I am familiar with the quality of Marriott hotels and chains. So, I booked in Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel in Vienna during my recent European trip to visit the Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria. Also, I want to earn points in my SPG Rewards Program so I booked this hotel when I could have chosen other hotels near the Wien Hauptbahnhof.
There are plus and negative points about this hotel. I am not as thrilled as I thought I would be because of some of the hotel staff’ behavior towards me and my friend while we were checking in and the one incident I had when I called reception to ask for an access to the wifi since their wifi broke down. I will tell you about them in my findings below.
What I like:
Location – The Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel Vienna is located within walking distance from Rennweg Bahn which is another main train station in Vienna where regional trains from the airport passes. Some of the train passing the Main Station which is the Wien Hauptbahnhof also pass in this train station. There is a tram stop just 2 minutes away from the hotel so going around Vienna is not an issue when you stay here. Groceries like Bila and Lidl are also within walking distance and Lidl is located in Rennweg Bahn. There are plenty of food outlets too if you feel like eating outside or trying out other cuisine. Staying here will easily connect you to the airport, other major train stations in Vienna and nearby towns, famous landmarks, etc. One landmark which is just 10-15 minutes walk from this hotel is the Schloss Belvedere where Christmas Market is also held every year. I had the privilege to visit it in the morning and night time for the Christmas Market.
Room – Spacious, quiet and we were given a room on the ground floor towards the end of the block. I thought it would be noisy because our room is just in front of the nearby main road but my friend and I didn’t even hear vehicles nor people passing by. The room is big enough that my friend and I didn’t have to bump to each other. There was enough space to leave our luggages outside the closet without causing one to tiptoe around.
Cleanliness – It is clean but not very pristine. Still, I would give it a good grade for being clean all throughout, no dust s visible on the table and bathroom counter top, and on the bedside tables, even on the lamps. Though, they could upgrade the carpet. It is not dirty but it could definitely be improved by changing the carpets to new ones.
Comfort – The bed is ultra-comfortable! I had a very nice sleep during my stay. I also like the fact that the headboard has built-in lights that made the room very cozy when you switch the lamps off. It adds to the comfort level of sleep in my opinion.
Food – We paid for our breakfast while at this hotel. We didn’t book it with our room rate because we didn’t know exactly what type of food they would have as selection. So, my friend and I were so surprised to see a wide range of food selections that we paid for another breakfast voucher on our 3rd day of stay there.
Staff at the dining area – All the dining area staff were very friendly and accommodating. They would respectfully ask if they could clear your used plates and cups so you could go back to the buffet area with a fresh plateful of goodness! I wish I could say the same thing about the staff in the reception/concierge area.
Bathroom – It is spacious which is what I like. I love staying in hotel rooms with spacious and clean bathrooms.
Lively lobby – The hotel’s lobby is quite compact but it is lively in the evening. We stayed there for 2 nights and of both nights, there were events. The first one was lighting of the tree but we missed it. When we came back from our tour, the tree was already lit up and the huge ginger bread house was already on display at the middle of the lobby. Thursday nights is band night for the hotel. There was a band playing just in front of the guests in the lobby. They were not in any stage or anything so it was like an impromptu gathering but it was nice. The hotel was lively.
Pet friendly – This is a pet-friendly hotel. I saw a food and water bowl right in front of the restaurant so guests’ fur babies could also enjoy a good dining experience while enjoying their food and water in front of the restaurant.
Price – I got a good rate because I booked directly at the hotel using our company’s discounted rate for airline staff but I could not disclose it.
What I don’t like:
Wifi – It was free but it was not functioning well on the 2nd day of our stay. I had to call the reception area to ask for the special access code given to guests. I was given few access codes that were not working so I had to call a couple of times to ask for a new one. The lady on the other line sounded very exasperated that I (the guest, yes, I…) had to “apologize” to her for calling again. I didn’t hear her say it was okay, or something, but she just gave me a new code. I didn’t like that experience, considering I am a Rewards member of the Marriott/SPG group of hotels and I was not even pressing for anything special to be given me, just a working access code. Well, finally, after several tries, the access code worked.
The concierge staff – One thing I always observe upon arriving at a hotel is how I am treated when I check in. That is a very huge factor in my decision whether to stay again in the future in that same hotel. My friend and I arrived almost around 3 pm at the hotel. There were not too many people in the check in area, just me, my friend, and few guests standing in the lobby, and not in the check in desk. I stood in front of the lane that indicated “Rewards Program” member of some sort thinking because I am a Rewards member that I should queue there. I was directed by the lady standing on the counter to the lady next to her. I didn’t hear what she said though, so I just obliged and went to the girl next to her. It was not yet a minute after I moved to the other lane when the lady who asked me to go to the other lane entertained another guest who was not Asian like myself. I do not want to bring this up though I was really confused why that lady could not entertain me. I wanted to ask her why she had to redirect me to the lady next to her but I decided not to. I was tired. I came from Munich, Germany by train and had to navigate my way around Wien Hbf to get there. Anyway, I let that slip but then another staff in the concierge just standing behind the lady doing my check in details could not even throw the guests some smile. He was standing there, looking around, not flashing any smile. I was a bit disappointed because my expectations were very high considering this is a part of the Marriott group of hotels and I have the highest regards to the Marriott group. I couldn’t help but compare their treatment to me versus how I was treated in Mercure Muenchen City Centre Hotel just few days ago which is part of the Accor Group of hotels where I am also a program member. The difference of the way I was treated from this hotel and Mercure is huge. I felt very welcome and was expected in Mercure but in Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel in Vienna seems to be the opposite. They were nonchalant. I made a decision not to use my Rewards Loyalty program again. It may be silly but this is my personal opinion. It is very important for me to be treated the way they would treat people who are not Asian. I am not a racist. But I just wanted to point that out that I could see how a person of my color is treated when checking in various hotels. I felt very welcome in Mercure. I felt like I was also an esteemed guest in Mercure. I wish I could say the same thing about my experience here, unfortunately, not. That is all I can say…
No complimentary water, coffee, tea, etc. – I am not sure if this was the norm for this hotel but I am sure that it wasn’t for the Marriott group. I didn’t bother asking the concierge anymore since I didn’t enjoy their “lack of enthusiasm to welcome guests” in their hotel. There was an ice bucket, and 2 glasses and that was it.
My recommendation: 3 out of 5
Much as this is a good hotel especially with its location, and the accessibility to reach plenty of landmarks in Vienna, I cannot give it a high rating based on my experience with the concierge. Their nonchalant behavior is enough to make me not use my Marriott Rewards. I felt Accor is better with their service and price too. It is a big deal for me to feel welcomed to a place where I would spend few days of my precious time away from home. And if the feeling is already off the moment I enter their premise then I don’t know why I have to even consider booking in the same place the next time when there are other properties nearby that are more affordable. Although the price I already paid for this stay was for our company’s discounted rate, I know I could find other hotels of maybe lesser calibre in terms of star-rating of the property but definitely more guests-friendly.
Although I recommend this hotel to those who want to stay near the Rennweg Bahn so they could catch the train to Vienna Airport easily.
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas – this is just a stone’s throw away from the entrance of the hotel
Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna
Soviet War Memorial
Mozart Requiem Karlskirche
The Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna Hotel is a part of the Marriott group of hotels. It is located in Ungargasse 60, Vienna 1030, Austria.