Spend a luxurious weekend in the city voted Most Liveable European City for the second year running. Vienna is a cultured foodie’s delight; blocks of monumental buildings hosting opera houses, concert halls, art galleries and Spanish stallions (of the equine variety).
That’s not to mention the endless kaffee und kuchen establishments, the between-meals Viennese tradition handily providing delicious fuel for the Fitbit. A trip to the Sigmund Freud Museum should be included for the more analytically minded, where you can await your appointment with history in the very rooms that spawned a dozen Woody Allen films.
Bed down in a Club Room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which includes access to the Club Lounge serving meals and snacks in the relative privacy of your own ‘living room’. The hotel itself is a magnificent piece of architecture, comprising four former palaces of noble Viennese families on the famous Ringstrasse, the circling boulevard built by Emperor Franz Josef to flaunt the jewel of his empire.
Wiener schnitzl is a local favourite, though I went instead to Dstrikt, the Ritz-Carlton’s own exemplary steak house. Priding itself on offering as much locally sourced produce as a small land-locked country allows – all meat comes from independent Austrian farms – I indulged in a 300g rib eye with truffle parmesan fries, kicked off by a soft-shell crab.
Special cuts include US Porterhouse, Tomahawk Pork and the famed Wagyu Sirloin at a healthy €53 per 100g. Austrian wine is served by the glass and bottle, and although I was too stuffed to try it, the effusive praise lavished upon the house cheesecake almost had me returning the next day for a take-home box.
Located opposite the hotel is the beautiful Koncerthaus, an art deco concert hall where I was fortunate to catch a stunning Chopin recital by Chinese superstar pianist Yundi, the youngest and first Chinese winner of the prestigious Chopin Competition.
The Koncerthaus also doubles up as a ballroom should your inner Strictly inspire you to don the taffeta and starched cotton. Mozarthaus, where the young composer lived and worked, is a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Cathedral and features an unusual crazy-paving-esque roof. Choose from the impressive collection of museums and palaces in the Museum Quarter, and make sure to take in the spring sun in the Folksgarden that surrounds them.
Svetlana at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, an actual wonder-woman who managed to locate and remove tension from my world-weary buttocks I never knew existed. The spa uses Suzanne Kauffman products packed with Alpine plant goodies, and steam rooms, saunas, and the longest pool in Vienna (at 18m) are an ideal place to maximise the after effects of your Austrian pummelling.
NEED TO KNOW
The CAT airport train is a swift 16 minutes to Wien-Mitte, from there it’s a stroll through the Stadtpark to the Ritz-Carlton and centre of town. BA and EasyJet fly direct from London. Deluxe rooms at Ritz-Carlton start from €370 with Club Rooms from €520.
For more info and bookings visit ritzcarlton.com/vienna