SHOPPING in Vienna:
Disaster Clothing has become an institution in the Neubaugasse. Any one, whether teenager or a bit more mature, will find something here, provided they're looking for something cool. Pieces by established labels, such as Custo Barcelona, Desigual, Amarillo Limon and Skunk Funk are on display next to young Austrian designers such as Elke Freytag, lila, Maronski, Dejan, and Esca. The standards include Freeman T. Porter, Kyuichi fairtrade and biocotton Jeans. You always find something, because there is always something different to choose from in the DC, and always in limited edition. The shop complements and changes its stock every two weeks, so feel free to stop by more often than once.
In this case vintage doesn't mean that the stuff has been worn before, that it looks ragged or smells of moth balls. It rather feels like a please-touch museum of past fashion. The collection consists of selected pieces from the years between 1880 and 1980 - anything more recent than that you will look for in vain. The owners of the boutique have got such a good touch for beautiful things that the Flo has become world famous: Stella McCarney, Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss have been here to look for glamorous garments from the 1920s, New Look from the 1950s or whacky designer pieces from the 1980s. The shop also has traditional costume, headdresses and extravagant jewels.
There's no better place for a design centre than the new hotel of a star architect. That happened in December 2010 in Vienna: after a two-year construction phase, the design centre stilwerk Vienna finally opened. With roughly 30 shops, the building becomes a hub for design. On four floors and around 6000 square metres, design enthusiasts find everything that got style: furniture, living accessories, gift articles, fabrics, consumer electronics, lamps and fashion. The new stilwerk Vienna can be found in building of the new Hotel Sofitel St. Stephan's Cathedral which - as one might assume - is not located next to Stephansplatz but the Danube canal. The hotel itself is a piece of design - projected by Pritzker prize winner Jean Nouvel with fantastic lighting installations by artists Pipilotti Rist. stilwerk, known for being a hub for (interior) design and lifestyle accessories with internationally known brands for more than 14 years, has opened its first branch outside Germany in Vienna - following the success in Hamburg, Berlin and Düsseldorf.
STAY in Vienna:
Luxury hotels represent a multitude of lifestyles and living spheres. One version is a modern, contemporary design paired with vintage. Another one is traditional luxury with precious materials and the flair of bygone times. That's what Kempinski in Moscow represents. And rightly so. After all, Kempinski, founded in 1897, is the oldest luxury hotel group in Europe. The Nikol'skaya welcomes its guests after six years of renovation in several buildings around the corner of Nikol'skaya Street and the Lubyanka square. In the style of the Belle Époque: opulently adorned with marble and dark oak wood, red velvet and beige wallpapers, golden décor and crystal chandeliers. Already in the lobby the hotel alludes to the times of ocean steamers, when people clad in pearls and fur sipped champagne from crystal flutes. But you can still do so - in the Kempinski lobby, lounging on art déco furniture under a colourful glass cone. That's good old luxury, redefined!
Having booked into the Imperial, you cannot climb any higher on the luxury scale: The magazine Condé Nast has twice voted it the world's best Hotel. It's the place of choice for the rich and powerful, and since it's foundation in 1863 it's a popular address for state visits. You won't believe it, but it can even get more decadent that a double in the Imperial. Take the biggest suite, for example, which measures 230 sqm. A personal butler is included in the dizzying price. This was to the taste of, among others, the tragically stellar King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who stayed here. The café is also open to all who don't need or want any butler. The melange (Austrian for cappuccino) is delicious, even if with a slightly luxurious aftertaste. The night in a double starts at 323 euros.
Sharon Stone, John Malkovich and similar bigwigs have spent the night here. No wonder: The Sacher continues to be one of the most elegant hotels in Vienna. Its namesake is the dark-black, world famous Sacher tort. Lady Anna Sacher, who took over the traditional house in 1880, is just as legendary as the cake. She knew how to enjoy herself, loved thick cigars, indulgent luxury and small dogs. The suites aren't exactly cheap, yet the hotel offers the best service, a lot of style and much space. The rooms are named after operas, singers or famous hotel guests. One night in the suite starts at about 395 euros.
EAT in Vienna:
Club Sunshine in the Meierei, Roxy in the Opernpassage, Babenberger Passage at the Volkstheater and the radio station 98.3 Superfly - the Viennese party crowd associate these names with Sunshine Enterprises. Now, also the Albertina Passage Dinner Club is on the agenda of the lifestyle label. Located in a former pedestrian subway at the Viennese State Opera, it hosts jazz shows on an own stage, and offers a cigar club, a smokers' bar and culinary creations by Alexander Kumptner, a former student of celebrity chef Reinhard Gerer. Inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest the architects at Söhne & Partner have created the low-keyed venue for up to 300 guests. These amuse themselves in intimate boxes, sipping cocktails like Persian Mule or Espresso Martini and indulging in raw wild salmon with black avocado and glazed snails with parsley sauce. After a live programme the DJ puts on tunes and provides the right mood for a night out that will last until the early morning hours. That's simply Sunshine Enterprises.
To turn an old wine tavern into a young, modern eatery you need nothing more than a young and modern cook. Ringsmuth has learned in the Steirereck, now he expresses himself in the admittedly more modest 10th district. The cuisine is down-to-earth. However, the classics Rindsgulasch (beef goulash), Wiener Schnitzel, Zwiebelrostbraten (onion beef roast), Backhendel (roasted chicken) are prepared with the extra pinch of creativity, which makes them even tastier. The lunch special is a particularly good deal: Soup and main dish can be had for a modest 5,90 euros. The combination of highest quality and super fair prices makes Ringsmuth unbeatable.
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.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
The Viennese aren't exactly famous for being fast and lively. Yet once a year half of Vienna is on its feet, in order to show that cosiness toughens you up. The Vienna City Marathon is the greatest running event in Austria and has been taking place since 1984 and on April 14th, 2013 it's time again! The course is particularly beautiful: There is a relatively relaxed start at the Wagramer Straße, from there the runners cross the city centre, along the Mariahilferstraße and finally on the ring road to the Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square). In case you are in a really good shape, you may admire the most beautiful corners of the city before becoming a hero. The spectators are almost as committed as the runners and contribute greatly to the event. Breathe deeply and run!
Long live the central cemetery? the song by the Austropop legend Wolfgang Ambros hits the nail on the head. Admittedly, the quote is so Tuesday, but it really is one of the most beautiful places in the capital. If you like cemeteries in general, you have to take a walk there, in order to get some of the morbid charm of Vienna. Three million - some of them famous - names have been chiselled in stone, thus Vienna counts more dead than living inhabitants. With a list about who's been put to rest where, you can start on a vivid grave tour, in search for Mozart, Beethoven and Falco in sometimes quite sumptuous gravesites, as well as the Presidential Vault with the remains of Dr. Karl Renner and Thomas Klestil. Well worth seeing is also the Jewish part of the cemetery, the resting place for Buddhists and the phenomenal Art Nouveau church by Otto Wagner. Tip: You either resign yourself to only seeing parts of the cemetery, or you go to the most favourite sites with the bus line 11.
The Museum District is a cult for the Viennese: In the summer you sit on the Enzis (colourful open-air furniture to stretch out on), sip take-out drinks and listen to the DJs. In the winter it's time to take in culture in one of the museums or muse about which of the great restaurants or cafés to go to this time? Take in the street life: 60,000 sqm art and lifestyle are waiting for you! The architecture of the museums is phenomenal: The most modern buildings were combined gracefully with baroque originals. At the square you find the Vienna Art Gallery, which houses many events, the Museum of Modern Art and the Rudolf Leopold Collection. Beyond the three big ones near the square there are also several smaller cultural institutions that are even more exciting, such as the Austrian Museum of Architecture (www.azw.at) or the Tanzquartier (dance house - www.tqw.at). The little ones find cultural happiness in the Jungle Children's Theatre or the Children's Museum. If you are looking for unusual souvenirs, this is also the right place for you: Many small shops sell knickknacks for back home. Our tip. Sit down in one of the cafés and watch people!