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The New Austrian Idol Kempinski Vienna Opens Today

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  Site Where: Vienna, Austria
March 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM | by | ()

We were lucky enough to be in Vienna last month and get first looks at the new Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, which officially opened today with a 700-strong party attendance. At the time, the place was a huge construction site and we were doubtful that the company would be able to pull off their anticipated opening date. Looks like we were wrong!

As we donned surgical coverings over our shoes and made our way through the historical Renaissance Revival-style building that was built in 1873, in Vienna's first district, we knew this place would be something special. From the cafe wall made of real plants to the intricate details of each space, it seemed that Viennese architect Boris Podrecca and designer Jean-Claude Laville had serious visions for this hotel. And it would be necessary to stand out in a city that's been seeing a host of new hotels lately including the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna and has competition to come in the form of the ME Vienna and the Park Hyatt Vienna. So yes, they had to bring the bling to the 152 room, suites, and common areas, and it took almost three years to get it done, but they still managed to keep much of the heritage intact--from the chandeliers, wrought iron staircases, and ceiling windows that bring in natural light.

First and foremost, the building is huge--well of course it is--it's a former palace. Still, it seems like the areas are never ending, especially when spread across seven floors. It'll take more than one night to absorb its splendor. In fact, our site-inspection was nearly two hours long and this was pre-opening. Here's what's in store for lucky guests.

You'll check in via iPad, and then head to your quarters where there's another iPad waiting for you to use for ordering room service, controlling lights, etc. But in case you don't want to fool around with that technology, the bed panel will control everything from shades to the lights.

The Kempinski is now home to Vienna's largest hotel cigar lounge--and you'll also have access to a fine assortment of whiskies as well. Henri Lou is the elegantly designed in white and blue lounge that invites guests to wind down with classic and seasonal cocktails or champagne while listening to a DJ on the weekends.

"Die Küche" (the kitchen) is a breakfast and dinner option that's served in a quite casual farmer's market style, that belies the rest of the hotel's opulence. It almost quite doesn't fit, but we get that the idea is to introduce the idea of Viennese homestyle cooking in some fashion, so guests can get that experience. Almost like a live-demo, chefs prepare the dishes right in front of the guests.
"Edvard" is the more upscale dining experience, highlighting local produce but with creative twists. The restaurant even has a separate entrance, so that non-guests can enter and dine.

Perhaps one of the most decadent wellness centers in Vienna, this Turkish-style oasis of oohhmmmm has six treatment rooms that are tailored to the seasons of the year. But it's the common area that is the most breathtaking with an inviting hydropool, hammam, Bali beds, ottomans, and lamps that have you feeling as if you've been transported to Morrocco and didn't know it.

Rates including breakfast start at EUR 265 ($340) per night for two guests

[Photos: Chanize Thorpe for HotelChatter]

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