In his cutting 1897 satire, Die demolirte Litteratur, Karl Kraus declared that Vienna was paradoxically being “demolished into a great city.” While long one of Europe’s most important capitals, in the latter half of the 19th century the city transformed into the opulent grand metropolis we’re so familiar with today. (For instance, the Ringstrasse was created and filled out from the 1860s to 1890s.)
Today, while the inner core of Vienna is preserved, along what used to be its edges construction cranes dominate the skyline. A new era of Vienna is under way.
It’s to be expected then, that one of the icons of Vienna’s glory days, the Belvedere (palace of military hero Prince Eugene of Savoy and now home to Klimt’s The Kiss) is getting a sparkly new neighbor in the form of the just-opened Andaz Vienna am Belvedere. The hotel is the latest selection for our series on exciting new hotels, The New Room with a View.
The gleaming new property designed by Renzo Piano is part of a whole host of sleek glass towers going up just south of the palace, another notable one being its neighbor the Erste Bank Campus. Like a lot of Piano buildings, while the hotel exterior isn’t going to be the next Instagrammed-to-death starchitect work, it screams ultra-modern with its clean lines.
Inside, the hotel is filled with art (a nod to the nearby Belvedere’s role as an art museum) and has a lobby typical of swanky new hotels. The rooms seem to have been designed so as to please everybody who travels extensively and expects certain comforts. They feel laid out as if a computer algorithm had run through millions of traveler preferences. It somehow perfectly straddled the vibe between cozy and then clean and modern.
All 303 rooms have floor to ceiling windows, and the ones on higher floors and overlooking the park have spectacular views. And the showers are magnificent. (My only criticism would be that my room at least had one of those exterior sliding doors on the bathroom. It’s a design choice very popular in new hotels and inexplicable for me. What do new couples do?) Best of all, I never heard a peep through the walls from neighbors on either side or from the hallway.
While definitely a hotel for anybody who doesn’t want to give up certain modern comforts not usually found in historic European hotels, there are two other great amenities. The gym (with a sauna and steam room) is large and impressively equipped. And the rooftop looks out over the whole city and out to the surrounding hills covered in vineyards. (Do reserve if you plan on enjoying it, as it seems to have become popular even with locals.)
Yes, the hotel isn’t in the heart of the city, but I didn’t find that a negative as it can so often be in other European cities. Vienna is immensely walkable, and any journey from the hotel into the center begins by walking through the gardens of the Belvedere itself. It’s also very close walking distance to the main train station. On top of all that, it’s only a 15 minute Uber ride from the airport.