SHOPPING in Vienna:
The name says it all: Sandra Haischberger truly produces the finest of the fine things out of porcelain in her studio. Delicate white is adorned with birds and insects, English lace patterns from the Tudor period are kissed back to life and fragile vases are waiting for flowers to be put in. On top of that many lamps, cups and bowls, everything made in extremely limited editions, and thus really something special. The surprise: Haischberger's art is still affordable.
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.
This shop could have been flown in from New York or Paris, in its entirety. The fashion victim will find two purist white floors in which she or he finds a lot that has to come home at any cost. Cool street wear, stylish fashion and funky accessories are designed by international newcomers as well as established designers such as Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, Haltbar and Hussein Chalayan. What has become commonplace in Barcelona, continues to stand out in Vienna: Next to the gear, that all cries out go home with you, the most beloved books and magazines of each designer are on sale.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
Amidst the Viennese Prater, we find a hidden club of a special kind: the Pratersauna. It's not a shady sauna club, but the in-club in Vienna. A few years ago, the Pratersauna was still a filthy and dubious underground sauna. Today, the club has replaced the Flex along the Danubian canal - which has been deemed the Viennese hotspot for a long time before. However, the Pratersauna is not only a club but also an artspace providing room for art, and even offers a pool landscape with garden. Brand new: the café-bistro with organic food and home-made smoothies. The swimming pool in the garden is a good bet for the summer months. In comparison to the public pools, it's never too crowded and pleasant lounge music provides for a relaxed atmosphere. If you badly want to, you can afterwards go to the famous Schweizerhaus, located on the opposite street, for a Budweiser beer and a pork knuckle. But that's a different story again...
Few Vienna visitors can get by without a single visit to the imperial family. One of the most beautiful destinations with an imperial crown is the Schönbrunn Castle. The imperial residence from the 17th century attracts 6.7 million people a year - just follow the masses, you won't miss the main entrance. You can join a tour though the parlours, side rooms and rooms, or you just retire into the palace garden, where you can make your own discoveries. Find your middle ground in the imperial maze, jaunt to the Roman ruin or climb the glorious Gloriette, the belvedere on the Schönbrunn hill. Too little action? Then go play with the wild animals in the most beautiful zoo in Austria, visit the small desert house or the tropical plants. Attention: A sunny day just flies by in Schönbrunn.
When the schedule is tight and you need to get moving, we suggest combining your morning jog with a sightseeing tour: Just run around the ring road and admire the magnificent buildings. Shortly after the start you pass the parliament building: Pallas Athena is turning her back to the parliament, maybe not a wise decision. Then you move on to the Rathausplatz, with City Hall and Burgtheater, then on to the University at the Schottentor, passed the Bourse, the Urania, and the MAK (Museum of Applied Arts). Along the chic Kärnterring you reach the Opera. If you need more action still, you can turn into a park on the way. The Volksgarten, the Stadtpark or the Burggarten are possibilities. Tip: The round also works with the tram (you have to change lines) or a rented City Bike.
EAT in Vienna:
The Palmenhaus is such a nice place that it easily manages the balancing act between tourist trap and local hot spot. It's existed since the turn of the century, and a look at the glass-steel construction alone is worth the visit. Now parts of the building have been remodelled by the architect duo Eichinger-Knechtl and were modernized in the true sense of the word. The palm trees and the view over the enchanting Burggarten have remained. Try to find a spot on the terrace or at the Brunnenbar (at park level). You can spend wonderful summer nights there, tastefully set to music by Viennese DJs. Plus: Great cuisine, great cocktails.
On level ground?
In a way it is unnecessary to recommend this restaurant: When you see the little Biedermeier house at the Spittelberg, you won't want to go passed it anyhow. The restaurant is just as enchanting as it is simple; the only thing where one has over-egged the pudding is with the name. It serves Viennese cuisine, rather down-to-earth and simple yet tasty. The drinks are regional, too: Most wines and also the liquors are from Austria. We don't know whether or not Nestroy would come eat here. But you should, in any event!
Maybe even the furnishings are made of sugar? The delicacies in the display cabinets definitely are. They don't only look indescribable, but also taste like that, too. The place has a long tradition, having been chosen to be the k.u.k. Court bakery. The candied violets are a decadent relict from the past, and a unique specialty that you won't get anywhere else. The Anna Demel cake is also notorious, a piece of art made of chocolate and truffles. Tip: The extra charge for the tradition is included in the price. It's worth it for the sweet stuff, but not so much for the savoury snacks on offer.
STAY in Vienna:
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 beautiful Art Nouveau building has apartments that fulfil nearly every demand. You can get apartments starting at at a cosy 25 or up to a spacious 90 sqm, the latter providing enough room for up to seven people. Of course there is everything that you need in the kitchen and bath room, and the big apartments even have a washing machine and dishwasher. The apartments under the attic are particularly great. They are not cheap, but you have a direct view onto St. Stephen's Cathedral. Tip: For 5 euros a person you get breakfast room service. A night in the cute suite starts at 155 euros.
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.