Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna – Hotel Review

By Jonathan Spira on 18 July 2013
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DSC_1054Having grown up partially in Vienna, I immediately knew where the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna hotel was situated when I first read about its planned opening.  What I didn’t know was that it had been built as a hotel over a century ago for the 1873 Weltausstellung Wien (World Exposition Vienna), albeit a hotel that had never opened.   Over a hundred years later – this past March – the hotel finally opened its doors to the public after an extensive and complete renovation.

The neo-renaissance building was originally erected by Theophil von Hansen, a Danish-Austrian developer and architect, and the building, which served as administrative offices for most of its life, is a designated and protected landmark.

I’ve always enjoyed staying in brand new hotels and checked in within days of the Palais Hansen’s grand opening.


My Junior Suite mixed the past with the present in anDSC_0981 elegant style that could best be called Viennese modernism.  The long room was divided by a very large writing desk in the middle. On the other side of the desk was a sitting area with a comfortable sofa and side chair.  A modern black-and-white photograph of a pianist at the keyboard filled the wall over the sofa and completed the look.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Kempinski has apparently figured out which bedding is simply the most comfortable, because I cannot recall sleeping at a Kempinski hotel and ever having a bad night’s sleep.  The Palais Hansen was no exception and the king-size bed was outfitted with some of the softest sheets and pillowcases I’ve come across.  I woke up quite refreshed and ready for the challenges of the day, and the Kempinski wake-up call that was accompanied by delivery of a fresh pot of coffee certainly didn’t hurt.

The bathroom continued the Viennese modern look and I fell in love with the Jugendstil (art deco) lamp fixtures that surrounded the bathroom mirror.  Behind two tall doors – both with designs that seemed to come directly out of the Wiener Werkstätte – were the toilet and shower. A very Jugendstil-style tile mosaic above the tub added to the atmosphere although shower and bath controls were digital.DSC_0978

All rooms – the hotel offers a total of 98 plus 54 suites – have coffee and tea makers, an iPad, a minibar, and a safe.  The sofa can be converted into a bed if required, a nice touch.


The elegant wooden writing desk, a focal point of the room, was uncluttered and provided ample space for my suite of devices, which included a 13” MacBook Pro and an iPad.  The desk was mated to a comfortable but non-ergonomic chair that looked good, matched the other furniture, but was nonetheless not really suitable for long stints of keyboard work.

A hidden well within the desk provided multiple outlets.  However, this is where I ran into the only problem during my entire stay.  The opening was simply not large enough to accommodate the variety of “wall wart” power supplies I needed to plug in.  An adapter (the kind used to convert a “foreign” plug to a local outlet) did the trick by raising the connection to the desk’s surface level.

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