Vienna is seeing an impressive increase in new hotels. According toTOPHOTELPROJECTS and Travel Agent Magazine, there are currently 17 new pipeline projects in the Austrian capital, with top names like Ritz-Carlton, Kempinski and Four Seasons all investing.
The Ritz-Carlton Vienna was originally going to be a Shangri-La, but after some construction delays, the Asian chain pulled back. Marriott International, parent company of Ritz-Carlton, grabbed the chance to add a luxury property to its portfolio (pictured). The hotel is now due to open sometime in Autumn by the historic “Schubertring Palais.” Project developer Bau Austria Immobilien (BAI) sold the hotel to the new Kazakhstani investor Venry Capital. The company director Timur Issatayev is private equity specialist and manages, according to “Die Presse,” an asset pool of approximately $3.5 billion. This year, Venry Capital already bought the Ritz-Carlton Moscow.
Another top hotel project in Vienna is the Kempinski Hotel at the Palais Hansen, which is currently under a major refurbishment. The hotel will open its doors in spring 2013 as the first Kempinski hotel in Vienna. When completed, it will have 153 rooms and suites as well as two restaurants, two bars, a fitness center, a Kempinski “The Spa”, various meeting and conference facilities as well as 17 exclusive residence apartments. The opening of the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna next year will mark the chain’s second property in Austria, along with the Kempinski Hotel “Das Tirol” in Jochberg near Kitzbühl.
The Four Seasons brand is also reportedly looking at Vienna. A centrally located former court building will be rebuilt for about $100 million, and the opening is tentatively scheduled for late 2014.
Travel Daily News notes that Vienna also just saw its first Leonardo hotel open on Europaplatz. The new hotel is close to the city’s main shopping street, Mariahilfer Strasse, and has 213 bedrooms and and function rooms
So what is inspiring all this investment by top brands? “Companies who were not present already realized that they should be here,” Astrid Pockfuss of the Vienna Tourist Board told Travel Agent in a different story. “Many of those names haven’t had a property in Vienna yet, and it’s the right time to come to the city. We don’t have so many five-star properties yet, so there is potential to develop in the market.” Pockfuss doesn’t feel that new developments will clash with historic hotels like the Hotel Sacher Wien. “Sacher is an established name,” she said. “It is a family hotel. It is tradition and classic luxury. I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Getting to and from Vienna is also getting easier, thanks to a new terminal at Vienna International Airport and the soon-to-open Vienna Central Station. (A rendering is above). While the train station will not be completed for three years or so, parts of it will be operational by the end of the this year. Pockfuss believes that the train station will also increase hotel development.
For passengers arriving by air, the inauguration of the new Check In 3 terminal in June marked the completion of the largest construction project ever undertaken at Vienna International Airport. The building comprises the Pier Süd (33 Schengen gates, 15 non-Schengen gates and 18 immigration desks) and a terminal (64 check-in desks, approximately 40 automated check-in desks, 12 security lanes, eight departure desks, ten baggage carousels). The new Check In 3 doubles the amount of terminal space at Vienna airport, and will help cut turnaround times at the airport despite the continuing rise in passenger volumes.