The design hotel Le Méridien Vienna, located on one of the most famous boulevards in the world, the great Wiener Ringstrasse, has undergone a complete refurbishment of the entire ground floor. Through an innovative architectural concept, BEHF Architects has converted the ensemble of three landmark buildings into an inviting, extravagant place, in which old and new, tradition and modernity come together in a charming way.
A great challenge for the architects has been to develop a new spatial structure and create a sleek and novel look for the reception area, which would provide better orientation and a cosmopolitan ambience. The design concept gives the hotel a new presence in the vibrant Vienna of today, while simultaneously creating a stronger connection to its historical background.
An existing side entrance on the Robert-Stolz-Platz, between the Ringstrasse and the Academy of Fine Arts, has been converted into the main entrance of Le Méridien, giving the inside of the building a better structural orientation and a more central access. The hotel entrance has received large double doors suitable for a building with such a historic charm and character. From here, the visitor is taken into the arrival zone of the hotel – a generously sized vestibule set in polished brass and the elegant hotel reception covered in travertine stone. The reception area is decorated with contemporary art and prestigious furniture with reflecting brass profiles that fade in with the mirrored cladding of the pillars. Comfortable sofas make it a welcoming and enjoyable space for guests.
Further along this bright entrance hall is a slightly sunken restaurant placed in a green courtyard which can be used for various events and celebrations. Freshness of real flower and natural light allowed through a glass roof create an intimate and warm atmosphere. The spacious restaurant area is divided with a high shelf which separates the breakfast buffet from the other half of the room. The open space can be used for celebrations for up to 300 people.
The previous entrance hall of the hotel towards the Opernring, characterised by numerous columns and a relatively low ceiling, has been redesigned into the “Le Méridien Interaction Zone“ with the “You. Bar“ which can be accessed from all sides. The arrangement of rooms in soft, green colours with its casual and comfortable characteristics makes it an inviting space to spend a day or late evening hours.
A library provides space on large tables for afterwork meetings but also serves as a retreat for quiet work or study time on the laptop. Recessed areas with a velvet-covered surrounding settee and dimmed lighting create a cosy atmosphere and sophisticated comfort. The walls and ceiling with panelling paintings optimise the acoustics and give an elegant appearance that resembles the classic wall panelling of the original Ringstrassen-Palais designs.
The conference areas and an event hall on the ground floor have been carefully modernised and equipped with new technology and sophisticated play of light.
With this newly created presence on the Ringstrasse and a sophisticated atmosphere which blends the culture of the Viennese salon tradition with a contemporary elegance, the hotel becomes a communication hub for both locals and visitors.
The architects have carried out the entire renovation works in two months while the hotel has remained operational throughout. This logistically highly complicated work process will also be used for the modernisation of around 300 hotel rooms over the next two years.