Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.
For our stay in the Austrian capital of Vienna we selected the InterContinental Vienna. Opened in 1964 it was one of the first modern high-rise hotels in the city. Located right next to the Stadtpark, the old city centre and only a short walk away from the Vienna Mitte railway station the location is one of the best you can have in Vienna.
At Mitte the S-bahn stammstrecke stops with connections to the main railway station and various towns around Vienna as well as the starting point for the City Airport Express train to Vienna airport.
The exterior clearly showed its 1964 built heritage in a typical 1960’s ‘modern’ brutalist style. Once inside you get a far more classic look, just like you would expect in Vienna. Check-in was fast and friendly, after showing our vaccination passes we were allowed to walk around the hotel without face masks, almost like we were back in 2019.
We were assigned a room on the 7th floor, with the very fast lifts it took us no time to get there.
We originally booked a club room but thanks to my Ambassador status I was upgraded to a spacious Junior suite. Thank to its corner location it had windows on both sides, giving us a nice panoramic view over Vienna.
We had two separate beds which were located at one end of the room, the other end had a seating area with sofas and a coffee table. There was also a desk to work on. The TV was set up in between the Bed and the seating area, facing the entrance. Even though it could be turned around a bit, it never could face either area sufficiently. In the corner there was also a table with a coffee maker and a separate hot water kettle, they even provided hot chocolate to drink.
At the left of the entrance was a small room, this was the walk in closet, with plenty of space to stow your bags and unload them. Here there also was the fully stocked minibar.
At the right hand of the entrance you had the bathroom. It consisted of a small entrance with a door to the closed toilet cubicle at the right hand side, with the rest of the bathroom being through an opening further forward.
The nicest part if the bathroom was that it had an outside window, a rare treat in hotel bathrooms.
The downside was the age, while the sink and surrounding area where acceptable and offered plenty of place to store things, the bathtub was old and small. To use the shower they had a shower curtain, in my opinion not a very nice thing for an upscale hotel I vastly prefer a glass divider, giving me more of a hygienic feel. The toiletries used where the standard Agraria ones, as it was a suite we got the big ones (just like in Berlin) but they seemed to have run out of big shower gels as they just put two small ones.
As we booked a club room, we had access to the Club Lounge. As a big surprise it was actually open, the first time since February 2020 for us. It was in a slightly dated style but offered everything you needed. In the entrance area there was a desk where the lounge attendant could do some work.
To the right where the toilets and to the left the business area with some computers. Straight on you arrived in the main area with tables set up, here you could also find the bar from where to pick your cold drinks. To the left was a small section with sofas. To the right was the food area.
There was no food served at breakfast, for that you were invited to go to the main breakfast restaurant on the ground floor. Between 12:00 and 14:00 there was what they called ‘afternoon tea’, but I would rather just call it lunch. They served some sandwiches and sweet snacks at this time.
In the evening there was ‘dinner’, which was actually better than the snacks or canapes they usually serve in club lounges at dinner. There were a number of options for cold starters, there were three options in hot food (rice, vegetables and fish when where there), and some cheeses and desserts. At this time there also was some alcohol available.
It was nice to experience a true open club lounge experience again and hopefully other hotels will open theirs soon as well.
As I mentioned before breakfast was served in the main restaurant on the ground level. There was a huge buffet, nicely spread out so it wasn`t too crowded. They put a one way system in place, which was not always the most ideal to use. They had an egg station with eggs made to order, of course we ordered some delicious eggs benedict.
There rest of the buffet was the typical spread you would expect with of course some emphasis on Austrian specialities. The cheese was under a bowl which had to be raised and lowered using counterweights, which looked a bit excessive. They also had a fresh juice maker, you just put in the kind of fruits you wanted and out came your juice.
To work off all the calories, Timothy of course went to the gym. It was located in the basement, it was warm and a number of machines broken. Not the best gym he ever had.
The biggest issue in the room and the entire hotel was the fact that it was just old and in need of an upgrade. The style was clearly from a few decades ago and judging by the number of plugs in the room, or rather the lack of them, an upgrade is overdue. In all fairness the hotel was spotlessly clean and everything was in perfect condition, so that’s a good thing.
The hotel will soon get a complete overhaul if and when the Heumarkt redevelopment program will be approved. The hotel tower should be stripped to its core and given a new layout and design, to the newest Intercontinental standard. I will gladly come back to see how the transformation is like when it is finished.
2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe
- POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
- 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
- Potsdam 2021.
- REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
- BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
- BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
- BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
- Berlin 2021.
- By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
- Stopover in Szczecin.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
- GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
- GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
- A walk through Gdańsk.
- Gdańsk 2021.
- POLAND | PKP Intercity Gdansk to Wroclaw via Warsaw.
- Wrocław Museum of Architecture.
- The Dwarfs of Wrocław.
- Poland 2021.
- By train from Wroclaw to Karlovy Vary.
- Karlovy Vary.
- REVIEW | Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary.
- Czechia’s Great Spa Town of Europe Františkovy Lázně.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen Historical Underground Tunnels.
- CZECHIA | Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen.
- CZECHIA 2021 | Cheb and its castle.
- Hotel room for one.
- By train from Karlovy Vary to Prague via Pilsen.
- Czechia 2021.
- RegioJet from Prague to Bratislava.
- Bratislava Castle.
- REVIEW | Crowne Plaza Bratislava.
- Bratislava on a rainy Monday.
- ZSSK Fast Train Tatran from Bratislava to Strba.
- The Tatra rack and electric Railway from Strba via Strbske Pleso to Poprad tatry.
- SLOVAKIA | AquaCity Poprad.
- REVIEW | Hotel Seasons AquaCity Poprad.
- Slovakia 2021.
- Poprad – Bratislava – Vienna with ZSSK’s intercity train.
- VIENNA | Restaurant Steirereck.