JC Stays: Hotel Sans Souci, Vienna

An art-filled luxury hotel in Vienna, perfect for exploring the city’s Lichtenstein exhibition


Hotel Sans Souci

There’s always plenty of reason to visit Vienna, but the blockbuster centenary exhibition of American-Jewish artist Roy Lichtenstein’s huge pop art paintings is an added incentive to visit before mid-July.

And if you check in to the city’s Hotel Sans Souci, guests can get a taste before they even reach the exhibition at the Albertina Museum.

The Sans Souci’s own world-class collection of Lichtensteins sets it apart from other five-star hotels in Vienna, with several pieces lent to the exhibition. The 19th century building, which has been treated to a fabulous 21st century facelift, also has an arguably better location than other grande dame palaces, sitting on the edge of the buzzy Museum Quarter rather than the traffic-besieged Ring.

It's still within a 10-minute walk of the Hofburg and other inner city landmarks too, while an underground station opposite makes Vienna’s further-flung attractions easy to reach.

Elegance is the watchword here, although owner Norbert Winkelmayer, a passionate art lover whose mother worked as an assistant to Gustav Klimt, has introduced plenty of quirky touches along with his playful art collection — including a series of Lichtenstein’s images of mirrors facing the actual mirror wall of the lift lobby. There’s even an audio guide to the in-house art collection to discover more during your stay.

London design collective Yoo has added its own twist too, such as bathing the reception area in light to match the purple awnings outside and violet uniforms of the helpful and knowledgeable staff,

In the rooms, the focus is on comfort, including padded headboards, oversized mid-century-style armchairs — the lucky may encounter one of Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg chairs or a Tom Dixon piece — and spacious bathrooms with rainfall showers.

Like many old buildings, some rooms require climbing a short flight of stairs from the lift corridor, but the benefit is peace and quiet, high above the junction of Burggasse and Breit Gasse, on the edge of lively, bohemian Spittelburg.

Larger rooms feature modern four-posters and parquet flooring, and some have a balcony. But all guests are treated to hypoallergenic bedding, luxurious robes and a pillow menu.

Complimentary coffee is served to guest rooms on demand from 7am till an hour before midnight, but despite the attractions of room service it would be a shame to miss the elegance of the breakfast service.

You’ll find many elements of a buffet brought to guests’ tables on tiered trays, while eggs are cooked to order, and there are daily hot specials including innovative smoked salmon dishes.

Vienna is never short of dinner choices, and it’s worth knowing that the celebrated vegetarian bistro Tian (reservations vital) is within a five-minute stroll.

The Sans Souci’s playful elegance extends to even the swimming pool, the largest hotel pool in the city, with its striking juxtaposition of minimalist modern design lit by old-world chandeliers. What better image to conjure today’s Vienna, often cutting edge but always dressed up to the max.


Rooms cost from £318 including champagne breakfast with special packages for the duration of the Lichtenstein exhibition. Book at Preferred Hotels

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