Marble is marble, it could be said, and it is impressive in any form, so we wondered what it is that distinguishes the Carrara variety, if anything. And a little research turned up a surprising fact. We discover that Carrara is a type of white or blue-grey marble of high quality and exceptionally durable, popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It is quarried in the city of the same name in Tuscany, Italy, but the really interesting thing, we think, is that it was a block of such marble that Michelangelo chipped into shape with his trusty hammer and chisel to produce one of the world’s artistic masterpieces, his sculpture of David. We live and learn, then, and look at the floor with different eyes.

Coming back to that introductory “Defined by an era, designed for today”, further investigation reveals that the site of the Hilton Vienna Plaza housed another hotel, the Austria, from 1872-75, then transformed into a police headquarters until its destruction by bombing at the tail end of the Second World War in 1945. The plot stood empty for four full decades until 1986, when construction began on the Hilton, which opened in late 1988. By 2014 the hotel had become dated and it was closed down for six months in 2014 and reopened in Art Deco style, hence the message on the carpets, which translates as meaning it has a 1920s-style ambience while being designed for modernity.

In the lobby a guestbook is on display under a glass cover, and it is opened at a double page signed by Silvia Konigin von Schweden and dated Juni 2016. There are two photos of the good lady and she is beautifully groomed and looks very sophisticated. Her crown gives it away: Silvia Konigin von Schweden is the Queen of Sweden and has been since 1976, a record reign in the country.


Presumably she stayed in a penthouse suite on the top 10th floor, which exclusively in the hotel has private balconies to sit out and watch the bustling business of the Ringstrasse. Hilton Vienna Plaza is on the Austrian capital’s most famous street and thus rubs shoulders with the Parliament, Rathaus, Opera House, Burgtheatre, University and all manner of other famous landmarks. It is on the Schottenring section, diagonally across from the monumental Bourse, and has a street terrace where non-penthouse suite dwellers can also watch the passing world.

The two floors below the 10th are, in Hilton fashion, Executive Floors that give access to the Executive Lounge. Here, in a 1920s club-like atmosphere, guests can enjoy complimentary tea and coffee, mineral water, soft drinks, juices, snacks and fruits all day, with local pastries and sweets appearing in mid-afternoon. Then, in the 6-8.30pm Happy Hour, hot and cold hors d’oeuvre and alcoholic drinks are added. The Executive Floors cost some extra but regular Hilton guests can earn the privilege by amassing points in the chain’s loyalty scheme. Like the rest of the hotel, the Executive Lounge displays its Art Deco credentials in much black wood and gold trimmings. Plus, it is entered via another smaller Carrara marble floor.

Otherwise, the hotel has the Émile Restaurant and Bar, where chef Stefan Wödl and his team prepare an extensive buffet breakfast and French-and Austrian-inspired cuisine. They create new seasonal highlights alongside signature dishes such as stewed bell pepper chicken, bouillabaisse, beef tartar and saddle of venison steak. The salmon trout will be filleted right at your table. The restaurant was included in Gault Millau’s guide in 2015 with a 14-point rating.

The bar serves 26 of its own creations, and when Mixology bar culture magazine presented the best bar menus in the German-speaking world, Émile was listed in the top five of 100 nominees. In the 1920s a world traveller called Émile apparently brought some Parisian chic to more-staid Vienna, and the cocktail menu is a trip round the world in his memory.

The menu comes in a book with pages containing cocktails for each continent, so there are Australian-themed concoctions such as Bundy Ice Tea, Flying Kangaroo and Eucalyptus Martini, Asian drinks including Bollywood Fever, the African selection has Elephant Milk Punch, Wise President, Black Velvet and others, and the American section sees Mr Gatsby’s Mint Julep, Thanksgiving Flip and Santa Barbara Marguerita, plus European inclusions such as Sounds of the Ringstrasse and Italo Sunrise, and so on.

Copies of the colourful menu book can be purchased by imbibers, and a golden photo booth in the bar will produce a strip of four passport photos the same size as the illustration for each cocktail, so the patrons can cut and stick their photos over the cocktail illustrations in the manner of a sticker album, until each one has been consumed and the set is complete (preferably not all in one session).

The bar has a “Green Hour” from 5-8pm (thus stretching time somewhat) when the key cocktail element is absinthe, described as a spirit as aromatic as it is refreshing, and which apparently conjures up the appearance of a “Green Fairy” whenever there is a bottle of the drink around. It was a pleasure we missed out on and must leave until next time.

Guest rooms are 23-36 square metres and suites 47 square metres, all with work desk, easy chair or chaise longue and marble bathrooms. Amenities include a whole floor of 10 conference rooms for up to 160 people, and the two-level fitness centre with sauna.

Hilton Vienna Plaza is one of three Hiltons in Vienna, the other two being Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront, which is on the edge of the city facing the river, and Hilton Vienna, which is at the central Stadtpark.

The leading global hospitality company has a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5300 properties with more than 863,000 rooms in 106 countries and territories. The brands are Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

Hilton Honors loyalty program members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels can access benefits including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi.

Hilton Vienna Plaza
Schottenring 11, Vienna A-1010
Tel.: +43-1-313-900

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