There has never been a better time to go to Vienna. The famous Christmas markets are up, new Michelin ranked restaurants are popping up everywhere and so are a whole host of new and renovated luxury hotel properties. In fact, this stunning capital is currently ranked #1 most livable city in the world – five years in a row – based on a global survey. With its Habsburg-era coffee houses, architecture, palaces, and operas, Vienna has so much to offer and you can be sure we are checking out the scene!
Christina Meza is on her way to the airport right now and will be reporting back shortly from the Sans Souci, the stylish new boutique hotel in Vienna’s arts district. But right now, we are beyond excited to give you the inside scoop on the newest hotel to make an appearance on the Vienna hotel scene and one of the most exciting hotel debuts in 2014 anywhere – the Park Hyatt Vienna. Much gratitude to our guest contributor, Romi Howard, for her thorough review:
Every year in November, my husband and I take a trip (without the kids) to celebrate our anniversary. I had never been to Vienna and had heard some good buzz about the city in general, the food and culture in particular as well as the very recent opening of the Park Hyatt Vienna. As we were already going to Berlin for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, it seemed an good excuse to check both the city and the hotel out.
First impressions count and ours of Vienna in general and the Park Hyatt in particular was overwhelmingly positive. Vienna is a bit of a hybrid between Paris and Berlin albeit on a smaller scale. It is similar to Paris in that there are “quartiers” or districts, akin to the arrondissements of Paris, that circle like a ring. The 1st quartier (the ” golden quartier”) circles the inner center of Vienna. It is here you’ll find not only the famous hotels like the Sacher and the Imperial Palace and the iconic sights like the Vienna Opera house but also the luxury stores alongside the more authentic Viennese stores.
Within the inner center of this ring sits Am Hof square (Vienna’s oldest square and the site and location of the beautiful Christmas markets) and at the top of this square sits an immensely impressive architecturally beautiful building that was once Austria Bank and now is the newly opened Park Hyatt hotel.
My husband and I absolutely adored this hotel and look forward to returning – even if it requires a detour from another European trip.
The service was beyond professional and solicitous. There was nothing they would not do to accommodate us. Example: my husband dropped and broke his iPhone within hours upon arriving at the hotel. The next day they had his phone personally delivered to a tech store that fixed his phone and he had it back in his hands by 4:00pm that afternoon.
When we showed the concierge our restaurant reservations, they helped curate our selections, weeding out the misguided suggestions that are featured in travel sites and magazines and replacing with some dining experiences that were off the charts (see our favorites below).
The hotel has many impeccably restored common areas that are broken down as follows.
- The Bank, which is the hotel’s main restaurant, also doubles as the breakfast area. A most impressive space in its own right. Paired with delicious food, this was a delightful way to start our day.
- Pearl bar, whose spiraling staircase led down and into the bar itself, was replicated exactly from the movie “Coco avant Chanel”, the iconic movie about the Grand Dame of fashion Coco Chanel.
- The Lounge and its adjoining Living Room, where one could enjoy an after-dinner cognac and dejection of the finest Cuban cigars. The ventilation of this particular room made it almost undetectable to smell any smoke whatsoever. As it’s completely sealed off there’s no worry that anything would permeate from beyond it.
ACCOMMODATIONS/ROOMS TO GET
Of the hotel’s 143 rooms, 77 are connectable (1st through 5th floor) so that if you’re a family of 4 or 5, it’s very convenient. Studio rooms are located on the top floor – these rooms are smaller than the typical rooms but very cozy with high angular ceilings.
All the deluxe rooms are ample in size and feel like a European pied à terre. You cannot go wrong staying in these beautifully appointed rooms as they feature identical sized bathrooms to those of the junior suites.
Our room in particular (# 110 located on 1st floor), a “park suite” facing Am Hof square, was beyond amazing. Our suite featured high ceilings and tons of light as well as all the incredible details all the junior suites have to offer such as huge walk in closets, the biggest bathrooms you’ve ever seen and a separate living room area. All the details in every room are highlighted with mother of pearl.
While the junior “park suites” are lovely, those on the higher floors or facing the pedestrian shopping areas tend to be darker and therefore appear smaller. Try to get those facing the square in general and the first floor in particular.
OUT AND ABOUT IN VIENNA: DON’T MISS
Our Favorite Stores:
- Babettes, Schleifmuhlgasse 17 Am Hof 13. An incredible selection of cookbooks and every type of spice imaginable that are packaged so that you can easily take home in your suitcase. A must stop for any foodie.
- Loden Plankl, Michaelerplatz 6 . Vienna’s oldest specialty shop for loden and traditional clothing since 1830.
- Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17. Austria’s oldest and largest auction house – very cool stuff to view and buy.
Our Favorite Restaurants:
- Zum Schwartzen Kameel – (the black camel). A Viennese mainstay dating back to 1618 which also happens to be around the corner from the Park Hyatt. The maitre’d alone is worth the trip – an iconic Viennese who has been at the restaurant more then 25 years and dresses in a traditional tyrolean outfit that must be seen. The crowd is well heeled and stylish. The food is absolutely sensational: The salmon tartar may have been the best I’ve ever eaten and the schnitzel rivals anything in Vienna inclusive of Figmueller.
- Steirereck – A Relais & Chateaux Michelin-star restaurant located in the heart of Stadtpark. An architectural revelation with impeccable service. Oh and the food – blossom with honey, pollen and passion fruit was out of this world. This is an absolute must while in Vienna but book well in advance as the wait list is long
- Fabios. The place to see and be seen – a 2-minute walk from the Park Hyatt right in the heart of the golden quartier. This restaurant was uber chic – right up a New York City girl’s alley. The food was delicious. It’s an Italian menu masquerading as a Mediterranean restaurant but who cares – everything was fantastic.
- Palamenhaus. Converted from glasshouse – young hip crowd, music and beautiful surrounding.
- Rote Bar. Decadently red bar to taste the famous Sacher tarte in the Sacher Hotel. Very touristy with long lines to get in so be warned A beautiful room nonetheless.
Our Favorite Sights
Sisi museum. An absolute must. Best to go with a private guide like we did who helps immensely in navigating the crowds and weeding out the necessary from the frivolous.
Schonbrun Palace – If you are going to the Sisi museum, you can probably skip the Schonbrun which is located on the outskirts of the city and requires a special trip with taxis. The rooms and furnishings are all at the Sisi museum. That said, if it is a sunny day, it is worth the trek to see the spectacular grounds of the palace alone (known as the Versailles of Austria).
The Jewish Museum beautifully situated on quiet beautiful square Judeoplatz – a two minute walk from the Park Hyatt and surrounded by some very quaint stores
The Nachmarkt. In the 6th quartier, this impressive array of food stalls and cafes (both indoor and outdoor) showcasing every type of food imaginable, is only a 5-10 minute walk from hotel.
Belvedere Palace and Museum. Houses an impressive array of impressionist paintings and a wonderful exhibit of Gustav Klimt including ” the kiss”.
Spanish Riding School. Shows of the gorgeous Lippanzer stallions are on Saturday or Sunday. Practices are every morning from 10 am – noon but we thought this was a bit boring.
WHAT TO KNOW
- You can pay 3 euro at the opera house for standing room only. You can just show up just prior to the show, pay your fee and then listen and watch for a bit and very discreetly leave when you’re ready to. This allows you to get a great feel for the opera but not be tied down to three hours of Wagner !
- The underground subway is very clean, efficient and quick! We highly recommend you try it for getting around the city.
- If you’re not a smoker beware! Vienna has a grandfathered smoking clause in restaurants and bars – most if not all restaurants have designated sections for smokers and often these sections are the most desirable parts of the restaurants and bars.
To book Park Hyatt and receive special perks and rates such as upgrades (based upon availability), complimentary daily breakfast, hotel credit during your stay and early check-in/late check-out, click here through our special partnership with Classic Travel.
|Rooms to Get||Tips|
Park Hyatt Vienna
Am Hof 2,
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