Sacher snatches rival

One of Vienna’s best known hotels has a new owner.

Elisabeth Gürtler said today (Fri) she planned to turn the Hotel Bristol “into a new pearl of the city.” The millionaire businesswoman’s Sacher Hotels GmbH acquired the tradition-rich resort for an undisclosed sum. Business magazine Format recently claimed the five-star hotel’s takeover price ranges around 100 million Euros. The weekly magazine disclosed in April that the Hotel Bristol’s owner, the B & C Holding, was looking for a buyer.

Gürtler owns and manages the Hotel Sacher which is situated just a few hundred metres from the Hotel Bristol. Both resorts are top addresses in the capital’s city centre which have welcomed numerous celebrity guests over the decades.

The Hotel Sacher boss explained she planned to offer Sachertorte at the Bristol in the near future. Enjoying a piece of the world famous chocolate delicacy – which was invented by her ancestor Franz Sacher in 1832 – at the Hotel Sacher’s café is seen as a must-do by many tourists when in Vienna.

Gürtler also revealed she wanted to expand the Hotel Bristol to create additional rooms. The businesswoman – who organised the Vienna State Opera Ball for many years – added the internationally operating Starwood Hotels group will continue to be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Hotel Bristol.

Gürtler is the head of the Vienna Spanish Riding School (SRS). Her family took over the Hotel Sacher, which opened in 1876, in 1934. The five-star hotel’s 152 rooms and suites are currently being renovated and modernised for 14 million Euros while it continues to do business as usual. The Sacher family also owns the Hotel Sacher in Salzburg as well as several cafés in Austria’s largest cities.

Now all eyes are on real estate tycoon Rene Benko whose Signa Holding has plans to set up a new five-star hotel in the Viennese city centre.

The Sacher Hotels GmbH’s acquisition of the Hotel Bristol could intensify competition among Vienna’s best hotels further. Only last December, a 24th five-star resort started operating when the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Hotel opened its doors. Architecture figurehead Jean Nouvel designed the 18-storey building which contains 182 rooms.

More than a dozen hotels of all spectrums of the price range are currently being planned or built in Vienna. These activities are set to increase the number of hotel rooms and suites by around 4,500 to over 31,000.

The Austrian capital counted more overnight stays than ever before in 2010 with 10.2 million. A standard double room in Vienna costs 140 Euros at the moment, according to the Trivago Hotel Price Index (THPI). Hotels in Vienna charged only 96 Euros in February, the index reveals.