I’m frankly shocked that it took me this long for my adventures through Europe to take me to Vienna. I’ve had relatives rave about it, friends move there for months on end and still I hadn’t made it to this beautiful city. So my first piece of advice, dear reader, is VISIT VIENNA!
The city is full of history, some fascinating and awe inspiring, some intimidating and horrifying. There is culture behind every beautiful door and in many ways it reminded me of Rome, where it’s hard to take a few steps before you see another landmark or historically relevant site.
We found a great deal on LastMinute using their ‘Inspire Me’ tool (I would thoroughly recommend this if you’ve got a few days off, but you’re not too fussed about where to go. There are some excellent deals on there!) which got us British Airways flights from Gatwick to Vienna, and three nights in the Radisson Blu Style Hotel Wien. Yes, this is a chain hotel which isn’t normally my go to when trying to experience a city, however it is beautifully located and in all honesty we pretty much only arrived at the hotel to sleep and shower before continuing on our adventure through Vienna.
The Radisson Blu Style, not to be confused with a couple of other branches of the Radisson Hotel chain in Vienna, is located on Herrengasse – barely a two minute walk from Herrengasse metro station. We were fine with our bags on the Metro but if you’ve got a little more luggage or might struggle carrying the bags up stairs it might be worth picking up a cab from either the airport or from Landstraße station, which is where the main train will drop you off. The Vienna Metro is reassuringly easy to navigate, well signposted and very affordable at around two euros per trip. Grab a map from the airport when you arrive, or speak to the reception team at the Radisson and they’ll give you the best advice on how to navigate the city. I asked a couple of questions about local sights and transport during our stay and was always greeted with an informative response and never felt like I was putting anyone out with my query.
The rooms at the Radisson are practical and comfortable – in fact for the type of holiday we were after they were pretty luxurious! The bathroom was of a good size, with plenty of storage. The rooms were spacious and we were greeted with a little sweet treat on our pillows every evening which made us feel rather fancy! The hotel itself occupys the majority of a ‘block’ (to use American terms) so it’s hard to have a bad view from one of the rooms. If you’re after a late night drink, or an early morning breakfast all of these are available at the hotel either included in your room rate or for an additional fee. Vienna is not a cheap city, so the prices in the Radisson were not hugely different to those of nearby restaurants. However, I would say that Cafe Central is barely ten steps away from the hotel and is steeped in centuries of culture, is stunningly beautiful and offers some really delicious food. We particularly enjoyed their traditional Viennesse breakfast and also returned for dinner one evening. I would thoroughly recommend it and you can read more about the food on offer there, and around Vienna here.
In terms of additional amenities there is a sauna, spa and small gym on site at the hotel so if you’ve not worn yourself out sightseeing you can burn off all those Sachertorte calories just a few feet from your hotel room. There is free WiFi available at the hotel which was speedy enough for me to transfer images between my camera, laptop and phone and stream a couple of TV shows as I was falling asleep (that’s my usual test of WiFi capability!) and of course a luggage room was very convenient for our final day in Vienna, meaning we could explore for the final few hours unencumbered by suitcases.
Herrengasse is a great place to start your sightseeing, with the university quarter just a few minutes to your right as you leave the hotel, and the iconic Hofburg and Museums Quarter barely two minutes walk to your left from the front door. This made the Radisson an excellently located base for our trip. For the odd occasion we wanted to venture a little further afield, such as to Prater, we took the Metro from round the corner and voila, we were there.
Value **** (this obviously varies hugely depending on how/when/where you book)
Atmosphere *** (whilst the hotel is beautiful, it is not a charming, Viennese establishment and was often full of large business groups for conferences etc.)