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January 29, 2013

Vienna Cool

Nothing can stop the Austrian capital — not even winter.

While sun-worshippers are escaping to St Barts and skiers to St Moritz, culture hounds are heading to Vienna right now. And there are a million reasons why.

The ball season hits its peak with the Opera Ball, February 7, at the Vienna State Opera (gentlemen pack your tails, ladies your Cinderella gown). But Vienna’s glitter doesn’t end with the last waltz: Treasures that have been shut away for a decade will return to public view at the March 1 reopening of the Vienna Kunstkammer — that’s Chamber of Art and Wonders to you — after a long renovation and expansion.

Through 20 rooms you’ll find 2,200 items collected by the imperial family from the Middle Ages through the Baroque periods. Think curiosities more than classics: ostrich eggs thought to hold powers, gold horned goblets and scientific instruments.

Of course you could also spend your time ogling the new Ritz-Carlton (pictured), the brand’s first Austrian property, set inside four historic palaces. A grand marble staircase, intricate wood carvings and murals contribute to the eye candy of the 202-room property located right on the Schubertring Boulevard.

Hot on its heels though, Kempinski will open the Palais Hansen this spring within an 1873 hotel (originally built for the World’s Fair that year). Historic architecture will blend with contemporary glass, and its spa will compete with Austria’s first Guerlain over at the Ritz (where an indoor swimming pool features underwater music no less).

Joining these luxury heavyweights, are two new Design Hotels. Hotel Lamee recently opened with a 1930s Hollywood feel, while 25Hours Hotel opens in March with a circus theme.

With everything going on in Vienna, you’re going to need that extra hour.

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read more: 02. Sleep | boutique | historic | romantic | 10. Culture | art | performance

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