Review: Kempinski Palais Hansen Hotel, Vienna, Austria
- January 3, 2018 |
- By Larry Olmsted
Vienna is a charming city, known for great food, great wine and great culture. It also happens to be fairly cigar friendly, with smoking venues in several of the best hotels. One of the more notable cigar lounges can be found inside the Kempinski Palais Hansen, a new luxury hotel situated in the heart of the historic capital.
The Palais Hansen building was originally intended to be a hotel for the 1873 Vienna World Exposition, but instead became a government office building. After it was purchased by Kempinski, the property underwent a massive, historically sensitive renovation and finally opened for the first time as a luxury hotel just four years ago.
All of the important architectural details have been preserved. The impressive fluted columns remain in place and the grand lobby—formerly the main courtyard—was covered with glass to form a bright and airy welcoming area. Between the two glass-enclosed elevator shafts is a jewel box of a cigar lounge, full of original ornate chandeliers, suede-covered couches and easy chairs, low tables adorned with heavy ceramic ashtrays and floor standing silver cigar holders. There is also an outdoor terrace mezzanine above the glass-enclosed courtyard with tables and chairs where cigar smoking is allowed (but there is no waiter service available).
The lounge, which seats about 24, features a glass-display humidor with an impressive international selection of cigars. The Cuban repertoire includes offerings from Bolivar, Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo, Partagás, Romeo y Julieta, Trinidad and Vegas Robaina. The most precious is a Cohiba Behike 56 ($82) and there is also a rotating menu of limited editions. Then there are a couple dozen options from the Dominican Republic (including Ashton, Arturo Fuente, Davidoff, Macanudo, VegaFina), as well as a few Nicaraguan and Honduran smokes.
The spirits list is equally comprehensive, with a full range of Cognacs, whiskeys, wines and cocktails. Cigar-smoking patrons can also order food and beverage from the lobby bar menu—including the hotel’s signature apple strudel, which is paraded out of the oven on a silver cart and served warm, with staffers ringing a bell to announce its arrival.
The hotel itself is located close to Vienna’s grand pedestrianized shopping and dining center. The guest rooms are large and modern with digital controls for the oversized walk-in showers, espresso machines and every other bell and whistle. There is an extensive spa, a casual Viennese eatery, and the Michelin-starred Edvard, one of Vienna’s top fine-dining spots.
Kempinski is a Geneva-based luxury hotel brand that specializes in turning iconic properties into lodging. The company recently opened a hotel in Havana inside the old Manzana de Gomez building, which is home to Cuba’s Cohiba Atmosphere cigar lounge.
Kempinski Palais Hansen Hotel
1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 1 2361000
Open Daily: 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.