More Than a Green Façade
The Sustainable Concept at the Boutique Hotel The Harmonie Vienna
A green welcome at The Harmonie Vienna hotel in Vienna: the four-star property welcomes guests with a lush green façade that improves the microclimate and air quality. And even behind the façade are many measures that the hotel has implemented to protect the environment, such as a sumptuous organic breakfast or the one hundred percent supply of clean electricity.
Wildly Romantic and Climate-friendly
The Harmonie Vienna, part of the exclusive BW Premier Collection by Best Western, clearly carries its "live consciously" philosophy outward onto the streets of Vienna's Servitenviertel district with its vegetated façade. The front of the Gründerzeit building, which was built by the famous Viennese architect Otto Wagner in the 19th century and has been operated as a hotel since 1900, is adorned in spring and summer by a lush planting of ivy, vines and knotweed. The climbing frame, on which the vines grow upwards, extends over four storeys. Watering is provided by a timer-controlled irrigation system, and the substrate is regularly replenished to keep the soil well-tended and fertile.
The Viennese boutique hotel has been relying on its green facade for more than 30 years. This is not only beautiful to look at, but also offers many proverbial green advantages. For example, green facades in cities counteract urban overheating, the temperature is lowered and the microclimate is improved. The facade really comes alive, filtering particulates and producing oxygen. This improves air quality. The lush greenery also provides shade and acts as a natural noise barrier, dampening the sounds of the city. All in all, The Harmonie Vienna with its green façade is a small but representative part of the metropolis of Vienna, which has repeatedly been recognized as the most livable city in the world - also due to its numerous green lungs.
The four-star hotel, which is centrally located in Vienna's bohemian quarter of the 9th district, the Servitenviertel, is given a high memorability by its green facade. "We would never want to do without our green facade for aesthetic reasons alone. It makes our house look really romantic and inviting to our guests, even from the outside. We even worked around it during a renovation a few years ago, so we could keep the vines intact. Although it is quite a bit of work, especially in the fall when the leaves fall off, for me the many advantages for guests and our neighborhood clearly prevail. We are very happy to make this contribution to a good climate in our city," says Sonja Wimmer, owner and managing director of The Harmonie Vienna.
„We would never want to do without our green facade for aesthetic reasons alone. Although it is quite a bit of work, especially in the fall when the leaves fall off, for me the many advantages for guests and our neighborhood clearly prevail. We are very happy to make this contribution to a good climate in our city.“
Sonja Wimmer Owner The Harmonie Vienna
Living Consciously and Eating Well
The green exterior sets a statement in the Viennese neighborhood - but it's also worth taking a look behind the facade. The Harmonie Vienna is a green hotel through and through. Caring for guests and the environment - the "live consciously" philosophy runs through the entire 66-room boutique hotel. It is used in a variety of ways, particularly in the kitchen and restaurant. Because Sonja Wimmer is convinced that living consciously and eating well are closely linked. For example, coffee and tea from the traditional Viennese roaster Julius Meinl, sausage and cheese specialties, free-range eggs and dairy products from regional suppliers are served for breakfast. For sweet tooths, the pastry shop Naschsalon from the neighboring street delivers cakes and sweet delicacies to the hotel. Freshly prepared every day, guests can enjoy the Harmonie Smoothie, along with organic juices and organic honey from an urban beekeeper. In addition, the boutique hotel offers a large vegan breakfast menu with plant-based milk and yogurt, an organic-vegan cereal station, plant-based spreads and homemade hummus, as well as savory antipasti. In general, the hotel team puts great emphasis on vegan and vegetarian diversity and is a member of the "Vegan Welcome" initiative. "In our hotel we offer vegan and vegetarian products, and when purchasing animal products, we pay attention to organic or animal-friendly husbandry and short transport routes," says Wimmer.
The organic foods that are available for breakfast are controlled and awarded by the independent control body "Austria Bio Garantie". "Because living consciously and eating well are closely linked," says hotel owner Sonja Wimmer.
„We offer vegan and vegetarian products, and when purchasing animal products, we pay attention to organic or animal-friendly husbandry and short transport routes.“
Sonja Wimmer Owner The Harmonie Vienna
From Behind the Scenes....
Being awarded the Austrian Ecolabel, The Harmonie Vienna Hotel is committed to a number of sustainable measures that are regularly reviewed. No chemical cleaning agents or insecticides are used “behind the scenes”. Dish soaps and cleaning agents are selected according to the list of positive substances provided by the Eco Advisory Service. Another key aspect is the economical use of resources. The air conditioning in The Harmonie Vienna hotel is only activated in rooms that are actually occupied and can only be employed when the windows are closed. In addition, just like the heating system, it is equipped with a night setback to provide full power only at the times needed. South-facing exterior blinds prevent excessive heating of unoccupied rooms, also saving air conditioning energy. Lighting in the hallways is controlled by motion sensors, and long-lasting LED bulbs are used throughout. The hotel obtains its electricity exclusively from renewable energy sources. In addition, the hotel has converted all company cars to electric vehicles in 2021.
... All the Way into the Neighborhood
For Sonja Wimmer, sustainable hospitality does not stop at the hotel door, but radiates into the neighborhood. In the hotel's own library in the Harmonie Lounge, guests will find 350 works of Viennese literature. It was equipped by the Orlando library, just around the corner from The Harmonie Vienna. The Sigmund Freud Museum, also located in Vienna's 9th district and just a five-minute walk from the hotel, welcomes hotel guests with special ticket conditions. A mutual give and take make up this sustainable neighborhood - while the green facade provides all its guests and residents with plenty of clean air.
The harmonic association of hotel and neighborhood is also part of sustainable hotel management according to owner Sonja Wimmer; mutual support in the neighborhood is important. For example, she had the library in the Harmonie Lounge pictured above furnished by the neighboring Orlando library - with 350 literary works from Vienna.
The Fact Check
More Than a Green Façade
The green hotel facade filters pollutants and provides fresh air.
Guests can expect a large organic breakfast with many regional products with AUSTRIA Bio Guarantee as well as a wide vegan offer.
The hotel team is firmly rooted in its neighborhood and promotes a strong, sustainable neighborhood.
Furthermore, the family-run hotel is one of the top eco-hotels in Vienna, awarded by Vienna Tourism.
Hotel The Harmonie Vienna uses 100 percent green electricity and also uses it to "fuel" its company cars, which all run on electricity.
Everywhere, resources are actively saved and only what is really needed is used. This is controlled, for example, via automatic shutdown or timers.
The house's awards include the EU Ecolabel and the Austrian Ecolabel of the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism.
Environmentally friendly cleaning agents are used throughout the hotel, and chemicals are avoided.