The Grande Dame - Excellent, Classic, Beautiful
If there's a sin in travel, it must be this: an unmemorable experience. You invest your time. You invest your money. You want something to show for it, something to remember. And yet even though global travel offers modern technology and comforts, I find so many hotels, excellent hotels even, interchangeable, indistinguishable, unmemorable.
The Hotel Sacher is memorable! The door opens. You step into a new world, or rather an old world, the Habsburg empire with its damasks, divans, mirrors, brocade walls, opulent and inlaid floors, crystal chandeliers, life-size and larger marble statuary, old world paintings, women in pearls and sapphires. It's an experience you'll not forget. Or regret.
Founded in 1876, in the middle of Emperor Franz Joseph nearly 70 year reign, the hotel has stood the test of time. Empires come. Empires go. The Sacher remains. The hotel traces to Eduard Sacher, scion of Franz Sacher. Franz was chef to Prince Metternich, the famous statesman who stood atop the pinnacle of European affairs for four decades. Franz invented the eponymous cake, the Sachertorte, which the hotel proudly features. Crowds queue outside the hotel just to buy it. Try it! It's delicious. Each morning, the kind maids stocked us with tasty chocolate morsels, including the torte.
As I say, most luxury hotels today are corporate-owned, perhaps contributing to their "corporate" and fungible feel. The Sacher however remains proudly family-owned, artisanal. You sense this immediately. The building is palatial yet cosy, opulent but relaxed, filled with Old Master paintings, chandeliers, and mementos of its glorious past.
The rooms are well-appointed, large and comfortable. We had a large suite that was traditional yet felt modern. The sensibility was of being in a home. A very nice home. With pattern-on-pattern fabrics, 19th century antiques and very quiet air-conditioning.
The hotel staff were simply excellent. The concierge met and anticipated our every request. We got last minute tickets and excellent seating for the symphony. We enjoyed horse drawn carriage rides, a train ride and trip to Salzburg (staying in the very beautiful sister hotel there). The concierge adroitly handled all these trips and made judicious and much appreciated recommendations.
The breakfasts were among the best I've had in my life. All in beautiful settings. The hotel restaurants are diverse and very, very beautiful.
In a lifetime of travel, the Sacher is among the finest and most memorable hotels I've experienced. Nothing else really compares to it or to its excellent team. Bravo! I very much look forward to returning.