Travel + Leisure is having a minor love fest with the Austrian capital of Vienna these days—its buzzy contemporary arts scene, revitalized Biedermeier districts, proximity to an increasingly wonderful wine country, perennially spirited cultural calendar, and most recently, the opening of a new luxury hotel.
In grand Viennese style, the Ritz-Carlton property (the company's first in Austria, ninth in Europe, and 80th worldwide) is housed in not one but four 19th-century palaces along the elegant and centrally located Vienna Ringstraße. The hotel's exterior is classically opulent, yes, but it's the property's interiors that make it so special.
Its public spaces and 202 rooms—approximately one quarter of which are suites—reflect the city's penchant for creatively blending old and new. The result is exciting—and very Vienna, in the most modern sense. Guests will find frescoed ceilings, intricate carved and painting molding, and sumptuous fabrics alongside works by living artists, one-of-a-kind lighting pieces, and woodwork so mod it almost feels Scandinavian.
Beyond the uniquely crafted and designed décor, there are other reasons to check into the hotel—or visit for an afternoon. We especially love the intimate Chef's Table at the hotel's DSTRIKT restaurant, where Chef Wini Brugger does up classic Austrian dishes using regional and seasonal ingredients. The Secessionist-influenced Lobby Lounge (pictured above) is a smart spot for travelers on a quest for Viennese treats; its chocolate-Kaiserschmarrn, traditionally made of fluffy pancakes, powdered sugar, and fruit compote, is a signature dish. And the rooftop bar, with its views of the Vienna's picturesque skyline, might be one of the most enjoyable spots in the city to sip a Grüner Veltliner.
Also worth special mention is the hotel spa, especially its sleek glass-enclosed pool. A neat detail befitting a country that gave the world Brahms, Mozart, and Haydn, is the pool's underwater music. Whether guests choose to float peacefully to soothing strains of The Seasons, or simply want a place to recharge, this new city sanctuary already feels like a classic.