So, how is 2017 going for you all thus far? My posts right now are a little bit all over the place, as tends to happen when holidays and family-time coincide with posts you are still editing from a trip taken a month ago and collaborative work that you have to have up by a certain date. So please bear with me as I jump back a little to our Vienna trip taken just before Christmas.
Jarv surprised me with this trip for our 5 year anniversary - I knew he'd booked something months ago but he wouldn't breathe a word to me about where it was, grinning devilishly (practically rubbing his hands in fiendish glee at my exasperation) whenever I'd ask. I used to live in Austria but haven't been back to visit in at least 13 years, though I'll take any opportunity to babble about my love for leberkäse, Almdudler and my childhood summers spent in Spittal.
We were staying at the Park Hyatt, located conveniently in Am Hof, right on the doorstep of one of Vienna's many festive Christmas markets.
The hotel is housed in a hundred year old former bank building, remnants of its previous life clearly evident throughout the decor and architecture. Our suite, whilst traditional in much of the furniture, had some fantastic modern touches; responsive buttons for heating, lighting, curtains and even for running the bath, as well as mirrors in both the living room and bedroom that slid aside to reveal flat screen TVs. We were welcomed with a fruit bowl and bottle of red. A while later, an entire trolley was wheeled in, carrying various cheeses and dried fruit to snack on (the Diamond amenity we chose instead of points).
One of my favourite aspects of the suite: the bathroom. With two separate sink areas, the most divine, grapefruit scented lotions & washes and an incredible, marble-walled bathtub, I spent no small amount of time in there pampering myself.
Breakfast took place daily in The Bank Brasserie, a sophisticated, high-ceilinged room clad with marble, brass and adorned at this time of year with elegant festive decorations. Truffle-laden scrambled eggs, fresh fruit aplenty, all manner of pastries and bread and even my beloved leberkäse were on offer, plus the smoothest Earl Grey, so good I didn't even bother to add milk. Here, service was a little disappointing at times, from rushed waitstaff who forgot to bring cutlery & coffees and failed to clear tables even when plates were piling up, to a brusque, unsmiling manager. Still, the atmosphere and food made up for what some of the staff were lacking.
The pool is a spectacle - set in an old bank vault, it glows with a quiet, inviting warmth. That is, until you dip a toe into the very cold water. I didn't need any more encouragement than that to head to the steam room instead.
Would I go back? Absolutely.