By: ANETTA NOWOSIELSKA
The new five-star hotel in the City of Dreams is a reverie of beauty, refinement, and mouthwatering cuisine.
Few cities awash in sunlight quite the way Vienna does. In winter, it may not happen often, but when it does, Franz Joseph, the Austrian Emperor credited for underwriting much of the Viennese historical cityscape, would be proud. From St. Stephen’s Cathedral to the Staatsoper, Vienna’s skyline is a wonder to behold, especially when the sun and its shadows play to its strengths. Adding to its alluring charm is the city’s cultural identity. That credit belongs to Mozart, Beethoven, Egon Schiele, and Gustav Klimt, among many, who shaped the modern face of this city, abundant in edifying riches. Dozens of museums jostle for attention, many boasting some of the critical achievements of European art. The classical music scene, whose excellence might be expected from the home of the musical geniuses of our time, is still a “thing” here. Yet, a modern spirit permeates with a vibrant shopping district, renowned restaurants, and top-notch service.
The Amauris Vienna, a new, five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel on the famous Ringstraße boulevard, embodies this potent mix of storied and novel references to perfection. “Vienna represents the perfect combination of tradition and modern touch,” explains its owner Johann Breiteneder. “We want to combine the elegance of the city with our carefully renovated hotel, creating something unique for our international and local guests.” This former noble residence was once a popular gathering place for the Austrian nobility until the end of the monarchy. Today, the glamour of 19th-century style meets contemporary finesse here, making The Amauris an ideal gateway to an unforgettable Viennese experience.
The posh factor is palatable on every level. All 62 guestrooms, including 17 suites, are elegantly appointed with wooden heated floors and Calacatta marble bathrooms. Mühldorfer mattresses are filled with hand-picked down and washed in the chalk-free mountain spring water of the Bavarian Forest. The standout suite bears the name of a landmark visible from its private balcony. The Opera Suite is a sumptuous atelier of exquisite taste. An entrance door leads to a large dining room dovetailed by breathtaking light installations and intricate wall detailing. A separate living room features an understated grandeur, with bold furniture playing against a muted color palette. The bedroom anchors the color story by introducing a dark and rich wall panel with more marble and sculptures for an audacious yet balanced and graceful aesthetic. A walk-in closet and bathroom with a shower and freestanding tub round up the suite’s amenities.
The superb savoir-faire continues with common areas. At the spa, every detail is carefully measured to offer a relaxing retreat. In addition to a state-of-the-art gym with the latest Technogym equipment, The Amauris features a counter-current system pool under a glass roof for an excellent workout with a scenic touch. The lobby, restaurant, and bar showcase the Breiteneder’s art collection, which has grown over generations and primarily celebrates Austrian artists appropriately from the 1900s. Where that traditional display breaks, in the best sense of the word, is at Glasswing Restaurant, helmed by executive chef Alexandru Simon. Simon’s approach to his magical skill represents the new Austria. Raised on Romanian farms, with love for French cuisine and respect for agricultural seasonality, his menu is an elevated celebration of the Austrian culinary zeitgeist. Global yet homey. Familiar yet utterly new. Simon’s potato, apple soup, and Norwegian lobster in cauliflower vadouvan hollandaise sauce not only pair wonderfully with Austrian wines, they will likely win him and Glasswing Restaurant gastronomic awards and a massive fanfare to boot.
On the night of my visit, the three-day-old hotel was buzzing with activity in no small part due to the Vienna Opera Ball taking place just across the street. Stunning women dressed in evening gowns and debonaire gentlemen in their finest tails blended effortlessly with the space seemingly designed for such an occasion. But it was the staff, eager to ensure everyone had a glass of champagne as they mingled, offering a friendly chat with those waiting around the fireplace and compliments to a few seemingly ill-at-ease in their ballroom regalia that made a lasting impression. An imperial send-off to their guests, one might say, quite fitting of a Viennese hotel poised to rule over the City of Dreams.