Suite with a Vault in Vienna

Coburg Loft Suite

You have suites with a view, but at the Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz in Vienna you can have a suite with a view and a safe in the vault.

Palais Coburg was built in the period 1840-45 by Duke Ferdinand Georg August of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1785-1851) on the Braunbastei [‘Brown Bastion’] – a part of the city defenses dating back to the 16th century. It is thanks to this “super-construction” that a large part of the Renaissance fortification, in particular the casemates, have been preserved.

The Late Neo-Classical/Early Historicist building is notable for its portico with its freestanding columns in the central section of the facade; this feature soon led to the Palais being given an affectionate nickname by the locals, the “Spargelburg” [literally, “The Asparagus Palace”].

The house of Saxe-Coburg has many strong ties to European Royalty, as for instance Queen Victoria of the UK was a niece of Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg.

During the period of occupation after World War II, Russian soldiers were quartered in the Palais. In September 1947 the exhibition “800 Years of Moscow” was shown in the Palais. After the occupying troops moved out, the first and second floors of the Palais were leased to the Austrian federal railways, which used the premises until 1997. The Palais was sold in 1978 to a property dealer by the last Coburg to own the building, Princess Sarah Aurelia, who lived in the Palais until her death in 1994. The property dealer used the Palais as a means to speculate. Through the onward sale and subsequent bankruptcy of the purchaser, the Palais ultimately came into the ownership of the Länderbank, subsequently the Zentralsparkasse (central savings bank), from whom the building was acquired by a private foundation, the POK Pühringer Privatstiftung, in 1997.

Coburg Front

The Palais Coburg has been restored by the POK Pühringer Privatstiftung, in close collaboration with the Federal office for the preservation of buildings and monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt), over the period from 2000 to 2003.

The hotel has 35 suites.

Staying at The Coburg is for the haves:

Look for instance at this promotion:

New Years eve at the Palais Coburg

Experience and tour the incomparable and authentic splendour from 16th to 19th Century Imperial Vienna and celebrate New Years’ Eve in the casemates and the Grand Ball Rooms on the ‘Bel Etage’ of the Palais Coburg.

This exquisite Gala Evening commences at 19.00 hours with a Champagne reception in the Coburg Vaults Foyer ‘Stadtbild’, followed by a classical concert in the ‘higher casemate’. Then it is time for a six course Gala Dinner prepared by Palais Coburg’s lauded Chef Christian Petz and his brigade. Each course is accompanied by specially selected wines from the Palais Coburg’s favourite Cellars, unrivalled for the extraordinary collection of rarest vintages and specialised in vintages from Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Entertainment is provided by a live band and an Austrian New Years’ tradition of ‘lead casting’. Fine cigars and digestifs are enjoyed in the adjacent Blue Salon. And finally bid farewell to the year 2006 from the terrace of the Palais Coburg with views over the legendary city park, fine champagne and a ‘little surprise’.

New Year’s Extravaganza € 10,760 for two people sharing Stay for four in a deluxe Suite, join the Gala Dinner on New Years Eve and enjoy the ‘Wiener Philharmoniker’ live in the best seats at the Musikverein on New Years’ Day. Two spa treatments of your choice are also included.

New Years’ Eve Concert Special € 5,160 for two people sharing
Stay for two nights in an elegant City Suite, join the Gala Dinner on New Years Eve and enjoy the ‘Wiener Philharmoniker’ live in the best seats at the Musikverein on New Years’ Eve. Two spa treatments of your choice and a late checkout are also included in this special arrangement.

Gala Dinner € 3,360 for two people sharing a Stay for two nights in an elegant Suite and join the Gala Dinner on New Years Eve.

All arrangements include all taxes, service and the airport transfers as well.
Dress Code: Formal (Black/White Tie)

The tickets for the New Years concert are easily two thousand Euros. Taking that into account I would say the promotion is even reasonable and very tempting, as waltzing into the New Year in Vienna is still on my wish list…

Palais Coburg is the seat of the Palais Coburg Tresor where one can hire a safe in the Vault with 24/24 access. This seams to me an ideal drop off for a character in one of Robert Ludlum future stories….

Also the Institut für strategische Kapitalmarktforschung (ISK) (Institute for Capital Market Research) has its seat at the palace. Next to research it performs asset- and portfolio management.

I have been in the entrance Hall of the Palais and bought their book about the renovation which is excellent. However the atmosphere was a bit cold, as if entering a bank rather than a hotel. For further entrance you have to pass a security guard and/or have a key card. No way to enter the restaurant or the bar: It is very private off course, but a bit uncharacteristic for a typical Relais et Chateaux member.

Dream in a drain pipe: Drain Hotel in a park

Drain Hotel

This will prove you wrong if you believed everything has been invented already:

In July 2005, under the motto “Book a Pipe Dream”, Austrian Andreas Strauss has set up Das Parkhotel/ Andi’s Place (the Park Hotel) in a park in Ottensheim, on the Danube river border, near Linz, Austria. It is only open in Summer and operates under the Pay as you wish principle: You are asked to leave as much money as you want to pay for the place. No Bad room, minibar or toilet available: You are asked to make use of publicly available toilets a couple of yards to the left or to the right and of the mini bar of a gas station in the neighborhood. Reservations via the website where you get an access code for the electronic lock.

Source: Times Online

Update: After discovering the term Notel I’ve added this post to the Notel Category.

Last edited by GJE on March 30, 2011

Schloss Fuschl: an old love story

On a recent trip to Vienna I was able to take this photo of Schloss Fuschl as I remembered it.

My DW and I stayed once in the mid eighties in suite 101 (the Sissi Suite) which has a magnificent view over Lake Fuschl that is located 20 km east of Salzburg in Austria.
Actually that stay was due to a misunderstanding with my travel agent (no, not the lady from LA) who I had asked to make a reservation for a room in the much more moderately priced Jagdhof which then was (as it is nowadays) located at the entrance to the actual Schloss. Both the (Jagd) Schloss Fuschl and the Jagdhof Fuschl (Jagd stands for Hunting) were still operated more privately (or by a small company) in those days. However, I don’t regret the decision to stay in the Schloss rather than in the Hof that my wife knew from a previous visit.

The Schloss is said being built in the 15th century as a hunting lodge for the Bishop of Salzburg. In 1833 ownership passed from the cleric to the Austrian imperial dynasty. Eventually it became a ruin and had many owners until 1950/51 when the building was turned into a hotel. In 1954 Harriet, Countess of Walderberg, who, in 1939, had bought another hotel, the Golderner Hirsch (Golden Deer) in Salzburg, that she had turned into fame, bought the property. From 1957 to 1958, Schloss Fuschl became famous as the set of the legendary Sissi-films with Romy Schneider and Karl-Heinz Boehm. Even nowadays, hotel guests can stay in the suite where Romy Schneider was in those days (yes suite 101).

In 1958, salt baron Carl Adolf Vogel, who later also would buy Goldener Hirsch, bought the estate from Henriette and, together with his wife Winnie Markus, turned it further into a luxury hotel. Around 1967, he built rooms in the actual Jagdhof which housed the hunt and pipe museum well worth seeing, which burnt down in 1993.

In 1976, an auction took place, which ended with the new proprietor being the Max Grundig Foundation with seat in Nuerenberg-Fuerh, Germany. On 20th of May 1981, Schloss Fuschl was classified as a historical monument. In 1998,  Rafael Hotels & Resorts took over Schloss Fuschl.

On the 1st of January 2001, the Hotel Schloss Fuschl Betriebe were passed on from the ownership of the Max Grundig Foundation to the Hotel Schloss Fuschl Ges.m.b.H. The Hotel Schloss Fuschl is led as a “The Luxury Collection” hotel in conjunction with the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide by way of franchise by the Arabella Sheraton Hotel Management GmbH.

Schloss Fuschl Airview

When I turned into the drive way I noticed that it had expanded dramatically since our last visit 20 years ago. Then from this photo only the tower and a minor addition and a spa building were in existence.

I am not sure I will stay there again, as it does not seem have the same style it had back in the eighties, as it is now operated by the Starwood conglomerate…but mainly because I wouldn’t want to spoil a good memory of that erroneous glorious stay in a bit run down hotel, full of antique, beautiful paintings and a magnificent view….and memories are what hotels are for…n’est pas?

Sources fro the historic part are: J.P. Moser Hotelguide and the book “Goldener Hirsch, Salzburg” of Andreas Augustin of Famous Hotels.

From Sacher to Andreas Augustin of Famous Hotels

Frequently Vienna is our travel destination: Be it to visit family or to show Dutch friends around this charming city. Hence my more than average attention for Vienna and now some attention for Andreas Augustin who was born in Vienna in 1956 and recently paid some attention to one of my favourite grand old ladies of Hotellerie:

Sacher Top Terrace

I am sure you don’t recognise it: No wrong! Not Istanbul, but a view from a recently added and very modern rooftop terrace of the Sacher Hotel in Vienna.

Also I believe to know something Andreas doesn’t know: A couple of years ago it was possible to have a dining party at the Naturhistorisches Museum of which you just can see the green roof dome over the green roof of the Opera. Part of the dining party was a very romantic guided tour over the roof of the museum at which you then couldn’t see yet the Sacher Roof, because it wasn’t built yet. There were rumours in Vienna that the new floor Sacher added was a bit (to?) high…

Now About Andreas:
Andreas Augustin
‘I would like to leave this world
a comprehensive and reliable library
of the history of hospitality.’

He studied hotel management at the Hotel Management College at the Castle of Klesheim, Salzburg. Instead of pursuing a hotel career, he followed his life-long desire to write. He became a journalist and at 25 became the editor of his own publication, a Salzburg city magazine.

The following years as magazine reporter, newspaper columnist, radio host and international correspondent led to extensive journeys to the Orient and Far East. In 1986 he took up residence for three years at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore to study and to write about the region and the hotels of South East Asia. It was there that he developed the series of books “The Most Famous Hotels in the World”, possessed by the idea to set new standards in the field of historic research and hotel publications.

With a wonderful team of writers, historians, researchers and photographers he is building the library of hospitality. The Most Famous Hotels in the World – today with almost 400 select member hotels – has built a major value driver and creator, recognized as the leading archives of historic hotels, thus representing a major source of information to build the future of hospitality.

As President of the associated Club of The Friends of The Most Famous Hotels in the World Andreas Augustin also takes care of its members from all over the world.

His company’s website Famous Hotels will be relaunched on 28th November 2006. In the past I visited it already some times and found there a lot of useful information about the world’s most famous hotels.