History Imperial Vienna Present Imperial Vienna

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Building the Palace for the Duke of Württemberg in 1865 as one of the first buildings along the new Ringstrasse. To the right the hotel today. In the background the music hall Musikverein and St. Charles Church.

Imperial Vienna

"Stay at the Imperial and feel like an Emperor," said Charlie Chaplin during his visit. The former private palace of the Duke of Wuerttemberg, completed around 1866 and never inhabited by the duke, was converted into a hotel for the 1873 world exposition, held in the Austrian capital Vienna. It is one of the legendary palaces along the Ringstrasse, the boulevard that circles around the inner city.
Today the Imperial is Austria's most luxurious palatial hotel. It's not only a luxurious hotel for the discerning traveler, but also serves as a ‘guest house’ of the Republic, accommodating heads of states and royals.
For many Viennese, it is the meeting point before and in particular after concerts in the next door Musikverein. The staff is wonderful, the atmosphere very impressive, yet relaxed and comforting.

Completed in 2014, the ground floor of the hotel underwent a much debated centenial renovation and remodelling process. One of the main axis is the Path of History, (installed by famoushotels) presenting the history exhibition of the hotel (see also pathofhistory.com.) In February 2016, Starwood Hotels sold the property to UAE business group Al-Habtoor.


1873, 28 April: At the start of the Great Exhibition in Vienna, the Hotel Imperial is inaugurated.

1945-55: After World War II, in an occupied Vienna (France, Soviet, British and US forces control the city), the Soviet forces set up their headquarters at The Imperial.

1955: The hotel is given back to the Austrian state the day the allied forces leave Vienna.

1998: Starwood Resorts & Hotels takes over the management and shares of The Imperial.

2011: The Hotel Bristol, for almost one century a sister hotel of the Imperial, is sold to the Gürtler family, the owners of the Hotel Sacher.

2000-5: Successive renovation projects give the hotel a major revamp.

2013–2014: the ground floor undergoes a complete renovation, parts of the former coffee house, the club room, is converted into a restaurant "Focus", the grand hall is re-designed and called "HalleNsalon 1873". The reception is relocated to a historic position, the cake shop and the entrance to the Café elegantly combined.

2016: In February, Starwood Hotels sold the property to UAE business group Al-Habtoor.



1848: Revolution in Vienna. Ferdinand I abdicates, Franz Joseph I becomes emperor aged 18. He introduces a series of far reaching reforms over the following decades.

1857: Franz Joseph orders the demolition of the city's defensive walls as the first step towards the creation of the Ringstrasse, the street that now encircles the inner city.

1861: Start of construction of the opera building, the city park, etc. Around the Ring stately mansions are built.

1863- 1866: The Imperial Hotel begins life as a palace for the Duke (Herzog) of Württemberg. The architect is Arnold Zanetti from Munich. But His Grace never really lives there. He and his wife decide to move to a smaller palace in the suburbs after the municipality decrees that a new street would pass through the grounds of their home. The Württembergs are having none of that.

1865: DIE PRESSE / WIEN/ 19. Januar 1865. (Vom Hofe.) Gestern Abends fand die Vermählung der Erzherzogin Maria Theresia mit dem Herzog Philipp von Württemberg statt. Kurz vor 8 Uhr begab sich Se. Majestät der Kaiser unter Vortritt des Hofstaates durch die von k.k. Garden besetzten Appartements in die St. Josephskapelle der Hofburg. Die Herren Erzherzöge und der Bräutigam gingen unmittelbar vor dem Kaiser, welcher von dem Oberstkämmerer, dem k.k. Trabantengarde-Hauptmann und dem ersten General-Adjutanten begleitet war. Die Braut ging nach Ihrer Majestät der Kaiserin, zwischen den Erzherzoginnen Sophie und Marie, welche von den Obersthofmeistern, dann den Hofdamen begleitet waren.

Am Eingange der Kirche empfing der als Copulant geladene Fürst-Erzbischof Cardinal Rauscher an der Spitze der Geistlichkeit. Ihre Majestäten nahmen Platz unter dem Baldachin im Presbyterium. Das Brautpaar trat zu der vor dem Hochaltar befindlichen Kniebank. Der apostolische Nuntius Erzbischof de Falcinelli war in einer für ihn bestimmten Kniebank gegenwärtig. Nachdem der Erzbischof die Trauung ritualmäßig vorgenommen, wurde der Ambrosianische Lobgesang angestimmt und von der Hof-Musikcapelle abgesungen. Nach dem Tedeum und der von dem Fürst-Erzbischof ertheilten Pontificat-Benediction verließen Ihre Majestäten, die Neuvermählten und der Hof die Kirche und kehrten in die Appartements zurück. Abends war Familienthee (sic!) bei Ihrer Majestät der Kaiserin. 

The master of the house, Philipp, Duke of Württemberg (1838-1917) and his wife, Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria (1845-1927) The family of the Duke: Descendants of King Louis Philippe I of the French 3.Princess Marie of France (1813-1839), m.1837 Duke Alexander of Württemberg (1804-1881) 3.1.Duke Philipp of Württemberg (1838-1917), m.1865 Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria (1845-1927) 3.1.1.Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (1865-1939), m.1893 Archduchess Margarete of Austria (1870-1902) Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (1893-1975), m.1st 1923 Archduchess Helene of Austria (1903-1924), m.2nd 1928 Archduchess Rosa of Austria (1906-1983) Marie Christine of Württemberg (*1924), m.1948 Prince Georg of Liechtenstein (1911-1998)

1872: The house is bought by Horace, Ritter von Landau. Within no time he converts the already elegant building into a hotel. The name should reflect the aspirations of its new owners. There should be an imperial flair to the hotel, hence Imperial is to be its name. The Palace was completed.

1873: The Hotel Imperial opened on 28 April, just in time for the World's Fair. Johannes Frohner becomes leaseholder of the hotel (Manager under Frohner: G.v.Rüling) The press considered it 'pleasant, elegant, simple with grand style', and '150 rooms, imperial, indeed'.

1873: 1 May: opening of the world exposition, 9 May: Black Friday - the Viennese stock exchange crash.

1879: His Majesty Empreror Franz Joseph made his first visit to the Imperial where he met with Prince Otto von Bismarck who was in town for political negotiations with Hungary and residing at the Imperial. Bismarck had enjoyed his stay at the hotel tremendously and noted in his diary: 'Whenever I showed myself at the windows of my apartment, the friendly Viennese population greeted me with cheers. This acclamation had become even stronger after His Majesty had personally visited me here at the hotel.'

1888: 'The best hotels in Vienna are the Grand Hotel and the Hotel Imperial. The best hotel for dining is the Imperial hotel!' H Pelham Stokes wrote in his 1888 guide A Holiday Tour in Austria.

1892: The Hotel Bristol opens.

1912: Extensive modernisation. Permission sought to build two more floors on top of the existing building. 

1914: On 28 June assassination of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. World War I breaks out.

1916: On 21 November,  Emperor Franz Joseph I dies.

1918:  End of World War I. Emperor Karl I abdicates. Founding of the Republic of Austria. At the Hotel Imperial, the portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph remains in place.

1924:  A holding company was formed for the Hotels Bristol and Imperial. This meant that both hotels were operated by a single company.

1928:  During the roaring twenties two floors are added, but only at the front of the building. The hotel flourishes; the Imperial Café is the focal point of European intelligentsia, the cerebral centre of Vienna.

1936:  On 8 May, the central salon in the heart of the hotel is venue for one of the most memorable celebrations: Sigmund Freud, the father of the clinical practice of psychoanalysis, celebrates his 80. anniversary at the hotel. The laudation is held by Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann.

1938-45:  World War II. The Imperial operates undisturbed during the war, a bunker is built.

1945: The war is over. On entering Vienna, leading Soviet officers were quartered at the Grand Hotel, the Bristol and the Hotel Sacher, but it was Hotel Imperial that became the Soviet headquarters in the city. Under Marshall Iwan Stepanowitsch Konew the allied commanders of the occupying forces in all Austria meet for the first time at the Imperial Hotel. As commander of the Soviet troops Konew is largely responsible that the Imperial survives the decade of occupation unharmed.

General manager Stefan Plank, imprisoned for his anti-German sentiments during the war, returned to manage the hotel from May 1945. The occupying Russian forces considered him the right man to do so. While he was on duty, about 150 Persian rugs disappeared one by one from the hotel . 'They are in the laundry,' the Imperial staff told the Russians. 'But they'll never come back!' the Russians complained. They came back. After the Soviet troops had left Vienna in 1955, all 150 rugs were returned to the hotel, but not cleaned! They had spent almost a decade in the vaults of a Viennese bank.

1955: On 18 September, the hotel is returned to the Austrian Republic.

195-1958: Extensive renovations are undertaken costing approximately ATS 80m (Euro5.81m, US$5.5m, UK£3.8m).

1969: Hotel installs air-conditioning.

1986: The Imperial becomes a select member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World.

1987: The majority shareholder of the Imperial Hotels Austria AG (Hotels Bristol, Imperial and the Palais Ferstel in Vienna, Goldener Hirsch, Salzburg and Europa-Tyrol, Innsbruck), the Creditanstalt bank decides to sell some of its shares and hand over the management to the CIGA Group.

1990: Extensive renovations in all hotels of the group. Number of rooms at the Imperial reduced in favour of larger rooms. Four floors are totally renovated.

1994: The Gobelin Hall which was exactly above the reception area is removed. It makes room for the lofty reception we have today.

1995: The shares (47,4 percent) are taken over from CIGA by ITT Sheraton. The Imperial is integrated in the exclusive group „The Luxury Collection“.

1998: Starwood Hotels & Resorts takes over the shares and the management of the Imperial. Erhard Noreisch becomes Area Director and Senior Vice President for Central & Eastern Europe and General Manager of the Viennese properties Imperial and Bristol.

1998: On 28 April the Imperial celebrates its 125th anniversary. The brass band of the traditional (imperial) Hoch- und Deutschmeister performs as well as the Vienna Boys' Choir. Hundreds of guests celebrate until the early hours.

2000: The Imperial undergoes extensive renovations absorbing an investment of more than 10 million US-Dollar comprising of 4th, 5th and 6th floor of the hotel as well as the face-lift of the facade. Outstanding maisonette suites overlooking the concert hall “Musikverein“ as well as a fitness centre with sauna are added. The hotel now offers 130 rooms and suites.

2003: The rooms and suites of the Belle Etage get a face-lift. Curtains, wall-tapestries, floors and fabrics are changed following their original historic design. Antiques are restored carefully. The chocolate “Imperial Selection” is created as the “little sister” of the Imperial Torte.

2004: 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: The impressive former court yard, the lobby hall, is renovated. The Imperial invites for tea time and creates the Imperial Tea, a classic blend of green and black tea, specially prepared by tea specialist Frank Dehler.

2006: The How Suite It Is program is launched to pormote the dedicated unique butler service.

2007: Oscar del Campo becomes new General Manager.

2011: Hotel manager Riccardo Giacometti encourages the establishment of a permanent history exhibition at the hotel (Path of History concept).
Klaus Christandl becomes new general manager. During his first days at the hotel, the exhibition Path of History opens, displaying the history of the hotel on the ground floor of the hotel.
The president of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the president of China, Hu Jintao, are the most important official visitors of the year. Starwood becomes the new owner of the real estate housing the Hotel Imperial.

2011: The Hotel Bristol, for almost one century a sister hotel of the Imperial, is sold to the Gürtler family, the owners of the Hotel Sacher.

2012: The New Years concert at the Musikverein is attended by President Dr. Danilo Türk of Slovenia, welcomed by President Heinz Fischer. The management remaines with the Starwood group.

2012: Imperial Hotels Austria AG changes into Imperial Hotels Austria GmbH.

2013: The Hotel celebrates its 140th birthday. Two new plates 'Maestri di Musica' and 'IMPERIAL LIFE 2003-2013' are added to the exhibition Path of History.
Just before Christmas, the new Café Imperial, the new FOCUS Restaurant  and the new bar HalleNsalon 1873, located in the former marble hall, were opened after extensive renovations.

2014: The ground floor renovation continues.  The reception is relocated to a historic position, the cake shop and the entrance to the Café elegantly combined.

2014: November 21-25, John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943), the 68th (at the time United States Secretary of State), makes the Imperial his base during the 'Vienna Talks' (Iran). 

2015: Mario Habicher becomes new general manager of the Imperial.

2016: In February, Starwood Hotels sold the property to UAE business group Al-Habtoor. Starwood is bought by Marriott.



His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Franz Joseph,  entertained a close relationship with the Hotel Imperial. He visited the hotel whenever necessary to meet and greet his foreign guests. A collection of quotes from his very personal letters to his wife, Empress Elisabeth, is on display at the hotels Path of History.

The World of Royals and Politics (a minimal excerpt of hundreds of entries in the guest books, diplomatic visits, ministers and delegations from all over the world) 

Abbas Mahmud, Präsident v. Palästina / President of Palestine
Abdullah II & Raina, König und Königin von Jordanien / King and Queen of Jordan
Ahtisaari Martti, Präsident von Finnland / President of Finland
Akihito & Michiko, Kaiser und Kaiserin von Japan / Emperor and Empress of Japan
Albert II. & Paola, König und Königin von Belgien / King and Queen of Belgium
Alfonso XII. & XIII., Könige von Spanien / King of Spain
Aliyev Heydar, Präsident von Aserbaidschan /President of Azerbeijan
Andrassy Julius, Graf, Premierminister von Ungarn / Count, PM of Hungary
Anne, Königliche Prinzessin von England / Princess Royal, England
Arafat Yasser, Fuehrer der Palästinenser / Leader of PLO
Aznar Jose Marie, Premierminister von Spanien / PM of Spain

Babiuch Edward, Premierminister von Polen / PM of Poland
Baudouin I. & Fabiola, König und Königin von Belgien / King and Queen of Belgium
Bhumibol & Sirikit, König und Königin von Thailand / King and Queen of Thailand
Bismarck Otto von, Reichskanzler des Deutschen Kaiserreiches / Chancellor of the German Empire
Botha Pieter Willem, Präsident von Südafrika / President of South Africa
Brandt Willi, Bundeskanzler von Deutschland / Chancellor of Germany
Brunhart Hans, Regierungschef Liechtenstein / Head of Government of Liechtenstein
Bush George, Präsident der USA / President of the USA

Carl XVI. Gustaf & Silvia, König und Königin von Schweden / King and Queen of Sweden
Carol, König von Rumänien / King of Romania
Cavaco Silva, Premierminister von Portugal / PM of Portugal
Ceausescu Nicolae, Präsident von Rumänien / President of Romania
Charles & Diana, Prinz und Prinzessin von Wales / Prince and Princess of Wales
Chavez Hugo, Präsident von Venezuela / President of Venezuela
Chirac Jacques, Premierminister von Frankreich / PM of France
Chrétien Jean, Premierminister von Kanada / PM of Canada
Christian IX, König von Dänemark / King of Denmark
Clinton Bill & Hillary Botschafter UNICEF / Ambassador UNICEF

Dato Seri Mahathir, Premierminister von Malaysia / PM of Malaysia
Dehaene Jean Luc, Premierminister von Belgien / PM of Belgium
Diouf Abdon, Präsident von Senegal / President of Senegal
Dom Pedro II, Kaiser von Brasilien / Emperor of Brazil

Echeverria Luis, Präsident von Mexiko / President of Mexico
Edward, Prinz von Wales / Prince of Wales
Elizabeth II, Königin von England / Queen of England
Elisabeth, alias Carmen Sylva, Königin von Rumänien / Queen of Romania
Erhard Ludwig, Bundeskanzler von Deutschland / Chancellor of Germany
Ernst August Prinz von Hannover / Prince of Hannover
Eyskens Gaston, Premierminister von Belgien / PM of Belgium
Eyskens Mark, Premierminister von Belgien / PM of Belgium

Faisal Abdullah, Prinz von Irak / Prince of Iraq
Ferdinand, König von Bulgarien / King of Bulgaria
Ferguson Sarah, Herzogin von York / Dutchess of York
Filali Abdellatif, Premierminister von Marokko / PM of Morocco

Gaddafi Muammar, Staatschef von Libyen / Head of State of Libya
Gandhi Indira, Premierminister von Indien / PM of India
George Tupou V, König von Tonga / King of Tonga
Giscard D’Estaing Valery, Präsident von Frankreich / President of France
Goencz Arpad, Präsident von Ungarn / President of Hungary
Gorbachev Mikhail & Raisa, Präsident von Russland / President of Russia
Gromyko Andrei, Staatsoberhaupt von Russland / Head of State of Russia
Grosz Karoly, Premierminister von Ungarn / PM of Hungary
Guel Abdullah & Hayruennisa, Staatspräsident der Türkei, President of Turkey
Gustav VI. Adolf, König von Schweden / King of Sweden

Harald & Sonja, König und Königin von Norwegen / King and Queen of Norway
Hassan Bin Talal, Kronprinz von Jordanien / Crown Prince of Jordan
Havel Vaclav, Präsident der Tchechoslowakei / President of Czechoslovakia
Herzog Roman, Präsident von Deutschland / President of Germany
Heuss Theodor, Präsident von Deutschland / President of Germany
Hitler Adolf, Reichskanzler von Deutschland / Chancellor of Germany
Homeira, Königin von Afghanistan / Queen of Afghanistan
Honecker Erich, Staatsvorsitzender der DDR / Head of State GDR
Hoover Herbert, 31. President von Amerika / 31st President of the USA
Hu Jintao, Präsident von China / President of China
Hussein I. & Noor, König und Königin von Jordanien / King and Queen of Jordan

Ibn Saud Abdul Aziz, König von Saudi-Arabien / King of Saudi-Arabia
Iliescu Ion, Präsident von Rumänien / President of Romania

Jablonski Henryk, Staatsratsvorsitzender von Polen / Head of State Poland
Jiang Zemin, Premierminister von China / PM of China
Jean, Johann Herzog von Nassau, Grossherzog von Luxemburg / Grand Duke, Head of State of Luxemburg
Jospin Lionel, Premierminister von Frankreich / PM of France
Joergensen Anker, Premierminister von Dänemark / PM of Denmark
Juan Carlos I. & Sofia, König und Königin von Spanien / King  & Queen of Spain
Juliana, Königin der Niederlande / Queen of the Netherlands

Kadar Janos, Premierminister von Ungarn / PM of Hungary
Kalakaua David, König von Hawaii / King of Hawaii
Karamanlis Konstantin, Premierminister von Griechenland / PM of Greece
Kaunda Kenneth, Päsident von Sambia / Founding President of Zambia
Kekkonen Urho, Präsident von Finnland / President of Finland
Khalid Bin Saud Al Saud, Prinz von Saudi Arabien / Prince of Saudi Arabia
Khrushchev Nikita, Sekretär des Zentralkomitees UdSSR / First Secretary USSR
Kiesinger Kurt, Bundeskanzler von Deutschland / PM of Germany
Kishi Nobusuke, Premierminister von Japan / PM of Japan
Kissinger Henry, Aussenminister der USA / Minister of Foreign Affa irs USA
Klerk de Frederick Willem, Präsident von Südafrika / President of South Africa
Kohl Helmut, Bundeskanzler von Deutschland / Chancellor of Germany
Konev Ivan Stepanowich, Marschall der UdSSR / Marshal of USSR
Kosygin Alexei, Premierminister der UdSSR / PM of USSR

Leopold, König von Belgien / King of Belgium
Luebke Heinrich, Präsident von Deutschland / President of Germany

MacMahon, Präsident von Frankreich / President of France
Maharajah von Jaipur, Indien / of Jaipur, India
Mahendra, König von Nepal / King of Nepal
Matesa Zlatko, Premierminister von Kroatien / PM of Croatia
Mesic Stipe, Präsident von Kroatien / President of Croatia
Meciar Vladimir, Premierminister der Slowakei / PM of Slovakia
Merkel Angela, Bundeskanzlerin von Deutschland / PM of Germany
Mihai I, König Michael I von Rumänien, King of Romania
Milan, König von Serbien / King of Serbia
Mitterrand François, Präsident von Frankreich / President of France
Moi Arap, Präsident von Kenia / President of Kenia
Mubarak Hosny, Präsident von Ägypten / President of Egypt
Mugabe Robert Gabriel, Präsident von Simbabwe / President of Zimbabwe
Mussolini Benito, Staatsoberhaupt von Italien / Head of State Italy

Narayanan Raman, Präsident von Indien / President of India
Nixon Richard, Präsident der USA / President of USA

Olav V, König von Norwegen / King of Norway

Pahlavi Reza, Schah von Persien / Shah of Persia
Palme Olof, Premierminister von Schweden / PM of Sweden
Papandreou Andreas, Premierminister von Griechenland / PM of Greece
Peres Pedro, Präsident der Kapverdischen Inseln / President of Cape Verde
Perez de Cuellar Javier, Generalsekretär Vereinte Nationen / Secretary General UN
Phan Van Khai, Premierminister von Vietnam / PM Vietnam
Pompidou Georges, Präsident von Frankreich / President of France
Patil Pratibha, Präsidentin von Indien / President of India
Prodi Romano, Premierminister von Italien / PM of Italy
Putin Vladimir, Premierminister von Russland / PM of Russia

Rahmon Emomalii, Präsident von Tadschikistan / President of Tajikistan
Raja Shrimant Sir Khem Sawant V Bhonsle Bahadur, Maharadscha von Sawantwadi / Maharaja of Sawantwadi 
Rakowski Mieczyslaw, Premierminister von Polen / PM of Poland
Ratna, König von Nepal / King of Nepal
Rhodes Sir Cecil, Begründer von Rhodesien / Founder of Rhodesia

Sadat Anwar El-, Präsident von Ägypten / President of Egypt
Sachsen-Coburgh-Gotha Simeon, Premierminister von Bulgarien / PM of Bulgaria
Scalfaro Luigi, Präsident von Italien / President of Italy
Scheel Walter, Präsident von Deutschland / President of Germany
Schärf Adolf, Präsident von Österreich / President of Austria
Scheel Walter, Präsident von Deutschland / President of Germany
Schiwkow Todor, Staatsoberhaupt von Bulgarien / Head of State of Bulgaria
Schmidt Helmut, Premierminister von Deutschland / PM of Germany
Schröder Gerhard, Premierminister von Deutschland / PM of German
Schuster Rudolf, Präsident der Slowakei / President of Slovakia
Silva da, Luiz Inacio Lula, Präsident von Brasilien / President of Brazil
Simitis Konstantinos, Premierminister von Griechenland / PM of Greece
Soares Mario Alberto, Präsident von Portugal / President of Portugal
Sorsa Kalevi, Premierminister von Finnland / PM of Finland
Stefanopoulos Konstantinas, Präsident von Griechenland / President of Greece
Stresemann Gustav, Reichskanzler in Deutschland / Chancellor of Germany
Suchocka Hanna, Premierminister von Polen / PM of Poland
Suharto Thojib, Präsident von Indonesien / President of Indonesia

Tito Josip Broz, Staatsoberhaupt von Jugoslawien / Head of State Yugoslavia
Toledo Alejandro, Präsident von Peru / President of Peru
Tschernomyrdin Victor, Ministerpräsident von Russland / PM of Russia
Tubman William, Präsident von Liberia / President of Liberia
Tudjman Franjo, Präsident von Kroatien / President of Croatia
Türk Danilo, Präsident von Slowenien / President of Slovenia

Van den Boynants Paul, Premierminister von Belgien / PM of Belgium

Waldheim Kurt, Präsident von Österreich / President of Austria
Weizsäcker Richard von, Präsident von Deutschland / President of Germany
Wilhelm I, König von Preussen, Deutscher Kaiser / King of Prussia, German Emperor

Zahir Shah Mohammed, König von Afghanistan / King of Afghanistan
Zapatero, José Luis Rodriguez, Präsident von Spanien / President of Spain
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Präsident VAE / President of UAE, Emir of Abu Dhabi
Zein al-Sharaf, Königin von Jordanien / Queen of Jordan
Zong, König von Albanien / King of Albania

Visits of State from the following countries stayed at the Hotel Imperial.

Afghanistan / Afghanistan Ägypten / Egypt Albanien / Albania Argentinien / Argentina Armenien / Armenia Aserbaidschan / Azerbaijan Bangladesch / Bangladesh Belgien / Belgium Bhutan / Bhutan Brasilien / Brasilia Bulgarien / Bulgaria China / China CSSR / CSSR Dänemark / Denmark DDR / GDR Deutschland / Germany England / England   Finnland / Finland Frankreich / France Gabun / Gabon Ghana / Ghana Griechenland / Greece Indien / India Indonesien / Indonesia Irak / Iraq Irland / Ireland Israel / Israel Italien / Italy Japan / Japan Jemen / Yemen Jordanien / Jordan Jugoslawien / Yugoslavia Kanada / Canada Kap Verde / Cape Verde Kenia / Kenya Kongo / Congo Korea / Korea Kroatien / Croatia Kuba / Cuba Kuwait / Kuwait Libanon / Lebanon Liberia / Liberia Libyen / Libya Liechtenstein / Liechtenstein Luxemburg / Luxemburg Malaysia / Malaysia Malta / Malta Marokko / Morocco Mexiko / Mexico Mongolei / Mongolia Nepal / Nepal Niederlande / Netherlands Niger / Niger Norwegen / Norway Oman / Oman Österreich / Austria Pakistan / Pakistan Persien / Iran Peru / Peru Philippinen / Philippines PLO / PLO Polen / Poland Portugal / Portugal Rhodesien / Rhodesia Rumänien / Rumania Russland / Russia Sambia / Zambia Saudi Arabien / Saudi Arabia Schweden / Sweden Schweiz / Switzerland Senegal / Senegal Serbien / Serbia Sierra Leone / Sierra Leone Simbabwe / Zimbabwe Slowakei / Slovakia Slowenien / Slovenia Spanien / Spain Südafrika / South Africa Sudan / Sudan Syrien / Syria Tadschikistan / Tajikistan Tansania / Tanzania Thailand / Thailand Tonga / Tonga Tschechien / Czech Republic Tschechoslowakei / Czechoslovakia Tunesien / Tunisia Türkei / Turkey UdSSR / USSR Uganda / Uganda    UK / UK Ukraine / Ukraine Ungarn / Hungary USA / USA Usbekistan / Uzbekistan VAE / UAE Venezuela / Venezuela Vietnam / Vietnam Zypern / Cyprus

Famous Guests from all over the World

Abbado Claudio
Adam Theo
Adams Patch
Aichinger Ilse
Albers Hans
Alexander Peter
Aldrin Buzz
Ali Mahammed
Allen Woody
Anda Geza
Anders Ursula
Anderson Marian, African-American contralto
Andersson Sven
Andre Maurice
Andress Ursula
Anet Claude, French writer
Anouk Aimee
Ardant Fanny
Argerich Martha
Armstrong Louis
Arrau Claudio
Asbach Hermann
Ashkenazy Vladimir
Auermann Nadja

Bacall Laureen
Backhaus Wilhelm
Baklanoff Georges, Russian baritone
Balmain Pierre
Bancroft Anne
Banderas Antonio
Barenboim Daniel
Barnard Christian
Barto Tzimon
Bartoli Cecilia
Bashmet Yuri
Bassermann Albert, German actor
Batliner Herbert
Battle Kathleen
Bécaud Gilbert
Becker Ben
Becker Boris
Behrens Hildegard
Beinhorn Elly, German pilot
Benedetti Michelangeli Arturo
Berben Iris
Berger Gerhard
Bergman Ingrid
Bergonzi Carlo
Berio Luciano
Bernard Tristan, French author
Bernhart Joseph, German theologian
Bernhardt Sarah
Berger Gerhard
Bergonzi Carlo
Bertini Gary
Birgel Willi
Blanco Roberto
Bleibtreu Hedwig
Bleibtreu Monika
Bleibtreu Moritz
Böhm Karl
Böhm Karl-Heinz
Bodrero Emilio, Italian philosopher
Bohnen Michael, German bass-baritone
Bolton Michael
Bon Jovi John
Bonney Barbara
Bordeaux Henry, French writer
Borkh Inge
Boskovsky Willi
Boulez Pierre
Boult Adrian, British conductor
Brahms Johannes
Breitling Georg Leon
Brendel Alfred
Brett Lilly
Bridgewater Dee Dee
Brockhaus Hans
Bronfman Yefin
Brooks Mel
Brubeck Dave
Bruckner Anton
Bruckner Ferdinand, Austrian writer
Brundtland Go Harlem
Brynner Yul
Bubka Sergej
Buchwald Art
Buff on Gianluigi
Bumbry Grace
Burr Raymond

Caballé Montserrat
Cambreling Sylvain
Campbell Naomi
Cappuccilli Piero
Caputo Dante
Cappuccilli Piero
Carreras José
Caver Rod
Carey Mariah
Carreras Jose
Cash Johnnys
Cash June Carter
Chailly Riccardo
Clancy Tom
Ceccato Aldo
Celibidache Sergiu
Chailly Riccardo
Chaliapin Feodor
Chamberlain Richard
Chamberlin Clarence Duncan, American pilot
Chaplin Charles, American actor, director, producer, composer
Chaplin Laura, grand daughter of Charly Chaplin and quthor of "Smile" (presented her book in Vienna)
Chevalier Maurice, French singer
Chung Kyung Wha
Chung Myung-Whun
Clancy Tom
Cleese John
Clift Montgomery
Clinton Hillary
Cocker Joe
Colette Sidonie-Gabrielle, French writer
Collette Toni
Collins Joan
Collins Phil
Compagnoni Deborah
Conally John
Coppola Francis Ford
Corelli Franco
Coudenhove-Kalergi Richard Nikolaus, Japanese-Austrian writer and politicianCrippa Maddalena
Cura José
Curtis Toni
Curtiz Michael
Cursor Clifford und Lucille

Daehli Björn
Davis Colin
Del Monaco Mario
Del Monaco Mario
Deneuve Catherine
Desny Ivan
Di Stefano Alfredo
Dillon Douglas
Disney Walt
Dohnanyi Christoph von
Donath Klaus und Helen
Doohan Michael
Dorfer Alfred
Douwes Pia
Drescher Fran
Droemer William
Duse Eleonora
Dutoit Charles
Dudamel Gustavo

Eckener Hugo, German airship designer and pilot (Zeppelin)
Eco Umberto
Edwards Blake
Eggerth Marta
Eichinger Bernd
Eliasch Johan
Ellington Duke
Engelhardt Hans
Entremont Philippe
Erhard Ludwig
Eschenbach Christoph
Evans Jane
Ewers Hanns Heinz, German writer, comedian
Eysler Edmun, Austrian composer

Farrere Claude, French writer
Farrow Mia
Fassbaender Brigitte
Feiler Herta
Ferencsik Janos
Ferry Brian
Festetics Tassilo
Fielding Temple
Fields Roberta
Fiereck Wolfgang
Fischer O.W.
Fischer Ottfried
Fischer Dieskau Dietrich
Fitzgerald Ella
Fleming Renée
Flickenschild Elisabeth
Fonteyn Margot
Ford Henry
Forst Willi
Fosbury Dick
Foster Lawrence
Fournier Pierre
Frederick King
Freeman Morgan
Freni Mirella
Fruehbeck De Burgos Raffael
Fulda Ludwig, German playwright
Furtwängler Wilhelm, German conductor

Gagarin Jury
Gallusin Vladimir
Galsworthy John, British writer, Nobel Prize in Literature 1932
Garan?a El?na
Gardiner John Eliot
Gates Bill
Gates Thomas
Gatti Daniele
Gaynor Gloria
Gedda Nikolai
Gergeev Valerie
Geldof Bob
Ghiaurov Nikolai
Gilels Emil
Giller Walter
Ginsky Franz Karl, Austrian writer (Hatschi-Bratschi Luftballon)
Giulini Carlo Maria
Glas Uschi
Goetz William
Goldberg Whoopi
Gordon John
Gottschalk Thomas
Gramatica Emma, Italian actress
Greco Juliette
Grunwald Henry
Gulda Friedrich
Gustafson Nancy

Hagman Larry
Haitink Bernard
Halliwell Gerry
Hallstein Ingeborg
Haneke Michael, Austrian Oscar winning director
Harding Daniel
Harnoncourt Nikolaus
Harrison George
Harrison Rex
Hatcher Teri
Hauptmann Gerhart, German writer
Hayden Bill
Hayek Max
Hedin Sven, Swedish explorer, travel writer
Henze Hans Werner
Herczeg Ference, Hungarian writer
Heym Stefan
Hillerman John
Hillerman Tony
Hindemith Paul, German composer
Hines Jerome
Hirschfeld Magnus, German physician and sexologist
Hitchcock Alfred
Hoboken Anton van
Hoffman Grace
Hoffmann Josef
Horne Marilyn
Horowitz Vladimir
Horvat Milan
Horvath Istvan
Horváth Ödön von
Hotter Han
Huberman Bronislaw, Polish violinist

Inbal Eliahu
Irving John

Jagger Mick
Jannings Emil, German actor
Janovski Marek
Jansons Mariss
Jarre Jean-Michel
Jochum Eugen
Jackson Michael
Jackson Janet
Jackson Samuel L.
Jacobsson Per
Jacocca Lee
Jeritza Maria, Austrian soprano
Joel Alexa
Joel Billy
Johnson Philip
Jolie Angelina
Jones Gwyneth
Jones Tom
Joo Hyung-Ki
Joop Wolfgang
Judd Ashley
Juhnke Harald

Kálmán Emmerich
Karajan Herbert und Eliette von
Katzenberg Jeff rey
Kaufmann Christine
Keach Stacey
Kempe Rudolf
Kennedy Nigel
Kerr Deborah
Keszler Gery
Khachaturian Aram
Kiefer Anselm
Kienzl Wilhelm
Kiepura Jan
Killy Jean-Claude
Kirchschlager Angelika
Kisch Egon Erwin
Kitaenko Dimitri
Kleiber Carlos
Klemperer Otto
Knef Hildegard
Kodaly Sarolta
Kollo Rene
Koopman Ton
Kortner Fritz
Koussevitzky Serge
Krahl Hilde
Krall Diana
Kraus Karl
Kraus Peter
Krauss Clemens
Krauss Werner
Kremer Gideon
Kreisler Fritz
Krips Josef
Krupp Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach
Kubelik Rafael
Kubitschek Ruth Maria

Labeque Katja & Marielle
Lacroix Christian
Lady Gaga
Lagerfeld Karl
Lang Lang
Laubenthal-Neumaier Horst
Lauda Niki
Laver Rod
Leander Zarah
Ledl Lotte
Lee Christopher
Lehár Franz   
Leibovitz Annie
Leinsdorf Erich
Lemmon Jack
Lennox Annie
Lernet-Holenia Alexander
Leslie John
Leuwerick Ruth
Lewis Carl
Liebermann Rolf
Lind Hera
Lindenberg Udo
Lindenthal Gustav
Litvak Anatol
Lloyd Harold
Lloyd-Webber Andrew
London George
Lopez Trini
Loren Sophia
Loriot, Victor von Buehlow
Ludwig Christa
Lupu Radu
Luxon Benjamin

Ma Yo Yo
Maazel Lorin
MacDonald Malcolm
Mackerras Charles
Madeira Jean
Magaloff Nikita
Mahler Gustav
Mainardi Enric
Malkovich John
Maizenberg Oleg
Mann Thomas
Marriner Neville
Marischka Ernst
Mascagni Pietro
Mason James
Masur Kurt
Matacic Lovro von
McFerrin Bobby
McLane Shirley
McNair Sylvia
Mayer Gunthof Josef
Medici Giuseppe
Mehta Zubin
Meier Waltraud
Menotti Gian Carlo
Menuhin Yehudi
Merckx Eddy
Merensky Hans
Merril Robert
Miller Carl
Millowitsch Mariele
Millowitsch Willy
Mintz Shlomo
Moedl Martha
Moises Daniel
Moissi Alexander
Molnar Franz
Monteux Pierre
Moreau Jeanne
Mortier Gerard
Mouton Michele
Mravinski Evgueni
Müller Herta
Muhammad Ali
Muliar Fritz
Muti Riccardo
Mutter Anne-Sophie

Naisbitt John
Nagano Kent
Nannen Henry
Nelsons Andris
Negri Pola
Nesterenko Evgueni
Niarchos Stavros
Nicoletti Susi
Nielsen Brigitte
Nilsson Birgit
Norman Jessye
Norrington Roger
Nurejew Rudolf
Nyerere Julius

Oetker Rudolf
Oistrach David
Oistrach Igor
Ono Yoko
Oppenheimer Robert
Ormandy Eugene
Otter Ann Sofie von
Ozawa Seji

Pallenberg Max
Palm Siegfried
Palmer Lilly
Pappano Antonio
Parsons Geoffrey
Pavarotti Luciano
Pavlov Ian
Peck Gregory
Penderecki Krzysztof
Perahia Murray
Perlmann Jitzhak
Penn Sean
Perschy Maria
Peterson Oscar
Petibon Patricia
Piccard Auguste
Piccoli Michel
Pitt Brad
Plathe Walter
Pirandello Luigi
Pogorelich Ivo
Polanski Roman
Pollini Maurizio
Ponti Carlo
Popov Oleg
Porsche Ferdinand
Porten Henny
Powers Stefanie
Preminger Otto
Pretre Georges
Previn Sir André
Prey Hermann
Price Leontyne
Pritchard Sir John
Prost Alain
Puskas Ferenc

Quadflieg Will
Quasthoff Thomas
Quinn Antony

Rachlin Julian
Raimondi Ruggero
Ramey Samuel
Rankin David
Rattle Sir Simon
Ramazotti Eros
Reinhardt Max
Repin Vadim
Rezzori Gregor von
Reyer Walters
Richards Keith
Richter Paul
Richter Sviatoslav
Rihm Wolfgang
Robards Jason
Roda Roda Alexander
Rökk Marika
Rolland Romain
Rolling Stones
Ross Diana
Rossellini Isabella
Rossi Mario
Rostropovich Mstislav
Roth Joseph
Rothenberger Anneliese
Rubinstein Arthur
Ruehmann Heinz
Rysanek Leonie

Sabarsky Serge
Sabata Victor de
Sailer Toni
Sägebrecht Marianne
Schell Maximilian
Schönherr Karl
Schiff Andras
Schiffer Claudia
Salinger Pierre
Salonen Esa-Pekka
Salten Felix
Samaranch Antonio
Sander Jil
Sanders George
Sandrock Adele
Santana Carlos
Santi Nello
Saraste Jukka Pekka
Sawallisch Wolfgang
Sayn-Wittgenstein Eleonore
Schirmer Markus
Schmeling Max
Schmid Benjamin
Schmidt Guido
Schneider Romy
Schneidman Seth David
Schnitzler Arthur
Schock Rudolf
Schoenberg Arnold
Scholz Alfred
Schreier Peter
Schwarzenegger Arnold
Schwarzer Alice
Schwarzkopf Elisabeth
Schygulla Hanna
Seefehlner Egon
Senghor Leopold
Siemens Peter von
Siepi Cesare
Simionato Giulietta
Simon Neil
Simmel Johannes Mario
Sinatra Frank
Sinclair Joplin
Sinclair Lewis
Sinopoli Giuseppe
Slatkin Leonard
Slezak Leo
Smith Patti
Sohmen Helmut
Solti Sir Georg
Soros Paul
Spitz Mark
Springer Axel
Springsteen Bruce
Stefano Alfredo di
Steiner Rudolf
Stenmark Ingemar
Stern Isaac
Stewart Rod
Stewart David
Stewart Michael
Stone Sharon
Strauss Oskar
Stravinsky Igor
Streisand Barbra
Studer Cheryl
Sutherland Joan

Tagore Rabindranath, Bengali polymath
Tauber Richard, Austrian tenor?
Taylor Elizabeth, American actress?
Tebaldi Renata, Italian soprano
Te Kanawa Kiri, New Zealand soprano?
Temirkanov Juri, Russian conducto
Thielemann Christian, German conductor
Thiess Frank, German writer
Tiller Nadja, Austrian actress?
Tilson Thomas Michael, American conductor, pianist and composer
Tiriac Ion, Romanian businessman, tennis trainer
Toller Ernst, German writer?
Tomba Alberto, Italian alpine ski racer?
Torberg Friedrich, Austrian writer, journalist, translator
Torriani Vico, Swiss actor and singer?
Toscanini Arturo, Italian conductor
Trebitsch Siegfried, Austrian dramatist?
Tretiakov Victor, Russian violinist and conductor?
Turner Ted, American media-mogul?
Turner Tina, American-Swiss singer, dancer actress

Uchida Mitsuko, Japanese pianist?
Urbano Umberto, Italian baritone?
Urmana Violetta, Lithuanian mezzo-soprano?
Ustinov Peter, British actor, producer, writer

Valente Bria, American pop singer
Valente Caterina, Swiss actress
Van de Velde Theodor Hendrik, Dutch physician and writer
Veidt Conrad, German actor?
Vengerov Maxim, Russian violinist
Voronoff Serge, Russian-French surgeon
Wagner Richard, German composer?
Wagner Eva, German opera director
Wagner Wolfgang, German opera director?
Wagner-Jauregg Julius, Austrian psychiatrist, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1927?
Wallberg Heinz, German conductor
Walter Bruno, German-American conductor?
Wassermann Jakob, German writer?
Watts André, American pianist?
Watts Charlie, British rock musician (Rolling Stones)?
Weill Kurt, German-American composer
Weinberger Charles, Austrian composer?
Weinberger Jaromir, Czech-American composer?
Welitsch Alexander, Yogoslavian bass-baritone?
Welser-Möst Franz, Austrian conductor?
Werfel Franz, Austrian novelist, playwright and poet
Werner Ilse, German actress?
Werner Oskar, Austrian actor
Widmark Richard, American actor
Wilde Oskar, Irish writer and poet
Wilder Billy, Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer?
Wilder Thornton, American writer
Willis Bruce, American actor, producer and screenwriter?
Windgassen Wolfgang, German tenor?
Wittgenstein Paul, Austrian-American pianist?
Wood Ron, British rock musician (Rolling Stones)
Wong Anna May, American actress
Wüllner Ludwig, German actor and tenor

Yo-Yo Ma, American cellist
Young Neil, Canadian rock musician

Zahn Ernst, Swiss writer
Zefirelli Franco, Italian film-, theatre and opera director and producer?
Zeppelin Graf Ferdinand, German aircraft manufacturer?
Zinman David, American conductor?
Znaider Nikolaj, Danish violinist and conductor?
Zoff Dino, Italian football champion?
Zuckermann Pinchas, Israeli violinist and conductor
Zuckmayer Carl, German writer and playwright


... um nur einige zu nennen
. . . to name but a few.

Discrétion Obligé The head concierge enoys the reputation of being 'the most important ­person' in any hotel, and the guest who befriends him is a wise and far-sighted person indeed. Nevertheless, the man with 138 keys ‘on his belt’ – together with his team – really is in charge for ­everything that ­happens between arrival and ­departure. Being passionate about opera he is also a preferred conversation partner of all great maestros arriving at the hotel.


On 1 May 1873 Emperor Franz Joseph opened the largest World Fair up to that time. Until November, Vienna was the stage on which the world and his wife were guests. Fiftythree thousand exhibitors brought speciality items from around the globe into the Imperial City. Among the guests of the Imperial during a summer of such significance to Vienna was Brazil’s Emperor Dom Pedro II. Denmark’s Christian IX also lodged here, and liked to take carriage rides to the Volksgarten, where he listened to the Deutschmeister band giving concerts.


One of the most often (wrongly) quoted legends used to be that the hotel was opened by Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. His Apostolic Majesty, Emperor Franz Joseph I personally visited the hotel in 1879. The occasion was the visit of Prince Bismarck, who discussed an alliance with Count Andrássy of Hungary in one of the parlours on the second floor. Eleven Prussian secret policemen kept watch over their prince. On 7 October 1879 the time had come: the treaty between Hungary and Prussia was sealed. That Franz Joseph I chose to go to the Imperial was a mark of great respect to his honoured guest.

Famous for being perfect diplomats, the management of the Imperial succeeded in providing accommodation under the same roof and on the same floor to France’s president MacMahon and Prussia’s chancellor Bismarck only two years after the Battle of Sedan. MacMahon has been head of state since 28 May and his visit to Vienna was designed to be a gesture to further a new political relationship. MacMahon was a personal victim of the Prussians during the French debacle at Sedan in September 1870, where he had been wounded. And neither this wound nor the mental scars of the Franco-­Prussian War were to be reopened. Bismarck was expected at the same time. Of ­course it is understandable that both gentlemen should lay claim to the Royal Suite. What is to be done? Quite simple. How convenient that the suite is equipped with two bathrooms. Bismarck goes in one half, the French president in the other. The hotel management has declared the central room (125 today) a ‘neutral zone’ and closed it off in both directions. It was attributable to the diplomatic skill of the hotel management that the two parties never met in the corridor.


The great actress Sarah Bernhardt arrived from Krakow, where she had just given some of her legendary appearances. She drove the servants at the Imperial to despair. The eccentric diva’s numerous suitcases contained not just her wardrobe, but also gold bars. Fear of inflation was rampant at that time!


Richard Wagner spent weeks there occupying 10 rooms, composing and in fact in search for financing his festival in Bayreuth.


In February of 1918 the Imperial filed an application to His Majesty’s Office of the Controller of the Royal Household requesting that the title of royal purveyor be awarded ‘to its operation as a wine distributor, for its purveyance of spirits, and related interests.’ An auditor was asked to make enquiries with regard to the matter of the court purveyor. The certified inventory commissioner, Professor Richard Singer, gave an expert opinion weihgting in favour of the application. The file worked its way through the maze of officialdom.
Now the Chamber of Trade and Commerce was asked to conduct its enquiries. On 26 August 1918 a document was issued stating that ‘His Majesty’s Supreme Office of the Controller of the Royal Household, after thorough examination, grants to the Imperial the long-desired court title for the operation of its trade in spirits, on the condition that a tax of eight thousand crowns would be paid.’ On 9 September the decree was received at the hotel. After 40 years of unceasing effort, the Imperial was finally allowed to carry the title of ‘k.u.k.’ court purveyor for its ‘operation in the trade of spirits’ by the supreme authority of His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty.
Five days later Emperor Charles addressed a peace offer to all warring nations. On 16 October 1918, the Emperor announced his decision to transform the monarchy into a federal union and during the night of 30 October the first ­German–Austrian government under Chancellor Karl Renner was proclaimed. The country was called German–Austria for only a short time. The name was changed to the Republic of Austria in the peace treaty of St Germain. Everything that had been imperial-royal became Republic of Austria. There was no more imperial court, no royal affectations, no majesties, the nobility was ­abolished, the Court Opera became the State Opera, Court Archives became the State Archives, and . . . the so much sought after title of the Imperial as imperial and royal court purveyor became worthless; a footnote in its history.


Charlie Chaplin arrived in Vienna for a few relaxing days. But otherwise the occasionally warm Viennese heart knew no pity for the greatest film star of his time: Chaplin was badgered incessantly. Even his arrival resulted in a triumphal procession from the North Railway Station to the Imperial, with a crowd of 4,000 cheering the star. People climbed into trees to see him. Then he spoke his first words ever into a micro­phone. His nervous cry of Guten Tak, Guten Tak! (The Viennese physically carried him out of the railway station, and he could only hold onto his hat and cane with one hand) became what is probably the shortest interview for this new (and to Chaplin as yet not trusted) medium. ‘I can only effectively assume to the role of The Tramp in mime,’ he explained to the press, who wanted to know why he didn’t continue speaking into the microphone. He did not yet want to make his voice known to the world.


Before World War 2 the hotel had its own book shop. The owner was Karl Buchberger, who got an autograph from Chaplin for his guest book. Buchberger remembered ­Chaplin: ‘He didn’t look like a comedian, more like an English nobleman.’ Many years later, while Hitler was checking into the Imperial, Buchegger was packing up to leave. He was a royalist and not welcome in this country at the time. The Buchbergers fled via Switzerland and France to America and reached Canada. In so doing they shared the fate of many Austrian emigrants.


After World War II, the arriving allied forces moved into the hotels that were left: an English ­Senior Officers Transit Club moved into the Sacher, American officers into the Bristol, the Soviet High Commission took the Imperial, Soviet staff officers were quartered in the Grand Hotel. The Russian liberators left the portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph hanging in their new quarters, probably because they didn’t know who he was. However, most likely because they knew their own men, they nailed boards over the saucy, naked Danubian nymph. Manager Stefan Plank, who had been imprisoned during the war as a resistance fighter, resumed his post immediately after the war in May of 1945. His short-term replacement Postl once again left the (no longer) Greater German stage. While the Russian occupants were convinced that they had everything under control, the house was in fact in Austrian hands. One day almost 150 Persian rugs gradually left the hotel, supposedly for cleaning. But they never returned. Plank used this ruse to get them out of the hotel and secure them in a bank. Perhaps such caution was not necessary. The Russian guests conducted themselves extremely considerately. While in other places horror stories were the order of the day, of parquet floors being torn up for fire wood, the Soviets in the Royal Suite covered the old floor with boards so as not to damage it.


The Hotel Imperial was returned to Austrian hands on 18 September 1955. ‘Remarkably undamaged,’ as they repeatedly stated. The Russian ‘guests’ had been careful in their treatment of Austria’s national hotel. Nevertheless, people were still sceptical about using the establishment as a hotel again. This was emphasised in a press report: ‘In all probability, there are no plans for re-utilising the Imperial as a hotel due to the enormous sums that would be required for renovation work. It will probably be designated as a palatial office building, while – after a thorough inspection – the Grand Hotel can be used as a hotel.’ However, things turned out differently. After the International Atomic Energy Agency held its first session in Vienna in March 1957, a search was made for a permanent home in the city on the Danube. The Grand Hotel was closed and renovated as office accommodation for the IAEA. Thus for the first time, Vienna became the seat of an international organisation. An important step in the direction of a UN organisation had been taken. The Imperial would indeed be used as a hotel again. Contrary to all the rumours, it was completely gutted and transformed into a modern hotel.


Conductor Herbert von Karajan, who became artistic director of the Vienna State Opera in 1956, considered the Imperial as his occasional base camp, rang the ­concierge in a fury: ‘I want to take a shower, and there is no water!’ In truth, there was a burst pipe. The damage was repaired in no time at all. How, though, can you ­apologise to such a great master of music without seeming ridiculous? General Manager Littig gave him a small packet of coffee, the hotel’s own blend, which Karajan so much appreciated. From this day forward, without a word a packet of coffee was presented to Karajan on every of his arrival. *****

On 3 June 1961 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev arrived in Vienna. Shortly afterwards, U.S. Air Force One landed at Vienna’s Schwechat Airport and John Kennedy disembarked. After the unsuccessful invasion of Cuba, there was much to talk about. Moreover, it was finally time for Kennedy to get to know his famous antagonist personally. This summit, followed closely by the curious Viennese and vigorously acclaimed at every opportunity, established Vienna’s reputation as a city for high-ranking international conferences once and for all. Where else can security and quality of life blend so thoroughly with charm and sophisticated culture? How else can one explain the light-hearted atmosphere in which Nikita Khrushchev wagered over a pig with Leopold Figl, president of the Austrian parliament? Around 1960, Walt Disney met Austrian actor Karlheinz Boehm at the hotel and offered him the part of Beethoven in his produciton "The Magnificent Rebel". 1969: The Hotel Imperial in Vienna was the chosen residence for his imperial highness, the Shah of Persia. He once asked the general manager of the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Peter Littig: "How much does the Imperial cost?" "I beg your pardon?" asked Littig. "How much would it be if I buy it to dismantle it and to take it with me to rebuild it in Teheran?" the Shah smiled. "But Majesty," Littig smiled and replied, all diplomat: "if you would bring the Imperial with you to Teheran, where would you stay when you come to Vienna?" The Emperor of Persia accepted this response. ******** Khrushchev stayed at the Imperial. Maitre d’hotel Sylvester Huber still clearly remembers his Soviet guest today. The breakfast service, in particular, is indelibly engraved in his memory: ‘We wheeled six serving trolleys after one another into the suite. For breakfast Khrushchev had fried trout, enormous bowls of yoghurt, platters of cheese and sausage, omelettes and grilled steak. It was incredible!’


The Cold War could have its human side, too. Years later, so the story goes, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is supposed to have been furious with Henry Kissinger, his American counterpart, because Kissinger had booked at the Imperial before him prior to their meeting in Vienna. ‘Now I’ll have to live at the Russian Embassy instead of at ‘our’ Imperial,’ he is reputed to have grum-bled. However, it is hardly likely that the disarmament summit will have suffered from this.


King Ibn Saud – and later his son, Saud Ibn Abdul – were also devoted adherents of Professor Fellinger. Once when the father was lodging at the Imperial, the Sheikh of Qatar was also staying there. They happened to meet. After the ceremonial embrace and kisses, two platforms had to be erected in the lobby. Two gilded chairs were placed on the platforms and a pleasant little place had constructed in which to drink coffee. By the way, their customs were so strict that only their respective bodyguards were allowed to prepare their coffee. Then the food tester went into action. He was also on duty during the grand banquets, when he would tear out the most tender pieces of the mutton from the sheep, which had been served whole and taste them. Ibn Saud gave a hand when it came to distributing the animal’s most prized delicacy, the eyes. He once offered one to a young Austrian diplomat, who soon was seen staggering towards the exit with a pallid face.


A Balcony with a Great Tradition The balcony of the Imperial Suite is always the venue for waving to the crowd. It is a nice story, that England’s Queen Elizabeth II is said to have been quite astonished when she learned that she would be staying in ‘an ordinary’ hotel during her visit from 5 to 10 May 1969, and not in more appropriate accommodation. When she left the Imperial, every employee, from the manager to the valet, received a small gift. Her Majesty was obviously pleased. The reason was clear: the Austrian furniture depository, which handles all furniture from the imperial and republican eras, once again demonstrated its abilities in the art of interior decoration, transforming the Imperial’s ‘princely’ suite into a truly ‘queenly’ one.


In 2002, his Imperial Highness, the Emperor of Japan, visited Vienna. He resided – of course – at the Imperial, where the staff welcomed him in style. The Japanese flag hung from the balcony of the Imperial Suite. A page boy and a girl handed over flower bouquets and a cake of Imperial size was presented. Upon entering the lobby, all male members of the staff bowed while the ladies curtsied deeply to the Imperial couple. This visit made the headlines for days, and the Imperial was, as usual, once again the focus of all attention.

The hotel is the occasional set for German language film productions. However, due to its exposure as the official hotel fro state visits, filming activities are limited.

1873-1894 Johann Frohner (as lessee; †7/7/1894)
Manager under Frohner: G.v.Rüling
1930s-1938 Stefan Plank
1939-1945 Richard Postl (10. 10. 1898 in St. Veit an der Triesting, Niederösterreich, gestorben 11. 11. 1985 in Vienna)
1945-1955 Stefan Plank
1955 - 1970 Karl-Peter Littig
Gerhard Paul 1970–1977 (Creditanstalt-Bankverein incorporated the Imperial together with a number of other hotels in CCA Hotels (‘City & Country Hotels in Austria = ‘Vereinigte ­Österreichische Hotel AG’).
November 1977: General manager Georg W. Englhart / managers: Otto Heinke, Wolfgang Pachler, Christian Glaser, Manfred Kalcher and Andreas Vögl.
From 1995–97 the establishments of Imperial Hotels Austria AG were incorporated in the ITT Sheraton group ‘The Luxury Collection’. Under the management of ITT Sheraton, The Luxury ­Collection, Noreisch was ­appointed General Manager of all the group’s ­Austrian establishments, ­including Palais Ferstel with its legendary Café Central.
Franz-Josef Macho
1998: ITT, Sheraton The Luxury Collection was bought by Starwood, ­an American real estate company, that turned into Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
ERHARD NOREISCH SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & AREA DIRECTOR Erhard Noreisch is Area Director und Senior Vice President for over 50 hotels and resorts operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Central and Eastern Europe. He also holds the position as Managing Director of the Imperial Hotels Austria AG, uniting the hotels Imperial and Bristol in Vienna and the Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg.
1999 Michael Hatzfeld becomes manager of the hotel: (the hotel reduced its number of rooms from 138 to 128 in favour of larger and even more comfortable rooms, added roof-top maisonettes and a fitness centre).
2004, Thomas Schön is general manager of the hotels Bristol and Imperial.
2007 Oscar del Campo, general manager of the hotels Bristol and Imperial.
Resident manager: 2006 - 2011: Riccardo Giacometti
2011 Riccardo Giacometti
2011-2015 Klaus Christandl GM of Imperial, Gerhard Krischek GM of Bristol
2015 Mario Habicher

Managed by: Starwood - The Luxury Collection
96 Rooms
35 Suites

Some suites with private balcony,

24-Hour Room Service Connecting Room Handicap Accessible Room Voicemail Bathrobes In-Room Safe Wake-up Service Data Port Refrigerator Available (Charge) Hairdryer Room with Sitting Area Mini Bar Television Maid Service Dual-Line Telephone Desk Non-Smoking Room Individual Climate Control Cable Channels (Some of the amenities above may not be available in all rooms. Fees on certain amenities/services may apply.)

The hotel offers: 35 Suites:
20 Elisabeth 3 Maisonette 6 Imperial 2 Royal 4 Exec. Junior Suites


The Royal Staircase leads up to the breathtaking Royal Suites. Chandeliers sparkle and shimmer from high stucco-adorned ceilings radiating aristocratic flair.
The Maisonette Suite will enchant you with its Imperial atmosphere. A splendid view can be enjoyed over the roofs and spires of old Vienna from your private balcony. The greatest suites are: Prince of Württemberg, Franz Joseph and Fürstensuite Maria Theresa, ...

Ringstrasse (32 ft/10 m) Musikverein-Concert Hall (65 ft/20 m) Casino Austria (0.1 mi/0.2 km) Stadtpark (Jogging) (0.2 mi/0.3 km) State Opera House (0.2 mi/0.3 km) Technical University of Vienna (0.3 mi/0.5 km) Ice Skating Rink (0.3 mi/0.5 km) Spanish Riding School (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Belvedere Palace (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Viennese Botanic Garden (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Kaerntnerstrasse-Graben (Shopping) (0.6 mi/1.0 km) University of Vienna (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Hofburg Palace (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Saint Stephan's Cathedral (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Fiaker Tour (1.2 mi/2.0 km) Leopold Museum (1.2 mi/2.0 km) Houses of Parliament (1.2 mi/2.0 km) Hofburg Convention Center (1.2 mi/2.0 km) Museum of Fine Arts (1.2 mi/2.0 km) Natural Historic Museum (1.2 mi/2.0 km) Grinzing-Heurigen-Viennese Woods (3.1 mi/5.0 km) Prater-Amusement Park (3.1 mi/5.0 km) Schoenbrunn Zoo (3.1 mi/5.0 km) Schoenbrunn Palace (3.1 mi/5.0 km) Golf Club Schloss Ebreichsdorf (6.2 mi/10.0 km) Austrian International Convention Center (6.2 mi/10.0 km)

Corporate Office Citibank (164 ft/0.1 km) BP (British Petroleum) (0.1 mi/0.1 km) Australian Embassy (0.3 mi/0.5 km) French Embassy (0.3 mi/0.5 km) German Embassy (0.3 mi/0.5 km) Canadian Embassy (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Japanese Embassy (0.6 mi/1.0 km) UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Booz Allen Hamilton (0.6 mi/1.0 km) Hypo Vereinsbank (1.2 mi/2.0 km) City Hall (1.9 mi/3.0 km) Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) (1.9 mi/3.0 km) Deutsche Bank (2.5 mi/4.0 km) Vienna General Hospital (3.1 mi/5.0 km) United States Embassy (3.1 mi/5.0 km) Baxter (3.1 mi/5.0 km) Coca Cola (3.7 mi/6.0 km) Novartis Pharmaceuticals (3.7 mi/6.0 km) Xerox (4.3 mi/7.0 km) __________________

Restaurant Focus: Regional/International / hours: 6:00 PM - 12:00 AM Atmosphere: Gourmet
Café Imperial: Regional/Local / hours: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM Atmosphere: elegant albeit casual Coffee house
HalleNsalon 1873: 12:00 PM - 1:00 AM Atmosphere: Piano Bar

Visit the "Path of History", an unique permanent exhibition of the hotels history.

Walk the grand staircase. Every important visitor is taken up this staircase (instead of using the elevator).

Try the Imperial Torte - a fairly new concoction (in comparison to the Sacher Torte which dates back to 1840). The recipe is of course a secret, however, that much may be revealed: there is milk chocolate on the outside, inside the delicate aroma of almonds. In the end, marzipan and cocoa cream. Handmade at the hotel, the Imperial Torte is sent all over the world in various sizes. It is also available as "Princess" cake for diabetics.

It's a city hotel, one of the most elegant ones of central Europe. Well behaved kids are everywhere welcome and there is no reason why not to bring them. But please understand that this hotel is not a playground.

There is an exclusive fitness room on the top floor near the penthouse suites. Alternatively take the impressive Imperial staircase a few times a day. This will keep you fit, too — and no gym can match that atmosphere.

Under the captivating lights of crystal chandeliers you will succumb to the culinary delights our festive salon, once the patio of the Württemberg Palace, holds in store for you. The hotel's exclusive salons are ideal locations for successful meetings and elegant banquets. A dinner at the Imperial's merry halls is a hymn to those who worship the extraordinary. In this noble ambience you will enjoy life at its best. Number of Meeting Rooms: 7 Largest Meeting Space: 1453 sq. ft. (135 sq.m) A floorplan is available on the hotel's website.

An elegant hotel always suggests an appropriate appearance.
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Our Select Member Hotel

Imperial Vienna
Country: Austria
City: Vienna
Opening date: 1873, 28 April
Architects: Arnold Zanetti (München) and Heinrich Adam
First owner/Manager: 1873-1894 Johann Frohner (as lessee; †7/7/1894) Manager under Frohner: G.v.Rüling

Note from the Host

General Manager

Mario Habicher: 'Welcome to Vienna's palatial Hotel Imperial, where guest are kings and Kings are guests.'

Concierge: Manfred Grassauer


Kaerntner Ring 16
1015 Austria, Vienna

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