This year I spent my birthday in Vienna, one of my favorite European capitals. For Julien it was the first visit to this city and I was so delighted re-discover Vienna together with him! I love everything about Vienna: majestic architecture, large streets, huge parks, calmness and cleanliness, vibrant cultural life, cozy bars… I could spend a week there but we had only three days and tried to make the best of this short stay. Fantastic accommodation at the hotel Grand Ferdinand in the heart of Vienna was definitely one of keys to success of this trip!
I’ll give you two reasons to choose Grand Ferdinand when you visit Vienna (and believe me, they make this hotel absolutely unbeatable):
- Grand Ferdinand has a rooftop pool overseeing Vienna;
- Breakfast is served on the rooftop terrace offering the view over the city.
The photos of the rooftop will tell you more than words – the view is breathtaking and also this spot is an oasis of calmness where you can have a cup of coffee after visiting the city, sip a cocktail or even get a tan if the weather is lovely. This rooftop alone would be a sufficient argument for me to choose Grand Ferdinand but the hotel also has other advantages: stylish rooms design, efficient service (I got an iron and ironing board ten minutes after I’ve asked for them) and absolutely epic breakfast! To sum up, staying at Grand Ferdinand was a real pleasure and I couldn’t wish more for my birthday.
Our room was spacious and minimalist, mix of industrial and Scandinavian styles with some vintage Art Deco elements. The interior was an esthetic pleasure for a design lover like me. I love having this awe feeling when entering a hotel room and next day, opening the eyes in the morning, and Grand Ferdinand was definitely a good place for me. Gubi mirrors, leather club chairs, Lobmeyr chandeliers… I call this style “modern luxury”, with its clean lines and neutral colors, unique pieces of furniture and decoration.
Grand Ferdinand has a gym (honestly I didn’t find motivation to try it but Julien did and said it was small but well equipped), a restaurant featuring traditional Austrian cuisine and a cocktail bar (guess where? On the rooftop of course!) Actually we felt so good at the hotel that spent inside much more time than expected – for example, soaking the sunshine by the pool or working on our laptops in the lounge area. And it was totally ok because we had really good balance between having a rest and exploring the city.
What are my must-does in Vienna? Number on is going to listen to opera or classical music! Vienna is the music capital of Europe and this is the best way to plunge into the atmosphere of the city. Anyway if you didn’t manage to get the tickets to the most famous Vienna State Opera, try Vienna Volksoper or Musicverein, equally well-known among the music connoisseurs.
Vienna is a fantastic destination for cultural trip, it has so many museums, palaces and art galleries that any vacation will be enough to visit all of them. This time in Vienna we went to see the famous Belvedere Palace (for me it was the second time but I adore the Klimt collection exposed there!), Albertina art gallery (amazing collection of graphics, including Durer’s masterpieces, and Impressionists) and MAK – the Museum of Applied Arts. The last one was a true discovery! I absolutely loved the furniture & decoration collection, it was so inspiring to see the forms, textures and shapes from the Middle Age to the present day. Passionate of interior design I was happy to see some famous pieces of furniture with my own eyes – before I’ve only seen the photos in the magazines! Also the Design Lab, a new part of the museum created a few years ago, is very interesting, too – it’s an interactive area representing a fusion between art and science in the contemporary world. If I still haven’t convince you to visit the MAC museum when you come to Vienna, I’ll just add that inside of it is located Salonplafond – one of the best restaurants in the city featuring the hidden calm terrace and incredibly beautiful dining room with fantastic coffered ceiling. The cuisine is fabulous, too, creative but based on the traditional recipes and seasonal ingridients.
Talking of the restaurants in Vienna, here’re a few adresses we tested and approved:
- D’Landsknecht : a traditional rustic restaurant not far from the Vienna Volksoper, perfect to have dinner after the opera. Austrian cusine is usually too heavy for me but there’s one Austrian dish which I always eat with pleasure: Tafelspitz, boiled veal with vegetables and different sauces. Boiled veal doesn’t sound very appealing but believe me, it’s very soft, juicy and aromatic (Franz Joseph I, the Emperor of Austria and great lover of Tafelspitz, couldn’t be wrong). At D’Landsknecht you will find a perfect example of this dish, as well Wiener schnitzel, another big classic of Austrian cuisine.
- O boufés : a wine bistro of Konstantin Filippou, a Greek-Austrian Michelin-starred chef . The cuisine is experimental, based on the seasonal ingredients and influenced by Greek culinary traditions. I loved the minimalist interior and appreciated organic wines, as for food, it was a complete discovery, a surprising fusion of different tastes and flavors!
- Wein & Co and Der Wein: two wine bars perfect for wine tasting or aperitif. Both of them (like often in Vienna) are combined with a food store where you can order something to eat. Though when you take a cheese or ham plate to accompany the wine remember – it will be so consistent that you risk to skip dinner!
- The Sign: an excellent cocktail bar with an incredibly large choice of cocktails. There’re mixes for any taste, lounge ambience and friendly service, which will make you stay long enough to try a big part of the menu…
I wanted to show Julien my favorite (and very famous) Café Central but the queue at the entrance was too long. Anyway if it’s your first time in Vienna I’d recommend you to spend a half of an hour for waiting and get a table at this historical place. In the evening there’s live music and the interior is very beautiful. A thought that a hundred of years ago Freud, Trotski or Lenin were probably sitting at the same place definitely adds some charm to this establishment.
Vienna is worth a long trip but even a weekend there will leave you in total awe! It’s one of the most elegant, cleanest and safest cities I know – no wonder it has been ranked best city in the world to live in for last 10 years in a row. The only danger of visiting Vienna – you will never want to leave…
Hotel Grand Ferdinand
Schubertring 10-12, 1010 Wien, Austria
+43 1 91 880 400