The Hotel Imperial, also known as The Imperial Vienna, is a five-star luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria. It is located on the Ringstrabe at Karntner Ring 16.
The Hotel Imperial’s facade is in the Italian Neo-Renaissance style. The top of the building contains a stone balustrade that frames allegorical animals from the Württemberg coat of arms. The main entrance portal contains four statues that are also symbolic. The original portal was wide enough for a two-horse-drawn carriage.
The hotel’s interior furnishings highlight the nineteenth-century Viennese elegance with ornate marble, hand-carved statues, and massive crystal chandeliers. In the lobby, the Royal Staircase leads up to suites and rooms that are also illuminated by magnificent chandeliers hanging from the high stucco ceilings. The hotel’s private balconies offer views of the Altstadt skyline.
A specialty of the Hotel Imperial Vienna is the Imperial cake, known as the Imperial Torte, which is a marzipan and chocolate torte. It is based on a recipe that is said to have been created by an apprentice cook who fashioned it when Emperor Franz Joseph opened the hotel in 1873.
History of Hotel Imperial Vienna
The building was designed by architect Arnold Zanetti and built under the direction of Heinrich Adam in 1863. For the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair, the Palace was converted into a hotel. In 1928, two stories were added, but the original architecture is still very much in evidence and is an integral part of the luxurious atmosphere.
Over the years, the Hotel Imperial has had numerous famous guests, including Queen Elizabeth II and Charlie Chaplin. Dignitaries and royalty from around the world have stayed at the Imperial. It has had some infamous guests as well. Adolf Hitler, who worked at the hotel as a day laborer during his youthful period as a virtual tramp in Vienna, returned as an honored guest.
Today, the Hotel Imperial is, perhaps, Vienna’s most exclusive five-star hotel. Guests of state typically stay at the hotel, such as the Emperor and Empress of Japan on their visit in 2002. Marjana Gaponenko’s novel Who is Martha? (New Vessel Press, 2014) is set in the Hotel Imperial. Its protagonist, a 96-year-old ornithologist, checks into the Elisabeth Suite, where he lives his last days in luxury, befriending hotel staff and guests.