Imperial Architecture


This luxury hotel in Vienna was originally built from 1863 to 1865 as the private palace of Prince Philip of Wuerttemberg, who was married to a grandniece of Emperor Francis Joseph I. Several documents even suggest that the palace designed by the famous Munich-born architect Arnold Zanetti was a wedding gift from the bride's father, Archduke Albrecht. There was originally an extensive park extending to the Church of St. Charles behind the building. However, the city administration built a street between the palace and the park without the permission of the prince, and went on to excavate the foundations of the Musikverein. The enraged Prince of Wuerttemberg left the palace, though he is alleged to have received generous financial compensation for this inconvenience.

An investor, Horace Ritter von Landau, bought the magnificent palace, which was inaugurated as the Hotel Imperial in time for the opening of the Vienna World's Fair in 1873. However, the hotel was not opened by Emperor Francis Joseph I himself as legend would have it. While the emperor never opened any hotels, this one would certainly have pleased him.

The hotel had made great efforts to be granted the accolade "imperial & royal", but only received it only in 1918, just a few weeks before the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy fell apart, thus negating the advantage of this title!

Let us guide you through the rich history of the hotel in Vienna. Discover more about the personalities who stayed here, their stories and anecdotes, and many other details besides.

Royal Staircase

The Royal Staircase

In the past, horse-drawn carriages would draw up at the foot of the Royal Staircase, the ceremonial staircase in today's lobby, to allow the Prince of Wuerttemberg's guests to alight before ascending to the private apartments on the first floor, the bel étage.

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Belle Etage

The Bel Étage

The paintings of the bel étage depict Emperor Francis Joseph I wearing the uniform of a field marshal with the Order of Maria Theresa together with his wife, Empress Elisabeth "Sisi".

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Lobby

The Mezzanine

During the interwar period, a ceiling was installed above the lobby on the mezzanine floor. That's how the Gobelinsaal, the Tapestry Hall, came to be.
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