud celebrated his 80th birthday here. They’ve all stayed here: King of Pop Michael Jackson loved the regal ambience, as did Queen Elizabeth II. And US moviemaker Wes Anderson, a self-confessed Vienna fan, drew inspiration here for his film Grand Budapest Hotel which went on to win four Oscars. It was here that Anderson met Herr Moser – the Imperial's long-standing concierge – and was so taken with this Viennese original that he based on-screen maître d’ Monsieur Gustave on him. And the rest is movie history. The dazzling history of the Hotel Imperial began on April 28, 1873, just a few days before the Vienna World's Fair opened on May 1.
One of the First Palace Hotels
In the run-up to the main event, which would establish modern city tourism in the city, Vienna needed to build countless new hotels to ensure there were enough beds to accommodate the expected influx of visitors. Existing buildings were also repurposed – including Duke Philipp von Württemberg’s 1865 palace which was turned into a luxury hotel in 1873. In fact, the Imperial was one of the very first palace hotels of all. With an incredible ambience to boot: walking up the stairs is for other hotels – at the Imperial one ascends in style. Spacious, elegant, and oozing sophistication, the Imperial soon earned itself a global reputation as a unique overnight experience.
The Hotel Imperial is a fantastic place for meetings of all kinds – given that the meeting and event rooms are every inch the equal of the rest of the hotel, especially when it comes to atmosphere. In total, there are five event spaces and banquet halls of different sizes to choose from. And all come equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The intimate Salon Maria Theresa, the smallest meeting room the hotel has to offer, measures 37m2. Other options include the Salon Imperial (66m2) and the Ringstrassen Salon (62m²). The Festsaal and Marmorsaal halls (each 105m²) are ideal for larger meetings and events. Flooded with natural light, the Festsaal can also be arranged as a seminar room for up to 110 participants, and is equally suited as a location for concerts, balls, cocktail receptions and gala dinners. Historic frescoes and intricate stuccowork on the ceiling create an unforgettable ambience. The Marmorsaal is another highlight: picked out in regal gilt tones, this striking hall makes quite the impression, with three majestic marble columns defining the space. Intricately crafted arches, magnificent mirrors inset into the walls and sumptuous chandeliers hanging from the ornate, vaulted ceiling reflect the hotel's imperial pedigree – making it the perfect choice for business meetings, champagne brunches, dinners and dances. The Imperial is also in demand as a wedding venue.
Hotel Imperial Wien - a Luxury Collection Hotel
Sans Souci Vienna: Sustainability and Design Central
The Hotel Imperial is not the only hotel in Vienna founded on the occasion of the 1873 World's Fair that continues to welcome visitors from all over the world to this day. Sans Souci Wien, a boutique hotel located right next to the MuseumsQuartier and the Volkstheater, opened its doors in 1873 under the name Hotel Höller and was in almost continuous operation all the way through to the 1950s. In 2013, the building returned to its roots, reopening as a five-star hotel under the name Sans Souci Vienna. In the course of the renovation project, various original elements from the era of the Vienna World's Fair were preserved – most notably the facade, which was returned to its 1873 luster. Inside, a luxurious contemporary design ambience awaits, with the inimitable style also reflected in the hotel's meeting and event spaces. The entire hotel has been eco-certified since 2017, an advantage that also benefits the events it hosts.
Meetings Above the Rooftops
With great views over Vienna's historic first district, Sans Souci Vienna’s fully-equipped 110m² Rooftop Apartment is ideal for meetings, seminars and events. There are also additional breakout rooms on the fifth floor of the hotel, making the apartment the perfect place for team seminars. Located on the ground floor, the 58m² Le Salon lends itself particularly well to conventional seminars and private dining events. Sans Souci Vienna is also a good choice of venue for receptions, lunches and dinner events. At 140m², Veranda – the hotel's exclusive restaurant – offers plenty of space for extraordinary events in a truly historic setting.
Present-Day Hotel Boom in Vienna
But it's not just historic World's Fair hotels that make Vienna such a desirable location for meetings and events. For several years now, Vienna has been experiencing the biggest boom in new hotel openings since the time of its era-defining expo. A look at three new arrivals that promise an equally special setting.
Rosewood Vienna Meetings of the Luxurious Kind
A standard bearer for Vienna’s luxury segment, the new Rosewood Vienna opened in 2022. Set in a prime location at one of the very best addresses in the heart of the historic first district, it is part of an international hotel chain synonymous with timeless elegance, a sophisticated atmosphere and outstanding service. The Rosewood Hotel Group's first property in the German-speaking world brings the company’s ethos to life through a series of quintessentially Viennese elements: the chandeliers that hang in the Presidential Suite come from veteran Viennese crystal glass manufacturer J. & L. Lobmeyr – which, incidentally, will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2023 and appeared at the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair. In terms of textiles, the ensemble combines a certain cosmopolitanism with another rich slice of Viennese history: the Art Nouveau patterns used in the furniture coverings and curtains were produced by another manufacturing stalwart, Backhausen. With 71 rooms and 28 suites, a superb restaurant including a rooftop terrace, as well as function rooms, Rosewood is perfectly placed to host meetings of all kinds.
From Business to Social Events
The spacious “event pavilion” at Rosewood Vienna provides a memorable backdrop for special business events. Located on the second floor, this impressive room offers around 206m² of space for events and business meetings with up to 110 people. Highlights include modern conferencing tech and flexible floor plans featuring plenty of natural light, as well as in-house catering with a focus on regional, seasonal and authentic cuisine. Rosewood is also in its element as a venue for social events. Whether it's an elegant soiree, an exclusive birthday celebration or stylish cocktail reception – the Rosewood’s amenities lend themselves to every conceivable occasion. There is even an in-house event team to help organize events down to the very last detail. And visitors will find themselves on hallowed ground at Rosewood Vienna: it was on this site that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed parts of his famous work The Abduction from the Seraglio.
Hotel Indigo Vienna: Hip Meeting Location
A hidden gem for urban explorers on the hunt for a state-of-the-art meeting space with a green ambience: the Indigo hotel brand specializes in boutique hotels that are embedded in hotbeds of art and culture worldwide. In Vienna, Indigo plumped for the hip-and-happening neighborhood with Naschmarkt at its center. Here in Margareten (Vienna’s fifth district), quirky stores, contemporary bars and restaurants and a unique cosmopolitan flair await. Charming squares and side streets such as Zeinlhofergasse set the architectural tone. But this newly built hotel and its striking geometric facade (BWM Architekten) have a distinctly contemporary aura. Spread over nine floors, the 158 rooms are stylish and modern. The aura continues inside where a huge atrium-like courtyard adorned with plenty of lush greenery exudes an intimate atmosphere – a genuine city center oasis that wears its green credentials on its chest. The hotel's meeting room features direct access to the imposing atrium. With a capacity of 20, it comes with all the necessary conferencing technology. The perfect place to organize meetings in Vienna outside the first district.
Hotel Indigo Vienna - Naschmarkt
The Leo Grand: Monument to an Ostentatious Emperor
A fantastic building with an even more fantastic underlying concept: just a short distance from St. Stephen's Cathedral, The Leo Grand puts a highly contemporary and luxurious spin on Baroque era pomp. The figurehead of this extraordinary design hotel is Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705), an eccentric and art lover who dabbled in composing and left behind 230 pieces of music. So it follows that the interior design of The Leo Grand is perfectly composed and could scarcely be more colorful. No wonder: as old Leo had a soft spot for all things exotic, which is reflected with aplomb in the design of this 77-room hotel. A fantastical world of wonders awaits at The Leo Grand, which puts a modern spin on time-honored traditional patterns and colors to create plenty of magic. Truly special meetings are possible here. The Salon Jungle, like the hotel itself, is a colorful affair. And fully at home hosting creative get-togethers for around 80 people, or stunning parties. The Salon Jungle terrace looks into the hotel's impressive baroque courtyard, which is also used by the hotel restaurant. In terms of energy, The Leo Grand is definitely tuned into the spirit of our times: environmentally friendly district cooling and district heating bring everything up – or down – to the right temperature.