History Bristol Vienna Present Bristol Vienna

The Bristol in Vienna in its brand new building of 1916 (the picture dates from the 1920s) — and — today, taken from the front of the opera house.

Bristol Vienna

When you read 'originally opened', you know that there is something special about the opening date(s) of a hotel. Well, the Hotel Bristol in Vienna, Austria, ‘originally opened’ in 1892, because today, it stands in a different location. The ‘original’ = the first Bristol was – as most new hotels come — the most modern hotel of the city. It was considered a luxurious hotel, capable to cater for the superior taste of the international traveller.
Its current location was only achieved over a period of over 20 years. It is considered by many as the best in the world, perfectly placed at the crossing of the Ring and Kärtnerstreet, right oposite of the Vienna State Opera in the very heart of Vienna, the city of culture, romance and music. It is also the starting point for a series of trips down memory lane, when you take some time to browse its eventful history or its illustrious guest list.

Among the first international artists who signed the guestbook was Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein. His Melodie in F was already world famous, and inspired, by the way, composer George Gershwin, who stayed at the Bristol in 1928.

Here is the music.
 

August Mandlick painted the famous "Sirk Corner" of the Hotel Bristol in 1917 — and the lady in front of the hotel is from about 1918.


The cosy hotel also remains one of the last places with a sense of peaceful intimacy in the centre of this charming but occasionally very busy city. Hidden in its "belly" is the cosy American Bar, right next to the entrance of one of the most sought after temples of culinary excellence, the restaurant Korso.

Hotel Bristol Vienna, by Andreas Augustin, in the series THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD

Here's an excerpt from the database, established for the hotel:
1891/92: Andreas Kuehrer, owner of the Restaurant Monopole at Kaertnerring 10, (vis-à-vis) converted a residential building on the corner of Kaerntner 7 and Aka and turned it into a hotel. On 26 June 1892, the Hotel Bristol opened its doors to the public. 1894 Herr Karl Wolf, a beer brewer from Pilsen near Pilsen, bought the hotel from Karl Kuehrer.
The first guest to sign the leather bound book was Russian pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein, who arrived in 1894.

 


Listen to his Melody in F.

Anton Rubinstein signed the guestbook in 1894
1897: Composer and conductor Gustav Mahler stays at the hotel during his first assignment at the Vienna Opera House.
1898 In February, the house belonging to the Hoyos-Sprinzensteins (Kaertnerring 5) and the residential building on Kaerntner 3 (bed and breakfast hotel belonging to Albert Klein, Edler von Wiesenberg) were taken over by the hotel. The architects Emil Bressler and Gustav Wittrisch converted the hotel, creating a total of 235 bedrooms, a large dining room, a glass-roofed courtyard with a capacity for 150 guests, a breakfast room seating 70 and several smaller public halls. In total, the various restaurants had a capacity of over 400 guests. 1898 Permission to install an electrical lift in House No. 5 (Otis company). Maximum capacity: 450 kg or six persons.

1900, January: Australian opera star Nellie Melba arrives at the Bristol. 1904 Carl Wolf, founder of the modern-day Bristol, died. His brother Arthur took over the running of the business.

1905 Viennese hotels agreed on a surcharge of 10% for guests who didn't take at least one meal a day in the hotel. 1907 Agard's Guide of Austria wrote: Hotel Bristol, Kaerntner Ring 5. The fashionable residence of the elite of European and American society, situated in the most central and convenient part of the city. 200 reception and bedrooms. 270 front windows. Private suites of apartments, including drawing-room, bedroom and bathroom. Magnificent public halls for dining, reading, ladies, conversation, smoking and playing billiard. French restaurant, musical performances during luncheon and dinner. Anglo-American bar. Central heating. Original Otis-lifts. N.B. The establishment is furnished throughout with the latest modern comforts and improvements.

1910 Hans Stalzer created a painting of the nightly suppers. This painting not only depicts archduke Salvator but many other famous personalities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The painting can still be viewed at the hotel today. Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the Bristol. 1911 The upper floors of the house on Kaerntner Ring 1 were converted and integrated into the hotel.

1912 The municipal authorities granted permission to build a portal with a canopy (protection from the wind). Plans for this were drawn up in 1905. Of course an annual tax of 30 Crowns had to be paid for this.

1913 Purchase of the houses Kaerntner Strasse 55 (built in 1911) and Kaerntner Strasse 53 (=Mahlerstraße 2). Complete conversion according to plans by Ladislaus Fiedler and Pietro Palumbo. The work was carried out by builder Wilhelm Schallinger 1913-1916. Demolition and rebuilding of the house at Kaerntner 1 (this residential building used to be the oldest private house in the area around the Opera Architect: Ludwig Foerster).

1914 - 1918 First World War. At first, the core of Austria remained untouched. However, several new laws were passed. E.g. it became illegal to use white flour for baking. Soon afterwards, the luncheon voucher system followed. It was illegal to eat meat on two days a week (government employees ensured that people abi by this law). The law that all copper and pewter-ware had to be handed in had a particular impact on landlords and hotels.

1916 Arthur Wolf, brother of Carl Wolf, and the building contractors Wilhelm and Samuel Schallinger opened the Neues Bristol. The building itself was Art Noveau, the interior design Baroque and Biedermeier. The original wings were now called Altes Bristol. Both houses were connected to each other by passageways in the basement and on the ground floor.
The building on the corner, which now houses the Neues Bristol was known as Sirk Corner around the turn of the century. The corner was named after August Sirk - born in Germany - who used to run a shop for leather goods, sports and hunting equipment here before the turn of the century.

Here was the most elegant avenue in the entire empire. Around lunchtime aristocrats, important civil servants, officers, artists together with their ladies, and young lieutenants with pretty society girls would stroll down this avenue.

1916 Brought further restrictions: Sugar rationing introduced. Bread had to be baked with 20% cornflour. One day a week without fat. Three days without meat instead of two.

1917 Cuts in lighting and heating supplies made life difficult for the inns and hotels.

918 12 November: Proclamation of the Austrian Republic. The supply of coal and electricity was at its most critical low point. Railway traffic came to a standstill. For an entire winter season there were only two passenger trains per week along the western railway (Westbahn).

1918 The companion to Baroness Vivante de Villabella from Trieste was robbed and murdered in the Hotel Bristol on 23 May. The Countess, her husband, and Julie Earl, her unfortunate companion from England had been residing a the Bristol for the past three and a half years. 180,000 Crowns in cash, and jewellery worth one million crowns were stolen. The murderer and his accomplices were caught soon after.

1918/19 Karl Krauss has all five acts of his momumental play Die Letzten Tage der Menscheit starting at the Sirk Corner.

1919 The Österreichische Waffenfabriks Gesellschaft (Austrian weapons manufacturer) leased the ground floor of Kaerntner 7. The space was used as a showroom for cars and bicycles etc. They later changed their name to Steyr Werke and renegotiated the lease in 1922 and 1928.

1920 Shops at the Bristol: August Sirk, leather goods of all kinds, travel goods, finest suitcases, exclusive selection of modern ladies handbags. Furrier Josef Toch (opened 1871) for 'the comfort of travellers'. Along the hotel front facing the Kaerntnerstrasse: Optician Alois Oppenheimer, Gents Fashions - Carl Berecz 'Au Carneval de Venise', finest English gentlemen's fashions and manufacturer of gents underwear. Kodak, excellent cameras. P.&C. Habig.

1920s Arthur Wolf became president of the Austrian Hotel Association. Gabriel, Schwammberger and Heckel were famous doormen at the Hotel Bristol.

1920 The Bristol now had 450 beds and 170 bathrooms, the Imperial 300 beds and 70 bathrooms.

1921 24 February: The Allgemeine Verkehrsbank together with Arthur Wolf (Viennese hotelier) and Samuel Schallinger (building contractor) formed a company named Hotel Bristol AG. The capital of the new enterprise was 50,000,000 Crowns. Both owners owned 25,000 shares worth 200 Crowns each. Schallinger's entry into the hotel company saw the unification of the hotels Altes Bristol and Neues Bristol. Both houses combined had 289 rooms with 402 beds and 204 private bathrooms.
1921 The first restrictions were lifted. Fat and meat could once again be used freely and restaurants were allowed to sell bread. 1922 Sigmund Löwy was appointed director of the Hotel Bristol AG.
1924 Because by now the Hotel Bristol AG was a majority shareholder of the Imperial AG, they joined forces with the Hotel Imperial in 1924 and founded a Holding Company. 1930 The economic crisis brought a substantial fall in turnover for both hotels. This made it possible for the Österreichische Bank Creditanstalt to gain more control within the organisation. Under the title Vereinigte Österreichische Hotel AG, it became the sole owner of the Imperial and the Bristol. The director of the hotel was Felix Primus. For the next three decades, he lead the hotel through all its ups and downs, especially the bad times during the Second World War. 1934 Drop in tourism: Whitsun saw increased Nazi terror in Austria. To stop travel 15 railway sections were blown up. The western railway (Westbahn) was blocked for five hours. The Southern and Eastern railways, and three bridges between Salzburg and Vienna, suffered explosions. Traffic came to a standstill. A further bomb exploded at the Salzburg Festival Hall. 1934 American Women's Club at the Bristol. At this time, the offices of the 'White Star Line' were housed in the building across the road - Oper 4. Next to these offices at Oper 6 was the Café Bristol.
1934 13 February, Shrove Tuesday. A ball was staged on the Ringstrasse. This was a joint venture by the three hotels situated on this street: the Imperial, the Bristol and the Grand Hotel. The ball was entitled: 'Ball at the Savoy, Act 4' after a gala performance of the Operetta 'Ball at the Savoy'. 1935, 16. February: Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, visited Vienna and stayed at the Bristol. Every morning, bellboy Rudolf Paller had the honour of bringing him a carnation for his buttonhole. 1936 The Sirk family, originally from Germany, sold their business. Their successors were the Reichsbahnzentrale für den Deutschen Reiseverkehr (Central offices of the German National Railway). Soon the corner became known as: Deutsches Eck (German corner).

1937 The Hotel Bristol AG, leased the rooms that used to belong to Kodak at Kaerntnerstrasse 53/55 to the Mitteleuropäisches Reisebuero Berlin (Central European Travel Agency, Berlin).
1937 Restaurant Dubary at the Hotel Bristol.
1938: After the Anschluss, the Jewish owner Samuel Schallinger, was forced to hand over his hotel shares to the German People. He was deported and died in the Therensianstadt concentration camp on 11. January 1943.
1939 House No. 7 was leased to the Wiener Städtische und Wechselseitige Janus Allgemeine Versicherungsanstalt auf Gegenseitigkeit (an insurance company).
1940 Director: Erhard Hammerand

1941 The purchasing agreement was signed on 31 December. The Bristol AG bought 100 % of the Imperial AG. 1945 The hotel Altes Bristol was destroyed by bombs (-> 1956)

1945 For a short time, Russian officers lived at the hotel Neues Bristol. Afterwards the American forces used it as their headquarters. The military manager of the Hotel Bristol was called Domenico Prato, the civilian director was Felix Primus. November: The Hotel Bristol AG leased the premises in Kaerntnerstrasse 53/55 to the Creditanstalt Bankverein. Up until then, they had been leased to the trading company of August Sirk.

1951 - 1955 The Embassy of the United States was located in the hotel.

1955 During October, after the signing of the state contract the hotel was released. Architect Dipl. Ing. Otto Mayr carried out partial renovations and offered 11 rooms. The Hotel Bristol - still very much in need of further renovations - saw its first high point after the war at the reopening of the Vienna State Opera during the autumn of 1955.

1956 The hotel was completely renovated and modernised. Otto Mayr redesigned the banquet hall in the basement and the Biedermaier - salon underneath the hall. In house No. 3, the basement was still in use. This was where the Jettel salon, the music salon and the Maria Theresien salon were housed. The original building of the Bristol at Kaerntner 7 was rebuilt as a modern office building. It was later owned by Fa. Steyr Fiat. In 1987 it was ravaged by a fire and sold. The building was then demolished and replaced by appartments and a shopping mall known as Kaertnerringhof.

1963 State President Sukarno, who was in Vienna for a physical check-up carried out by Prof. Fellinger, celebrated his 62nd birthday at the Bristol. King Saud stayed in the newly-built wing of the Fellinger clinic in Garnisongasse. Furniture was brought over from the Bristol, to make his stay more comfortable and less hospital-like.

1970 The hitherto very popular Café Briex at Kaerntner 3 was closed and converted into 11 new rooms. 1977 The Bristol AG was integrated into the Vereinigte Österreichische Hotel AG. (United Austrian Hotel company)

1978 On 2 December, the Café and Restaurant Sirk opened its doors.

1983 The Vereinigte Oesterreichische Hotel AG became Imperial Hotels Austria AG.

1984 In the glorious hotel dining room, the Korso bei der Oper was opened as a separate restaurant with its own kitchen and entrance. With this new restaurant and with chef Reinhard Gerer, Vienna had new meeting place for gourmets. Soon afterwards - during the autumn - the restaurant guide Gault Millau awarded two 'chef's hats' to the Korso.

1985 All offices and storage rooms of the fifth floor were relocated to other parts of the building and the entire floor was converted into an 'Executive Floor'. A perfect environment for business travellers.

1986 The Korso restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star. The Bristol was voted a member of THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD. 1986 Bristol Executive Club Floor - roof top sauna, terrace, additional 30 rooms. By now the hotel had a total of 152 rooms.

1991 The hotel opened the Penthouse Floor on the sixth floor. The floor housed 10 suites and rooms, all with their own small terrace and worthy of being counted amongst the international top class. With the exception of the main entrance area, all the hotel's outside walls were redone and special lighting - praised by the mayor of Vienna - was installed. 1992 Opening of the BRISTOL EXECUTIVE CLUB.

1993 State-of-the-art communication technology and the most up-to-date equipment were installed in the conference rooms. The portal and parts of the outside were reconstructed according to original plans dating back to 1916. Refurbishment of the restaurant SIRK - das Restaurant, vis-à-vis der Oper. Gault Millau named Reinhard Gerer 'Chef of the year'. Austrian Managers voted the Hotel Bristol the most popular business hotel in Austria.

1994 The Business Suite was opened.

1995 A new service to the '-Guest'. The EU Boardroom opened. Egon Ronay's Seagrim Guide 1995 named the Hotel Bristol the 'Best 'Business Hotel in Western Euro. Conde Nast Traveller and Institutional Investor selected the Bristol as Best Austrian hotel in the international category.

1995-1997 The Bristol became part of the Luxury Collection of ITT Sheraton. Erhard Noreisch became chairman of the Hotel Imperial and the Hotel Bristol as well as Area Director and Vice President of Sheraton East Central Europe. 1996 Raimund Jeschek-Fritsch becomes manager of the Hotel Bristol.

1998 The American company Starwood Hotels & Resorts worldwide, Inc. bought ITT Sheraton - The Luxury Collection and took over the management of the Bristol.

1999 More than a hundred rooms and suites from the mezzanine to the fourth floor have been given a new design and interior bestowing new splendor upon the renowned Hotel Bristol next to the Vienna State Opera. The first floor boasts the largest suite in Austria with 360 m2. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide together with the Imperial Hotels AG had invested more than eight million Euro for the renovation works. The Bristol is managed under the brand “Westin”.

Everything today has a smart sounding name, like SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest – the highly awarded loyalty programme). Of course CRM (customer relationship management) covers the hotelier’s prime raison d’être: the happiness of the guests. Guest history is one of the keywords. What used to be scribbled on small cards hidden in drawers is now available on the network to all departments. Room service knows that Mr Smith prefers the Herbert von Karajan room and housekeeping is alerted that Mrs Smith is allergic to geese and finds comfort only with duck feathers.

In 2001 Starwood became the first hospitality company in the world to introduce SIX SIGMA, an internationally recognised approach aiming to increase – why not talk about it – the financial performance of the company by improving the quality and consistency of the guests’ experiences. Highest attention in this respect is also set on the so called internal customers or ‘associates’, in history referred to as ‘the staff’. All this is measured by an ASI (associate satisfaction index). It reflects the happiness of the workers. A 360° PMP (performance management process) is linked to a talent profile to maximise productivity.
CRM, ASI, PMP – basically it’s good old hotel management at the highest level, for the first time arranged in a comprehensible system and consequently executed.

Reinhard Gerer was awarded the coveted fourth 'chef's hat', the highest award ever given to any chef in Austria 2001 In December Thomas Schoen became manager of the hotel, following Raimund Jeschek-Fritsch. 2002 The „Executive Floor“ was renovated and equipped with „Westin Heavenly Beds”.

2003 Queen Silvia of Sweden visited the Bristol while in Vienna, supporting a children charity. The movie Marie Bonaparte staring Catherine Deneuve was shot at the Bristol. The rooms and suites on the penthouse floor were restored and equipped with “Westin Heavenly Beds”. The Business Center on the executive floor is newly renovated and offers latest technology. 2004 The Restaurant Korso gets a fundamental face lift on its 20th birthday: An impressive Onyx wall by star architect Paolo Piva symbolizes the art of cuisine of famous chef Reinhard Gerer. Thomas Schön is new General Manager of the Hotels Imperial and Bristol. Erhard Noreisch continues to be senior vice president central and eastern Europe as well as managing director Imperial Hotels Austria AG.

2005 With the “Westin Workout” the Bristol opens a fitness studio, offering a stunning view of the city. The Restaurant Korso opens an exquisite terrace and a light and modern concept in the newly renovated part.

2006 The brand "Westin" is removed from the Bristol, the hotel is again part of the Luxury Collection. Oscar de Campo becomes General Manager of the hotels Bristol and Imperial.

2008: 27 Mai; 10am: the Six Sigma history council sits at the hotel to discuss the opportunities of making history a USP of the hotel. The concierge desk changes its former location to a counter right opposite of the reception.

2008, September: Gerald Angelmahr replaces Reinhard Gehrer as executive chef of the restaurant Korso.
2009, 3 September: The Bristol announces the completion of a 5m Euro soft renovation.

2011: The hotel is bought by the Sacher group. The management remains with Starwood. New general manager is Gerhard Krischek (formerly GM of Hotel Goldener Hirsch Salzburg).

2013: The former restaurant Korso is renovated, the old historic ceiling from 1916 is brought back and the entire space is converted into a lounge like restaurant. The Bristol Suite replaced the former restaurant Sirk.

2015: a permanent historiy exhibition about the history of the Bristol is unveiled at the ground floor of the hotel. 

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POLITICS, ROYAL and ARISTOCRACY

Ban-Ki-Moon

Alfonso XIII, King of Spain (1901)

George II, King of the Hellenes

Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

Dom Manuel II, King of Portugal

Silvia, Queen of Sweden

Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Juan Carlos, King of Spain (2008)

Felipe, Prince of Asturias

Umberto of Italy

Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood and Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood

George, Duke of Kent

Paul, Prince of Greece

Mihai of Rumania

Eugen of Sweden

Juan and Princess Maria of Asturia

Louis of Monaco

Marie of Greece, nee Bonaparte

Juliana of the Netherlands with Prince Consort, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Detmold (on their honeymoon as “Count and Countess Sternberg”)

Phra Bat Prajadhipok, former Rama VII, King of Siam

Princess Maria of Piedmont, Crown Princess of Italy

Philipp of Wuerttemberg and Elisabeth of Austria

Henri, Count of Paris

Sultan of Johore

Nawab of Rampur

Crown Prince of Kapurthala

Madame Darcy S. Vargas

Maharajas of Alwar, Baroda, Bhavnagar, Bhopol, Bikaneer, Jaipur, Gwalior, Kapurthala, Kutch, Mysore, Patiala, Tripura.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdo?an (Turkey, 2008)

PM Ivo Sanader (Croatia)

PM Hashim Thaçi (Kosovo)

Kossuth Ferenc

Roosevelt Theodore

President Abelardo Rodríguez Luján (Mexico)

Anan Kofi

Ashton Catherine

Aznar José María López

Lübke Heinrich

Schärf Adolf

La Fontaine, Oskar

Feymann Werner

Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala

Makya Bahadur, Maharaja of Tripura

Dr. Michael Hainisch

Faisal, King of Irak

Prakash Amar, Maharaja of Sirmur

Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts

Lady Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten

Victor, Prince Napoléon

Franz Prince Liechtenstein

Axel Prince Denmark

Ulrich Prince Kinsky

Tassilo Prince Festetics

Georg Prince Festetics

Prince of Braganza

Max Egon Prince Fürstenberg

Laszlo Count Szechenyi

Alfons Baron Rotschild

Antal Count Sigray

Anton Count Appony

Count Louis of Monaco

Lady Londonderry

Carl Count Lonyay

Paul Pálffy ab Erdöd

Geza Count Andrassy

Princess Elle di Torre e Tasso

Prince Elim Demidoff

Prince Napoleon Bonaparte

Marquis de Talleyrand,

HH the Duc de Guise

Duchess of Marlborough, née Vanderbilt

Duchess of Taylerand, née Gould

HH Princess Violet of Montenegro

Duchess of Westminster

Prince Ernst von Hohenberg

Duke of Sachse-Coburg-Gotha

HH Prince of Hesse

Count Albert Bismarck

Admiral William McDougall

Right Hon. Lord Douglas Eltisley

Hon. James St. Clair Erskine

... to be continued

 

Artists and other VIPs

Adorf Mario

Ahern Berty

Alagna Roberto

Albers Hans

D’Albert Eugen

Alexander Peter

Alice

Allen Woody

Ambesser Axel von

Aslan Raoul

Aznar-Lopez José Maria

Backhaus Wilhelm

Backstreet Boys

Baez Joan

Bahr-Mildenburg Anna

Bailey James (manager of the "Greates Show on Earth" around 1901)

Baltsa Agnes

Bambton Rose

Bardot Brigitte

Barker Ronnie

Bassey Shirley

Baumann Rene (DJ Bobo)

Becker Boris

Berger Senta

Bernstein Leonard

Besant Annie

Biolek Alfred

Böhm Alfred

Bongartz Peter

Boskowsky Willi

Brice Pierre

Brolly Brian

Brown Michael M. (Nobel Prize medicine)

Buchbinder Rudolf

Bülow Vicco von, Loriot

Burg Monika

Burghauser Hugo

Burmester Willy

Burton Richard

Caron Leslie

Carradine David

Caruso Enrico

Casals Pablo

Chaljapine Fedor

Chapman Roger

Chatschaturjan Aram

Chevalier Maurice

Chiara Maria

Clavier Christian

Clergue Lucian

Cohen Leonard

Collina Pierluigi

Cook Frederick

Cook James

Cosby Bill

Curtis Tony

Curry Tim

D’Abo Myriam

Daft Douglas

Dalton Timothy

Deneuve Catherine

Desney Ivan

Dornhelm Robert

Drache Heinz

Duse Eleonore

Eckert – Rotholz Alice

Egger Kiepura Martha

Eggerth Martha

Eisenmann Peter

Eisler Edmund

Eybner Richard

Fairbanks Douglas

Falco

Festetics Georg

Fischer Joschka

Flagstad Kirsten

Forst Willi

Freud Matthew

Fröbe Gert

Fröhlich Gustav

Fry Christopher

Galsworthy John

Galway James

Gershwin George

Gheorghiu Angela

Gibson Hugh

Glas Uschi

Glemnitz Reinhard

Gobert Boy

Goisern Hubert von

Grögl Rikki

Guilbert Yvette

Gustafson Nancy

Gwen Stefani

Haddoway Nestor

Hailey Arthur

Handke Peter

Harbou Thea von

Harrimann Edward H.

HartsfieldHenry

Hasse O. E.

Hauptmann Gerhart

Heesters Johannes

Heifetz Jascha

Herzog Roman

Herzog Werner

Hörbiger Attila

Hörbiger Christiane

Horowitz Vladimir

Horvath Ödön von

Hughes Charles Evan

Jagger Bianca

Jannings Emil

Janowitz Gundula

Jennewein Josef

Jones Sidney

Kalman Imre

Kanawa Kiri de

Karajan Herbert von

Kauka Rolf

Kehlmann Daniel

Kelsen Hans

Kersch Gusti

Kinsky Klaus

Kissinger Henry (2008)

Knef Hildegard

Köhner Susan

Kollo René

Korngold Erich Wolfgang

Kreisler Fritz

Kwan Nancy

Lang Fritz

Lavi Daliah

Leoncavallo Ruggero

Lehar Franz

Lemmon Jack

Leuwerick Ruth

Lloyd Harold

Loewe Frederick

Maazel Lorin

Mahler Anna

Mahler Gustav

Marteau Henry

Mascagni Pietro

Masina Fellini Giulietta

Mathieu Mireille

May Gisela (2009)

McCartney Paul und Linda

Melba Nellie

Mengelberg Wilhelm

Menjou Adolphe

Menuhin Yehudi

Messner Reinhold

Miller Arthur

Mitchell Cameron

Mittelholzer Walter

Morgan John Pierpont

Muti Riccardo

Myhre Wencke

Netrebko Anna

Nemeth Maria

Nijinsky Vaslav, Romola & Kyra

Nitsch Hermann

Noack Barbara

Novak Kim

O Brien Hugh

Pallenberg Max

Peary Robert Edwin

Petit Roland

Pfitzner Hans

Picasso Paloma

Polanski Roman

Puccini Giaccomo

Quinn Anthony

Raabe Max

Rachmaninoff Sergei

Raimondi Ruggiero

Ramazotti Eros

Rampling Charlotte

Renier Charles

Rezzori Gregor von

Richie Lionel

Riefenstahl Leni

Robles José Gil

Rockefeller John.D. III

Rolland Romain

Roswenge Helge

Roth Josef

Rubinstein Anton

Rubinstein Arthur

Sauer Emil von

Shackleton Ernest (1874–1922; polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic)

Schell Maximilian

Schenk Otto

Schlöndorf Volker

Schuba Trixi

Schwarzenegger Arnold

Schweiger Til

Seisenbacher Peter

Sellers Peter

Serrano Rossita

Shackleton Ernest

Shakira

Simmel Johannes Mario

Simon Paul

Söderbaum Kristina

Sommer Elke

Spira Camilla

Stein Peter

Steinhoff Hans

Stewart Jackie

Stiglitz Joseph

Sting

Stolz Robert

Strauss Richard

Streich Rita

Streisand Barbara

Swift Hutton

Szabó Istvan

Szakall Szöke

Taddei Giuseppe

Tappert Horst

Tarantino Quentin

Tauber Richard

Taylor Cecil

Te Kanawa Kiri

Tiller Nadja

Toscanini Arturo

Tremper Will

Tschechowa Vera

Tutu Desmond

Wecker Konstantin

Weingartner Dr. Felix von

Weinheber Josef

Wellner Armin

Wenders Wim

Wepper Elmar

Wepper Fritz

Werner Margot

Wessely Paula

White Horse Eagle Honorary Big Chief

Williams Tennessee

Wood Natalie

Ysage Eugène

... to be continued

 

 

From our book Hotel Bristol Vienna by Andreas Augustin
The Name: City or Duke? It is somewhat difficult to document exactly why a hotel is called Bristol. In fact this is a dilemma all Bristol hotels around the world suffered from. Many of them claim that they were allowed to name their house after Frederick Augustus Hervey, the fourth Earl of Bristol. It has been said that the Earl only gave permission for the use of his title to those hotels that could measure up to his high standards. This is of course nonsense since the majority of these hotels opened their doors over 100 years after the Earl had died. Furthermore, these hotels also carry the coat of arms of the city of Bristol, a city, not a travelling aristocrat. We can assume that the early Bristol hotels (Rome 1870, Vienna 1892) served as examples to the hotels that opened in later years (Warsaw 1901, Oslo 1920, Paris 1925 plus around 50 further hotels across Europe). They all proudly carry the coat of arms of the City of Bristol. The often quoted connection to the Earl of Bristol is no more than a bad PR-gag. As you can see, the hotel trade is full of surprises and inventions. Until recently this story had been supported by many Bristol Hotels and sold to guests as fact.

On 15 April 1894 Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein (1829 – 1894) Rubinstein became the first person to sign the new visitors’ book of the Bristol. Today a suite is named after him. He was a Russian pianist, composer and conductor. As a pianist he was a rival of Franz Liszt, as a musician he ranks amongst the great keyboard virtuosos. He co-founded the Saint Petersburg Conservatory together with his brother, Moscow Conservatory founder Nikolai Rubinstein.

Opera singer Nellie Melba’s only performance in Vienna was much celebrated and there were no spare tickets to be had. Gustav Mahler, director of the opera, had planned to stage ‘La Traviata’ (see above for cast list). However, people had heard about Nellie Melba’s performance as ‘Lucia’. Thus, without any qualms, Mahler let her die from consumption in ‘Traviata’ only to bring her straight back on stage in ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ half an hour later. She found some good rest at her room at the Bristol.

The grandfather clock next to reception has always been a showpiece of the Hotel Bristol. It is 295 cm high and depicts the phases of the moon, a calendar and the planets. It is made of mahogany with Dutch writing. It dates back to the mid-eighteenth century.

Agards Guide to Austria, 1900
Hotel Bristol, I. Kärntner Ring 5. The fashionable residence of the elite of European and American society, situated in the most central and convenient part of the city. 200 reception and bedrooms. 270 front windows. Private suites of apartments, including drawing, bed and bathroom. Magnificent public halls such as dining, reading, ladies, conversation, smoking and billiard rooms. French restaurant, musical performances during luncheon and dinner. Anglo-American bar. Central heating. Original Otis-lifts. N.B. The establishment is entirely fitted with the latest modern comforts and improvements.

Enrico Caruso (1873–1921)
Enrico Caruso, one of the biggest names on the operatic scene, paid his first visit to Vienna in 1906 and arrived at the Bristol on 4 October. He moved into a suite in the ‘old’ Bristol, house No. 7. The suite comprised room 102, a salon and room 101, a bedroom. When Caruso came to the metropolis on the river Danube he had just dethroned Jean de Reszke as the most favourite tenor at the Metropolitan and had become a world class star. The Viennese audience paid tribute to his efforts but there was a local star, whom they worshipped so much more. The critics remarked: ‘Compared to Leo Slezak Caruso’s volume is rather disappointing.’ Caruso was in Vienna to perform in ‘Rigoletto’.

To be precise in every respect you should know that ‘Korso’ a) is Italian for 1. a promenade, street, etc. 2. to promenade and b) that this Viennese Korso stretched from the Sirk Corner of the Hotel Bristol to the Eastern end of the Café Schwarzenberg vis à vis of the Hotel Imperial. This scene is right in front of the main entrance of the Bristol. Vienna was one of the fashion metropoles of the world, its girls famous for their charm, grace and beauty. Every day civilians and military personnel would stroll the Korso to woo the other sex. To see and to be seen was the motto.

The famous corner was named after August Sirk and has been a popular meeting point since around 1900. Nowadays, only very few people still know who August Sirk (right) was. He was a German tradesman, who owned a leather goods store on the corner. He dealt in the finest travel accessories. His shop was called: ‘Zum Touristen’.

NOTES ON HANS STALZER’S PAINTING
The painting can be found on the mezzanine floor at the Bristol.
Like no other painting of its time, Hans Stalzer’s work provides an insight into the nightly society gatherings at the Hotel Bristol in 1910. The painting can be found on the mezzanine floor at the Bristol. The leading figure here is Archduke Franz Salvator, son-in-law of Emperor Franz Joseph. In his position as General Troop Inspector of the Austro-Hungarian army, twice a month he invited 40 staff officers to an informal dinner at the Bristol. Since space was restricted, not all 40 gentlemen are depicted here. Behind the table of the archduke is Count Zichy, a much admired statesman. Frau von Dörr, one of Vienna’s leading ladies, can be seen standing. Alfred Grünfeld, the gentleman at the table of Gutmann-Gelse, was a famous pianist. Paul Szapary was famous for the hunts he organised at his property in Hungary. These hunts were also attended by Emperor Wilhelm II and the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII. Baron von Twickel was regarded as an expert on horses. He advised Baron Alfons Rothschild on all equine matters. The group at the back of the painting shows, amongst others, Arthur Wolf and C W Bertsch, former owners of the Hotel Bristol. After the death of Carl Wolf, Bertsch married his widow, Emma. The diplomats’ table at the centre of the painting only shows a few members of the diplomatic circle of the time. Amongst them Moreira-Marques, Charge d’Affaires of Portugal, who died in Vienna at a far too early age.

It is said that the Grill Room of the Bristol was modelled after the Grill Room of the Titanic. Well, both do not exist any longer.

On 8 March 1918 the future Sultan Mehmed Vahdeddin visited Vienna and signed the visitors’ book of the Bristol as 'Prince Ottoman Imperial'.

1916: The Great War found the God of Dance, Vaslav Nijinsky, stranded in Vienna (with his wife Romola and daughter Kyra, born in Vienna in 1913). He asked Wolf for a room but told him that he couldn’t pay for it. Wolf answered: ‘You’ve given us so much pleasure with your performances. I’ll have one of the suites prepared for you, with a bedroom, a room for the baby, a living room and a bathroom. You’ll feel right at home. Order anything you like. Stay as long as you wish. You can pay when this terrible war is over.’
In 1981, Kyra visited the Bristol again, leaving a note in the guestbook.

The new Bristol Between 1913 and 1916 the Schallinger brothers built a perfect ensemble on the corner of Kaerntnerring / Kaerntnerstrasse. The two towers of the new building (added much later, opened 12 June 1928) signalled the architectural connection. The tower rooms were long used as workshops and offices. Today the right tower houses the new gym, the left one the European conference room.

Tipping and Concierges
Sigmund Loewy became the new president of the Hotel Bristol AG. Under his reign some 'Concierges', amongst them the gentlemen Gabriel, Schwammberger and Hekkel, became legends. Ludwig Hirschfeld, author of the humorous account 'What you cannot find in the Baedeker', described them as masters of their trade. 'They have been close to their guests for many years. They know all about the quirks and needs of each and everyone one of them. These concierges are all originals in their own way.' Hirschfeld also looked at the subject of correct tipping - a topic very much of interest to the perfect guest. He advised: ‘It is usual to give more than the usual…’.

John Galsworthy (1867 – 1933), English novelist and playwright arrived in 1926. His works include The Forsyte Saga (1906—1921), A Modern Comedy and End of the Chapter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932.

‘Someone has arranged for me a lecture in a very big hall – unfortunately for me I have a big reputation and people expect from me a big effect, a sensation in a wholesale quality. What a waste!’ wrote Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) on 13 July 1926 on a Bristol letterhead*. The Bengali polymath – being the first non-European to win the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature – was a mesmerising representative of the Indian culture whose influence and popularity internationally perhaps could only be compared to that of Gandhi. He returned and met Sigmund Freud in October 1926. Tagore’s opinion regarding Freudian thought gradually changed from severe criticism and a near complete rejection to appreciation.
* Selected letters of Rabindranath Tagore: Rabindranath Tagore, Krishna Dutta, Andrew Robinson 

In 1928 George Gershwin and his brother Ira stayed at the Bristol. George was working on 'An American in Paris', probably his most ambitious orchestration. It was filmed in Hollywood in 1951 and starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.

At the same time Richard Simon, one of the founders of the New York publishing house Simon and Schuster, was staying at the Bristol. One morning when Ira and Leonore returned from a walk, they found George and ‘Dick’ Simon in the Grill Room. Ira noted in his diary: 'We met George, Dick Simon and some author of a new book that Dick wants to publish in the hotel restaurant. It was a book about a deer.' Of course the author was none other than Felix Salten and the deer was Bambi. You see, the fame of Bambi originates from this meeting at the Bristol. As we all know, Walt Disney made it into a movie some years later.

Maharajas at the Bristol:
Indian Maharajas enjoyed the Bristol’s hospitality at various occasions. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, for example, stayed at the Bristol in 1928, accompanied by the youngest of his five wives and his five daughters. He had reserved almost a whole floor of the hotel. The ladies enjoyed shopping, the chief purchases being leather goods and various field and opera glasses.
An epicure from top to toe, the Maharaja was so impressed by the service at the Bristol that he, when he left by train for Budapest, Munich and Lucerne, expressed the wish that the head cook and attendants at tables should accompany him on the journey to cook and to serve in his dining car. Needless to say the wishes of this honoured guest were complied with.

Paul Pálffy ab Erdöd (1890–1968) was the second husband of Louise de Vilmorin. He used to stay at the Bristol in the 1930. One day, he met there the Maharaja Khengarji de Kutch, who became a good friend.

His Highness, the Maharaja of Alwar (a country he has not been allowed to set foot in, since the day he was deposed) arrived in Vienna looking for a specialist to cure his stomach ailment. He took up 18 rooms at the Bristol Hotel, brought 265 suitcases, his own piano and even his very own temple! The temple was erected in a room out of the way and no European was allowed to enter. Incidentally, Alwar is a state no larger than 8.000 square km with around 700.000 citizens.
The Maharaja of Jaipur also spent many months at the Bristol Hotel in Vienna. He made no fuss whatsoever, took his meals in the dining room and even rode the tram! He too, was receiving medical attention, albeit for a polo injury.
Another interesting guest at the Bristol was the American millionaire Blumenthal. His phobia of catching an infectious disease led him to spend years behind bricked windows on the second floor. Local newspapers reported: ‘The windows have been shut for 10 years now. However, we still live in hope that this obviously ailing man can still be healed.’

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) fled his country during the Russian Revolution in 1918 and settled in the United States. He visited Vienna in 1926 and stayed at the Bristol.

Big reception for Big Chief White Horse Eagle, 107 years old (!), at the Bristol on 25 September 1929. He toured Europe and made a sensational arrival wherever he travelled. In Berlin he requested to shake President Hindenburg’s hand, as he allegedly had done with Bismarck during his first Grand Tour in 1887.  After hiring on a German Wild-West circus similar to that of Buffalo Bill’s, White Horse fell into disrepute: His alleged tribesmen complained that he spoke not a word of their native language, that he knew nothing of Indian culture and religion, and that the only God he held dear was alcohol. Finally, it was apparently proven that he had African Americans among his ancestors. His age had never been believed, anyway.

Vladimir Horowitz (1904 – 98), Russian pianist from Kiev, married Wanda Toscanini – daughter of Arturo Toscanini, who was another one of the Bristol’s regular guests. Both gentlemen, as well as Richard Strauss, signed the visitors’ book on the same day (22-10-1933).

Prince Charming’, Edward, Prince of Wales first visited Vienna and the Bristol on 16 February 1935. One must remember that this member of the House of Windsor did not become famous for any political achievements but because he gave up his claim to the throne and married the American Wallis Simpson. He liked to travel on the spur of the moment and always did so incognito using his title Earl of Chester. This relieved him of any political and diplomatic obligations. The newspaper Neue Freie Presse wrote: ‘It is imperative that the Prince must not be bothered. He should only be regarded as a visitor of distinction. He should neither be stared at nor followed under any circumstance!’ The Prince came directly from a snowy Kitzbühel and spent a few relaxing days in Vienna. He had rented the entire floor, which nowadays houses the ‘Prince of Wales Suite’. His entourage comprising twelve people was probably a means to divert attention from Wallis, wife of Ernest Simpson. The hotel provided them with two private limousines and hotel director Felix Primus received exact instructions on how to look after his famous guest. The Prince rose each day between 10.00 hrs and 11.00 hrs and had breakfast (grapefruit, tea, toast, butter, marmalade and his beloved fresh Kaisersemmeln, typical Viennese rolls). On 20 February 1935 the group boarded the train to Budapest carrying 50 pieces of luggage.

Great chefs are a tradition and a must in a hotel like the Bristol: Julius Eckel worked as chef at the Bristol from 1922 until 1933 (he had started his apprenticeship at the hotel in 1911). During his days he was Vienna’s most famous chef. More than 1.000 people crowded the tables at the restaurant after a premiere performance at the opera. 40 cooks worked under his direction. The Maharaja of Patiala didn’t want to leave Vienna without him, that was how much he enjoyed his cuisine. In the end, the Bristol could no longer afford to pay the salary, a top chef like Eckel can command. Eckel became a freelancer. His cookbook ‘Was koche ich heute’ (What shall I cook today) inspired generations of chefs and housewives.

Life Memories Let me tell you the story of a pageboy, the late Gustav Kollar. He worked at the Bristol from 1935 to 1938. He recalled many details, including memories of the Prince of Wales, who sometimes escaped through the back entrance, at the second porter (the staff porter). His Royal Highness had a Daimler waiting for him, the destination was unknown. The greatest pleasure was serving famous guests such as the composer Robert Stolz, who always stayed with us and finally moved to the Bristol from Berlin in 1938. While doing his first year as a page boy he would deliver his newspapers to his suite every morning. One day a gentleman approached Mr Gabriel, the head concierge, and asked if he could see Professor Stolz? ‘Who may I say is asking?’ Gabriel replied. ‘Lehar, my name is Franz Lehar,’ the equally famous composer replied (right). Afterwards Gabriel confessed to the young pageboy Kollar: ‘This I should have known . . .’ Kollar carries on: ‘Later I became a waiter (bottom left) and served the American Women Club, the Renaissance Club, the Bridge Club, the Viennese Automobile Club and the Wiener Club, where Alfons de Rothchild used to be. At one point we had at least one dozen Maharajas in house. I recall a Mr Hide, two metres tall, who arrived with his green Rolls Royce from Paris. ‘Our working hours at the porter’s desk were from 6.00–11.00 and 18.00–23.00 one day, 13.00–23.00 the next, 9.00–19.00 the following and 6.00–16.00 the fourth day. Then it would start again, all this six days a week. His eyes lit up when he recalled ‘poor little rich girl’ Barbara Hutton: ‘She gave me one pound tip.’

On the night of 11 March 1938, Robert Stolz heard in his apartment at the Bristol the famous radio address by the Austrian federal Chancellor Dr Kurt Schuschnigg announcing that Austria had stopped to exist. Warned by one of his brothers, a National Socialist, the composer left Austria for Zurich that same night leaving everything including his fortune behind.

Austria wasn’t Austria any more. The German spoken by the Germans was a different sound; the melancholic, soft spoken Austrian was replaced by Prussian discipline, by Nazi law and order. The Jewish owners of the Bristol were convinced that it was smarter to sell their shares.

With the demise of Austria, former Austrian aristocracy had a severe problem, too. A few days before Christmas, on 19 December 1938, the head of the Wiener Rennverein (horse racing club) and Jockey Club, Ulrich Ferdinand Prince Kinsky, arrived at the Bristol, coming from his palace in Herrengasse. The Viennese organisation had been brought under the supervision of the German association of thoroughbreds and horse races. Around 11.30 that morning, Kinsky received the unexpected visit of a gentleman from the Berlin headquarters, Herr von Bock und Pollack. The man entered the office of Prince Kinsky. After one hour – the Prince had smoked a cigarette with his guests – Herr von Bock und Pollack came outside and asked: ‘Is your Prince always falling asleep when he has a meeting?’ ‘Certainly not,’ came the reply like a shot. ‘Then wake him!’ The 45-year-old Prince Kinsky was dead. Today his son Franz Ulrich recalls the shock of his mother at the subsequent visit of Gestapo (Secret Police) men who came later that day to search their palais. Up to date the death of the Prince, a fine sportsman, car racer and pilot with an English aircraft and close ties to Great Britain, is unsolved. The official verdict, published in the papers the next day, was heart attack.

After World War 2, the Bristol once again became the centre of American social activities. Many political issues were discussed over an excellent glass of wine and a delicious meal. All this could not hide the fact though, that a new war had begun: the cold war. A time characterised by espionage, intimidation and threatening gestures. Vienna, too, felt its effects: the British and their Senior Officer’s Transit Club, from which Graham Greene had taken his idea for The Third Man, sat in the Hotel Sacher. The Russians had taken up residence at the Imperial and the Grand Hotel. Vienna had become the theatre of the Cold War and its American epicentre was the Hotel Bristol. An amusing story that you will find in any book about famous Viennese hotels: ‘If you booked a room at the ‘Russian’ Grand Hotel you immediately were suspected of being a western spy. If you ordered a glass of vodka at the Bristol you surely belonged to the enemy...’

A personal thank you
was sent to the Bristol after the war by General Mark Clark.
When in October 1955 the international treaty that freed Austria had been signed, the Bristol was released by the occupying forces. The last troops withdrew from the city and all Americans left their beloved Bristol. Some of them had been here for many years. They had slept in historic beds and eaten from the finest china, used the silver tableware duchesses and princes had used before and drank from the cellars the greatest artists, politicians, friends and enemies had been served from. They would never forget ‘their’ Bristol.
Mark Clark was the commander in chief of the US troops in Austria. After his return to the States many people specifically requested his suite and soon it became known as the ‘Mark Clark’ Suite. Nowadays it is known as the Chinese Salon. A story is inseparably linked to Clark: the story of the Austrian Crown jewels, seized by the Germans when they took over Austria in 1938. They were recovered by the US 3rd Army and returned to the Viennese by General Mark Clark.

From the Guestbook
President Sukarno of Indonesia became a regular guest at the Bristol. In 1963 he celebrated his birthday here.
HRH Umberto (1904 – 83) was the last  King of Italy and stayed at the Bristol in 1956. After the abdication of his father Victor Emanuel III in 1946, Umberto took the throne for one month before Italy became a republic. He went into exile in Portugal.
„In respectful salutations – to the Bristol of Vienna – a truly splendid hotel which combines the best traditions of the past and of today’s luxuries“ -
Arthur Hailey.
In May 1986, British/Canadian novelist Arthur Hailey (1920–2004) stayed at the Bristol. The author of ‘In High Places’, ‘Airport’, ‘Wheels’ and many more thrilling novels left this little note in the hotel’s guestbook. Of course he knew what he was talking about, after all he had written the best-seller ‘Hotel’, which had been turned into a TV-blockbuster.

The Bar:
Officially named ‘American Bar’, most of the Viennese folk simply call it ‘The Bar at the Bristol’. For generations they’ve come here to meet, sometimes on official business and sometimes in secrecy. No matter what the occasion for their visit – generations of bar keepers, such as Gabriela Reithofer, have done their utmost to tend to their needs. The bar is hidden away deep inside the belly of the hotel. 

Catherine Deneuve at the Bristol:
‘La’ Deneuve was at the Bristol to film the story of Marie Bonaparte, whose grandfather was the principal real-estate developer of Monte Carlo who had left her a great fortune. In 1925 Marie checked into the Bristol and consulted Sigmund Freud for treatment.

© famoushotels.org 2010

2003: The movie Marie Bonaparte staring Catherine Deneuve was shot at the Bristol.

Gerald Krischek (until 2015)
Riccardo Giacometti
Oscar del Campo
Thomas Schoen
Raimund Jeschek
Georg W. Engelhardt
Andreas Vögl
Otto Scheiner
Felix Primus (1945)
Erhard Hammerand (temporary 1940-45)
Samuel Schallinger
Arthur Wolf

Managed by: Starwood - The Luxury Collection
130, including all suites Rooms
10 Suites

Famous Corner Suites and stunning roof top suites - a cosy retreat.

In the heart of Vienna, at the corner of the Opera House.

The Corso - once the temple of gourmets of all Europe - is still a magnet for connaisseurs and their followers. Today more casual than ever, it is the trendy place to meet, be it a casual breakfast or an elegant dinner. Business lunch is available.

Aks if you could see one of the fabulous corner suites facing the Ringstrasse and the Opera House. Don't miss the view from the top of the building. Visit the Bar in the heart of the hotel.

The concierge team around Dieter Ludewig is a competence-centre when it comes to organize your stay in Vienna and beyond.

It goes without saying that one of the best hotels in Vienna in one of the most desirable cities in the world expects you to appear in appropriate manner. Jacket and tie are not required in any of the restaurants or bars of the hotel, but certainly widely seen.
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Our Select Member Hotel

Bristol Vienna
Country: Austria
City: Vienna
Opening date: 1892

Note from the Host

General Manager

SIMONE DULIES: "Welcome to one of the most famous hotels in the world. The Bristol is a treasure trove of hospitality history. Its origins date back to 1892, its 1916 art-deco architecture was a trailblazer for art-deco hotels on the entire continent!"


Coordinates

Kaerntnerring 1
1015 Austria, Vienna

Tel: +431515 16 0
Fax: +431515 16 550

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