Vienna palace offers flat at princely price

Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:00am EDT
 
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By Derek Brooks

VIENNA (Reuters) - Vienna's opulent Schoenbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family, will open its doors to tourists looking to spend the night like Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Sisi.

An apartment - once reserved for close relatives of the court - can be booked from April 30 at a starting price of 699 euros ($960) per person per night. The two-bedroom flat with kitchen and dining room sleeps four.

Those looking to experience full imperial grandeur - and who have the cash to spare - can reserve such amenities as a personal butler, a horse-drawn carriage and an in-suite chef.

The late 17th-century rococo palace was once the secondary residence of the Habsburg monarchy, which ruled the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918.

It is one of Austria's top tourist attractions and registered 2.9 million visitors last year. In 1996 UNESCO listed Schoenbrunn and its gardens as a world heritage site, calling it a remarkable example of Baroque synthesis of the arts.

Austria Trend Parkhotel - which will operate the hotel suite - hopes to capitalise on this charm and sees the apartment as attractive to foreign tourists from East Asia and Europe.

"Making the apartment feel like a part of Schoenbrunn without making it a copy of other rooms was important to the architect," a spokeswoman for Austria Trend said.

"We looked for furniture that was in the style, but still making it modern enough for a hotel."   Continued...

 
A general view of Schoenbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family, in Vienna March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger