This is, on balance, one of the three best hotels I've ever stayed at. We were there for five nights, and it was hard to leave. It's also cheaper, by a good bit, than the Imperial and the Sacher. The Imperial is just a few blocks away, but further from the center of things, so the location, especially being mainly on the Ringstrasse, is not as good. If one puts the point of a compass on the Bristol and draws circles, one will consistently find that it is most convenient to all the most important cultural sites, on the whole. The Sacher is a few steps closer to Stephansplatz, but it sort of sits in the shadow behind the Opera, whereas the Bristol faces the Opera directly, but separated by a large plaza, so the grandeur of the Opera is heightened, as is the graciousness of the hotel's space. It's a truly grand hotel with the grandest location. The decoration inside is opulent (with just a tiny bit of faded elegance here and there -- a somewhat worn tufted leather seat in the elevator, an older grate over the fireplace -- which makes it seem more real and appealing); the quality of bathrooms and furniture, bedding, carpeting, etc., is superior. We weren't environmentally friendly, I'm afraid, and let them replace the fabulous sheets every day; it is, after all, a luxury hotel, and one wants to enjoy every bit of the luxury. The toiletries are outstanding, a brand I didn't know, but wonderfully scented soap, not overpowering, and some of the best shampoo we've had. The double shower -- rainshower and incredibly powerful hand-held -- were, just like everything else in the bathroom, best quality. The long entrance hallway to the room and the entire bathroom are covered in lovely yellow and white marble and some black stone (wasn't entirely sure what it was) -- very luxurious. A walk in closet off that hallway, and then great, big original closets along the wall of the room itself, mirrored (per original design: framed and beveled glass), facing the window/balcony. The twin beds (made up either separately or together as a king) are outstanding: quite firm, so that one is a little concerned at first, but superb quality, so that they are very supportive but also give in the right places. I didn't have a single moment of discomfort in five nights. The buffet breakfast included in our rate was outstanding and augmented by being able to order made to order food from the kitchen: I'm an eggs benedict lover and had them every morning -- not entirely classic because the meat is not Canadian bacon, but the most perfectly poached and delicious eggs (European eggs have a much darker yellow yolk and are much more flavorful than most pale American eggs) and an exceptionally good Hollandaise. Plus there is the full buffet, with great meats, cheeses, huge variety of outstanding breads and rolls, superb marmalades and jams, and on and on. The hotel staff is outstanding: unobtrusive, but always there when you need them, extremely friendly and helpful, making one feel completely welcome. For information: we had a Deluxe room on the 4th floor with a 'standing balcony' with fabulous views of the Opera and in other directions, too. We got a great deal -- Taste of Luxury -- which gave us 5 nights for the price of four and included the breakfast for two every day. While certainly not cheap -- it worked out to 280 Euros per night -- it was a fabulous deal for a hotel like this, for that room, for that view, for that location, and all including a breakfast that meant we could just snack for lunch and make it to dinner just fine, even with hours of walking, and then have a good appetite for dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in Vienna (you do have to know where to go: everyone will tell you Plachutta for Tafelspitz, which is a big mistake; the best Tafelspitz in Vienna is at the Rote Bar at the Sacher Hotel and at Rudi's Beisl; Café Landtmann's is also very good; I almost hesitate to say where the best Veal Gulasch with Nockerln is, since it's lovely and not touristy, but I'll say so anyway: Oswald und Kalb; probably the best Fiakergulasch is at Hansy at the beginning of Heinestrasse on the Praterstern; the concierge pointed out a great restaurant, with its related Beisl across the street, not very far from the hotel: Huth's; my very favorite restaurant in Vienna, ever since I first went there 17 years ago, and it was fantastic this time again, is Schnattl in the Lange Gasse -- very simple, classical elegance, outstanding, inventive, absolutely freshly prepared, best ingredients, and the chef/owner is a true artist, plus they have great Austrian wines and very knowledgeable waiters). Well, I could go on and on, but will finish simply by saying that, if I can afford it, I'll stay at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna anytime I can.
As stated above: having a deluxe room on a higher floor facing the Opera will make for the best poss...
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