Think of Vienna and one word comes to mind: grandeur. After all, it is the home of the Hapsburgs, the cradle of classical music. The city’s ubiquitous Baroque architecture is so impeccably preserved, it could easily still be the 18th century. The decadent cakes and tortes once made for the royals, are proudly displayed and served in most cafes. This is a city where opulence ruled, and today, it still does.
And yet, there's a decisive modernity to the city that can't be ignored. Let’s not forget, Vienna was also home to Freud, Klimt, Schiele and Hoffmann. And it’s that unique juxtaposition of classic and contemporary that’s found at , one of the city’s most stylish hotels.
Opened at the end of 2015,occupies the site of a former mansion on Vienna’s famed Ringstrasse. After it was destroyed in World War II, the building was converted into an office, until it was purchased by the family behind Weitzer Hotels.
Designed by Florian Weitzer, the property pays homage to both Vienna’s old world and modern sensibilities. From the magnificent Lobmeyr chandelier (lowered and lit by hand, every day), landmarked marble floors, Bauscher china and Thonet chairs, every rich and shiny detail imbues Viennese charm into the hotel’s lobby, 3 restaurants and 188 rooms.
But it is in the hotel’s that the past is inventively brought to the present. The entrance is marked by a tufted Borne settee, upholstered in a deep green velvet with gold tassel trim. Toile de Jouy fabric adorns the walls, and a silk Oriental rug offers a shock of ruby red. Taxidermy parrots from Maison Deyrolle and potted palm trees playfully nod to Hapsburg excess, while a polished chrome arc lamp provides a decisive dose of modern.
An elaborately carved headboard and mirror are finished in white lacquer for a fresh take on Baroque extravagance. Guests can channel Freud, whose apartment and office is just beyond the Ringstrasse, on the Biedermeier chaise lounge.
Charcoal gray walls and dark wood floors offer a clean backdrop for carefully placed antiques, including a Louis writing desk and a Deco-era drinks trolley and champagne bar (stocked with French Mumm and Zweisel crystal, of course). If a dip in the clawfoot bathtub isn’t your thing, the rain shower is enclosed with retro glass blocks- a leftover from the building’s former life as an office.
“History and tradition should be celebrated in the present day,” says Florian, whose penchant for surprising and unexpected details makes the suite feel regal, but not staid.
An ample terrace boasts views of St. Charles’s Church and the Ferris wheel in Prater Park, and a private staircase leads to the hotel’s salon-style rooftop restaurant.
At The Grand Ferdinand, guests can relive the glory and glamour of the Ringstrasse era without feeling like they’ve stepped into a museum. Old world brilliance and contemporary creature comforts means you can have your cake (or torte), and eat it too.
The Grande Suite costs 1,500 Euros per night.