In a city filled with inspiring Gothic churches, massive Baroque palaces and solid 19th-century stone edifices, could a visitor with a day to spare find minimalism in Vienna?
In Austria’s lovely capital — where even the pastries are overly constructed with swirling towers of fresh whipped cream, mounds of powdered sugar and layers of marzipan — it really is possible to view architectural sites where Le Corbusier’s words, “less is more” would apply.
Start the day with breakfast at the Scottish Abbey (tel 43 1 534 98 900), a former 12th-century Scottish Benedictine monastery that has been converted into a quiet and affordably priced hotel. The large rooms have simple, built-in wood furniture; and the buffet breakfast includes cold meats, cheeses, homemade bread and jams, muesli and fresh fruit. The Abbey’s soothing bells and courtyard garden belie its city center location.
After breakfast, walk to the Haas-Haus (Stephansplatz), a glass, concrete and marble mixed-use building designed by Austrian architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Hans Hollein. Haas-Haus was controversial when constructed in 1990, as it sits opposite St. Stephen’s, Vienna’s iconic 14th-century Romanesque and Gothic cathedral. The proximity of the newer building to the older one, perhaps too close for some architectural purists, results in a wavering reflection of St. Stephen’s in the glass façade of Haas-Haus, home to a hotel, a restaurant and office space. The juxtaposition provides a beautiful vision of the city’s architectural diversity.
The nearby Austrian Museum of Architecture (tel 43 1 522 3115) houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions offering a visual chronology of Vienna’s Post-modern architecture, including two other controversial buildings: the 2004 T-Center, a “horizontal” skyscraper located in the Sankt Marx district; and the 2005 Zaha-Hadid Haus (at Spittelauer Lande), a multi-angled, white concrete housing complex elevated on stilts and constructed next to the Danube Canal. Iraqi-born, British architect Zaha-Hadid is the only woman to receive the prestigious Pritzker award.
Before leaving the architecture museum, have lunch at its Café-Restaurant MILO, designed by French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Phillippe Vassal. The interior’s vaulted ceiling, covered with Asian-inspired tiles, hovers above a spare but functional restaurant space with floor-to-ceiling arched windows.
One of the most interesting architectural structures in Vienna can be found in the Simmering district, a few minutes from downtown Vienna via the A3 subway. Here, the interiors of four huge, late-19th-century natural gas tanks have been converted into apartments (top levels), offices (middle levels) and entertainment/shopping areas (ground levels). The four historic Gasometers, as they are called, were redesigned in the late 1990s by several noted architects, including France’s Jean Nouvel and the Viennese firm Coop Himmelb(l)au. At 230 feet in height, all still with the original brick exterior, the Gasometers have become a surreal, Post-modern village all their own, with about 1,600 residents living in 500 apartments within the historic brick walls.
Spend the rest of the afternoon back in downtown Vienna at the Museum of Modern Art, also known as MUMOK: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (Museumsplatz 1, tel 43 1 525 00), which presents art from the Classical, Modernist, Nouveau Réalisme, Fluxus, Pop Art and Viennese Actionism movements within an unusual-looking, Cubist, monolithic building with an exterior covering of basalt lava.
Adventure tour operator Explore Worldwide recently conducted a study to find the most underrated travel experiences around the world. The operator analyzed more than 350 lesser-known destinations and experiences across more than 130 countries, ranking them based on how high its Trip Advisor score fared against how many people actually reviewed the activity and how many Google searches the experience received.
From 24-Hour Butler Service to a Sky Pool: Boutique Luxury Awaits at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences in Los Cabos
Set on a seaside bluff overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences is a Baja paradise specializing in serene vistas and impeccable hospitality, offering a Pacific coast lifestyle with authentic Mexican touches. Guests can now earn a fourth night free at the stunning resort, plus a $100 resort credit, when booking through March 20, for travel through June 15.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Buenos Aires, Argentina, with us.
Philadelphia International Airport announced a new Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club is coming to the airport. Created in collaboration with PHL, MarketPlace PHL, Chase and Airport Dimensions, the 20,000-square-foot lounge space, in the airport’s Terminal D/E connector, will boast locally inspired décor and a curated menu.
Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.
At the end of October, Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship, Celebrity Beyond, arrived in New York City, marking its North American debut and beginning its inaugural U.S. season. I had the pleasure of exploring the ship while it was docked in Bayonne, New Jersey, and learning more about the transformational new ship with the first and American female captain, Kate McCue.
As the travel industry finds itself in the midst of the first peak travel season since the beginning of the pandemic, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts commissioned a survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers to learn more about business travel habits, learning 65 percent of Millennials, aged 25–44 years old, and 59 percent of Gen Z, ages 18–24 years old, prefer to work for a company offering frequent travel or flexible blended travel as a perk. Blended travel is the combination of business travel with leisure travel.
Looking for your next place to instill inspiration? These neighborhoods and hotels saw literary greats walk their corridors, from James Joyce to Oscar Wilde. Consider staying at these elegant properties and walking these destinations to experience the same influential nature these places had on some of the greatest writers in history.