This is my review of The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Vienna.
With the HfP team tied up at World Travel Market, I (Conny, Rob’s long suffering wife!) jumped at the opportunity for a two-night stay in Vienna to visit two Marriott Bonvoy properties. I think it’s seven years since I last wrote something here ….
Right at the start I must confess that I am a big fan of Vienna. I have a strong interest in European history and as the capital of the ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire there is a lot to do, see and taste here. After The Ritz-Carlton I walked down the street to the Hotel Imperial, review to follow.
The Ritz-Carlton Vienna website is here. Thank you to Marriott for arranging both stays. As usual, HfP paid for all other expenses including flights.
Where is The Ritz-Carlton Vienna?
The Ritz-Carlton is located on Schubertring. This is part of the famous Ringstrasse, a boulevard built in the mid-nineteenth century replacing the old city walls.
I took the City Airport Train (CAT) from Vienna airport to Wien Mitte which takes only 16 minutes. From there it was a 20 minutes stroll through the Stadtpark to the hotel and easily done with a small wheely suitcase. From the hotel the city centre and many of the main sights in Vienna can be easily reached on foot.
The hotel is a combination of four formerly separate historic buildings (three ‘palais’ and one casino) which are now joined together. The interiors, however, are very modern as you will see.
As a consequence, you will often find one or two steps in the corridors as you move between the various buildings and, yes, you can get a bit lost. Here is a picture where you clearly see three of the buildings – the hotel entrance is on the far left.
The entrance is a bit underwhelming, to be honest, as the doors are quite low and cut the first floor windows in half. However, once inside the space opens up as a large welcoming lobby.
I was there in early November and the Christmas decorations were already out giving it a warm glow. The doormen and check-in staff were very attentive and helped with my luggage.
This is the lobby by the entrance:
Down a few steps down are the check-in desks on the left:
Although the hotel buildings date back at least a century, the interiors of the hotel are modern with plain walls and low ceilings. Only a few original features are still visible, such as one gorgeous wrought-iron staircase. The hotel interior is well-maintained but you do notice that the hotel is now 11 years old.
Rooms at The Ritz-Carlton Vienna
I was given a junior suite on the fifth floor, but I also took a look at a deluxe (standard) room which, in some ways, I preferred.
The junior suite room was an unusual shape. You walk through the entrance door into a corridor, with ornate wooden cupboards and pannelling to your left:
Off the corridor are two doors, one leading to the bedroom and one leading – via the toilet – to a large marble bathroom. At the end of the corridor the space opened into a large sitting room.
The sitting room had a sofa, coffee table and armchair as well a desk and a shelf with the well-stocked minibar and coffee making facilities and snacks. All fairly standard for a hotel of this level. I did like that the still water was provided in glass bottles.
As a welcome gift I got a miniature ferris wheel with sweets, dried fruit and snacks in the gondolas which is not something you see every day. This was a thoughtful reference to the Prater amusement park, and potentially a nod back to the film of ‘The Third Man’.
The bedroom was surprisingly small given the overall size of the suite and not much bigger than the bed itself. It was, however, very classy.
The bathroom on the other hand was of generous proportions with two sinks, a bath and a large shower. The vanity mirror was flexible and fixed at a good height which I always appreciate.
The amenities were in large bottles and were from Diptyque. The large mirror above the sinks had a TV screen by ad notam built in which was quite funky, although I’m not sure it added much.
The standalone bath was a classy touch:
…. as was this sink unit, presumably designed for any visitors to your suite given the double sinks in the main bathroom area:
Inside a deluxe room at The Ritz-Carlton Vienna
The lowest category is a deluxe room, and I asked the hotel to show me one so that you can get a feel for a more typical room.
If I’m honest, I preferred this room in some way. It felt more harmonious and was very spacious (38 sq m) compared to the small bedroom in my junior suite.
Here is a deluxe room from the other direction. As you can see, it isn’t short of facilities.
The hotel is well maintained in general, given that it opened in 2012, but you can see some wear and tear in places. There were a few chips on this table:
The bathroom in a deluxe room is similar to the junior suite, except for the single sink.
The Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Vienna
The Ritz-Carlton chain is well known for its club lounges. It takes them very seriously with multiple food and drink ‘presentations’ throughout the day. Unfortunately, lounge access is NOT a Marriott Bonvoy elite benefit at The Ritz-Carlton.
I didn’t eat here but did pop in. The Club Lounge is on the seventh floor and when I came by it was late afternoon. Refurbished in 2021, it is a classy space with plenty of space for working or relaxing.
The buffet looked good with a number of small starter options / afternoon snacks and one hot dish on offer. I suspect the offering changes later in the evening.
Spa and wellness
In the basement you will find a surprisingly impressive swimming pool for a city centre property.
It is 18 metres long and 1.4 metres deep with underwater music and a number of loungers around the sides.
It had a pleasant atmosphere and, despite the lack of natural light, I could imagine sitting here to relax even if you didn’t go in the water. It is also possible to book spa treatments but, with just a one night stay, I didn’t have time to try anything.
The gym was very well equipped with, for example, three running machines. When I peeked around the corner in the afternoon it was well attended but not overcrowded. I could only photograph this corner but the space is far larger.
The rooftop bar
Apart from its excellent location, one key reason to stay here is the roof terrace.
In summer this operates as a rooftop bar, but one week before my arrival the hotel had opened its Urban Aprѐs-Ski area.
Five real ski gondulas from Salzburg were transported up here (no idea how!). They are heated and can be booked for raclette evenings. Tables were set for six but I reckon you can squeeze two more people in if necessary.
There is also a rustic hut selling mulled wine, punch, hot chocolate and more. You can also order Austrian specialities lsuch as “Buchteln” (sweet fluffy yeast rolls) with vanilla sauce.
The view over the rooftops and down to the ice-rink behind the hotel are pretty spectacular. Once all the Christmas markets in Vienna are open too I can imagine that this will be a great place to hang out. The ice rink is visible in the centre of the picture below:
As well as the rooftop bar you also have the newly refurbished D-Bar on the ground floor which I didn’t get around to visiting.
Restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton Vienna
The hotel offers two restaurants. First up is the Dstrikt Steakhouse (not a typo). As well as beef it offers chicken, fish and Viennese Truffleschnitzel, albeit the latter costs €55.
The other option is the Sicilian restaurant Pastamara – Bar con Cucina. This restaurant is in the lobby, slightly screened off. There is a central bar with tables arranged all around, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting.
I had dinner at Pastamara. This is a fine dining Italian, and before my first dish arrived I received an amuse bouche. Yes, that’s a solitary green olive you see, but filled with marzipan (something used a lot in Austrian cakes). It was strangely delicious.
I ordered an impressive Insalata di Mare for starter …. (click to expand):
…. and Parmigiana di Melanzane as my main, which is absolutely not the version of this dish that used to be offered by Pizza Express!
Both of my courses were very tasty and the restaurant seems to attract a lot of people from outside (easy to spot as they were wearing coats) as well as hotel guests.
Breakfast at The Ritz-Carlton Vienna
I must say I was looking forward to breakfast. From many skiing holidays in Austria I know that the hotels here pride themselves on offering a wide variety and The Ritz-Carlton certainly delivers.
Breakfast is served in the Dstrikt restaurant which has a lovely ambience. The very large buffet includes Austrian goodies like Gugelhupf and Linzer cake. I even had some herring bites, although Austria is a long way from the Baltic!
There is an additional menu of hot dishes including various egg options, Austrian crepes, avocado (with wasabi crème) and lobster benedict. As it typical for Austria you can have champagne for breakfast too.
Breakfast costs €45, which includes one ‘cooked to order item’ (some items such as the lobster attract a surcharge). It is fully worth it if you have the time and appetite to take it all in over an hour or so and make a morning of it. This being Vienna, of course, there are no shortage of cafes nearby if you want a lighter bite, including the famous Cafe Imperial at the Hotel Imperial.
Remember that The Ritz-Carlton, as a chain, does NOT offer free breakfast to Platinum and higher members of Marriott Bonvoy.
The Ritz-Carlton Vienna has a lot to offer. The location, on the Ringstrasse, is as good as it gets for the key tourist sites. You get a modern interior, including a lovely pool, inside an attractive period building. If you are planning to visit Vienna for the Christmas markets, the rooftop bar is a good place to spend time before or after your shopping trip.
The entry level deluxe rooms are spacious and offer everything you need. In many ways I preferred the layout to my junior suite, although it’s fair to say that – looking at the website – junior suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
What you don’t get at The Ritz-Carlton is a heavy dose of Viennese history. If you want to feel like you’ve stepped back in time by 150 years, you need to do what I did next and check into the Hotel Imperial, 200 metres away. This review is coming soon.
How to book
Room rates vary considerably, although Vienna remains cheaper than London and Paris. You can pay from €350 in January, rising to €600+ in peak season. Reward nights are from 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night and appear to be capped at 90,000 points.
If you book via our luxury hotel booking partner Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant, you will get the following extra benefits:
- complimentary breakfast for two
- $100 of credit towards dining or spa services
- welcome amenity
- upgrade, early check-in and late check-out if available
You can contact Emyr via the form here. You pay the same as the Best Flexible Rate at marriott.com and pay on departure as usual.
You can find out more on The Ritz-Carlton Vienna website here.
Thank you to Julia and her team for their help and hospitality.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (March 2024)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)