SHOPPING in Vienna:
If your hotel room is too small, you should grab a few things from the rack and retire into the changing room which seemingly has the size of a one-room apartment. The shop itself is also anything but small: On 270 sqm you find gorgeous stuff by Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Rykiel Hommes and Viktor & Rolf. Of course, it's not exactly cheap, but if you are into the truly exclusive shopping experience, then this is perfect for you. Just stay for a while at the shop bar and enjoy the aesthetics around you: Light-coloured reptile leather on the walls, fixtures on the ceilings and classy designer pieces.
The Yppenplatz is the heart of the trendy neighbourhood around the Brunnenmarkt. This is where Lisi Lang's showroom is located. Her true name is less well-known than her label Lila, whose product line is sold in many shops in Vienna. The Lila garments are most beautiful, however, when they keep to themselves: The small, bright shop is only opened on Saturdays, so one can purchase the entire collection at once. The package includes: Skirts, dresses, coats, shoes, lately even for men and children. As usual the cuts are astute and the clothes extremely comfortable.
Anne Morel was born in France. With shoes on her feet, as she claims herself. Whether or not that's true, the passion for fascinating footwear remained and was imported to Vienna with a tad of Parisian flair. The good thing about this shop: High heels are out. This is because Anne Morel thinks ahead, and only when a woman stands firmly on the ground can she look good. This is why there are ravishing shoes with road grip, in any style, from ultrafashionable to sporty elegant. Oftcourse, the whole selection is from cutting edge French labels such as Maloles and Pataugas.
STAY in Vienna:
Minimalism and discreet luxury? Not here: In these apartments it's a virtue to show off, be it with nude statues, leopard fabrics and loads of cushioning. If you stay in Vienna for a longer period and don't like the atmosphere in hotels, the exclusive Niky apartments are your best bet. The service is just as perfect as in any hotel, and the catering comes directly from the gourmet restaurant Niky's Kuchelmasterei. Niky's staff are also happy to put together an exquisite wine selection for you. So relax with a good glass of wine in the whirlpool that is waiting in your marble bath. What do you think? A night in the suite costs about 247 euros.
Vienna upgrades to a luxury hotel city. Park Hyatt, Kempinksi and Four Seasons are on their way, and already at the end of August the Ritz-Carlton Vienna has opened in prominent location on the Viennese Ringstraße. Originally the luxury chain Shangri-La planned a hotel at this very spot. But these plans dematerialised again and instead the federal capital got 202 luxurious rooms, a gourmet restaurant and the first Guerlain Spa in Austria - thanks to Ritz-Carlton. All this is located in four historical buildings under monumental protection from the 19th century. The original wall cladding and the ceiling frescoes therefore remained the same. The kitchen of the restaurant Dstrikt is run by celebrity chef Wini Brugger whose Indochine21 is located right across the street - how convenient! Also non-hotel guests can dine at the restaurant and reach restaurant and bar through a separate entrance. However, you need a special invitation for the Chef's Table which will jumble up the hotel kitchen with its eight seats. A big fuss has been made about the rooftop bar Atmosphere: the view over Vienna is only permitted until 9.30 pm - because of potential disturbances of the peace.
The Pension Nossek is often booked up months in advance, and that's understandable. If you happen to know a nicer and more charming hotel, please let us know. The family run establishment is more than 100 years old, and it's clear to see: stucco ceilings, parquet floors and Vienna period furniture create a very special atmosphere. Prices are relatively favourable, which is surprising given its location. The Pension Nossek is located directly at the moat in the first district, from some rooms your can even see the posh shopping street. There are a colourful mix of guests, ranging from the university professor to the backpacker. Doubles start at 115 euros at night.
EAT in Vienna:
The Karmelitermarkt is becoming increasingly more chic, and the pick of eateries, where one can sit down after the stroll through the market, is becoming more difficult. To the Schöne Perle, with the nicest waiters and the most modern home-style cooking? Or for Georgian flatbread to the Madiani? Far from it: The real connoisseurs drink their Marktachtel in the Marktachterl. The eatery was recently made over from a greasy stall into a cosy market restaurant, and with a keen sense and taste. Now the kitchen is managed by Josef Hohensinn, the former associate of Reinhard Gerer. The restaurant serves top class Vienna specialties. Tip: Try the white house wine, it's phenomenal.
The secret to success is an open one: In the Figlmüller the Schnitzels are always a little bigger, a little thinner and a little crunchier than elsewhere. No wonder, since the Schnitzel etiquette is considered to be a genuine piece of professional ethics: The meat must be from the saddle of the pig and is pounded to 34 cm. The coating has to be made with Kaisersemmel breadcrumbs only. After that the Schnitzel goes through 3 different frying pans that are all filled with oil heated to different temperatures, before it finally ends up on your plate. Bon appetite! Beware: There are several Figlmüllers in Vienna. You'll do best in the parent house at the Wollzeile.
The legendary Café Landtmann is located directly at the ring road next to the Burgtheater. It's a Viennese tradition to go there after the show. When Franz Landtmann opened his café in 1873, it was the city's most spacious. It still is one of the most elegant, even if the elegance appears a little old-fashioned. Here all the Vienna clichés come true: The waiters condescend to serve with bow tie and verve, the coffee comes in 15 different names and the pastries make you drop on your knees. Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Sunday night) even the musical cliché holds true, with live piano music in the background. The wonderfully modern winter garden is new and makes for a nice contrast to the classic and somewhat stuffy part of the café. If you sit for a little bit longer until you get hungry, it doesn't matter so much: The cuisine is typically Viennese and much more than just a coffeehouse snack.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
Those who live close by never move any more. And those who don't, come from all over the city to relax in one of the most beautiful parks in Vienna. In the Augarten every one finds a place. Even the two huge flak towers from World War II have been integrated and made themselves indispensable. The runners run around, the slackliners balance between the trees, while a few more senior park lovers meet for a Boccia game. The hits this summer are already taking shape: Advanced Frisbee and Viking Chess. If you don't know what that is just ask a park inhabitant, they tend to be rather communicative. After the whatever-it-is match you can return the favour with a beer, spritzer or icecream, which the Awawa-Beisel, also called Bunkerei, provides. And when it doesn't happen to be summer? Then the Bunkerei offers punches. And the Augarten itself is beautiful in every season. Tip for families: For the little ones there is a children's pool and countless playgrounds.
In the Hofburg you not only find the office of the President Heinz Fischer and the National Library, but also something that seems to be of a magical attraction for the tourists: The Imperial Apartments. The Hofburg was the imperial residence of the Habsburg, it was the seat of government and administrative centre of the Empire as well as the winter residence of the imperial family (in the summer they lived in Schönbrunn). You will get an overview when you take part in the one-hour-long tour. During that hour you will also be led through the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments of Sisi and Franz. In the Schweizerhof, the oldest part of the Hofburg, the treasures of Habsburg dynasty can be admired, including the imperial Austrian crown, the royal treasure of the Holy Roman Empire with the imperial crown or the enchanting jewels of Habsburg empresses and princesses, i.e. parts of the original jewels of Empress Elisabeth.