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
PRICE From $390 per
The hotel is made up of four palaces that have been joined together
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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