Back in mid-January myself and a couple of friends decided to get away to Vienna for a quiet city break. We found some cheap flights with British Airways which I won’t review here as they were pretty much of a muchness.
For the hotel, we looked at a variety of options and eventually settled on the Marriott Renaissance Imperial Riding School (what a mouthful), which was going for around €75/ni – pretty good value I thought. I booked direct on Marriott’s website, however my friends who had no status booked using Hotels.com to get their 10% credit. The price was pretty similar.
The hotel isn’t quite in the centre, but it’s very conveniently located right next to Wien Rennweg station, which is on the direct line from the Airport. Landing on a Friday evening, we walked out the terminal and into the station integrated into the airport. Five minutes later the S Bahn arrived and after another 25 minutes were at Rennweg – all very easy.
Check-in was also pretty straightforward having already done most of it on the app, and as a Marriott Gold they explained that I’d been upgraded to a suite.
The hotel from the outside looked like it was built in the late 80s and not really renovated since then. The hallways were slightly eerie given it appeared to be very, very empty, other than Qatar Airways and KLM who seemed to use it as their crew hotel.
Wandering up to my suite and it was a fairly large junior suite with nice sitting area at one end, and the bed at the other.
Despite the entire hotel being non-smoking, my room did smell of cigarette smoke, almost enough for me to head back down and point this out. However by that point I was fairly tired and just looking forwards to a good sleep.
The bed was huge, although a little too firm for my tastes, and had a slightly odd backlight horse logo above the headboard. That logo was present all throughout the hotel as their motif.
The bathroom was huge, but rather oddly laid out. There was a lavatory and a bidet, as well as a single sink, and combined bath and shower. There was more than enough room for them to have put in a separate bath and walk-in shower, however they chose not to.
Again, it appeared to be very late 80s/early 90s and not refurbished since then.
The hotel was about 15 to 20 minutes walk from the centre of town so the next day the three of us wandered into town to do some exploring, very helpfully guided by my awesome cousin Philipp who’s a local.
The hotel also had a fairly nice pool area and sauna. The pool seemed to be inhabited by 60 year olds all lying around on the deck chairs in the semi-darkness.
The sauna on the other hand was a somewhat odd experience. Being British we of course showered and went in wearing our swimming trunks. There was a rather large and very naked gentleman already in there who didn’t bat an eyelid. A few minutes later a similarly large and also very naked older lady came in and sat down. By that point it was enough for me in terms of the heat so left. However my friend Ian remained. He came out a few minutes later saying that the old lady had kicked him out for wearing swimming trunks! Apparently she complained that they were unhygienic and it made her feel uncomfortable. 😮 We chalked that one up to cultural difference.
Later that evening, another local friend of mine had earlier recommended booking in at a restaurant called Skopik and Lohn. Even a few days in advance the only time I had for a table for three was 20.30 or later. Being somewhat on the other side of town, we grabbed an Uber which were fairly plentiful and decent value.
We had a pretty incredible dinner, with of course Wiener schnitzel as the main course. The staff were outstanding and the wines they chose to pair with the food were not only very reasonable, but also excellent. I highly recommend the Beerenauslese dessert wine with the amazing chocolate pudding, which was only €5 a glass. Genuinely one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time – simple food done really, really well.
On the Sunday we did a bus tour visiting Schönnbrunn palace with time for a 30 minute stroll around some of the grounds.
Before long it was time to head back to the airport and head home. The terminal that BA uses has security done at the gate. So you need to pass through the duty free shop, then immigration to leave the Schengen area, where the pretty awful contract lounge is immediately on your right. When I was there it was totally packed and virtually standing room only. Being pre-security you need to leave between 45 to 50 minutes if you want to be able to get through security and board the plane. They also hadn’t started the new group boarding process so was a bit of a scrum. Overall the experience wasn’t terribly pleasant.
Next time I’ll take Austrian!
For the price, the Renaissance was ok value – a somewhat tired 4* business hotel within walking distance of the city centre. However I daren’t think what the rates must be like in peak season. Oh, and they never credited my points so I had to retro-claim which took about ten days. Would I return – probably not.
Vienna however is a wonderful city, even in the cold, and can’t wait to return.