- Daily Zen
European capitals enjoy their status as timeless beauties and grace of the old world, as opposed to outshining them. Vienna city, the luxurious capital of Austria has magically balled all in one, preserving its long-held legacy as Europe’s capital of classical music and magnificent imperial palaces, while at the same time embracing modern architecture and design. Centuries ago, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert performed their sonatas in its 50-odd opera houses and grand music halls. In the 20th century, the grand, handsome and creatively vibrant city was a hive for intellectuals, seminal personalities, artists and philanthropists, including the likes of Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf, Gustav Klimt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arnold Schoenberg, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele.
Today with more than 800 traditional coffee houses, 100 museums and 50 theaters and 4 opera houses, Vienna has turned into the most entertaining European city. Since the holidays are drawing near what better way to get in the festive spirit than by strolling through the dynamic capital’s splendor? After all, Christmas and Vienna city go a little something like turkey and cranberry sauce. There’s mulled wine, a mild glow of the magical scenery, sweet aromas of local delicacies, and plenty of Christmas cheer!
Located on the banks of the Donau Kanal is the sleek, skyscraping hotel Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom that makes a bold artistic statement. Established by versatile French architect Jean Nouvel, the 182-room glass structure reflecting Vienna’s historic skyline is a poetic homage to the monochromatic. The avant-garde rooms are awash in walls of monochrome tones of immaculate white, velvety black and cool gray windows that give the kaleidoscopic views of the Vienna city.
The award-winning rooftop restaurant Le Loft is set on the 18th floor of Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom whose dizzying panorama comprises of Vienna’s iconic monuments and museums such as Vienna Woods, the City Halls, St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Antoine Westermann, a culinary expert with three Michelin stars mans the restaurant’s daring gourmet cuisine. Le Loft’s wine cellar is more of a walk0in treasure chest for wine connoisseurs. It offers the finest wines from Austria and the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France.
Vienna’s horde of grandiose hotels, still awes, most outstandingly the 138-room Hotel Imperial Vienna, and the 152-room Hotel Sacher Wien. The Sacher Wien wins by a nose on the sentimentality front, with its location exactly opposite to the Staatsoper Opera House, and its antiques-filled drawing rooms and restaurants upholstered in energetic blue, green and red silks and damasks. You may, in any case, discover the long line of non-visitors smashed into its public areas to get a slice of its widely-acclaimed Sacher torte, the dark luxurious and divinely rich chocolate cake. Completed in 1863 for the Prince of Württemberg, it is a majestic portrayal of nineteenth-century Viennese sophistication. With high stucco roofs accentuated by crystal chandeliers, and a staircase lined with marble statuary and eighteenth-century paintings, it stands out amongst Europe’s most luxurious hotels. Its location along Vienna’s Kaerntner Ring is perfect – not overflowing with vacationers, yet minutes away from attractions, for example, the Hofburg Imperial Palace.