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Business Travel Guide: Vienna, Austria


Ornate baroque façades, lofty gothic spires, leafy boulevards, magnificent palaces and the meandering Danube River set a majestic background for this city that once ruled an empire and a country that was the second largest in Europe. These days, Austria's size may be a tad less grand, but between its European Union membership and central continental location, as well as the strong Austrian market, the capital city of Vienna is proving to be a haven for international organizations and businesses, especially those looking for entrée with the country's neighbors: the burgeoning economies of Eastern Europe. With regard to industry, Austria's stability comes from a thriving service sector, in addition to tourism, construction, vehicle manufacturing, mechanical engineering, metals, machinery, chemicals, paper and paperboard. With such a diverse resume, numerous United Nations organizations and groups such as Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are headquartered here.

Away from the office, Vienna's past and present come together like a vibrant waltz. Take in the timeless precision of the Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School, a free evening concert at the Schönbrunn Palace or the Museum Moderner Kunst, a cubist building enveloped by basalt lava. For lunch, try a "Heurigen" tavern for a tasting of the region's white wine. In the evening, savor Eastern-European influenced Viennese fare, like spicy ghoulash. If your business environment is flexible, indulge in the decadent delights of an elegant Wi-fi-wired coffee house while you work from your laptop. Vienna, it should be noted, is one of the most "wireless" cities in Europe. Freud, one of the city's most preeminent citizens stated, "When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it." In this city, there's nothing like mixing shrewd business skills with a sinfully sweet bite of chocolate sacher torte.



Facts to Know Before You Go

Currency:

In this member of the European Union, the official currency is the Euro (€), and its exchange rate against the U.S. dollar fluctuates daily. The Euro is divided into 100 cents and comes in denominations of five, ten, twenty, fifty, 100, 200 and 500 notes, as well as one, two, five, ten, twenty and fifty cent coins.

Most business hotels exchange U.S. dollars and other major currencies, although rates are more favorable at banks or currency exchange offices, including those at the airport or main train station. For convenience and the best exchange rate, use an ATM card to obtain cash. Numerous bank machines are available throughout the city 24 hours a day. Note that traveler's checks are difficult to impossible to use and are best avoided. Many larger restaurants and shops do accept credit cards, but you should confirm this fact ahead of time. One further note of importance is that most businesses, including retail stores, are closed on Sundays.

Transportation:

The Vienna International Airport

The Vienna International Airport is 16km (about ten miles) from Vienna's city center. Wireless Internet is available in the arrivals and departures area, all lounges and the restaurant level. Access should be instant with a welcome screen appearing on your browser.

Taxis

The Taxi stand is located north of the airport arrival hall. The thirty-minute taxi ride to the city center will cost a flat rate of about €30. Typically there is a €1-2 surcharge for luggage and a charge of €10 may be added to cover the taxi driver's return cost, if you are leaving from the city and traveling to the airport.

City Airport Train (CAT)

The fastest way to reach the city is the CAT train, which leaves at thirty-minute intervals and travels non-stop between the center (at St. Stephen's Cathedral at Landstraße /Wien-Mitte railway station ) and Vienna International Airport. The sixteen-minute ride costs €9 euro for a single trip and € 16 euro round-trip. CAT ticket machines are located in the baggage claim area, the arrival hall, on the way to the platform and directly on the platform. After passing through customs, walk straight ahead to take the elevator to the CAT platform. Luggage can be placed in baggage racks and compartments.

S-Bahn

The S-Bahn train is a twenty-five minute ride between Landstraße/Wien-Mitte and Vienna International Airport and costs €3 for a single trip. The train leaves at thirty-minute intervals and the ticket machine is on the platform. Luggage can be placed in baggage racks and compartments.

Buses

The buses of the Vienna Airport Lines get you to / and from the city center—Morinzplatz/Schwedenplatz Südbahnhof in about twenty-five minutes, and Westbahnhof in about thirty-five minutes—all depending on traffic. The cost is €6 for a single ride and €11 round-trip.

Car Rental

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar Thrifty, and Hertz all have car rental desks in the arrivals hall and reservations can be made before you arrive in Austria.

Wiener Linien

Vienna's well-developed city transport offers numerous options for exploring the city: bus, tram, metro and/or train. Ask your hotel for information offices that are open around the city or purchase tickets in any of the metro stations. A ticket bearing a "VOR" symbol can be used on every means of public transport in the area. This means that for a single destination you can switch, for example, between the tram and subway as often as you have to without having to buy a new ticket. A single ticket costs €1.70, a 24-hour card costs €5.70, a weekend card costs €14, and the Vienna Card, a 72-hour card with additional entrance benefits to museums, costs €18.50.

Information:

Nearly all hotel television services offer CNN International and/or BBC news in English, while business hotels may offer The International Herald Tribune or Wall Street Journal. Street-side news stands and bookstores also tend to carry English magazines and major newspapers.

With regard to Austrian and Viennese news, check out the daily Wiener Zeitung, which includes things to do and places to eat around the city—and is available online in English. News is a weekly magazine devoted to news and life in Vienna—in German only.

For die-hard newspaper devotees, read The Kurier, which covers general news; as well as The Standard and The Press both of which cover local Viennese and Austrian news.


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Where to Stay

Das Triest
Wiedner Hauptstrasse 12
43-(1)-589-180
www.dastriest.at

Das TriestSet in what was once the stable for the first Vienna-Triest horse-drawn postal system, this chic boutique hotel features a downtown Vienna location and is the first hotel designed by Terence Conran. Each of the 72 rooms and suites is individually designed with an elegantly streamlined aesthetic that subtly blends modern and traditional styles. Conference rooms feature vaulted ceilings as well as the latest business conveniences, including banquet rooms, wireless Internet, laundry and ironing and 24-hour room service. Guests can dine on Italian fare at Collio or sip cocktails at the Silver Bar. In the summer, a Mediterranean courtyard offers a verdant escape with grill service, fragrant rosemary bushes and shady olive trees.

Grand Hotel Wien
Kaerntner Ring 9
43-(1)-150-158
www.grandhotelwien.com

Grand Hotel WienThis venerable Belle-Époque hotel combines the splendor of a 19th-century palace with high-tech conveniences. It has become one of the most popular meeting places for Viennese society. The majestic hotel features a 24/7 business center in the lobby, which offers PCs with Internet access, printer and fax capabilities. Secretarial and translation services can be easily arranged upon request. In addition to meeting rooms and a fitness center, the 205-room, luxuriously appointed hotel has several dining venues, including Unkai Japanese Restaurant, which serves a sushi brunch on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. If you have some downtime, sushi classes are even offered.

Hotel Imperial
Kaerntner Ring 16
43-(1)-150-100
www.starwoodhotels.com

Hotel ImperialArtists and business people alike have stayed at this former residence of the prince of Württemberg. Built in 1863, it was turned into a hotel in 1873. With its grand marble staircase and portraits of the Habsburgs it recalls the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The rooms and suites have antique furnishings, and the spacious marble bathrooms feature heated floors. Amenities abound, including butler service, health club and sauna, 24-hour secretarial, office and room service, dual-line telephone, high-speed Internet access, and in-room safe. The concierge can often produce opera tickets on short notice. For business meetings, the hotel features the gourmet Restaurant Imperial. For after hours, have a drink at the cozy Bar Maria Theresia.

InterContinental Wien
Johannesgasse 28
43-(1)-171-122
www.vienna.intercontinental.com

InterContinental WienSituated opposite the Stadtpark, the InterContinental Wien is a popular address for conferences and business travelers, but it has also seen its fair share of glamorous guests such as Donatella Versace, Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Paul Gaultier. The property, which opened in 1964 as what was then Austria's first international business hotel, features 453 guest rooms with high speed Internet access, business center, fitness center, fifteen meeting rooms, butler and limo service. For dining, guests can choose from Mediterraneo Restaurant, serving innovative Mediterranean or Café Vienna, serving Viennese coffeehouse cuisine, and the Intermezzo Bar , serving international cocktails. Tennis courts and ice skating are adjacent to the hotel if you need to de-stress or unwind.

NH Danube City
Wagramer Strasse 21
43-(1)-260-20-0
www.nh-hotels.com

NH Danube CityLocated in the Donaustadt business district, the NH Danube City (formerly the Crowne Plaza Vienna ) is just a few minutes walk from Austria Centre Vienna, a multi-purpose facility with seventeen conference halls, 170 side rooms and meeting space for up to 9,500 delegates. The hotel features 252 guest rooms and three suites, Internet access, sixteen meeting rooms, a newsstand, self-serve laundry, foreign currency exchange, mobile phone rental and shoe shine. The hotel staff speaks six different languages and rental car service is available at the front desk Sample some international cuisines and cocktails at the hotel's Tarragona Restaurant and Bar. Or relax in the steam bath or sauna before you head out at night.

For more Vienna hotels, see Where to Stay in Vienna.

Where to Dine

Café Restaurant Landtmann
Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 4
43-(1)-241-000
www.cafe-wien.at

13/20
€€€€€

Cafe Restaurant Landtmann

Opposite City Hall, this lovely, cozy café overlooking the Burgtheater is a Viennese institution, dating back to the 1880s. It's a great place to type up that business report or have a cup of coffee before you start your day. Once frequented by Sigmund Freud, this café has a full menu, featuring popular Austrian pastries and coffee in all manner of variations. Instead of just ordering a plain cup of Joe, we recommend you ask for a "Schwarzer," "Brauner" or a "Melange." The Viennese take their coffee lingo very seriously!


Korso bei der Oper
Hotel Bristol
Mahlerstrasse 2
43-(1)-515-16-546

14/20
€€€€

Biedermeier room at Hotel Bristol/Korso bei der Oper

Treat your clients to a business dinner at Korso bei der Oper or stroll over to this luxurious restaurant after an evening opera performance. In the dining room, a pianist often plays arias to keep you in an operatic mood. Specialties include smoked-salmon-wrapped lobster; veal with truffles and paprika sauce; and nougat dumplings with cinnamon ice cream. Award-winning chef Reinhard Gerer is known throughout the country for his gastronomic delights, and some consider this to be Vienna's best restaurant.

Restaurant Coburg
Palais Coburg
43-(1)-518-18-800
www.palais-coburg.com

14/20
€€€€€

Restaurant Coburg

The Palais Coburg was, until 1978, home to the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dynasty. Now a five-star hotel, the restored and opulent Palais hosts Chef Christian Petz's gourmet Restaurant Coburg. While the highlight of this über-luxe eatery may be the rare wine and Champagne collection dating back over 100 years, the creative cuisine certainly complements its vintage pairing. While the menu changes regularly, Chef Petz's unadulterated culinary style gives Viennese classics a modern twist, such as marinated salmon with crunchy canneloni filled with horseradish cream, beets and scallions toped with salt crystals. A dessert may be a sinful chocolate praline mousse with chili kumquats and lime.


Steirereck im Stadtpark
Am Heumarkt 2A/ Im Stadtpark
43-(0)1-713-31-68
www.relaischateaux.com

13/20
€€€€

Steirereck im Stadtpark

Instead of traditional Viennese cuisine you will encounter innovative, more modern and lighter dishes at the beautiful Steierereck, a stylish house located in the park close to the Johann Strauss monument. Run by the Reitbauer family, the location also features the so-called "ess.bar," which offers small plates of food, and the Meierei" for dairy products and about 150 kinds of cheese. Enjoy a view of the park and St. Stephen's Dome from the terrace.

Zum Kuckuck
Himmelpfortgasse
43-(1)-1-512-8470
www.kuckuck.cc

13/20
€€€€

Zum Kuckuck

Zum Kuckuck ("The Cuckoo") has been an intimate gourmet shrine in downtown Vienna for more than 150 years. Located in a building that dates back to the Middle Ages, it takes its name from a cuckoo clock that chimes every hour. The space is warm and welcome with painted benches, wood paneling and an old-fashioned ceramic fireplace. On the menu you will find carpaccio of gooseliver and filet of beef with redwine pears (€15,50); lasagne of Austrian salmon trout and spinach with fresh noodles (€18,50); and saddle of veal with potato-leek sabayon (€17,50). Pictures illustrating the history of Vienna decorate the walls. For dessert try a hot apple-strudel with vanilla sauce. You may want to see the ancient well in the courtyard, the only inner-city well to reach down to the Danube.

For more Vienna restaurants, see Where to Eat in Vienna
.


Off the Clock

Aux Gazelles
Rahlgasse 5
43-(1)-585-6645
www.auxgazelles.at

Hammam at Aux Gazelles

If you've ever wanted to be scrubbed down, exfoliated, and massaged in a plethora of scented oil, heated marble, and trickling water, then this Turkish hamman is the place to indulge. If you can walk after the three-hour 'spoil program,' head over to the Tea Salon for Turkish coffee or the Club Bar for Middle Eastern music and a La Vie en Rose cocktail (Champagne, crushed ice, grenadine and rose water). Connect with Vienna's stylish crowd that craves the exotic ambiance captured by vibrant colors, elaborate lanterns, pulsing music and sweet hookah smoke.

Music Mile Vienna
Vereinigte Bühnen Wien
Linke Wienzeile 6
43-(1)-588-30- 0 596
www.musikmeile.at

Debussy's star on the Music Mile Vienna

Vienna's Music Mile is a classical music "walk of fame" of sorts. It was created to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Theater an der Wien, which is where Beethoven premiered his "Fidelio." The walk can be done either on your own or as a guided tour, and along the route you will encounter seventy marble stars in the pavement, celebrating the work of artists like Mozart, Strauss and Mahler. Conductors, musicians and singers are also featured. You can either purchase a map that contains information about the artists and their life or an audio guide with music samples. Both are available at the Theater an der Wien and the Vienna Ticket Pavillion.

The Giant Ferris Wheel
Wiener Prater
Prater 9
43-(1)-729-5430
www.wienerriesenrad.com

The Giant Ferris Wheel

Some people say you cannot leave Vienna without having taken a ride on the city's trademark Giant Ferris Wheel ("Riesenrad" in German). It provides a wonderful view of the city from almost 200 feet up in the air. Open year round, it was built by Walter Basset, an English engineer, between 1896 and 97. At that time, ferris wheels were extremely popular attractions and similar structures were built by Basset in Chicago, Paris and London. The wheel is located in Vienna's famous Wiener Prater, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Entry into the park is free, but there's a fee of one to ten euros per ride.

Schönbrunn Palace
Schloß Schönbrunn
43-(1)-811-13-239
www.schoenbrunn.at

Schoenbrunn Palace park

This enchanting palace served as a summer residence to different Habsburg rulers. The UNESCO's cultural heritage site was built to rival French Versailles, but ultimately Habsburg did not have the monies required to outdo his rivaling country. Take a tour of the 1,441-room fortress and you'll be astounded by the beauty of the imperial apartments. A beautiful park can be found on the grounds of this baroque palace, as well as a zoo and a special puppet theater.

Vienna State Opera House
Opernring 2
43-(1)-514-44-2250
www.wiener-staatsoper.at

Vienna State Opera House

The State Opera House officially opened its doors in May1869. Since that time, the Opera House has held many a first-class opera and orchestra performance. In fact, this Italian Renaissance-styled building is one of the most famous in central Europe. The Italianate façade represents the musical significance of that period just as the loggia expresses the Opera's importance and openness to the public with elaborate painted scenes from Mozart's The Magic Flute.

For more Vienna attractions, see What to See & Do in Vienna.

For more Vienna travel, see our Vienna Travel Guide.
Going to Austria? Check our Guide.

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