the Heart of Vienna
There’s no shortage of luxury in Vienna. This is a city with a standard for excellence in all things, from architecture to pastries to coffee to music. And with a long imperial history, the Austrian capital has played host to the world’s most powerful players for centuries—so naturally the hospitality game is strong.
Desiring to experience quintessential Viennese luxury at its finest, our search quickly brought us to the Hotel Sacher. I could say I was drawn to it after hearing about all the amazing people who have stayed there, or because of its prime location across from the opera house, or thanks to the chic new five star spa, but the truth is I had an ulterior motive: chocolate cake.
I may not be a big desserts person but as a kid I loved baking the world-famous Sachertorte. My mother and I had found the recipe in The Joy of Cooking and for every potluck after that, I insisted on whipping one up. The elegant, delicious cake never failed to wow our friends and family and I was fascinated to learn that the recipe is nearly 200 years old.
It was first created in 1832 by 16-year-old apprentice Franz Sacher, who stepped up to impress a prince and his guests when the head chef fell ill. Young Sacher’s concept was an instant hit: a light dark chocolate cake, dressed up with apricot jam, a fudge-like glaze and a dollop of whipped cream. The result is a wonderful balance of dry, moist, rich and tangy that’s perfect as an every day dessert or with afternoon tea.
Growing up I loved my version of the torte and was curious to try the original recipe, which is a family secret closely guarded by the Hotel. The verdict? It was definitely delicious, but I have to say my childhood torte takes the cake. Call it nostalgia—either way, I wasn’t too let down. After all I did still get to discover one of the finest hotels in Vienna.
The Hotel Sacher was opened in1876 by Franz Sacher’s son Eduard. While the family’s namesake torte was certainly a draw, it ended up being Eduard’s young wife Anna Fuchs, a butcher’s daughter, who really brought the buzz to the hotel. Under Anna’s guidance the Hotel Sacher quickly became a favorite meeting place for European celebrities and Viennese high society. When Eduard passed in 1892, Anna confidently took over and successfully managed for 40 years. In that time she made the Hotel Sacher into one of the finest in the world and earned the nickname the “Grande Dame.” A beloved Viennese icon, she was known to carry a cigar in one hand and one of her french bulldogs in the other.
Through many world conflicts and changes in ownership, today the hotel is once again at the top of its class. Following several twenty-first century renovations, Hotel Sacher has beautifully preserved its old world flair, featuring original antiques, oil paintings and silk wall coverings next to the latest modern amenities. Rooms, halls and lounges have been revamped with a light contemporary touch, while still exuding plenty of drama and glamour. If you’re thinking about hosting intensives or events, you’ll love the variety of options.
For mixing and mingling, the hotel offers plenty of chic wining and dining. You might do dinner at local favorite, the Rote Bar—a dramatic red room specializing in Viennese classics. Or go for something slightly more stately with a table at the Anna Sacher, where the walls are draped in vibrant emerald silk. For cocktails before the opera, the romantic all-blue Blaue Bar is an elegant choice, while the hotel’s two more casual cafe-bars are just right for everyday meals and get togethers.
When you’re ready to explore, the Hotel’s savvy concierge will guide you toward making the most of
your stay in Vienna. You might enjoy a stroll to the Museum Quartier to catch a glimpse of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” Or perhaps go for a little shopping in the nearby Golden Quarter, where all of the major luxury brands from Prada to Valentino have set up shop. If there’s any drawback to this super central location, it’s only that you won’t need to step out of a limo for your night at the opera.
Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010 Wien, Austria
+43 1 514560