Vienna: Top Attractions
|Vienna, Austria (PhotoDisc)|
Vienna's grandest hotel without a doubt, the Imperial has hosted the world's most famous individualsfrom political leaders to top musicians. Robert Wagner brought his family to stay for a few months in 1875, and today the Austrian government puts up official state visitors here. Exquisite and elegant, it features an abundance of colorful, polished marble, crystal chandeliers, and Gobelin tapestries.
Evoking the imperial grandeur of the Habsburg Empire, this landmark hotel is yet another fabulous Vienna treat. Black carved marble fireplaces and oil paintings throughout the salons are fit for a museum or a palace. The best guestrooms offer open fireplaces, self-service bars, a library, and a separate living area. Many have small balconies with rooftop city views.
Hotel Sacher Wien
The 1876 Sacher is old Vienna at its best, with its atmosphere resurrected in public spaces overflowing with crystal chandeliers, brocaded curtains, and plenty of red velvet. An elaborate place with a neoclassical façade, it's been the setting for more than a few spy novels and the only choice for many heads of state. Rooms facing the opera house have the best city views. Home to the original sachretortes, the hotel's Café Demel is simply the best Old-World coffeehouse in Vienna.
Hotel Im Palais Schwarzenberg
More akin to a museum than a hotel, where country estate meets baroque palace, this extraordinary gem is set on 15 acres of manicured gardens. The palace-turned-hotel is filled with oval mirrors laden with gilt, crystal chandeliers, and antique art. Its posh guestrooms have marble baths and thick robes that turn every lady into a princess.
Korso bei Der Opera
Easily Vienna's best restaurant, Korso bei Der Opera serves a mixture of German, Austrian, and Swiss cuisine with magnificent results. It's innovative and alluring, blending traditional favorites with modern creations. The wine list is extraordinary, the service perfect. Within the Hotel Bristol, the décor is chic and elegant, with breathtaking baroque columns, shimmering chandeliers, and exquisite paneling.
Korso bei Der Opera: +43.1.5151.6546, www.westin.com/bristol
Vienna State Opera (Weiner Staatsoper)
At the end of World War II, Vienna's top priority was rebuilding its extensively damaged opera house, leaving little doubt this is a city that takes its music seriously. The world's leading opera stars perform regularly on this legendary stage during a season that runs from September through June. Since tickets are hard to garner, consult your hotel concierge.
Vienna State Opera: +43.1.51444.7880
State Theater Booking Office: +43.1.533.0961
Ticket Broker: www.wiener-staatsoper.at
The Vienna Philharmonic performs September through June at the stunning Musikverein concert hall, an opulent and acoustically perfect auditory space. A world-renowned orchestra with a varied repertoire, the philharmonic provides the music for Vienna State Opera performances.
Vienna Philharmonic: +43.1.505.6525, www.wienerphilharmoniker.at
Vienna Boys' Choir
Established in 1498, the world-famous Vienna Boys' Choir puts on a sensational performance. Dressed in sailor suits and blessed with cherubic voices, the choir performs weekly at the Burgkapelle. Concerts sell out weeks in advance (your hotel concierge can probably help) and devoted fans often rush the choir afterwards, hoping for autographs.
Vienna Boys' Choir: +184.108.40.20642, www.wsk.at
Europe's oldest auction house dates back to 1707, established by Emperor Joseph I so that impoverished aristocrats could get fair market value for any heirlooms they were forced to sell. Today the Dorotheum handles some 250,000 pieces of art and antiques annually. Objects include fabulous carpets, antique furniture, and valuable paintings.
Dorotheum: +43.1.515.60.0, www.dorotheum.com
Spanish Riding School
Vienna's white Lipizzaner stallions mount a dazzling performance behind the Hofburg. The stallions' sleek show hasn't changed in four centuries, and why should itthe world's most-famous equines are utterly graceful and masterful in their aristocratic movements. Elegant and classic shows feature romantic compositions by Chopin and Strauss. Performances often sell out months in advance, so consult your hotel concierge well ahead of your arrival in Vienna.
Spanish Riding School: +43.1.533.9032, www.srs.at
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication