Old World Luxe: A Review of the Park Hyatt Vienna
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When I think of Vienna, I think of luxury, history, sophistication, culture, flair and, of course, the Christmas markets. After a recent winter stay at the Park Hyatt Vienna, I'm confident that those same terms can be used to describe the hotel itself. The Park Hyatt is in the heart of Vienna on the historic Am Hof Square and has managed to combine history with modern conveniences in a seamless but luxurious way.
Though the hotel opened in 2014, the building itself was anything but new or cookie-cutter. Its former life was as a bank building that dated back more than 100 years. In fact, the building was part of Vienna’s First District, listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. See? I really wasn't kidding about the sophistication, history and culture. Oh, and to add in a bit of flair, the current swimming pool was formerly the bank's underground vault and is every bit as cool as it sounds.
I checked it out recently with my mother to see if it lived up to the hype.
The Park Hyatt Vienna was a Category 6 World of Hyatt property, which meant that award rooms cost 25,000 Hyatt points per night. Using points is a good deal compared to paid rates that run several hundred euros per night. When I booked my stay roughly a year ago, the best deal was using a mix of Hyatt points and cash. At the time, the cost was a fixed 127 euros plus 12,500 World of Hyatt points per night, which is what I paid for this holiday-season stay. Since I made my booking, Hyatt has changed how they price points and cash awards, so your cash component may be higher (or lower) than mine.
You can earn World of Hyatt points to use toward your booking via the World of Hyatt Credit Card, currently offering up to 50,000 bonus points. The first 25,000 bonus points are awarded after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, and another 25,000 points are awarded after you spend a total of $6,000 within the first six months. If that isn't enough to fund the Park Hyatt Vienna award trip of your dreams, Chase Ultimate Rewards points from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
The Park Hyatt Vienna was in the heart of Vienna in the Goldenes Quartier, host to high-end shopping and churches, museums, buildings and attractions. This entire section of town, just like the hotel, felt extremely high-end and luxurious.
The hotel was easy walking distance to all sorts of Vienna must-visits, such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Spanish Riding School and a whole host of Christmas markets. In fact, there was a nice Christmas market literally across the street from the hotel, complete with an outdoor Champagne bar.
Truth be told, our visit to Vienna was structured around visiting various Christmas markets as a Christmas gift to my mom, and I don't think there was a better location in town for those purposes than the Park Hyatt as we were within walking distance of the Old Viennese Christmas Market Freyung (dating to the 1700s), the Weihnachtsmarkt Am Hof market right across the street and the very popular Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz, which featured ice skating, a Ferris wheel and rows of shops.
We arrived at the Park Hyatt Vienna after an overnight flight on Austrian Airlines from Newark Airport (EWR). Add in clearing customs and a 45-minute ride in traffic from the airport, and we arrived to this grand property around 10am tired and in desperate need of a both a shower and a nap.
I had sent a note in advance to the hotel using Hyatt's e-concierge feature requesting early check-in, but there's never a guarantee that it'll work out as you hope. When the very professional and polite woman at the check-in desk informed us that our room was ready I about died and went to jet-lag heaven.
Before heading up to pass out, we learned that my Hyatt Globalist status would score us full breakfasts either via room service or in the hotel restaurant the Bank. And, as if things couldn't get any better, we learned that we'd been upgraded. We were given the option to complete the check-in process in the room, which we happily accepted and retreated up the clear escalator, down the long hallway and to our awaiting sanctuary.
The Park Hyatt Vienna had 143 guest rooms, including 41 suites, ranging from 375 to 1,830 square feet, large for Vienna. Using Hyatt points + cash, we had booked a standard room with two twin beds, which would have met the needs of Grandma Points and me just fine on our Christmas-market getaway.
However, as luck (or my Hyatt Globalist status) would have it, we were upgraded to the 750-square-foot park suite deluxe. As soon as we walked in the room, we knew this was going to be special, as even the entrance hallway was grand.
While standard rooms often sell for over 500 euros per night, this suite often goes for more than 1,000 euros per night with cash. It was impressive in both its stature and furnishings. It was hard to imagine what the room would have been used for when the building was a bank, though it certainly didn't feel like any hotel room I had stayed in before (though most similar in decor to the Park Hyatt Paris).
This was a true suite with a (huge) walk-in closet, separate living room with a large desk, couch and table. There was one king bed and one large bathroom with both a shower and soaking tub.
While it wasn't our initial intention, the living room became invaluable, as the time difference and jet lag simply wasn't allowing me to sleep very well at night, so having our own spaces at night was very helpful. The complimentary rollaway bed they provided after the first (sleepless) night was a godsend.
The bedroom itself was a space fit for a king, with massively high ceilings, rich tones and patterns and a window that overlooked the quaint street below. Well, quaint when early morning construction wasn't going on at a nearby shop.
The bed itself was neither too soft or too firm (which can sometimes be the case in Europe), but the pillows were extremely thin once you laid your head on them. It took at least three pillows to equal one of my regular pillows at home, so ask for extra pillows if you like your head to be raised a bit off the bed.
In the bedroom, you could control the curtains and lights with a press or two of the buttons on the wall, although I must admit we never got adept at the controls, and the lights would occasionally turn on at strange times.
The bathroom in the suite was gorgeous, with light and bright marble, soft towels and Blaise Mautin bath amenities.
My only issue with the bathroom, or really with the entire suite, was that the bathtub seemed to be a bit broken. The temperature settings were partially crushed in, and as a result, you couldn't get the water to be hotter than lukewarm, as the temperature settings were unresponsive.
Thankfully, no such issue persisted in the shower, and we did not inquire with maintenance during our stay about the tub, though the damage should have been apparent with visual inspection.
The bathroom had two vanity areas, so my mom and I each had our own area to store toiletries and get ready each day.
Finally, the walk-in closet just off of the entry was about the size of my old apartment in Brooklyn. It could certainly have supported a crib, should you need a quiet place for a baby to sleep.
Food and Beverage
Thanks to our included Globalist breakfast benefit, we enjoyed room service a couple of mornings of our stay. Or, if I'm being honest, it was really brunch, as we had breakfast delivered toward the end of the breakfast window (thanks jet lag!). Each night, we would fill the card out to hang on the door, and each morning at precisely the requested time, a table of food and beverages would appear.
A special shoutout to the room-service professionals who seemed unfazed by the fact that I was usually still half asleep and most certainly fully disheveled as they came into the room with our meal looking ready for a ball themselves.
We ate our way around the menu enjoying berries, yogurt, granola, eggs, sausage, coffee, juice, hot chocolate, salmon and a bread basket.
Standouts were the eggs, sausage and berries, though if I were to nitpick at all, it would be that the menu was on the shorter end for a high-end hotel. For our purposes, though, it was perfect.
Coming fresh off a stay at The St. Regis New York, where a child's room-service order of macaroni and cheese literally rang in around $30, room service at the Park Hyatt Vienna felt like a relative bargain. On a particularly cold and exhausted night, we ordered room service for dinner (shown below) and, all in, the cost was 45 euros. That wasn't cheap, but it wasn't terrible for two people enjoying room-service schnitzel and sides at a Park Hyatt in Vienna.
There were no surcharges added to the prices on the room-service menu (other than tips at your discretion), so the 12-euro kids meals of spaghetti, cheeseburger, schnitzel or nuggets really was 12 euros plus tip.
In terms of quality, the room service at the Park Hyatt was good — not the best I'd ever had, but still quite good, especially for the price.
While we didn't eat in the Bank Brasserie & Bar within the Park Hyatt, we did enjoy drinks there one evening and found the service in the bar area to be on the slower side that night. However, the servers were gracious, and the items were reasonably priced for a Park Hyatt (our total for a glass of wine and hot chocolate was 13 euros).
We did not visit the Living Room, which served whiskey, cognac and cigars, or the Café Am Hof, which offered coffee, homemade cakes and snacks, in part because they closed early the night we tried to visit.
The Park Hyatt Vienna was home to the Arany Spa, a full-service spa with six suites, a 1,291-square-foot fitness center and a gorgeous, 15-meter indoor swimming pool in the bank's former vault.
I didn't use the spa or fitness center on my visit myself, though.
Families should love that the hotel offered a "Very Important Baby" amenity that included a gift for the child, child-friendly amenities, bubbles, toys and a baby cot or child-sized bed, if required. (My kids didn't travel with us on this trip, so I don't have firsthand experience.)
There was also a package for dogs that included a dog bed, water and food bowls and a dog welcome amenity. There was a 35-euro-per-day charge for dogs.
Staying at the Park Hyatt Vienna was a true joy. I can't imagine a more welcoming home base for our first trip to Vienna. There are surely less expensive places to stay in Vienna, but this is precisely what points are for: to take a special trip with a loved one several notches up without impacting your bottom line. At 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night with no destination or resort fees, you can string together several nights at this property with points earned from rewards credit cards and walk away from your time in Vienna feeling like you are on Cloud 9.
Going back to your normal life after living the life of chic European luxury for a few days may be a stark wakeup call, but it's well worth the risk. My advice: Fly home in business class using miles like we did to aid in the transition back to the real world (or at least delay it a bit).