We’ve been enthusiastically following Andaz’ European goings on, with stops at their London and Amsterdam hotels during the last year. So with the news of a pair of new openings on the Continent, as discerning, design-minded travelers, we made immediate plans for visits to Vienna and Munich.
Firstly, as opposed to so many hastily thrown together art programs, Andaz actually retains local gallery curators to oversee their eclectic art collections – and it shows. And with so many hotels offering so many forgettable amenities these days, their collaboration with the The Society of Scent, an olfactory collective with their own fragrance laboratory, means each Andaz will ultimately have its own custom scent – with co-founders Frederick Jacques and master perfumer Jean Claude Delville, creating signature experiences inspired by the hotel’s location.
Our first stop was Vienna, where the new Andaz Vienna am Belvedere (the “rock star” of the brand) has decisively raised the bar for the Austrian capital’s slow-to-change hospitality scene. Still often mistaken for a city much stuffier than it actually is, we’ve always loved its fascinating mix of the high and low – which even managed to seduce a jaded Anthony Bourdain in a 2011 episode of No Reservations.
Here’s what we loved.
Autumn in Vienna promises a vast array of cultural happenings, from art and design fairs to major museum events to world class theatre – and the possibility of spending time in its lush urban vineyards. We prefer to be as near to it all as possible, and the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere was actually quite ideally located, in the up and coming Quartier Belvedere – with easy access to the Belvedere Palace, and the Belvedere 21 Museum of Contemporary Art, which was just across the street.
Of course, style is big for us. And within its strikingly designed tower by Renzo Piano, the hotel featured interiors by Claudio Cabone and Gabriel Kacerovsky – with 259 rooms and 44 suites of cooly understated chic, done in muted grey-and-blue color palettes, and boasting floor-to-ceiling windows offering magnificent views of the Vienna skyline.
The Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere was also delightfully dog-friendly, so we highly recommend brining along your furriest of friends. Nearby is actually one of the city’s biggest and greenest dog runs, where you can meet local Viennese canine lovers.
The hotel’s signature restaurant, Eugen21, billed as a modern Austrian tavern, was designed with an airy, open feel, perfect for sunny Viennese breakfasts and moonlit dinners. And we were thrilled to dive into their contemporary take on classics like wiener schnitzel, sheep’s cheese spaetzle, Galloway beef goulash and Viennese fried chicken.
Our favorite sips were the of-the-moment Andaz Spritzer, and the Scofflaw Cocktail, made with Bulleit Bourbon, La Quintinye Extra Dry, grenadine, orange bitters, and lime, which was actually invented in Paris, Prince Eugene of Savoy’s birthplace. But we’ve also been loving Austrian wines these days, and the excellent pan-European wine list included a few memorable regional Gruner Veltliners.
For more casual daytime dining, we loved The Cyclist, the hotel’s bicycle themed eatery, with a healthy buffet that changes daily, and dishes with cycling-minded names. The super cute spot was actually a favorite amongst hotel staff too – and even had its own coffee bean roast for take away.
The Rooftop Bar
Fancying a nightcap, we headed upstairs to Aurora, the Nordic-inspired rooftop bar located on the 16th floor of the hotel. Scandinavian-inspired small plates were complemented by clever cocktails like the Swedish Highball and Huh! The Call of the Vikings (we kid you not). It’s already a hot spot with local style cognoscenti, not just a little because of the views that seem to stretch all the way to Bavaria.
At only a 5-7 minute walk away, and with classically manicured grounds leading to its entryway doors, this palace-turned-art museum that is The Belvedere was once home to the aforementioned Prince Eugene, one of the leading Austrian developers and art collectors of his time. (You’ll see the Prince with his flowing locks and fancy frocks portrayed more contemporaneously throughout the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere.)
The Upper Belvedere is home to Klimt’s exalted painting The Kiss – and its fantastical romanticism makes for a transcendent experience when viewed in person. But in addition to Gustav’s masterpieces, the palace as well holds the biggest collection of works by the beloved/maudlin Egon Schiele, who led a tortured existence, and whose expressionist paintings remain powerfully visceral. The museum ingeniously also regularly spotlights a notable contemporary artist, which happened to be American sculptor Kiki Smith when we were there. Set within the palace’s baroque grandeur, her work made for a radically refreshing contrast.
But we especially loved strolling through the Schweizergarten on our way to the Belvedere. A picturesque park in the style of an English garden, we passed by the famous Chopin statue and other such sculptures very much worth seeing.
The Vienna Autumn Hit List
viennacontemporary art fair, September 26-29th, 2019, featuring more than a hundred galleries from twenty-five countries.
Vienna Design Week, September 27-October 6, 2019, in its 12th year, boasts more then 200 design-oriented events and attractions.
Parallel Vienna, hybrid art fair, exhibiiton, platform and artists’ studio, September 24-29th, 2019
Viennese ‘stages’, discover local performances, the city’s hidden stages, Vienna State Opera, University of Music and Performing arts, and the Zentralfriedhof (Vienna’s second largest cemetery wilderness).
Saint Charles Apotheke, a modern pharmacy with three locations (including a yoga studio), with its own line of exceptional skincare and supplements, also supplying the in-room amenities at Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere.
St. Charles Apotheke
Aend, the exquisite Michelin-starred restaurant from rockstar German chef Fabian Gunzel.
Glacis Beisl, tucked away in the Museums Quartier, one of the prettiest bistros in town, serving classic Viennese cuisine in a garden oasis
Naschmarkt, the largest urban food market in the 6th district, with over 100 stalls selling produce, meat, baked goods, spices. Also Indian and Vietnamese cuisinee, and every Saturday includes a flea market.
Fenster Cafe, Vienna’s tiniest and loveliest cafe, in the 1st District, withunique coffee creations – try the cornettoccino served in a waffle!
Wiener Weinwandertag, over 180 Vienna wine growers open their orchards to the public. (www.vienna.info)