Hotel Stefanie - Vienna's oldest hotel
More than 400 years of Viennese hospitality
A particular hallmark of the elegant Hotel Stefanie is its history, dating back more than 400 years. The first recorded mention of a 'Gastgeb' (innkeeper) at this historical site, on which Vienna's oldest hotel is still located today, dates back to 8 July 1600. Today, the venerable hotel is owned by the Schick family, who work together with their dedicated team to lovingly preserve the historical atmosphere of the building.
Vienna's best inn: 'Weisse Rose' (White Rose) Inn
The Weisse Rose Inn – later renamed Hotel Stefanie and now Vienna's oldest hotel – soon earned a reputation for being one of the finest inns in the imperial capital Vienna. It was mentioned in many documents, such as the 1779 "Register of the public and most renowned inns and tavern, where lodging is possible with or without carriages".
Taborstrasse has always been the main access road to the centre of the imperial city of Vienna from the north-eastern parts of the Empire. The bridge, which leads directly into Taborstrasse, was for centuries the only one that connected downtown Vienna with the Unterer Werd (today's Leopoldstadt - Vienna's second district). For this reason, a considerable number of lodging establishments settled here, just outside the city gates, among them, Vienna's oldest hotel – the Hotel Stefanie.
Located on the banks of the Danube river, which had not yet been diverted out of the city centre at that time, it was here where travellers found accommodation and a good meal while changing their horses or having the wheels of their coaches repaired by the local wainwright. Travelling merchants, public servants on an imperial mission, illicit lovers on the run and, more than likely, some shady characters frequented Vienna's oldest hotel.
Postcard of the Hotel Stefanie circa 1900
Wedding picture of Stephanie and Rudolf
Courtyard circa 1920
Copy of the original deed from 1600
The original deed dating back to 1600, exhibited At the Hotel Stefanie, is of special interest. It reads:
"Christoff Freischlag, innkeeper and freeman of Vienna, and Margaretha, his conjugal housewife, have received benefit and title to a house, grange and garden lain in the lower īgland nigh Melchior Reiser's and Wolff Auers' house and garden, of length from the upper path (…) in the back lanes 215 yardsticks, of width at the upper road 40, at the lower location 25 yardsticks. (…) This eighth July of the year 1600 /."
The Hotel Stefanie through the ages
Of the roughly 35 inns that existed in Vienna in the mid-19th century, the Hotel Stefanie is the only one to have been mentioned continuously in the building registers for a period of 400 years. The guests of the 'Weisse Rose', as it was known in those days, travelled primarily from the Crown lands of the Habsburg monarchy. Records show that when the Reichstag (Imperial Diet) convened in 1848, two deputies resided at the Weisse Rose. A flourishing business and favourable historical circumstance permitted the inn to expand over time:
- 1829: Expansion of the 'Weisse Rose'
- 1833: The inn offers stabling for 90 horses
- 1848: Quarter for deputies of the Austrian Empire
- Since 1858: The dismantling of Vienna's city walls (1858-1864) and the construction of the railway led to a substantial increase in the number of guests
In those days, the names of all newly arrived guests were published in the 'Fremden-Blatt', a supplement to the daily newspaper. We were able to unearth a copy dated 15 October 1847 for you (see photo). Among the guests: a brewery owner, a manufacturer, a merchant, a wine trader, and many more.
Vienna's oldest hotel operated in fourth generation
The 'Hotel Stefanie' first saw the light in 1888. In this year, the hotel was purchased by Carl Witzmann – the great-grandfather of the current owner. To commemorate the wedding of Crown Prince Rudolf and Stephanie of Belgium, he gave the hotel its current name, 'Hotel Stefanie'. With 110 rooms, it was one of the largest hotels in Vienna at that time. The hotel in Leopoldstadt – the former Jewish quarter – is run since 1992 by the fourth generation of the Schick family.
With careful and consistent conservation of its historical ambience, the hotel has been adapted to contemporary expectations. This is what currently awaits guests at today's Hotel Stefanie: 111 comfortable and modern rooms , elegant meeting rooms , refined venues for celebrations , a restaurant, library and much more.
In 2020, we celebrated the 420th birthday of the Hotel Stefanie
More quietly than initially planned, our Hotel Stefanie celebrated another milestone birthday. But many guests remembered us and sent us their best wishes from around the globe. Our heartfelt thanks for your messages. We also received congratulations from the Vienna Tourist Board. Here is the letter from Managing Director Norbert Kettner.
Precious antiques emphasise the hotel's historical character
The grandfather of the current director of the company, Dr Martin Schick, had a passion for rare antique pieces. This passion forms part of the legacy of the hotel. Hence, the Hotel Stefanie is decorated with numerous precious antiques such as fine porcelain and historical clocks.
Glasses, cups and goblets
The Emperor's room key
Feast your eyes on the many antiques at the Hotel Stefanie
Antiques and art at the Restaurant Stefanie
The history of the Hotel Stefanie captured in a book
Would you like to learn more about the history of the Hotel Stefanie, Vienna's oldest hotel? A book on the origins and development of the hotel is on sale at the reception of the hotel. It provides 88 pages of fascinating details about the history of the hotel – from the building itself, to its surroundings and the current owners, the Schick family. Embark on a journey back in time through four centuries with this treasure, which has been professionally researched and meticulously recorded by a historian.
An excerpt of the book, read by Miguel Herz-Kestranek.
Special prize awarded in recognition of the historic significance of the Hotel Stefanie
In 2017, at the TAI Advertising Grand Prix, we received a special prize for our history, awarded by the jury of specialists 'for compiling a caring and detailed documentation of the hotel's history'.