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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Off the clock
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.
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
Don’t do this!
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