3 days on a luxury stay in Vienna

4 top tips for a luxurious stay in Vienna

The capital of Austria – one of the countries bordering my home country of Switzerland – has about 1.7 million inhabitants and is by far the largest city in Austria. As a tourist and certainly as a first-timer – as this is the case with me – you normally see only a small part of this big city, and

this is the so-called first district or inner city. This part of Vienna is literally an open-air museum because you will find there an enormous number of monumental buildings. When
walking around in the historic center – an UNESCO world heritage site – you still feel like being in an imperial capital as Vienna once was.

Of course, Vienna also has much to offer when it comes to hotels and restaurants. As almost all sights can be found in the first district, I strongly recommend choosing a accommodation there – as my husband and I did. Because of this, we also went to dining spots in this area.

You will find my list of recommended places in the following. As we are fond of hip hotels and eateries, there will be no addresses of more traditional and/or Austrian style places, sorry about this. If you are interested in Heurigen dinner, you have to look elsewhere … In addition, I have recommendations what to do in Vienna as a first-timer.


2 luxurious hotels in the first district of Vienna

1. The Guesthouse

As mentioned above, I am a great fan of modern, trendy places. Consequently, I could not help but taking notice of – and staying at – The Guesthouse. This luxurious, conveniently located hotel behind the State Opera and the Albertina Museuum is not a hotel in the conventional sense. It rather conveys the feeling of an apartment building with a trendy vibe. It is a boutique style place with 39 rooms. There is only a small lobby – with a doorman –, but there are no other facilities such as a spa or a fitness room. Instead you will find modern, well-equipped rooms, which are reasonably priced as a plus. There also is a popular Brassery & Bakery onsite serving a fantastic breakfast.

Courtyard Suite St. Stephen's Cathedral View

2. Park Hyatt

If you are more into typical luxury hotels, I can recommend the Park Hyatt. I did not stay there, but I had a closer look at it and I know the hotel group from Paris and Zurich. The location of it is great, on a picturesque square and in the heart of an exclusive shopping district. The hotel is new, only one year old, and has 143 large, contemporarily furbished rooms. And what I find interesting, its building was converted from a bank.

4 top fine dining spots in the first district of Vienna

1. Labstelle (14 points with Gault Millau)

This trendy restaurant near the famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most conveniently located and most causal dining spot we visited in Vienna, but nevertheless offering fine, creatively prepared food, and this at reasonably prices.

Main: Wild Boar with Chicory, Carrots & Potato Waffle

2. Tian (17 points Gault-Millau, 1 star Michelin)

This upscale, modern restaurant offering only vegetarian food is the most high-end and most expensive restaurant we went to in Vienna. We liked the inventive, tasty cuisine and the competent, friendly staff.

3. Mercado (15 points Gault-Millau)

In this pleasant venue, a bit away from the tourist zone, a modern take on South-American food is served. Staff is warm and happy to give information about what to choose from the quite extensive menu.

Starter: Chilean Salmon Tiradito, Chipotle, Citrus Garlic Crumbs

4. At Eight (14 points Gault-Millau)

This contemporarily furnished restaurant belongs to a hotel and offers so-called “aroma cuisine”, i.e. playing with textures and aromas producing exciting combinations.

Dessert: Avocado, Coconut, White Chocolate, Blackberry

3 of the best places for dessert lovers

As I have a sweet tooth, I cannot help trying out dessert spots. Vienna is known for its cafe culture, do not leave out the chance to go to one.

1. Gerstners Cafe

This confectionary shop used to be an Imperial & Royal confectioner (K. u. K. Hofzuckerbaecker). They have an amazing selection of exquisite cakes.

Haustorte (foreground), Klimt Torte (background)

2. Konditiorei Heiner

I have not visited this confectionary shop – also an Imperial & Royal confectioner –, but I had a look at their wide choice of delicious-looking cakes. Also their reviews on TripAdviser are very good.

3. Eis Greissler

This small ice cream shop is a must try for ice cream lovers. The flavors range from standard to more adventurous ones as goat cheese or poppy seed. Only organic ingredients of top quality are used for the ice cream, and you can taste that.

5 of the best things to do in Vienna as a first-timer

1. Historic center of Vienna

As mentioned before, there is no way around going to the first district when visiting this city as a tourist for the first time. In the heart of this part of the city you find the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an impressive Gothic church. This district is encircled by the Ringstrasse (Ring Road), where are monumental public buildings such as the Rathaus (City Hall), the Parliament, the Hofburg Palace, the State Opera House and many more. Have a look at this spectacular architecture, but also take the opportunity to explore side streets to get a real pulse of Vienna.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

2. Ringstrasse (Ring Road)

The Ringstrasse (Ring Road) – as explained before – is a circular street framing the old town (first district). It is built on the former city walls and is about 5 km long. There are different possibilities to tackle it to see all the sights lined up there. You can walk it, you can jog it – as my husband did –, you can ride the tram (either the sightseeing Ring Tram or the regular tram – as my husband and I did) or you ride a horse carriage (fiacre).

3. Schoenbrunn Palace and Gardens

This Baroque palace, which can be reached by subway in about 15 minutes from first district, is a must visit. It is a magnificent former imperial summer residence with more than 1,400 rooms. Also the grounds are stupendous. Both are beautifully preserved respectively restored. Buy your ticket (Classic Pass) in advance to avoid queuing and allow sufficient time to view this highlight (at least 3 – 4 hours).

Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens

4. Belvedere Palace

There is a museum exhibiting Klimt’s work for the art-dedicated tourist – unfortunately I did not have the time to visit it. But alone the beautiful gardens and the magnificent architecture of the buildings are well worth the effort to go there.

5. Alte Donau (Old Danube)

This great recreation area is recommended for hot summer days. Activities such as taking a bath, renting a boat – as my husband and I did –, sailing, riding a bicycle, going for a walk can be done there. You will return relaxed to the city …

Alte Donau

Date of stay: August 2016

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