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The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna

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  • PORTFOLIO.

    88

    LIVING / STAY

    V ienna is a city of palaces. So the fact that The Ritz-Carlton, arguably the best-located and most luxurious hotel in the city, is made up of four

    of them shouldnt come as too much

    of a surprise. Only, this hotel is full of

    surprises, mainly due to its wonderful

    mlange of old and new, which is largely

    at the root of its immense appeal.

    The four historic palaces that were

    eventually joined together date back to the

    19th Century and the heyday of Viennese

    architecture, incorporating stylistic

    influences of Renaissance and Baroque.

    Ahead of the hotels opening in 2012, the

    German-based design-team were charged

    with maintaining the charm and protected

    features of the palaces, whilst creating

    an elegant, contemporary hotel with

    stylish interiors and all the mod cons so

    demanded by the luxury traveller.

    Standout features were inspired by

    the hotels unique location on the iconic

    Ringstrasse (Ring Boulevard), nestled

    in the historic heart of the city, lined

    by Austrias most important buildings,

    including the Vienna State Opera,

    Imperial Palace and Parliament. The

    citys longstanding equine tradition (horse

    Vienna, Schubertring

    5-7, 1010

    PRICE From $390 per

    night

    Ritzcarlton.com/Vienna

    VIE

    THE

    RIT

    Z-C

    AR

    LTO

    N

    WHERE TO

    STAY

    The hotel is made up of four palaces that have been joined together

    Wor

    ds: H

    anna

    h G

    eorg

    e

    carriages called Fiaker still ride along the

    Ring) is depicted by a series of strikingly

    beautiful paintings as you enter the lobby.

    The 202 guest rooms and suites mesh

    noble fabrics, precious wood finishes and

    Renaissance-style windows with underfloor

    heating, Asprey amenities and bathroom

    doors displaying canvases of abstract art,

    specially created by an anonymous local

    artist. A further unseen treasure comes

    courtesy of a hidden library in the 190

    square metre Presidential Suite, with floor-

    to-ceiling bookshelves bearing literary

    works in different languages. Books include

    subjects varying from art history, design

  • ISSUE 123

    PORTFOLIO.

    MARCH

    89

    and music, to autobiographies and a range

    of novels by local authors. Specific requests

    can even be made to the hotels literary

    specialist on reserving the suite.

    And so to the roof, and the hotels show-

    stopping, hotspot of a bar, Atmosphere

    Rooftop Lounge. Frequented by the well-

    heeled Viennese, clever blue lighting makes

    the beautiful look even more so, almost (but

    not quite) competing with sprawling views

    of the city, stretching from St Stephans

    Cathedral to Karlskirche. Its open from late

    spring when the weather starts to warm, and

    towards the end of the year transforms into

    Viennas highest market.

    EAT

    Crammed with more than 120 stalls, Naschmarkt is deservedly Viennas most legendary food market. Its an international melting pot of tastes

    and aromas, with the highlight being the Viennese classics, including the

    ubiquitous and delicious apfelstrudel and wiener schnitzel. The real taste

    of Vienna.

    VISIT

    Exploring Viennas wineries is part of the cultural experience and Mayer Am Pfarrplatz in Heiligenstadt has been producing some of the best since 1683. It was also the former

    home of Beethoven, (he is believed to have written his famous Symphony

    No 9 here), and boasts a great restaurant. Ideal for a long lunch.

    SHOP

    Augarten is the renowned 300-year-old porcelain manufacturer, museum and store, located in Viennas oldest Baroque garden. Sip from a teacup crafted in the 1800s, and peruse the impressive displays of products from traditional vases and chintzy figurines

    to contemporary tableware and state-of-the-art speakers.

    CULTURE

    For art and architecture in one, head to the Belvedere, home to two

    Baroque palaces that house the greatest collection of Austrian art, including Monet, van Gogh and Gustav Klints famous The Kiss. If

    the weather permits, the perfectly manicured gardens are also more

    than worth a wander.

    PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE AREA

    PALAIS GUTMANN

    Affectionately referred to by the staff as the museum, Palais Gutmann is the part of the hotel that retains most of its original features, including a historical marble staircase, a handcrafted wooden fireplace and an impressive ceiling fresco.

    SPA

    Inspired by the rose garden of Viennas Empress Sisi, the hotels ESPA offers a relaxing Imperial Rose Ritual. The treatment uses rose geranium and sweet orange oils and includes a body scrub and hot stone massage.

    The longest pool in Vienna at 18 metres, the highlight of a dip, or rather a dunk, is the underwater classical music from some of the Viennese greats, including Mozart and Beethoven. Symphonised swimming, anyone?

    EXTRATOUCH

    IN THE HOTEL

    Dstrikt stands out from your average

    hotel steakhouse by providing a unique

    sense of place. And exceptional cheesecake.

    Austrian beef is cooked on a charcoal

    grill and finished with chestnut brown

    salt from the Saltzburg mines. The wine

    list is dominated by the best of Austrias

    homegrown grapes, whilst beers herald

    from local microbreweries.

    Again avoiding the realms of clich,

    Melounge manages to pull it out of the

    proverbial bag with an a-typical afternoon

    tea. The highlights are hot Criollo chocolate,

    produced from the highest quality (and

    most expensive) cacao beans around, served

    by Austrias first chocolate sommelier, and

    an ingenious jasmine-infused Cosmopolitan,

    poured from an old-fashioned teapot with

    steam originating from a bed of dry ice.

    Like the contents of your teacup and

    the city itself, The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna is a

    genuine treat, and a master at merging the

    best of the old with the shiny and new.