Alex Kravetz leads $14M Hotel Imperial restoration

As part of a multi-million dollar investment to restore Europe's iconic hotels under The Luxury Collection, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide unveiled the restored public spaces at Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna

The one-year, $14-million restoration of the hotel's ground floor, which includes the lobby, a signature restaurant, destination bar, Imperial Cafe and Imperial Torte shop and private event venues, was led by British interior designer Alex Kravetz, in collaboration with the Bundesdenkmalamt (Austrian Federal Office for the Care of Monuments).

Hotel Imperial, with its Italian neo-Renaissance facade, has been the residence of choice for royalty and high society visiting Vienna for the past 140 years. Originally built in 1863 as a private residence for Prince Philipp of Württemberg, the palace was converted into Hotel Imperial in time for the 1873 Universal Exhibition. Situated on the Ringstrasse (Ring Boulevard), neighboring the Musikverein, Hotel Imperial is near major attractions such as the Vienna State Opera, Kunsthistorisches Museum and Secession Building.


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The original passage connecting the hotel to the Musikverein was completely re-modeled and enlarged during the restoration. Newly re-opened, the Composers Entrance provides guests with a stately departure experience while en route to a performance at the concert hall, home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Leading the way to this entryway is the Path of History, lined with archival photographs of the hotel and its guests.

At the heart of the hotel is 1873 – HalleNsalon, a lobby bar reminiscent of a private library. The high-ceilinged bar has chandeliers and restored angel friezes.

For the Cafe Imperial Wien, chairs and narrow window tables fashioned by Oswald Haerdtl for the cafe in 1936 were restored, while the new parquet floor and light fixtures reflect the original interiors by the Austrian architect and designer. Cafe Imperial Wien was also expanded and includes book-match marble floors, integrating the new space with a show kitchen and Imperial Torte display.

The new OPUS Restaurant combines architect Josef Hoffmann's Viennese style from the 1930s with modern aesthetics. Passing through the restored entrance, guests enter an environment featuring original burr walnut paneling, crystal chandeliers and red candle wall lights. An inspired addition to the Viennese gourmet scene, OPUS reinterprets Austrian classics using contemporary techniques and lighter flavors. The menu features regional produce.

To date, The Luxury Collection and its partners invested over $580 million to restore some of hotels in Europe. Recently completed restorations and re-openings include The Gritti Palace in Venice, Prince de Galles in Paris, Santa Marina in Mykonos and Hotel Bristol in Vienna, while Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan will be unveiled in December.