Housed in a heritage listed Palais on Schottenring Street, Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna forms part of the famously glamorous Ringstraße boulevard which was a strolling promenade for the high society in former times. The building was built between 1869 and 1873 and the listed Palais located in the first district is among the most important historic buildings in Vienna. Sights like the Burgtheater, St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Parliament building or the Rathausplatz square are only a few minutes' walk away.
The history goes back a long way when Heinrich Förster and Theophil Edvard Hansen, who was known as one of the most important architects of Ring Boulevard, were in charge of the planning. Theophil Edvard Hansen’s accolades also include building the Parliament, the Vienna Music Society, the ancient Stock Building, the Museum for Applied Arts and the Palais Epstein.
The Palais did not open as a hotel for the world exhibition in 1873 in Vienna as per original plan. Until the mid-1990s, it was home to the police headquarters and several different municipal departments. In 1997, the City of Vienna sold the building. Yet, the wish to put the building to its originally intended use persisted. Therefore, Palais Hansen Kempinski Immobiliengesellschaft teamed up with the Kempinski Group to start their painstaking restoration and to remodel the building into a hotel.
The Vienna-based architect Boris Podrecca and the Austrian architecture firm Atelier Hayde Architekten were contracted to carry out the work. Podrecca has left his mark on the city in many other places as well. He was involved in building the Millennium Tower and designing the Praterstern Urban Square in front of Vienna’s railway station. As with many of Hansen's works, Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, watches over the building. Her statue on the roof is a reminder of Vienna's great victories, and her image in the hotel's logo is homage to the celebrated architect himself.
Now, the seven stories tall charming Palais hotel accommodates 152 rooms and suites and 17 private residential penthouse apartments that are individual and unconventional. Ceiling high Roman columns in the Lobby marks the historical site of this elegant and charming spacious meeting area and brought the life back from its old Palais designed style. Thanks to the Danish architect, Theophil Edvard Hansen’s eight years were well spent in Athens that highly influenced him and is reflected in the design aesthetic by adding the characteristic pillars in this historical building.
The Elegance of the Lobby Lounge is the living room of the hotel and the place where the Viennese and everyone meets. Simply enchanting, and separates the sleek and stylish bar leading to the all day-dining Die Kücher Wien and the Michelin starred restaurant,EDVARD.
Exquisitely designed by Jean-Claude Laville tasked with creating the Palais Hansen’s interior design, the space was well thought out, with quiet and laidback lounge areas filled with plentiful plush sofas to unwind for business or pleasure. The soaring high ceiling not only bringing in plentiful natural lights but also creates a emptiness of the lounge yet with bold and luxurious elements that brighten up the entire lounge area. The legacy of the illustrious original architect, Theophil Hansen, is still visible in the striking façade, the lobby’s monumental columns, the ballroom’s foyer, the 19th century window frames and the staircases with their delicately wrought cast-iron banisters.
The arty and sleek Lobby Lounge Bar
For a more quiet public area, the masculine Cigar Lounge is a true architectural gem, with its combination of historical columns and glass walls and is the largest hotel cigar lounge in Vienna. Wide selections of fine cigars from Bolivar to Partargas are available for your preference and are well stored and displayed permanently in their very own humidors. This “Gentlemen Lounge” is comfortable and communicative and best to unwind with the house aromatic cognacs, whiskeys and rums.
We walked through the classy lounge area, by-passing the tasteful flower arrangements in the middle of the atrium by getting in the modern see through glass elevator to take us up to the guest rooms. By entering our Junior Suite, a bottle of French Champagne thrusted in the ice bucket awaits our arrival, such a thoughtful gesture to please their guests.
Classic design, Viennese elements, subtle colors and fine fabrics embellished the Junior Suite with high ceiling, a timelessly classic 1920s and 1930s design in muted shades of brown and beige enhance the comfortable, elegant atmosphere. Subtle, noble and Viennese. Truly unique are the pieces of furniture made of walnut as well as flame and bird’s eye maple specially designed for Palais Hansen by Jean-Claude Laville.
The Renaissance revival architecture combined with innovative touches and modern design amenities like iPad, entertainment system and master control switch powering all sounds and lights that fits the present day zeitgeist.
That is not all, our spacious 53sqm Junior Suite separated the King size bed room with a bright and elegant bathroom. A stand-alone roomy rain shower, toilet together with the well designed marble bathtub with sufficient room for two juxtaposed the mosaic notation wall.
Luxury toiletries and body care products from Elemental Herbology are used to pamper the guests to nourish and ultimate your skin nutrition and improve your wellbeing. Simply polished!
We went down to the mezzanine floor by using the iconic wrought cast-iron banisters staircases to the mezzanine level - Palais Hansen’s historic intermediate floor to the sassy indoor hydro pool, Kempinski The Spa and a bio-sauna with mixed and ladies-only areas by passing through the Technogym.
The stylish and chic pool design area reflects Vienna’s location on the border between Western and Eastern Europe, sporting Viennese 1920s-style glass art as well as Ottoman-style lamps, mosaics and wooden folding screens.
The sassy indoor hydro pool
The relaxing lounge area
Breakfast serve in Die Kücher Wien is rather delightful with international influences among other specialties, Viennese classics in a laid-back atmosphere. The buffet is well spread out from a different room with four soaring Roman pillars separating different sections of the food display and a wall of mounted fresh plants add a fresh and serene jardine secret to the ambience.
We were told that the croissants are delivered from a renown boulangerie in Paris, you will know it when you get the first bite of the crisp, fluffy and airy texture that adds wonders to your palate. You know what that means.
Service is quite welcoming and warm and it is always gratifying to see that a hotel drives to strive for reinvention and the desire to preserve their heritage. From a traditional to a trendy make-over and dare to be different, the Palais Hansen Kempinski is not only a living history but adding bold modernity next to the Danube River and to the downtown Vienna urbane scene.