Sunday, 4 December 2011

Vienna - Intro and What to Wear When You're There

Where? Vienna, Austria
Exactly? Grand Hotel Wien
Why? On a press trip with jewellery brand Thomas Sabo to see the launch of the new collections.
When? Winter 2011

Treats at the Thomas Sabo party

Best time to go? I've been to Vienna in the summer when it's reached 28 degrees celsius, but my favourite time of year to visit is in December for the Christmas markets. Vienna in the snow is picturesque and incredibly romantic.
Travel companions? I travelled with a group of 15 UK fashion editors and PR's. But Vienna is the perfect city for romantic weekends away, cultured short breaks with friends or why not take your mum? She'll love it.
Top tip? No trip to Vienna is complete without a night at the opera. Its quite easy to buy tickets on the day, but if you're an opera aficionado make sure you book well in advance so you get the seats you want.
Images projected onto the walls of Palais Schoenburg
Held in the magnificent Schoenburg Palace, the Thomas Sabo annual launch party was a stunning event. We spent most of the evening in the gardens, watching bands, sat on lip shaped chairs, sipping pink champagne and eating ice cream.

Al Fresco drinks

Vienna - Street Style
What to wear when you're there
The general style in Vienna is grown up, sophisticated and polished. Keep it classic and smart casual for the day. For the evening think slick LBD's and cocktail dresses for the ladies and suits for the boys, especially if you're going to the opera which has quite a strict dress code. The Thomas Sabo event was rather a grand affair, so I decided to take a few shots of the discerning crowd.

Julia and Helen do monochromes
LBD with a twist
Tamara (Thomas Sabo PR) looks glamourous in Missoni
Lady in red
Nude neutrals
casually suited and booted
Leroy all in black
more nudes
A little off-the-shoulder number
Elisa working prints
Loving Andre's tangerine trousers

What to wear when you're there - Vienna
Packing - Night at the Opera

From left to right: leather cuff - Salvatore Ferragamo Gold watch - Folli Folie Underwear set - Princesse Tam Tam Pink lace dress - BCBG Max Azaria Cream suitcase - Globetrotter Berry sandals - Raoul Lipstick - Revlon Super Lustrous Fire and Ice Leopard print phone holder - Alexander McQueen Touche Eclait - YSL Nail polish - Estee Lauder Rosa Rosa Perfume Prada Infusion d'iris edt Silver clutch bag - Yves Saint Laurent


Vienna - Shopping and Sightseeing

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss at The Belvedere Palace
Vienna is famed for it's rich cultural history and many palaces. You must visit at least one of them on your trip. For art lovers I would recommend The Belvedere Palace, it houses the work of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as many other early 20th century artists. Alternatively to see the grandeur of Viennese architecture at its best, the Schonbrunn Palace and its spectacular gardens makes for a relaxing and inspiring day out of the city.

Schonbrunn Palace

Schonbrunn Palace
13 Schonbruuner-Schlosstraasse

A must see for budding horticulturalists, Interior designers and architects alike.

Belvedere Palace
3 Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27

The Belvedere Palace has been turned into an art gallery with an extensive collection of early 20th century art work. Be inspired by the art nouveau works of Gustav Klimt, his most famous piece The Kiss, is part of the permanent collection in the Belvedere Upper Museum. Also on display are seminal works by expressionist artist Egon Schiele.

The Belvedere
Egon Schiele, Sitting woman with legs drawn up, 1917

Shopping - Vienna

Vienna is not famed as a European shopping destination, but it does have all of the international high street brands such as Zara and H&M. The main shopping streets are on and around Stephan Platz, but there are more off-the-beaten-track niche boutiques and shops.

Neubaugasse 5
1070 Vienna

Housing trendy labels like Vanessa Bruno, Paul and Joe Sister and Dagmar, NFive is one of the coolest fixtures on the Viennese fashion scene.

Thomas Sabo store
Seilergasse 4
A-1010 Wien

We spent half the day in the Thomas Sabo boutique playing with all the charms and quirky jewellery.

India boutique
Strobelg 2
1010 Vienna

Imported silks and fabrics from, you guessed it, India. Kaftans, smock dresses and home wares in a beautiful colour coordinated interior.

The famous Viennese Manner Waifers 
Gustav Klimts 'The Virgin'

Vienna - After Dark and Hotels

The Vienna State Opera
A night at the opera is a must for all visitors to Vienna.
Closed in July and August, opera season runs from September to June.

It normally costs between 100 – 280 euros, it's usually quite easy to book when you arrive unless your looking for really specific seats. Smart dress code applies.

The Grand State Opera at Night

Bars and Cafes

Sophisticated Viennese evening culture revolves much more around cafes and coffee houses than bars and night clubs. Those in search of a raucous night of partying may be searching for quite a while.

Some Viennese cafes of note are:
Cafe Hawelka - One of Vienna's oldest cafes, still owned by the original founding family. The crowd? Artists and creatives.
Museum Cafe - Where artists Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt were regulars.
Frauenhuber Cafe - Was a popular destination for musicians and composers, namely Mozart and Beethoven.
Cafe Central - Once frequented by Lenin.
Landtmann Cafe - Renowned as Sigmund Frued's favourite coffee house.
Sacher Cafe - Famous for the Sacher Torte, one of Austria's most famous culinary specialities, this rich chocolate cake is only made here in Vienna and the Sacher Cafe in Salzberg.

After Dark

The Dreieck area or 'Bermuda Triangle' as it's infamously known, is filled with bars and restaurants, although be warned,  part of it is rather tacky with neon lights and cheesy bars. A street called Friedmann Platz just on the edge of the 'Bermuda Triangle' is a little more chic than the central parts. Head to Pickwick's cafe and enjoy a pint of ale whilst indulging in the in-bar library, or try Kornat Restaurant for great seafood in chic modern surroundings. In the summer months the outdoor seats are the ones to reserve. Dress code: smart casual is fine. Most of this area is open till 3am.

Al fresco dining at Kornat

Rooftop restaurant at Do&Co
1010 Wien

Do&Co Restaurant and bar is the favourite hang out of Vienna's 'it' crowd. Centrally located, it has amazing views of Stephan Platz and the cathedral. Reservations are a must for dinner, alternatively you can have drinks in the unusually decorated bar area. It's an eclectic mix of leather chesterfield sofas and deer antlers at one side of the room and Morrocan cushions and shisha pipes at the other, all housed in an ultra modern building. Dress code: smart and stylish. Prices: expensive, this is one of Vienna's premium night spots.

If Do&Co is fully booked you can also try the Sky Bar just 5 minutes walk from Do&Co towards the Grand Hotel Wien.


Ok, so Vienna wasn't the easiest place to find cool bars and clubs, but I did have one place recommended to me several times. Pratersauna and Fluc are touted as the trendiest clubs in town. Expect electro and house beats on the decks.  I'd love to hear what you think.

Waldsteingartenstrasse 135
1020 Vienna

The summer pool at Pratersauna
Fluc Wanne
Praterstern 5
1020 Vienna

On the live music and clubbing front try Fluc Wanne. In the same area as Pratersauna you might be excused for thinking Fluc is infact a building site, but this is the playground of Vienna's cool kids and students. Dress code is pretty much anything goes, think more cool grunge than party girl.

Hotels - Vienna - Sleeping

Grand Hotel Wien
Karntner Ring 9
A-1010 Wien

We stayed at the Grand Hotel Wien, it is the ultimate in old school elegance. Grand piano playing in the foyer, floors so shiny you can see your reflection in them and suitably chintzy but very ostentatious bedrooms.

Bedroom at the Sacher Wien
Hotel Sacher Wien
4 Philharmonikerstrasse
1010 Vienna

If you can't get enough of the Sacher Torte (see Cafes) this is the place for you. So centrally located, the State Opera is on one side and Stephan Platz is on the other. The hotel is impeccably grandiose and the rooms are a beautifully renovated mix of classic Viennese style and modern functionality. 

Vienna - Map

View Vienna in a larger map