The Ritz Carlton, Vienna’s new rising star
For those familiar with the Ritz Carlton brand, the words classic, gold, crystal, and sumptuous are probably among the first that come to your mind when you may be asked to characterize a Ritz Carlton Hotel. The recently opened The Ritz Carlton in Vienna, Austria is strikingly different, and in many ways, exactly the opposite one would expect from a traditional Ritz Carlton.
Although it is housed in the heritage building with a beautiful facade and a majestic entrance, the developers have opted for an understated contemporary style throughout the entire hotel, in some areas with a very neutral tones. The hotel’s Ballroom is probably the only exception, lavishly polished in crystals, not only large chandeliers but also an entire wall made of crystal weighing 2,5 tons.
Each and every space of the hotel presents with its own contrasts – you may wonder through modern hallways and then on the 2nd and 4th floor, you encounter a beautifully restored historical fireplace, carved in wood, classic crystal chandeliers, cherry wood sculpted doors and exquisitely painted ceilings. These are in the old section of the hotel but through the maze of corridors, a WOW factor is definitely achieved.
Entry level category rooms are the largest in Vienna, each with a large marble bathroom and among the suites, the higher floor Club Suites offer beautiful views of the Vienna skyline. My room, a Junior Suite had a palatial high ceiling and a window overlooking the main boulevard. Soundproofing is impeccable and even at rush hours rooms are very quiet. The lavish king size bed is heavenly comfortable and there is a spacious work. My room had Club access and I really enjoyed the top floor Club Lounge, a very cozy and intimate space, with panoramic views of Vienna. The food Club Lounge is excellent, at each time of the day, they would serve local, traditional dishes. Breakfast in the Club Lounge is impeccable.
However, from a technology point of view, the entire hotel needs to be updated.For a brand new Ritz Carlton property, I would have expected to find at least the touch pad controls by the bed (in the drawers) which were implemented over a decade ago at the Ritz Carlton Berlin and the Ritz Carlton Moscow. Instead, from the AC, lighting, curtains, blinds to DND, everything is manually controlled and especially with lighting, challenges may arise, as one would need to get out of bed to switch off certain lights. A standard in most new luxury hotels, the dock station for USB charge and connectivity with the sound system and the TV is not there.
Even when it comes to the TVs, only the top suites have brand new models of LED Flat Tvs. The TV system has no interaction with the sound or the Ipad dock and takes a while for the system to load. Half of the TV channels are in German (I assume most of the guests much be German speaking) and there are very few international channels – for instance, CNN is missing from the list. There is an mirror TV in the bathroom, however, despite mentioning it twice to the Club Lounge staff, engineering could not make it work.
With the exception of housekeeping, service is seamless throughout the entire hotel. I was pleasantly surprised to see the majority of staff are very young and they all have this sparkle of passion in their eyes, providing an intuitive, warm and friendly service. As for housekeeping, there is room for improvement of the turn-down service as well as communications with the guest. Personally, I did not appreciate that bed linens are not changed at least on a daily basis – most luxury hotels of the calibre of Ritz Carlton would even change bed sheets twice daily. I do understand the environmental concern and the note which is placed in small fonts by the bed, but it should work the other way round – at the request of the guest, bed sheets not to be changed on a daily basis. Also, at turn-down, there is no replenishment of bathroom amenities and water.
Unlike most other Ritz Carlton properties which have British ESPA, the Ritz Carlton Vienna is a Guerlain SPA, all beauty and body massage products being provided by Guerlain. The indoor heated swimming pool is yet another WOW for the hotel, especially given the huge engineering efforts to build it in a heritage building at 2 floors underground. It is among the very few five star hotels in Vienna which has a pool. Unfortunately, my short stay would not allow for a SPA treatment so I would definitely make that a priority on my next stay.
With its location in the heart of Vienna, the Ritz Carlton is ideal for both leisure and corporate guests. Most of the downtown attractions are within walking distance from the hotel and Vienna’s best luxury stores are also very close by. If you take the airport train, it takes less than 30 minutes to reach the hotel, which I found very convenient and easy to use.
While at the Ritz Carlton Vienna, make sure you do not miss the Lobby Lounge Melounge, a heaven for chocolate lovers! The hotel’s very own Chocolate Sommelier prepares your personalized hot chocolate, on the spot, using the finest Criollo chocolate. The Criollo cocoa beans come from different countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela or Madagascar and have a different taste accordingly. Only 0,001% of the world harvest of cocoa derives from those precious beans.
Oliver Petcu in Vienna