First in: Rosewood Vienna, Austria hotel review


The rooms

Tap the remote-control and blinds will rise to slowly reveal the neighbourhood – it’s like having a royal box looking out over the city. From our room, 514 (which can be combined with 513 to make a family suite), I could look straight down to the Hofburg Palace, the Habsburg’s modest little des res in town – ever so slightly distracted by the cocktail trolley by the window. The same view was also possible from the bathtub (which doesn’t come with cocktails, though that can doubtless be arranged). Bedrooms are elegant with nothing that will scare the horses (particularly not the well-trained gee-gees of the Spanish Riding School); there are soft grey marbles and burnished orange chairs and sofas that curve to follow the walls, along with brassy Art Deco flourishes such as the sink units and marble-and-walnut drinks cabinets that take pride of place, with shelves bearing a trio of pre-made cocktails and essays by modernist architect Adolf Loos. Connecting all the spaces are fluid, linear patterns on rugs, cushions, notebooks and curtains, all by design company Backhausen, a key player in the Wiener Jugendstil (that’s Art Nouveau to you) movement of the early 20th century. And the effect that a handful of playful artworks can have in personalising a space is quite incredible. The hi-tech Toto loo (I’ve always assumed the name has no relation to Dorothy’s four-legged friend), which yawns wide open when you approach but doesn’t quite enquire how your day’s been, is still enough of a novelty to mention here.

Suite at Rosewood Vienna

The food and drink

Anyone familiar with the bright, well-choreographed pockets of Mittel-Europe created by London restaurant maestros Corbin and King (The Delauney, The Wolseley) will feel immediately at home in Neue Hoheit. Rosewood is very good at creating destination restaurants. This is an all-day performance that pirouettes from breakfast, when you peruse the counters of jewel-like pastries and bircher muesli and cured meats and point at the ones you’d like brought to your table, to dinner, with a menu that digs deep into Austrian traditions and bistro comfort food. A lobster roll here, some trout rillette there, a rarely seen trout nicoise and pumpkin three ways, as well as catfish with braised kohlrabi – plus big-hitters including a wiener schnitzel so large you could drape it over your knees on a cold day and tafelspitz, a no-nonsense beef broth with bone marrow and horseradish sauce bread. And there’s strudel and cherry and chocolate creations for pudding. It’s all good and button-popping and very Viennese, but maybe the menu lacks a cheffy signature or two to set it apart – after all, this is Vienna and there are lots of places to eat wiener schnitzel and tafelspitz. More individual is the bar upstairs, where the German tag-team of bartenders make cocktails using spirits mapped out from various Austrian regions – the best sort of geography lesson – such as a Golden Roof made using fruit brandy from the Tirol with gin, caraway seed and pineapple. The signature Vienna Calling, a chocolatey riff on the Old Fashioned, is garnished with a little picture of ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ star Falco.



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