Monday, February 24, 2014

A hotel ahead of its time in Vienna. And about Vienna's great Christmas markets.



Some years back I spent the first part of winter in Vienna

I stayed at the Le Meridien hotel right in the heart of Vienna. It had just opened a month before, and it was the talk of this very old-fashioned town.

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A GREAT SURPRISE

Everyone was surprised that a modern luxury hotel had dared to open in this city -- a place that prided itself in continuing centuries-old traditions.

The hotel was full of so many innovations that are pretty standard now in trendy design hotels -- but they were certainly shocking to conservatives at that time.


AHEAD OF ITS TIME

For example -- and, mind you, this was probably close to ten years ago -- all the rooms had touch-screen automatic everything and cloudy glass walls instead of real walls for the bathrooms.

Yes, only floor-to-ceiling glass separated the bedroom from the bathroom -- and even the door was one of those easy-swing types that never really close fully.



A BATHROOM FOR THE FUTURE?

This bathroom design was quite something at that time, although now things are different and it's not quite a novelty anymore.

But it's still not the ideal room for the squeamish, especially if they're rooming with someone else.

Nowadays, these kinds of hotels are pretty plentiful all over the world.

Last year alone, I think I stayed in about four such design hotels somewhere in the world, including just last month in Hong Kong.


Anyway, at that time, Vienna had never seen anything like the Le Meridien in the deluxe hotels category.

Everyone wanted to see what it was like.

So whenever my friends came to pick me up for a meal or a party, they would always find some excuse to come up and see my room.

The Le Meridien was that much of a cocktail party topic when it opened.

VIENNA IN THE WINTER IS FUN



I really enjoyed myself at the auctions and the parties in Vienna, by the way. The Viennese certainly know how to party in style, and they're absolutely tireless at it.

My friends were bringing me to parties where diamonds outshone the candles and fur was de rigeur.



I was feeling positively underdressed in the little black dresses I brought on this trip for dress up events.

I remember one party near the Vienna Woods were a society lady even had her accessory fur -- a tiny little dog who behaved so well -- in her handbag.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MARKET



So Vienna exactly at that time was just wonderful. The Christmas markets had opened and it was a great joy to walk around, even if I hardly bought anything.

My favorite Christmas market in Vienna was and still is the very large Christmas market in front of city hall.


It's full of quaint crafts and all kinds of holiday goodies like spiced wine and Gingerbread cookies. 

I know Christmas has long passed, but today it was so nice to remember this wonderful visit to Vienna in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.



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