Two unique places to stay in Austria: Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace and Linz's Mariandom Tower Hermitage

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is now accepting overnight guests! Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd.

Whether you're a wannabe hermit or a hopeful princess, Austria has a unique accommodation especially for you!

I stumbled across the "Staying at the palace" option while perusing Schönbrunn's website. Thinking it was probably a clever advertisement for a hotel on the grounds of the palace, I was surprised to see that the Grand Suite is actually located in the East Wing of the former imperial residence itself. The 167 square meter (1,798 square feet) suite boasts a salon, two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and two bathrooms.

One of the bedrooms in the Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite.
Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd. 

The unique opportunity to spend the night in one of Europe's most impressive Baroque palaces comes complete with a stunning view of the sprawling palace park, the magnificent Neptune Fountain, the colonnaded Gloriette and the Kronprinzengarten.

If you would like to add a horse-drawn carriage ride through the imperial park or exclusive butler service to your royal vacation, Schönbrunn Palace in partnership with Austria Trend Hotels is ready to meet your every need. A one night stay starts at €699, while the honeymoon package is €2,700. Click here for more information.  

The view from the the Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite.
Photo: Mercury Press & Media Ltd.

If the thought of hordes of tourists outside your window is too much to bear, Linz's Mariendom (New Cathedral) offers serenity for the soul in a hermit's room 359 steps above the city. Hermit guests are encouraged to focus on essential, mystical questions: What exists when nothing exists anymore? What do you perceive once you have taken leave of familiar routines, when you’ve achieved serenity and disengaged from matters of lesser importance? What are you deep inside?

The hermit's room in the tower at Linz's Mariendom (New Cathedral)
Photo: Linz Diocese 

In addition to the Bible, Koran and Talmud, the hermitage library has a selection of books including The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm,  Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything by Viktor Frankl and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

During their week in the tower room, hermits are asked to write their daily reflections in a diary that is passed on to subsequent hermits and to spend 20 minutes a day in silent communion with visitors to the cathedral. The simple prayer service is an opportunity for people to experience a brief period of silence and to immerse themselves in tranquility.

The Tower Hermit Program, which was originally a project of Linz 2009 European Capital of Culture in cooperation with the Diocese of Linz, has been such an overwhelming success that it has been extended through 2016. Click here to learn more about the Tower Hermit Program.

Good night from my very normal hotel room in Vienna! After a busy day exploring Linz, it's time to get some sleep. Schönbrunn Palace is on the schedule for tomorrow.

The Hermitage is located in the tower of the Mariendom (New Cathedral) in Linz.
It's Austria's biggest church with seating for 20,000 people.


  1. Wow! I love both of these options. I'll take each for three nights please. It reminds me of my castle stay in Germany, outside Frankfurt. When one has the opportunity, one should take it.

    I love Vienna too, such a special city. I'll be interested to know what you think of it. And it's coffee.


    1. If you take the hermit option, you have to stay for an entire week, Joseph! I think I may have neglected to include that bit of small print in my blog post. But, still, a week of contemplation is certainly tempting.

      Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the city center of Vienna during my last trip but I'll certainly go again in the near future. During previous visits, I also enjoyed the coffee house culture. One of Stéphane's and my first trips was to Vienna. We took the night train from Zurich and slept in one of the little "bedrooms". I'd love to travel somewhere like that again! I remember seeing photos of your castle sojourn last summer. It looked lovely!

  2. Both options sound like such a great adventure!

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