Luxury Hotels


Now you sense it now you KNOW, this is the hotel for tomorrow. In Vienna, Girlahead arrived in the rain, at dusk. First thing you see, at HOTEL 25HOURS MUSEUM QUARTIER, is an eight floor dark grey office building. But the top floor has the hotel’s name, and above the entrance was the statement WE ARE ALL MAD HERE. Both signs are in Sixt orange.

Of course anyone who knows 25hours’ CEO Christophe Hoffmann must surely agree that he too is out of any norm. Listen to him here as he cycles through town:

This is fun already, going in to the hotel’s outer porch is even more fun. One wall is a complete collage of old cameras, Brownies and Kodaks and the like. A young Austrian smiles behind the desk, hands over the keycards.

The elevator’s like a cage – the back wall is a big grill, with lock and key. (Some years ago the SWISS PENSION HOTEL in Cairo had a real-cage elevator, inserted down its nine-floor open stairwell. The elevator shook and rattled as it creaked up and down and the apertures on all four sides were not big enough to escape.)

At 25hours, room 711, a Spectacular View space, is certainly fun – see the headboard wall, above, part of Armin Fischer/Dreimeta’s overall design. To see a video – – note the television stand formed of old leather suitcases, the free minibar, the full kitchen, with cooking utensils, china and cutlery. You can TASTE whatever here.

But Sunday night is pizza night in ground floor Ribelli. Oh the SMELL, and subsequent taste. of the Black truffle and cheese pizza, yum yum, toast whomever in a glass of Barbero d’Alba. Wood tables are uncovered, napkins are green, or red, checked gingham. Don’t come here expecting Riedel glassware, but then you don’t need to be wearing Swarovski.

In the morning, the SIGHT of Ribelli’s breakfast buffet, going on and on, around all four sides of the central bar. LISTEN to soft music as you plan, and take, your meal. The napkin announces ‘life is too short for shitty coffee’. The server brings cups of Caffe Musetti, founded by Luisi Musetti in 1934 and today run by two subsequent generations, Lucia and Guido Musetti.

There are Viennese all around, coffee and food before going to work. Breads are sensational – more like nuts-and-stuff held together by bread, put on Staud’s jams, or chocolate spread, dark or pale. Try a slice of Gugelhof, the tall conical cake with a hole in the middle that was chosen to represent Austria when the country held EU Presidency in 2006.

Breakfast is a good time to read the 25hours newspaper (yes, it’s a tabloid paper rather than a glossy). Read what 25hours’ CEO Christoph Hoffmann likes to do here in Vienna, say cycling, sometimes to a nearby place, Glacis Beisl, for unpretentious homely Austrian food at sensible prices. It suggests local culture – this is, after all, the Museum Quartier – Leopold Museum, Art Gallery Kunsthalle, Mumok Museum of Modern art, architecture centre Architekturzentrum. It, the newspaper, talks to drag queen Miss Candy, also known as events organiser Holger Thor, and punk winemakers Christoph Artner and Gerald Travnicek.

No wonder Martin Schrödl, GM of this 217-room hotel-for-the-senses, he just loves every day. This place is FUN.

Surinder Arora, incidentally, would agree. He’s a one-time airline worker who by sheer grit and niceness, and by having fun, has already built up a nice collection of hotels. Hear him here: