While Vienna doesn’t offer as much choice as London or Paris, there are quite a few afternoon teas for me to choose from. The Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna serves two afternoon teas: the “Ladies Afternoon Tea” and the “Gents High Tea”. I needed a place for a date and it sounded like the ideal place. It was even better than I expected:
The Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna Setting ★★★★★
The hotel sits in Vienna’s first district, a two-minute walk away from the Schottenring U-Bahn station and the Danube’s riverbank.
The Palais Hansen was built between 1869 and 1873, under the management of the eponymous Austrian-Danish architect Theophil Edvard Hansen. A prominent representative of neoclassical architecture, he participated in the construction of several other historical buildings in Vienna, such as the Austrian parliament and the Musikverein concert hall.
Even though the building was originally planned as a hotel for the 1873 world exhibition, it actually served as municipal offices for the city of Vienna. It was sold to a Kempinski led consortium in 1999 and was renovated and remodelled into what it was originally meant to be: a lavish five-star hotel. The architect Boris Podrecca and interior designer Jean-Claude Laville teamed up to create what would become the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna.
The remnants of Hansen’s traditional designs, such as the façade, the lobby’s columns or the Greek goddess Nike (which is also the hotel’s logo) are still very apparent. They are at odds with the modernity of the interior decoration, as you can see in the pictures below.
The Lobby Lounge ★★★★☆
Both the Ladies afternoon tea and the Gents high tea are served in the lobby lounge. Though the setting lacks privacy, it’s an overall pleasant venue to spend a relaxing afternoon.
It offers plenty of natural light and the prominent chandelier is magnificent, especially at night. I also love the blue and pink plates, one for each afternoon tea!
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The Teas ★★★★★
There are 39 teas to choose from, including 7 rare teas for the delight of connoisseurs. They are sourced from the very reputable Demmers Teehaus, one of Vienna’s best tea suppliers. Guests who opt for the Ladies Afternoon Tea may try the exclusive fruit-flavoured “black velvet” tea, bringing the total offer to 40 teas and infusions.
I recommend the Nepalese Temai second flush black tea (in the picture below). The complex and perfectly balanced flavour of this rare tea is extremely pleasing, especially if you can a good unaltered black tea.
The brewing method is on par with the quality of the tea selection: The leaves are placed in a filter which can be easily removed once the desired strength is reached. It’s a pity that no hourglass is brought along the beautiful metal teapot. You will have to use your phone if you want a precise brew or if you’re as absent-minded as yours truly.
Guests who are not too keen on tea and/or infusions can also choose one of the 17 coffees and hot chocolates on offer.
Choice of Demmers Teahaus teas: 32 classic teas and 7 rare teas (Loose-leaf; 10 black, 11 green, 1 white, 1 oolong, 1 pu-erh, 2 rooibos and 13 herbal and fruit infusions)
Brewing method: Brewed in the teapot, tea leaves placed in a removable filter to easily control the infusion.
The Cocktails ★★★★★
On top of the very generous hot beverages selection, each afternoon tea comes with its own cocktail:
- Ladies Afternoon tea: “Ladies Lover” – Burchick’s Vermouth, Rose lemonade and a zest of lemon (first picture below)
- Gents High tea: “Wien Gin Mule” – Viennese Gin, Lime juice, Sugar, Mint, Cardamon and Ginger beer (second picture below) ♥
Both drinks are delicious but I have a strong preference for the gents cocktail’s ‘Wien Gin Mule”. What can I say, I do love a good Gin!
The Food: Ladies Afternoon Tea or Gents High Tea? Both!
The Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna offers two choices of afternoon teas. We already specified that each option comes with its own cocktail but the main difference is in the food. Unless you wish to go alone to write afternoon tea reviews, you probably won’t go to the Palais Hansen on your own. This means that you should able to try both the afternoon tea and the high tea, so you’ll be able to share your food and cocktails.
In the event that you go alone or that your party doesn’t like sharing (which means that they are probably not fit for afternoon tea!), your choice will mainly depend on what food you like the most: if you prefer scones and sweets, go with the Ladies Afternoon Tea; if you prefer hearty savouries, go with the Gents High tea.
Last but not least, each guest of the Lobby Lounge will have the opportunity to taste the hotel’s homemade Wiener Apfelstrudel, served with vanilla cream, vanilla ice-cream and whipped cream (you’d better be as greedy as Iam if you go with all three toppings). It’d be a pity to miss it: it’s a specialty of the hotel and the pride of Vienna! It’ll cost you 8.50€ a for a generous slice with all three toppings.
Below is a video detailing the contents of the Ladies Afternoon tea and the Gents High Tea:
The Ladies Afternoon Tea ★★★★★
The Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna “Ladies Afternoon Tea” is served on a three-tier stand with savouries, scones and cakes & sweets:
The Savouries ★★★★☆
- Beef Tartare on Toast
- Prosciutto di San Daniele
- Fresh Cheese and Caviar Blini ♥
- Salmon and Cucumber finger Sandwich
The Blini is my favourite as I love the cheese and caviar combination. The prosciutto is a bit ordinary: it’s not bad per se but it’s just ham on a toothpick.
The Scones ★★★★☆
- Plain scone
- Raisin scone
The scones are served with traditional clotted cream and a homemade raspberry jam. They were delicious but I’d have preferred them slightly less cooked (a personal preference).
It was actually the raspberry jam that stole the show: it was fruity and just sweet enough!
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
- Strawberry-Chocolate cake-pop ♥♥
- Blueberry lipstick (jelly contained in a lipstick-shaped plastic container)
- Rose Macaroon ♥
- Coconut-coated Mango Praline
- Pistachio cupcake topped with a Raspberry
The cake-pop is my personal favourite. I love everything about it: its appearance, texture and taste! The lipstick is a nice gimmick (no rhyme intended) but a little awkward to eat.
The Ladies Afternoon Tea sweets are not just tasty and beautiful, they’re also very light. It’s perfect as this will leave you enough room for a slice of Wiener Apfelstrudel!
The Gents High Tea ★★★★★
The Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna “Gents High Tea” is served in a gorgeous wooden box filled with savouries, cakes and sweets
The Savouries ★★★★★
- Double cheese beef Burger with Jalapenos
- Truffle Salami
- Bacon & Onion Scone with Mediterranean cream
- Norwegian Salmon with Cognac-Wasabi mayonnaise ♥♥
- Beef Tartare Toast with Caviar ♥
- Tomato and Olive Brioche.
I was a bit wary of the salmon and the Wasabi mayonnaise combination but my fears turned out to be unfounded: it was my favourite savoury among the whole afternoon tea!
The beef tartare toast is the second best: the strong flavour is more reminiscent of a well-seasoned steak tartare than the ladies afternoon tea equivalent.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★☆
- Chocolate and coffee Opera Cake
- Whisky Praline Chocolate
- American Cheesecake ♥
- Vanilla & Brandy Eclair
- Baba au Rhum
Unlike the hearty savouries, the Gents high tea cakes are rather light, especially the rum-baba and the éclair. The whisky chocolate is very strong and alcoholic so be ready for a kick!
The Lobby Lounge & Bar staff is polite, efficient and speaks very good English. They are of course very knowledgeable about the teas, cocktails and food.
Some very special thanks to Marcel and Anna who made our afternoon tea extra special!
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
At 38€ per person including rare teas and a cocktail, the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna afternoon teas are fantastic value for money. The beverage selection (tea, coffee, chocolate or cocktails) and the food (savouries, scones or cakes) will satisfy even the most demanding guests.
The bar has been set very high in the city of Vienna, both for high tea and afternoon tea. I feel like the other five-star hotels in the Austrian capital will have to outdo themselves to compete. To be continued…
+: Beautiful hotel
+: The tea selection (incl. rare teas)
+: The cocktails
+: Choice of two afternoon teas (Ladies & Gents)
+: Delicious food
+: Excellent value for money
+: Great service
-: The lobby lounge doesn’t offer much privacy
The Ladies & Gents afternoon tea is served from January 7 to November 17 (during the Christmas period, it is replaced by the Festive afternoon tea)
Phone: +43 1 236 1000
Address: Schottenring 24, 1010 Wien, Austria