Taste Vienna's history
Hotel Stefanie – Vienna's oldest hotel
A hotel with history, a building full of history
They say that churches were often built on special places and former sanctuaries; we think that this is also true for Hotel Stefanie. You are staying at Vienna's oldest hotel and therefore on historic grounds.
The premier address for Viennese hospitality since 1600
On July 8, 1600, a “Gastgeb” (inn) was mentioned in official documents for the first time at the site of today’s Hotel Stefanie. As is still customary today, when a new owner took possession of a deed, the previous owner’s name was simply crossed off in the title register.
Copy of the original document of 1600
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 “White Rose”, which later became the Hotel Stefanie, soon became one of the best lodging establishments in the imperial city of Vienna: In 1779, for instance, it was listed in the “Register of public and most renowned inns and taverns, where lodging is possible with or without carriages."
From time immemorial, the Taborstrasse has been the access road from the northeastern part of the Habsburg empire into the center of the imperial city of Vienna. 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 2nd District). For this reason, a considerable number of lodging establishments settled here, just in front of the city gates.
Located on the Danube, which wasn't yet diverted out of the city centre at that time, it was here where travellers found an accommodation and a good meal, where they could change their horses and have the wheels of their coaches repaired at the local wainwright. Travelling merchants, public servants with a royal mission, secret lovers on the run and probably also a couple of dodgers, they all stayed here in this quarter.
The Hotel Stefanie through the ages
Of the roughly 35 public inns in existence around the mid-19th century, the Hotel Stefanie is, however, the only one to have been mentioned in the building registers continuously for 400 years.
The guests of the “White Rose” in former days traveled primarily from the crown lands of the Danube monarchy. When the Reichstag (Diet) took place in Vienna in 1848, two of the deputies demonstrably took up residence in the White Rose inn.
Business was very good: Already by 1829, the inn had been expanded so much that it went on to house a total of 90 horse stalls. Prior to commencing construction, a contract had to be drawn up with the neighboring Convent der Barmherzigen Brüder [Convent of the Merciful Brothers] in which it was specified that “the gutter on the roof to be (newly) mounted […] must be installed such that […] no detrimental effect of the moisture occurs to the (monastic) masonry.”
Because of the Vienna’s city walls being torn down (1858–1864) as well as the arrival of the railroad brought a further influx of guests. In order to be up to this rush, the then-owners gradually extended the building to three stories.
Family-run in 4th generation - led into today
A new era dawned in 1888: That year, Carl Witzmann, the great-grandfather of the current owner, acquired the hotel and renamed it the “Hotel Stefanie” in memory of the marriage of Crown Prince Rudolf with Princess Stéphanie of Belgium. At the time, the building had over 110 guest rooms and was among the largest hotels in Vienna.
With the takeover of the Hotel Stefanie by Dr. Martin Schick, in 1992, the family business is now in its fourth generation. The special features at the history-charged hotel on Taborstraße are the various precious antiques. The grandfather of today's CEO already had a passion for these rarities – and this passion has been passed on from generation to generation.
The book about the history of the hotel
A book about the Hotel Stefanie’s impressive development from the year 1600 to the present day is available for purchase at reception. Researched intensively from a historian, the work, comprising 88 pages, contains stories about the building, its surroundings, as well as the Schick family. Start a time travel through four centuries.
Special award for the history of the Hotel Stefanie
2017 we got a special award at the TAI Werbe Grand Prix for our history: "because of the lovingly detailed dokumentation of the story of the hotel".
Book your Vienna stay at this history-charged Schick family hotel conveniently online.