Squeezed in a weekend of tourism with a stay at the Vienna Renaissance Imperial Riding School, before some work in Vienna, Austria. It's an interesting property (with a great lounge) - more that below...
No secret here - I much prefer Vienna in the summer, and I'm not really a Christmas Market kind of guy... But this time, I enjoyed at least one special treat.
Also, a short business trip, so mobile phone pics only - no camera gear on this trip.
On the one day that the weather was nice - OK, gorgeous - I was able to enjoy a gratifying hike on Vienna's splendid (and, apparently, popular) Stadtwanderwege (City Hiking Path) 1 (with a fun little 1A detour, through a vineyard, thrown in for good measure, all told, 7-8 miles). It was easy enough to get there - I took a few trains (U and S Bahns ... both under and above-ground) north from downtown, to Nussdorf (a cute little stop) - super easy and cheap (2.40 Euro each way), where I picked up the nicely marked trail/path. Then, it was, basically all uphill (some 300 meters, but only gradually) through woods and vineyards ...
and some neighborhoods to the Stefaniewarte (Stephanie observation point), a 22 meter-tall viewing tower, built in 1887, now dwarfed by the telecom tower...,
then past the baroque St. Joseph's Church (built in the 17th century, destroyed in 1683, then rebuilt)
then ... over to the Kahlenberg cafe (nope, didn't try the nicer restaurant), for a coffee and wurst snack while enjoying the commanding views of the city below and Danube river (from the overlook, the river glistens in the top left of the frame, below.... Alas, I arrived with BRIGHT sun in the worst possible spot for pictures, and the late morning haze didn't help).
Some really steep (and surprisingly slippery) sections on the way down (with dramatic, slightly comical, but effective, pedestrian warning signs),
all well worth it for the stunning views overlooking the Danube and the city.
As for the hotel, it was perfect for my weekend - the prices were (very) good - and it was much more comfortable than the (more modest, non Marriott) utilitarian urban/downtown property I moved to once the work week started...
The most iconic image of the hotel is actually across the railroad tracks (over the pedestrian overpass), and the church is striking...
I had mixed feelings on the hotel, but there were plenty of positives:
- I got a great weekend rate (as noted above);
- It was super convenient (for me) - I took the train from the airport (for under 5 Euro), and then it was a 2-3 minute walk;
- Nice, helpful staff at the front desk - when I arrived, my room wasn't ready, they were apologetic, but they set me up in the (splendid) lounge and brought me my room key (much sooner than promised).... and I was cheerfully given a 4:00 pm checkout (even though the property appeared to be at full occupancy);
- The lounge was excellent - large and comfortable - and seemed to be always open - with a stunning variety of foods and drinks (including a mid-day snack, and a post-dinner/late-evening dessert and cheese serving) - with a terrific, friendly staff;
- The bar was smallish, but the staff was great;
- There's a dramatic attached pool-and-spa option, but I didn't try it (given my timing);
- It looked like they had a LOT of activities going on ... and lots of offerings ... indeed (while I didn't try it), the Sunday brunch looked dramatic-and-over-the-top;
- Rooms seemed spread out - possibly over two not-connected buildings - I was in what seemed to be the "main building," and the lounge (and conference center) were "across the street" - but I'm not sure I ever really figured out where all of the rooms were.
- The property (other than the lobby and the lounge), alas, felt dated ... and my room (seriously) needed some maintenance... Water sprayed rather freely out of the tub/shower (which, obviously, wasn't recent, because the bottom of the door had swelled/warped, and thus didn't full open); there were some significant dings in the furniture; and I never could get the blackout blinds to keep the light out...
- Nonetheless, despite minor room nits, the room was relatively large (and much larger than the downtown property I moved to) and plenty comfortable and the bed was just fine.
- Airline flight crews rotated in and out throughout my stay, although this was very much not an airport property, so I found that a bit surprising.
Others have riffed on this property (and Vienna) previously, but the posts are very much a mixed bag:
- high content, broad-ranging post - Vienna, Austria
- Rennansance Imperial Riding School, Vienna Austria
- Vienna Renaissance Imperial Club
- Vienna – Which Hotel?
- unique post - GOOD FRIDAY ON A CHRISTMAS DAY at Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna Hotel