A couple weeks ago I took a few days off from work and spent four days in Vienna. I flew Business Class from New York non-stop to Vienna on Austrian Air. In Vienna we stayed at the Hotel Bristol, which is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection.
Our flights from New York to Vienna and back were great. When I first booked the flights I was supposed to fly on Austrian’s new Business Class product, but about a month before I was supposed to leave there seemed be to delays in the roll-out so I was not so lucky. Austrian’s old Business Class product is an angled lie-flat seat, which still offered plenty of room and was obviously much better than a regular Economy seat. The service and food were great. There were two things that I was really looking forward to on the flight: first, the food and second, the dedicated coffee menu. Austrian is famous for having a dedicated Chef onboard for Business Class food preparation. In addition, they have Do & Co, which is a famous Viennese restaurant cater the Business Class food. Needless to say the food was outstanding. The beef going out was perfectly cooked and the presentation was similar to that of an actual restaurant. After dinner we were served one of ten different coffees. I ordered an einspänner, which is basically coffee with whipped cream, and it was delicious. The Maria Theresia, which was coffee with orange liqueur and whipped cream was also very good. I got a solid 5 hours of sleep in before I was woken up for breakfast in the morning. I had an omelette, which like the dinner before was delicious.
The Hotel Bristol is a beautiful hotel. The Hotel Imperial, another Starwood Luxury Collection hotel, and the Le Meridien are both close by, but I thought that the Hotel Bristol had the best location of them all. It’s directly opposite the State Opera House and right directly on Vienna’s main shopping street. We stayed in a standard room and it was more than adequate for our needs. The bathroom was quite large and had heated floors that were a dream to wake up to. There was plenty of closet space as well as WiFi throughout the hotel and in the room. The service was also very good with the housemaids cleaning our room as well as providing turn-down service without us ever seeing them. The hotel is close enough to walk to pretty much everything in the city. We had breakfast at the hotel every morning as we received it for free and it was really a great spread. They had a continental buffet set up, but they would also bring you pancakes, waffles, or eggs if you asked the waiter. Overall, I’d highly recommend the Hotel Bristol and it will be my preference when I return to Vienna in the future.
Most of Vienna’s highlights are in a small section of the city and we never felt the need or desire to take a taxi or take public transport anywhere except the airport. There are large parts of the Innerstadt or Inner City that are only open to pedestrians, which made walking a breeze. We didn’t take any guided tours, but relied upon the tours in the Baedeker Guide on Vienna. They were each about four hours long so we did one a day and then ate, walked around, or shopped the rest of the day. They provide a great overview of the city and we were able to see a lot of it just from those walks. I really enjoyed the food in Vienna, but it definitely seemed very meat heavy so if you’re a vegetarian it might be a little harder for you. We never really had a problem with the language so if you’re worried about not speaking any German, don’t be because we don’t speak it at all! We stopped by one of the famous Viennese coffeehouses every day as well and they really are great places to rest. You can get an einspänner and an apple strudel or sachertorte and just watch the people or read one of the newspapers.
I had a great time in Vienna and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. The Hotel Bristol was amazing and the city’s highlights are both beautiful and fascinating. The next time I visit Vienna, I will hopefully be able to see the Philharmonic or one of the operas, but there just wasn’t enough time during this trip.