The Vienna Hotel Imperial is a hotel in Vienna and an impressive building on the Ringstrasse. It is located at the Kärntner Ring 16 in the 1st district of Vienna. It is owned by Al Habtoor Investment and managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Hotel Imperial - Palais Württemberg History
As a palace on Vienna's Ringstrasse, it was built between 1862 and 1865 according to the plans of the architect Arnold Zenetti under the direction of the architect Heinrich Adam in the style of the Italian neo-Renaissance for Duke Philipp of Württemberg. Inside, the individual architectural parts are clad in stone: for the pillars of the great hall it is in Carrara marble, the pillars in the ballroom have supports of yellow Giallo di Siena marble, wall surfaces and stucco marble columns. On the festive scale there are walls, balustrades, large stucco marble columns, stair steps are made of Kaiserstein, the hard yellow algae limestone of Kaisersteinbruch. The Donauweibchen sculpture by Hanns Gasser is located on the stairway pedestal.
The duke lived in the palace with his wife, Archduchess Maria Teresa of Austria, from 1866, but sold it to the banker Orazio von Landau in 1871. Perhaps it had become uninteresting for the duke as a place of residence after the Wiener Musikverein of recent construction had a clear view of the Vienna River and a road blocked access to the park. But even the Duchess never felt at ease in the palace.
The palace was probably bought by a group of investors, because the architect Wilhelm Gross turned it into a hotel. On April 28, 1873, the new hotel for the Vienna World Exhibition in 1873 was officially opened in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
In 1875 the owner Johann Frohner was hired as a tenant. Frohner had already gained experience as a hotelier in Budapest, where he successfully managed his hotel named after him. In 1878 he applied for the title of supplier k.u.k. for the alcohol and wine trade. Although the hotel had an excellent reputation, its request was refused. Years later, however, this was approved by the Obersthofmeisteramte.
In 1912 the Imperial was converted into a joint-stock company. The Grand Hotel am Kärntnerring belonged to the same public limited company. The hotel has been modernized and heating has been installed.
During the monarchy guests like Prince Otto von Bismarck, Count Patrice de Mac-Mahon, King Milan of Serbia, Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Richard Wagner, Eleonora Duse and Sarah Bernhardt.
During the First World War the activity continued almost normally, more and more women worked in the staff, male guests wore more and more uniforms and people continued to eat - sometimes stuffed - damask, probably a bit smaller portions.
In 1928 the two upper floors were set up. In the interwar period Thomas Mann, Luigi Pirandello, John Galsworthy and Claude Anet arrived as guests. After the annexation of Austria, Adolf Hitler remained here whenever he was in the city. After the war and during the occupation, the Soviets housed the hotel. The hotel has suffered little damage since this time, although most of the furniture was missing and needed to be replaced later.
Before the Second World War, the Imperial Hotel was partly owned by Samuel Schallinger, an Austrian Jew. This had to sell its share during the Nazi occupation of Austria and the subsequent Aryanisation in 1938. It was assassinated in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942. A restitution never took place.
Since its opening, the hotel has been one of the most luxurious hotels in the city of Vienna. Many heads of state and other personalities count as guests. The guest book with prominent signatures is presented today under a glass bell.
Traditionally, state guests stay at the Imperial Hotel; The most famous were John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev at the 1961 Vienna Summit, Richard Nixon, King Olav of Norway, Marshal Tito, King Leopold of Belgium, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth of England and also King Juan Carlos of Spain Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan.
Numerous prominent artists were guests of the Imperial, including Otto Preminger, Walt Disney, Otto Klemperer, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, Yul Brynner, Peter Ustinov, Michel Piccoli, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Horowitz, Riccardo Muti, Mick Jagger , Mariah Carey and Sofia Coppola. Michael Jackson wrote Earth Song here.
In 1994 Condé Nast readers voted the hotel as the best hotel in the world. Already in 1961, the operating company received the state award and therefore the right to use the federal emblem in business.
On the ground floor of the hotel is the Café Imperial, a traditional and luxurious restaurant that has always attracted prominent guests and is decorated with images of Moritz von Schwind. Until the beginning of the century it was called Café Frohner.
In 2016 it was announced that the hotel received a new owner with Al Habtoor Investment from the United Arab Emirates. It will continue to be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which already operates several hotels owned by the new owner