Vienna Spa Guide. While Vienna famously embraces the good life its wellness and spa part has quietly rippled under the surface. Hotel spas just add to a nice deal, and external day spas are being left to the locals. Hence, my independent spa guide selects some of the best spas and pools in Viennese hotels and beyond. To provide you with an inside view I have tested most of them myself.
Best Vienna Hotel Spas and Pools
Park Hyatt Arany Spa
Vienna Spa Guide. Utterly precious and awe-inspiring: Park Hyatt’s spa pool scored twice – first through its historic surroundings, second through its sheer elegance.
Before I set sight on Arany Spa’s centre piece I travelled down in the sumptuous wood-panelled ‘directors’ elevator’ of the former Viennese bank. Right in the wellness area a one-metre thick door spiked with six steel bolts opened up what were once the bank’s vaults.
Underneath a single spacious arch, the world’s most meticulously secured swimming pool replaced stacks of solid bullions with azure-blue liquid bliss.
Since its transformation a couple of years ago the building’s sparkle comes from other things than financial riches: now, shiny mother-of-pearl and some gold plated decorations create the bling, such as the golden swirl mosaics in a treatment room which remind of Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life (see photo).
In the sauna and steam bath area, a well-sized heap of crushed ice sprang up beneath iridescent tiles. I promised myself a tingling cool rub after a thorough warm up.
Like the treatment room’s Klimt swirls, even the fitness centre left no doubt I was in Vienna: Ever lifted weights in an elegant dark panelled salon illuminated by elegant fabric lampshades?
Further information: check Arany spa
Hotel Sacher Boutique Spa
Vienna Spa Guide. Vienna’s most legendary luxury hotel not only ices its Sacher cakes in delicious chocolate. At its boutique in-house spa I was wrapped in a chocolate body mask, among other delicious cacao-based treatments. Before Sacher’s masseuses brushed me with the warm light brown glaze I received a fine peeling with crushed cacao beans.
Rather than using sticky liquid chocolate, the team applied its own nourishing and firming cacao cosmetics line. It smelled even more enticingly as the cake shop downstairs, just without the calories.
The other of my personal favourites at Sacher’s spa was the herbal steam bath: In the ‘Kräuterbad’s’ octagonal room a large pan gently steamed up fragrant herbs such as lavender and rosemary. Its released essences and aromas enveloped me in a warm cloud of balmy vapour.
There was also a salt steam bath, and a Finnish sauna if you wanted to feel the heat. In good Austrian tradition, Sacher’s sauna area is mixed, and while trunks and bikinis are not allowed you can wrap yourself in a hamam towel.
Though there was no swimming pool, the fitness centre was top equipped and impeccable, as were the other facilities. Does the boutique spa, open to hotel and local guests, ever get busy? “We make sure the spa never gets crowded. Our hotel guests certainly have preference,” says spa manager Christine Koza.
Further information: check spa web page
Hotel Sans Souci Spa
Vienna Spa Guide. If swimming your laps is part of your holiday routine one of the best places to check in is Hotel Sans Souci. Crossing Vienna’s largest, 20-metre-long, hotel pool I dived into the glittering reflections of several chandeliers lining the ceiling. It was a liquid ballroom, and totally mine during that February morning.
Other than working off Vienna’s ever lurking culinary temptations in the swimming pool there was also a sizable fitness room equipped with the latest body toning solutions.
Alternatively, guests could as well opt to reward themselves with traditional spa and beauty treatments, for example a Balinese massage with fragrant ylang ylang or sandalwood oil.
The grey marble steam bath had a subtly illuminated floor, inviting me to put my feet up and doze off, engulfed in a warm mist. There was also a sauna and a less hot bio-sauna.
At the other end of the spacious wellness area three cream coloured relaxation zones lured with lilac day beds and green cushioned sofas. I decided to sip my herbal green tea in the company of that large bamboo (see photo).
Further information: check spa web page
Vienna Spa Guide. Oriental mosaics, droplet-shaped lampshades with red tassels, flowing canopies and ornamental wooden grids: The Vienna Kempinski’s boutique-size spa clearly referenced a Turkish hammam. Since my main objective there was to relax (and hopefully rejuvenate along the way), the warm colour scheme and ornamental interior perfectly did their job.
While the swimming pool was far from olympic-style it was large enough for me to enjoy a few tempi in pleasant water temperature. Just next to the pool I eventually fell into a cosy hammam-style sofa landscape with red poufs.
In line with the oriental theme I tried the steam bath. Once out, I was eager to rest on those pretty large mosaic flowers (see photo). At 60 degrees Celsius (140 F) the sanarium was less roasting than a sauna but warmer than a traditional steam bath. Reassuringly, there was also a ladies-only sauna/steam bath area.
For the sportily disposed, a spacious fitness centre displayed all the essential equipment. Couples could opt to have a joint massage or facial, just next to each other, in a special massage room. And, for example, have some warm stones smooth out their back muscles, or re-mineralise their bodies with Hungarian mud.
Further information: go to spa web page
Hotel Ritz Carlton Spa
Ritz Carlton spa’s cream-coloured natural stone and polished dark wood speak the universal language of elegant bliss. However, it’s the fine details that add a nice Viennese touch. Where else than in the ‘capital of music’ should you be able to listen to underwater music while drifting in an 18-metre-long pool?
As for spa treatments, Austria’s famous 19th-century beauty Empress Sissi (aka Elisabeth) and Volksgarten’s rose trees inspired the Imperial Rose Treatment. While Sissi ate candied violets and had milk and honey baths, spa guests get a cleansing and exfoliating salt scrub with fragrant rose, geranium and sweet orange oil, followed by a hot stone massage. Other treatments use Austrian lovely natural cosmetics brand Susanne Kaufmann.
Guests with a hang for privacy can ‘draw a few extra curtains’ around them: in separate spa rooms couples can soak in their own private whirl pools, relax on heated day beds and enjoy other amenities. There are also separate lounges for ladies, and for gentlemen, each with their own sauna, steam room and relaxation beds.
Further information: visit the spa web page
Vienna Spa Guide: Best External Day Spas
Vienna Spa Guide. Different from the polished interiors of Viennese hotel spas, this popular Asian day spa defines luxury in its own wonderful way. Located in a vast old vaulted basement in a quiet central side street, Vienna’s history is ever present through original bare brick walls, warmed up through subtle lighting and soft furnishings.
Among the most popular treatments is Aisawan’s four hand massage, which removes even the most obstinate muscle strains and instantly move you into calmer spheres.
Staff is widely praised as always having a smile on their faces and being exceptionally professional. In addition to various cosmetics treatments and packages the oriental and Asian Hamam experiences put 24-gold-carat plates on you, or massage you with chocolate and Rassoul soil. Find out more on Aisawan’s website.
Mon Corps Day Spa
Vienna Spa Guide. Like Kempinski’s spa but more intensely, Vienna’s exclusive Mon Corps day spa takes you to an oriental hammam. Somewhere between your personal boudoir in plum and beige, the warm marble steam room and the masseuses’ four simultaneously kneading hands you loose your senses in the most marvellous way.
The treatment products read like from a luxury deli shop: Austrian Zotter chocolate, argan oil, organic honey; and some medicinal clay. For men, Mon Corps has developed a special facial and body treatment.
Initially planned for Bahrain, Mon Corps is so luxurious and authentic that it has been attracting an illustrious group of OPEC Managers on business in Vienna, and oriental princesses on a city break. For further information visit the spa’s website.
NOTE: I have been invited by hotels Kempinski, Park Hyatt, Sacher, and Sans Souci. All opinions expressed are explicitly my own.