Finally, we have an opening date! The long-awaited Park Hyatt Vienna, the brand’s first hotel in Austria, is set to open its doors on June 1 in a 100-year-old building that once housed the Austrian Hungarian Monarchy Bank. Even cooler, the 143-room hotel, which has 35 suites, is the only hotel in Vienna’s Golden Quarter, the new pedestrian-only, exclusive shopping district.
Right in between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the stock exchange, the Golden Quarter is part of Vienna’s First District, an elite shopping area and is now home to flagship stores for Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, and a new Prada...which just happens to be housed in the Park Hyatt.
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So beyond the Prada, what are some of the cool touches?
• The pool, located in the original bank vault, is tiled in golden-colored stone, an allusion to the gold bars once stored there.
• The guest rooms, which range from 430- to 1,830-square-feet, are among the largest in the city.
• Four food and beverage options: Austrian and international cuisine at The Bank, the main restaurant, which has an open kitchen; Wiener schnitzel and tapas at The Pearl; afternoon tea and pastries in The Lounge; and single-malt whiskeys and cigars in The Living Room.
• The Arany Spa: six treatment rooms, Technogym-equipped fitness center, and separate wet area with steam bath, sauna, sanarium (a combination sauna and steam room), and vitality shower.
Other historic buildings are being restored and reopening in the coming months: The Winter Palace, for example, opened in the fall as a new art gallery. (It spent years as the ministry of finance.) After April, it will be dedicated to contemporary artwork.
2014 is the 75th anniversary of the death of Sigmund Freud, so various celebrations of his work (and his family's work) will take place throughout the city. Most notably, an exhibit of artwork by his grandson Lucian will be on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The selection of works was made with the close personal involvement of the artist during the months prior to his death in July 2011. In addition, the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna will present concurrently an exhibition of photographs by Freud’s longtime assistant David Dawson titled "Lucian Freud: In Private".
Other notable Vienna events this year include the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse, the boulevard that runs around the historic center of town; the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, which Vienna will commemorate with special exhibits; and the launch of the European Peace Walk, the new 340-mile permanent walkway between Vienna and Trieste, Italy, created to celebrate Europe’s culture of peace.
And getting to Vienna is easier than ever: In July, Austrian Airways will add a new route, Newark Liberty-Vienna International, with five non-stop flights weekly, and in May, it will increase frequency on Chicago O’Hare-Vienna to daily non-stops. In addition, the Vienna Main Railway Station is slated for completion in 2015.