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If you build it--a really tall building--there's a good chance a hotel will come. We’ve seen it before and we’re seeing it again. Meliá Vienna will be the latest to follow this trend when it opens its doors on February 17th in the tallest skyscraper in Austria. And this building is a keeper.
The 58-story Danube City Tower, or DC Tower 1, clocks in at 220 meters or 722 feet which is a record for an Austrian skyscraper. You can expect spectacular city views including Vienna’s long-time resident, the Danube River.
Majorca-based Meliá Hotels International takes architecture and design seriously. They hired architect Sir Norman Foster to design the standout ME London which opened last year. Meliá’s newest European address at DC Tower 1, is one of two mixed-use buildings designed by award-winning French architect Dominique Perrault, along with local firm Hoffman-Janz.
Perrault is no stranger to hospitality, having also designed the super-sleek ME Barcelona. His firm’s design for the DC Towers is bold and memorable, the most notable feature being the frozen waterfall appearance of one façade. This is achieved by metal wall panels projecting in alternating angles. Perhaps this is an abstract reference to the waters of the Danube? All of the walls of this hotel come alive at night in a way that Vienna has not experienced. Nor us for that matter.
That would be the rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton Vienna, more specifically Atmosphere Rooftop Bar & Lounge, where it was frightfully cold when we took advantage of being in the Austrian capital to peruse the most recent European addition to the group.
We were outside just long enough to see how during the summer it must be a lovely spot, with views over the city’s rooftops, and as the plaques on the edge indicate, various Ritz-Carlton hotels far off in the distance. Downstairs, we toured the public spaces inside the combined four historic palaces and a few of the 202 rooms & suites – read on for more.
UPDATE: The Park Hyatt Vienna will open on June 1st.
Hyatt Hotels has a huge list of openings prepped under its luxury Park Hyatt brand: from Bangkok to St. Kitts and Siem Reap to Marrakech. On that list is the very first Hyatt for Austria altogether, in the form of Park Hyatt Vienna, in a century-old former bank headquarters in the city’s central First District.
We seem to be writing it a lot these days, but here we go again: a promised 2013 opening did not quite work out, with the hotel now scheduled for June next year. We’ll have to make do with these renderings for now, showing off what we can expect inside the public spaces and 143 rooms.
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The Graham's new rooftop is guaranteed to be Georgetown's summer hotspot
Mother Nature has played serious havoc with the weather. Suffice to say, those of us located in climates where partying on rooftops is limited to a few months of the year? We are giving M.N. serious sideeye. It's May. It's time for us to sip dranks on the rooftop of a cool hotel that has glorious views of the place we happen to live in or visiting at the moment. Don't hate us for being selfish and not being more concerned about global warming. We have priorities!
So we declare that Rooftop Season Has Officially Begun. Weather gods need to get on board (or the hotels will just put out heat lamps, whatevah, it takes).
The places listed have recently opened, want to let the sunshine in, and help you let your hair down. And you don't even have to be a guest to partake in the fun!
Here's where we want to tipple at some top rooftop bars around the world.
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It's the same song every spring and summer--people begin to make their travel plans to Europe, but international airfares can sometimes kill a budget. However, if there's any consolation, you can make up for that top-dollar ticket by staying at these new and affordable hotels.
Generator Hostel, Barcelona
Imagine bedding down in one of Spain's most intoxicating city's for less than the average dinner tab? That's what's up at the new Generator Hotel, which opened mid-March.
Part of a popular, trendy chain, the rooms are located on the top floor of a building. Each unit has its own balcony with views of the city, as well as private bathrooms--a rarity. Fiesta Gracia, the restaurant, is a great meeting place to bond with other hostelers and is open until 2 a.m. There's a surprisingly long, world-wide list of beer, wine & cocktails and even local DJs come to entertain the crowd while they chow on tapas and Instagram using the free WiFi. Continental breakfast is served at La Plaça café. Anwar Mekhayech (of Soho House fame) is the design master behind this hostel's boutique look.
And since you're in Barcelona, more art is minutes away as the hostel is only five-minutes from both Diagonal and Verdaguer metro stations en route to local museums (and even the beach!).
A range of rooms and layouts are available, with rates for dorm rooms (6-8 beds) starting at €13($17) per night and go up to €41 ($53) for more private single/double occupancy rooms.
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We were lucky enough to be in Vienna last month and get first looks at the new Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, which officially opened today with a 700-strong party attendance. At the time, the place was a huge construction site and we were doubtful that the company would be able to pull off their anticipated opening date. Looks like we were wrong!
As we donned surgical coverings over our shoes and made our way through the historical Renaissance Revival-style building that was built in 1873, in Vienna's first district, we knew this place would be something special. From the cafe wall made of real plants to the intricate details of each space, it seemed that Viennese architect Boris Podrecca and designer Jean-Claude Laville had serious visions for this hotel. And it would be necessary to stand out in a city that's been seeing a host of new hotels lately including the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna and has competition to come in the form of the ME Vienna and the Park Hyatt Vienna. So yes, they had to bring the bling to the 152 room, suites, and common areas, and it took almost three years to get it done, but they still managed to keep much of the heritage intact--from the chandeliers, wrought iron staircases, and ceiling windows that bring in natural light.
First and foremost, the building is huge--well of course it is--it's a former palace. Still, it seems like the areas are never ending, especially when spread across seven floors. It'll take more than one night to absorb its splendor. In fact, our site-inspection was nearly two hours long and this was pre-opening. Here's what's in store for lucky guests.
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If you've been to Vienna you already know it’s a fascinating city that upholds its formality and grand architecture as a point of pride, but you don’t need to dig very deep to also find its modern charms--hip museums, neighborhoods, and cafes. This is the city that bred Falco, after all.
The new 63-room Hotel Sans Souci, a member of the Preferred Boutique Hotel Group, had its soft opening on December 20, but it rocked Amadeus (check the Falco reference!) yesterday during its grand opening event.
Designed by yoo, Philippe Starck’s design company, the hotel has La Véranda restaurant, Le Bar and a spa. Interiors are modern and refined in shades of grey (heh!), gold and white with opulent little touches, such as chandeliers overhanging the pool, Arne Jacobsen egg chairs, and the Roy Lichtenstein paintings found in the suites and public areas.
Also worth noting, just in case you’re a Johann Strauß groupie, Hotel Sans Souci is actually the former inn where the composer performed his “Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka“ for the first time in 1858. Just sayin’.
We've already dreamed about life in the palace once this month, so why not dream again? This time, we have our eyes set on RItz-Carlton Vienna, which opens today on Schubertring Boulevard inside "an elegant building composed of four historic palaces dating back to the 19th century."
That's four more palaces than most hotels tend to offer!
Aside from the building's history, a few other components about the hotel have also got us excited: like the rooftop bar (Atmosphere), the six-room Guerlain Spa, a seventh-floor Club Lounge overlooking Vienna from below the eaves of the palace, and an 18-meter indoor pool that plays underwater music.
Each year, Vienna hosts one of the largest and most extravagant HIV/AIDS fundraisers in the world: the Life Ball. And for those in the know, the come-one, come-all free Fashion Show held at City Hall Square is considered to be the pinnacle of the whole she-bang. Nowhere else will you see the who’s who of haute couture mixing with such an enthusiastic crowd of costume-wearers. (Can’t quite wedge these six-foot angel wings out of this revolving door...)
However if, like us, your tootsies are just too tired to make that final trek to the ball at the end of a jam-packed day, spend the evening at Le Moët Bar in Vienna’s Le Méridien Hotel. Sink into a slinky chair, order a glass of champagne (what else?) and prepare for the show.
Oh what a difference a year makes!
Remember when Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts suddenly dumped its plans to open a new hotel in Vienna, Austria? Amidst reports of opening delays, and even worse, shoddy construction quality, the property was removed from the group's expansion plans in Europe in February of 2011.
By summertime the hotel was looking forlorn and desperately in search of a new brand to put its name on the door. We even went so far to say we could probably rule out the likes of Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton to come and snap it up.
How wrong we were!
With everyone talking about New York's upcoming gay-themed hotel, The OUT NYC, we thought we'd take a look at some of the world's gay-friendliest hotels and resorts. Keep an eye out for that later next week. In the meantime, we thought we'd share a tip we received yesterday from a HotelChatter maven about a place called The Wild in Vienna.
Despite its evocative name, The Wild is in fact just a family-owned (Wild is their last name) European pension hotel located in Josefstadt, with free breakfast buffets, reasonable rates (from EUR 41), and close proximity to Vienna's sights. Interestingly, what their website chooses not to mention is Sport Sauna, a thriving sports-themed gay bathhouse, bar and general "cruising area" located in the basement. Oops. Guess we just outed them.
Park Hyatt Hotels are on an expansion whirl this year. The Park Hyatt Maldives debuted the other month, the Bermuda location is later this year or early next and even NYC will be getting a Park Hyatt soon. And now come 2013, the Park Hyatt will open its doors in Vienna.
Hyatt Hotels made the announcement this morning, saying the hotel would open inside a historic building in the city's Innere Stadt, or First District.
Park Hyatt Vienna will feature 143 rooms, including 35 suites. In addition to an all-day dining restaurant, lobby and cigar lounges, and a hotel bar, the hotel will include a premier meeting facility with 640m2 of conference space, a fitness center, and a spa. The world-class luxury hotel, which will reflect the intimate and understated elegance of the Park Hyatt brand, is being designed by architects Neumann & Partners and interior design firm FG Stijl.