Friendly, helpful staff
Large rooms and bathrooms
Location close to back streets away from tourists
Location too close to tacky, touristy area
Wi-fi - drops constantly or can't be found by device
No bar soap, cheap shampoo
No views from quieter rooms
The staff at the Hotel Kaiserin Elizabeth stand out as the best part of the hotel and enhanced our stay in Vienna. Like nearly everyone in the tourist areas of Vienna, they spoke excellent English. They helped us with restaurant reservations and recommended places where the locals go for lunch or dinner away from the tourist hordes. They also helped with directions, good advice on things to see (and to skip), and any other requests we had. I can't imagine how anyone would find fault with the service here; every front desk person was helpful and friendly throughout our stay, no matter what time of day it was or who was on duty.
Our room was very large even by American standards, with a walk-in closet, high ceilings, and a large bathroom with a double-vanity sink, a separate WC and a soaking tub. The king-sized bed was firm and comfortable, with just a slight gap in the middle. My only quibble with the bathroom was the lack of bar soap and shampoo (only a very pungent liquid soap/shampoo in a wall dispenser was provided). There was no shower curtain, of course, but the glass half-screen adequately kept the bathroom dry when using the shower.
The hotel itself offered a beautiful, elegant space to escape the crowds just outside. The lobby, sitting room, and breakfast room all succeeded in evoking old-world decor and charm. My only issue with the common areas was that the hallways outside the rooms could be smoky at times, even though our room was non-smoking. The smell of cigarette smoke also extended to the lobby area.
One other problem was the very poor wi-fi system. Connections were often unavailable and always had a very weak signal; when the network could be found, we had to log in with multiple pieces of information every time; and the signal often dropped after a few minutes, requiring another login. I also had trouble finding a signal in the breakfast room. Speaking of breakfast, the breakfast room was large and beautifully furnished, with the breakfast itself being a hearty buffet of meats, fried vegetables, pastries, and cheeses, along with some lighter options such as cereal and yogurt.
Depending on what you like, the hotel's location is either a plus or a slight minus. It is literally just a few steps from the must-see St. Stephan's Cathedral, but Stephansplatz, the area around the cathedral, is an assault on both senses and sensibilities. It is filled with an ugly mob of tourists, cheap souvenir stands, tourist-trap restaurants, panhandlers, and aggressive costumed Mozarts trying to entice tourists to attend musical performances of dubious quality. If you like being part of the horde, just turn right when you leave the building and join the masses. If you don't, you can turn left to find a pretty neighborhood of restaurants, cafes, shops, and churches that the tourists haven't found, as well as a back way to the cathedral.
This hotel has the potential to be a great one. They already have the staff, rooms, and decor, but they just need to do something about the wi-fi, provide more upscale soaps and shampoos, and move the smokers farther away (or go totally smoke-free).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- You will find the HOTEL KAISERIN ELISABETH directly in the city center of Vienna, just next to the famous pedestrian zone the Kärntnerstraße and the Graben, only a few steps from St. Stephan`s Cathedral.Our 63 non-smoking rooms are located on four floors. Each room provides bathroom/shower and WC, and is equipped with satellite-TV, flatscreen TV, telephone, radio, minibar, roomsafe, internetaccessW-Lan (free of charge for our guests), and air-condition. Smoking is allowed in an own separate area in our breakfast room. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kaiserin Elisabeth Vienna
- Kaiserin Elisabeth Hotel Vienna