French flair and Britain style – Kärntnerhof

If you are a lover of Downton Abbey, please sit comfortably – we take you on a journey just like the place that really exists in the heart of Vienna! Although so beautiful, but not so polite …

Style and elegance in a former brothel. Yes, really. After being fully renovated, the Kärtnerhof has now reopened as Vienna’s smallest grand hotel has a magnificent location – just a three-minute walk to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The favourite Vienna hotel of the grande dame of German cinema, Christiane Hörbiger, has now been reopened following extensive renovation. The Wilhelminian facade gleams in fresh light grey; inside the designer Niccolò Grassi, who also worked for Ferragamo, has given the hotel a mélange of Viennese art nouveau, French flair and Italian elegance.

Fine wallpapers adorn the walls of the rooms and hallways, armchairs and sofas of velvet invite guests to linger, and in the salon opposite the lobby there is a collection reminiscent of the natural scientist Alexander von Humboldt. Pictures with animal motifs, butterflies under bell jars, bird and ostrich eggs – and a composition of dried algae, behind glass, framed. The theme is repeated throughout the hotel.

After World War II the building was known as a brothel named ‚Madame Rosa’ for a few years. Its clients were allied soldiers. Today the privately owned hotel has 44 rooms and suites, most of them with original parquet floors. The largest suite was dedicated to Christiane Hörbiger. She has ties to the hotel of a special kind. Her pug dog called ‚Loriot’ often resides at the hotel and is looked after by the staff. The Kärtnerhof is one of the few hotels in the 1st district to have its own roof terrace, which serves as a lounge in the summer months and has a view of the baroque towers of the Courtyards of the Holy Cross. Depending on size and season, a double room is priced between 139 and 235 euro including breakfast.

„Over the centuries Vienna has been a meeting place
for artists, intellectuals and merchants from all over Europe.
We wanted to draw on this for the design of the hotel”

Nicole Nagel – responsible for the design as a partner and the director of the Kärntnerhof.


She grew up in the hotels of Europe, her father, Friedrich Nagel, started out as an hotelier in the fifties with two Berlin establishments; the Hotel Plaza (Knesebeckstraße) and the Old Vienna restaurant on Kurfürstendamm. Hotels in Italy, Spain and elsewhere in Germany followed. The family, which comes from Vienna, acquired the Kärntnerhof in the eighties. Nicole Nagel was able to obtain the Italian designer, Niccolò Grassi, and Eline de Potter from Belgium for the refurbishment. Eline de Potter curated the private collection of paintings and art objects and assisted in designing the colour scheme of the hotel. The result is a warm and harmonious atmosphere. Niccolò Grassi designed most of the furniture and lights at the Kärntnerhof. The grey-green sculpted panelling in original Viennese art nouveau shades was crafted in Tuscany. Armchairs and sofas were made by a Belgian furniture maker; even the accessories were specially made for the hotel by Florentine craftsmen. The wallpapers originate from renowned firms such as Farrow & Ball (England), Osborne & Little (England) and Sandberg (Sweden). They form a classical and at the same time modern setting for the works of art, for example the portrait of Christiane Hörbiger, taken by the fashion photography icon, Elfi Semotan. The picture hangs in the Christiane Hörbiger Suite.

Breakfast is in the salon of the Kärtnerhof, selected regional products are served on the buffet. The hotel does not have its own restaurant, but the staff, who know the city very well, are never short of a recommendation of where to eat. You are very close from here to Konstantins Filippou, about which I wrote here.

Charming, attentive and individual guest service and original interior with one of the most charming stairs.
You have to feel the story here by yourself!

P.S.: Mr Wolfgang Krenn, the director of hotel, with great passion tell you the secrets of this place.


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