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.
The Hamilton Hotel, located steps from the White House, was the perfect place for a relaxing weekend getaway. Upon arrival, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful with a quick check-in process. The lobby was immaculate with shining marble flooring, velvet couches and an arched ceiling design that brought a sense of sophistication. For added security, the elevators are only accessible to those who have a key card to a guestroom.
Luxury destinations around the country partnered with Bryte to introduce The Restorative Bed and enhanced sleep programming at their hotels. The revolutionary, AI-powered Restorative Bed uses real-time technology to intuitively adjust based on the individual’s needs and preferences. An embedded sensory network detects biometrics, like heart rate and breathing patterns, when a sleeper enters the first stage of sleep, triggering cooling features and lulling sleepers into deep sleep. Computer-controlled air cushions alleviate pressure points, and the technology also leads sleepers naturally out of sleep.
Tauck announced plans to fully restart its U.S. tours by July 1. Departures of the Southern Charms: Savannah, Hilton Head and Charleston tour have already begun, with other popular tours across the country relaunching in the coming months. Check the Open for Travel page for information on specific tour departures.
Turkish Airlines resumed its premium onboard dining and hot meal service on all business- and economy-class flights longer than two hours and 15 minutes. The resumption of service is in accordance with all health and hygiene applications.
Denver’s The Source Hotel offers its new Passport Program. Overnight guests receive The Source Passport at check-in and from there can enjoy restaurants and retail establishments across The Source Hotel + Market Hall with exclusive discounts. Exclusive discounts are available at The Woods, Safta, Reunion Bread, Beet & Yarrow, Melted and more.
With the vaccine rolling out and U.S. air travel expected to pick up in the upcoming months, the personal finance website WalletHub released a report on 2021’s Best Frequent-Flyer Programs, to help travelers make the best decision for their wallets.
TAP Air Portugal now offers all passengers COVID-19 testing service at Lisbon Airport at a discount. Depending on a destination’s various restrictions, the Rapid Antigen Test is €21; the PCR test is €85; and a PCR Test plus Rapid Antigen Test is €106. TAP customers enjoy priority access to this service.