With a near constant influx of visitors, this Austrian city has become one of the easiest and most comfortable cities in the world for business travellers.

Vienna’s location in the geographic centre of Europe, its prominence as the headquarters for global institutions such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its status as the capital of relatively prosperous Austria have insulated it from much of the economic unease felt elsewhere in Europe in recent years.

In 1980, the UN established Vienna as its third headquarters, after New York City and Geneva. This means that in addition to rank and file business travellers, the city also frequently hosts thousands of diplomats, technocrats and bureaucrats attending large international conferences.

With a near constant influx of visitors, Vienna has honed its ability to accommodate them, making it one of the easiest and most comfortable cities in the world for a business trip. For example, partial operations commenced this month at the new Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof), which has been under construction since 2007. The massive project, designed to centralise and modernise rail travel to, from and through Vienna, will be complete in 2015.

Last June, the long-awaited, bright and spacious 150,000sqm Terminal 3 opened at Vienna International Airport, used by Austrian Airlines and its Star Alliance partners. In January, a revamped, modernised Terminal 1 will re-open, serving mostly low-fare carriers.

When arriving at the airport, the easiest way into town is via the City Airport Train, which runs every 30 minutes and takes 16 minutes to reach Wien-Mitte station, a U-Bahn (subway station) near the centre of town (11 euro each way). Taxis are plentiful, and the 16km trip costs roughly 30 to 35 euro.

Hotels
As Vienna has modernised its transportation infrastructure, its hotel stock has followed suit with several recent openings and major renovations, and more to come over the next year. Most business hotels are located inside, on or near Vienna’s famous circumferential boulevard, the central Ringstrasse or Ring Road, which was built on the site of the ancient city’s fortress wall.

Elegant
Four 19th-century patrician mansions along the Ringstrasse have been connected and remodelled to create the opulent Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, which opened in August 2012. Interiors are a smart combination of old and new — maintaining many of the original features, such as marble staircases and decorative murals, but adding modern touches like new lighting, a glass-enclosed swimming pool and Dstrikt, a casual street-level restaurant.

This year, Vienna’s original grande dame, the 149-room Hotel Sacher, emerged from an extensive six-year facelift, one of the many that have kept the hotel sumptuous and stylish since it opened in 1876 in the heart of the city. The hotel houses many museum-quality works of art, and a trio of new penthouse suites offer stunning views of some of Vienna’s most important nearby sights, such as the State Opera House and St Stephens Cathedral.

Diplomats and heads of state bed down surrounded by antiques, jewel-toned silk walls, crystal chandeliers and marble bathrooms at the 138-room Hotel Imperial Vienna, which was built as the residence of the Prince of Wurttemberg, a European aristocrat, in 1863. His coat of arms still graces the roof of the ornate Neo Italian Renaissance building on the southern edge of the Ringstrasse.  

In January, after a 48-million-euro redo, the 63-room Hotel Sans Souci will open near the Museums Quartier in a hotel building dating back to 1873. The baroque-meets-modern interior, designed by Philippe Starck, includes original art from the likes of Roy Lichtenstein and Allen Jones.

Edgy
The slim, cubic form of the Hotel Lamee, opened in October, belies the glamorous 1930s Hollywood style of its 32 rooms — all of which have richly upholstered, hall noise-silencing doors and marble bathrooms. As a warning, if you look across the street at its sister property, the Hotel Topazz, you may see guests looking back at you from divans built into its large, oval-shaped windows – but this is on par for life in the city. Both properties offer a complimentary in-room mini bar and wi-fi, provide iPads upon request, and are centrally located between the Danube Canal and St Stephens Cathedral.

None of the 42 exquisitely decorated rooms at the Hotel Altstadt Vienna are alike, an eclectic style that fits in well with the artsy Spittelberg neighbourhood. Complimentary extras include a full breakfast buffet each morning, in-room wi-fi, fireside tea and cake service in the lobby every afternoon and fresh fruit delivered to rooms daily. TripAdvisor ranks the Altstadt as the number one business hotel in Vienna.

If you like sleek, minimalist hotel design, you will love the 156-room, five-star Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, where rooms are decorated entirely in just three colours: white, grey or black. Most rooms and the top floor Le Loft Bar and Lounge offer some of the best views in the city from its location just across the Danube overlooking the historic old city inside the Ringstrasse.

Expense account
To celebrate an important deal and enjoy modern Austrian cuisine at what is considered the best restaurant in town, consider Steirereck, located in the leafy, central Stadtpark. A recent tasting menu included such dishes as mountain trout served with white aubergine; pheasant with lentils; and venison with spiced lingonberries. You can enjoy a lighter (and less pricey) meal in the Meierei in Stadtpark cafe next door, which offers a nice selection of Viennese cakes, pastries and 120 varieties of cheese.

For a full-on Viennese feast, check out the Schwarze Kameel, a restaurant established in 1618 in the middle of the city and still going strong today. Start with a glass of Austria’s famous gruner veltliner or riesling, and enjoy classic dishes such as goose liver in a mandarin soy glaze; a traditional Tafelspitz (boiled beef served with roasted potatoes, creamed spinach and apple horseradish); and ice-cream dumplings in a butter crumble. Meat lovers should also consider Plachutta, a name that is almost synonymous with traditional Tafelspitz as well as Wiener Schnitzel (thinly sliced, breaded cuts of veal fried in clarified butter).  

Peer out of the floor-to-ceiling windows over the tranquil Danube Canal or turn your eyes on the see-and-be-seen crowd at the uber-hot Motto Am Fluss, with a sleek design that feels more like a yacht than a restaurant. Its eclectic menu offers a range of dishes such as local organic beef tartare, risotto or grilled fish. It is located between the Mary and Sweden bridges on the Danube Canal.

Off the clock
If you spend most of your business trip holed up in offices or convention centres, take a few hours and enjoy the expansive views from the Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna’s giant 65m-high Ferris wheel. The wheel consists of 15 enclosed gondola cabins, which can be used for unique small-scale celebrations among friends or colleagues any time of the year.

Go local
Spend an afternoon soaking up the art and atmosphere at the Museums Quartier near the Imperial Palace. The Quartier is a complex of four museums (Leopold, Mumok, Kunstalle Wien and Architekturzentrum Wien) surrounded by a lively array of cafes, bars and restaurants. Check out the treasure trove of Viennese Art Nouveau (including pieces from painters Gustav Klimpt and Egon Schiele) at the popular Leopold Museum. At the Museum of Modern Art (also known as Mumok) you will find contemporary works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and even Yoko Ono. For unique souvenirs and an unconventional collection knick-knacks, do not miss the kitschy MQ Point store nearby.

Don’t do this!
When invited to coffee by a client or colleague, do not expect to gulp down a cup of hot coffee served in a paper cup. Instead, at Vienna’s famously ornate coffee houses, you can expect your coffee to be served in typical Viennese style: on a silver tray, in a porcelain cup and saucer, along with a glass of water with a demitasse spoon expertly balanced on the rim.