Bristol Hotel, Vienna
The Austrian capital is a Baroque masterpiece of architectural showpieces, churches and grand, carefully manicured squares. Wonderfully nostalgic and traditional, Vienna is a city where tuxedoed waiters hold court at elegant coffee houses and Lipizzaner stallions dance intricate minuets to the strains of Mozart. The overall effect is one of days gone by, harking back to the city's glorious past under the Habsburgs. Visit the Hofburg, once the seat of the ruling family, and the gothic landmark of St. Stephen's Cathedral, whose roof is adorned with eye-catching tiling. Numerous Baroque churches fuse with Modernist buildings and impressive galleries - the Kunsthistorisches has one of the world's best art collections. There are also references to one of Austria's most famous sons, Mozart, all over the city; the composer spent the last decade of his life here and today the strains of his symphonies resound around Vienna's many tea houses and shops. The nearby royal summer residence of Schönbrunn is another of principal sight, where a neoclassical palace is set amongst beautiful landscaped gardens, magical follies and grand, ornamental fountains.
The Bristol occupies an enviable spot opposite the Vienna State Opera House and a few minutes walk from the renowned shops of Kaerntner Strasse. The hotel has won several awards including being named on Condé Nast Traveller's Gold List. Taking inspiration from Vienna's glorious past, the hotel incorporates neoclassical styling, using lavish fabrics and tasteful wood furniture to adorn the rooms. All rooms also boast all modern conveniences, such as voicemail and the 'Heavenly Bed'. There is a choice of four restaurants and bars, including the celebrated Korso bei der Oper, which combines wonderfully executed Austrian specialities with stunning views of the Opera House.
The hotel's name and coat of arms were bestowed by the 5th Earl of Bristol, a distinction reserved only for those establishments meeting his discriminating standards of taste and comfort. Constructed like a townhouse, the building very much typifies the way upper-class Viennese lived in the late 1880s and the 90s. Rooms on two of the floors have balconies, hallways are lined with stained-glass windows and antique prints and every room has a fireplace.
From the outside, this six-storey landmark looks no different from Vienna's other grand buildings. But connoisseurs of Austrian hotels maintain that this is a superb choice. Its decor evokes the height of the Habsburg Empire. The hotel has been updated to provide guests with black-tile bathrooms and other modern conveniences. Many of the architectural embellishments rank as objets d'art in their own right, including the black carved marble fireplaces and the oil paintings in the salons.
Famous artists and crowned heads walked through the doors of this hotel. Here you meet them again, from Rubinstein to Puccini, from the Khedive of Egypt to the Prince of Wales, who secretly arrived with his great love Wallis Simpson. Today, the Prince of Wales Suite bears witness of this wonderful romance.
Located opposite the famous Vienna State Opera House in the heart of the city on the magnificent Ringstrasse Boulevard the Hotel Bristol is ideally situated to explore the many sights of Vienna including horse-drawn carriage rides and open air cafes.
All rooms have safes, thermostats, bedside controls, firm mattresses, and ample storage, plus generous marble bathrooms with scales, robes, and hair dryers. The Bristol Club Rooms in the tower offer comfortable chairs, an open fireplace, self-service bar, library, TV, video recorder, stereo, deck, and sauna. Each individual accommodation consists of a bedroom with a living-room area, and many have a small balcony providing a rooftop view of the Vienna State Opera and Ringstrasse.
The Junior Suites have a terrace overlooking the great skyline of the opera house. The marble bath has a separate bidet and sink - almost like having 2 baths. Extra features include: plenty of closet space with walk-in, very ornate high ceilings and a maid service. Staying on the top floor you will have access to the concierge room with plenty of goodies to eat and drink. The dining room is beautiful and the food magnificent...you must ask for chocolate mousse.
Although the old-fashioned ambiance has been preserved through the fourth story, floors five and six offer another experience altogether. In the unusual Penthouse Suites- one has an octagonal bedroom-with terraces and sloping ceilings occupying floor six. Unique antiques and original works of art decorate each of the guest rooms and suites.
The hotel's fine restaurants are a favourite meeting place for gourmets. The restaurant Korso bei der Oper offers stunning views, a classical ambience, and award-winning cuisine - internationally recognized as one of Austria's best.
Enjoy regional and international specialties amidst the contemporary design and atmosphere of Restaurant Sirk, offering all day dining. The restaurant has a fantastic view of the Opera Hall, with buffet starters and an á la carte menu. The heavenly aroma floating from Café Sirk's is sure to entice you. Stop by this Viennese coffeehouse, grab a snack, and head to the charming outdoor seating area.
The Bristol Bar is the oldest American bar in Vienna, with a vast variety of drinks available. It is a traditional and intimate meeting place going back well before the 1945-55 era when the Bristol was US military headquarters.
The hotel offers complimentary access to a nearby health club with indoor pool and sauna - perfect for relaxing and unwinding after a busy day. The decor is lovely, especially the wood-panelled walls with inlaid design.
Even better, the Bristol truly understands the "heavenly bed" concept...not only is the mattress plush, but the sheets are silky smooth and immaculate.
All of the services were prompt and efficient and the staff is friendly without being pretentious. Everyone at the hotel is warm and helpful. They immediately make you feel welcome and comfortable, in short: "zu Hause."