This month, take a trip around Vienna’s Ringstrasse with travel filmmakers Jungles in Paris.
Visitors to central Vienna’s Am Hof square will see genteel lemon-cream facades and hear the clip-clop of hooves on cobblestones. More than other European cities, the Austrian capital—particularly the well-preserved nucleus known as the Innere Stadt—retains a distinctive feeling of the Old World. The 17th- and 18th-century buildings are remarkably intact, pensioners and professors sit in charmingly ancient-seeming cafés reading the morning papers and the air is alive with the high art and society of yesteryear. There are abundant museums, opera houses, students ducking into violin lessons and (during the season, of course) fancy-dress balls.
It’s an illusion, though, that time stands still here. Some of the best views of the Am Hof come from the plush suites at the city’s brand-new Park Hyatt. When it opened in June, the 143-room hotel became the latest major player in a luxed-up neighborhood called the Golden Quarter. The recent modernization of the area has also revitalized classic establishments: As major fashion brands started to move into historic digs, the influx of well-heeled visitors breathed new life into relics like Zum Schwarzen Kameel, a restaurant that opened in 1618. The Park Hyatt is housed in a comparatively new building—a mere hundred years old—and guests can enjoy a decadent meal of succulent veal goulash with fresh cream and herb spaetzle at the Bank restaurant. Many original details, in the city’s turn-of-the-century Wiener Werkstätte style, shine throughout the hotel, while the brick-shaped tiles that line the pool floor contain actual gold.
Other hotels have sprung up to accommodate what looks like a gilded phase, including the 39-room Guesthouse, with window alcoves offering views of the famous opera house. Topazz is a sexier option, with sleek Werkstätte-inspired rooms, while Urbanauts is trying an intriguing concept of transforming old storefronts into hip “street lofts,” with complimentary city bike rental and free stocked minibar included. Another trendy arrival is Heuer am Karlsplatz, a bar and restaurant that opened earlier this year just south of the Ringstrasse. It has its own garden, shelves lined with house-pickled condiments—and, in a retro twist, the DJs that spin at the hotel must confine themselves to the on-site record collection, which ensures a consistency of style that is likely much appreciated by those who find themselves at drawn to this classic city.