Wednesday 2 September 2015

Brit Decor: Travels/ Vienna

Oh Vienna...oh Daniel! This reads like one hell of a holiday romance, right? Well of sorts it was, I did truly fall head over heels in love with the industrial-styled Hotel Daniel, and the city which this urban oasis of cool, calls 'home'. 

Whether you have been to Vienna or merely read about this European gem of a city, one of the cleanest in the world in fact, you will probably know that the architecture is a visual feast of history and modernity, fused together like an intricately constructed Viennese cake (how could I not mention the famous confectionery!?). However, none of my pre-holiday thumbing of city guide books could quite prepare me for the overwhelming beauty and sheer volume of architectural grandeur on offer.

By day two of our trip, both Simon and I had given up on attempting to negotiate a straightforward A-to-B route. Instead we chose to let our curiosity take us from one immaculate street to another, soaking it all up brick-by-brick. Luckily I took a capsule wardrobe which combined comfort and style (with my grey flex chinos from new menswear brand, Spoke) I didn't feel out of place walking amongst the chic men and women of Vienna, many of whom were on bicycles.

Our choice of accommodation, Hotel Daniel, opened in 2011 and is situated next to the fairytale Schloss Belvedere. This simple glass fronted building comes complete with a rooftop art installation by Sculptor, Erwin Wurms. His playful vision of a sailing boat, 'Misconceivable', looks precariously placed on the rooftop and sits alongside 100% real honey bees and an apple orchard!! Are you sensing a particular quirkiness to this building yet?

In a city brimming with design, this hip hotel is thankfully no exception when it comes to architectural excellence, but it was Austria's first building to feature a curtain wall facade and is now subsequently listed, complete with its own updated reinterpretation of 'smart luxury'.

However, what really sets this hotel experience apart from the 'norm' is the laid back approach which permeates throughout the fabric of the building, and the staff. After all, a hotel which has hammocks in some of its 116 rooms, strongly suggests that relaxation is a key feature, and as a guest this is exactly what you get.

There is no pomp and ceremony on arrival but that's not to say that we weren't given a warm welcome - the staff are as friendly and approachable as we could have hoped for. The informal feel of the hotel lobby and adjoining open-plan bakery and restaurant immediately beckoned us into a world of informal style and concrete-cool, not forgetting the on-trend abundance of foliage too!

The interior design of our top floor room with its commanding views over the city was equally as striking as the panoramic view. With it's exposed concrete ceilings, complete with original chalk mark-outs, and  soothing whitewashed walls, simple pendant lighting, and neutral pinstriped bedding, the entire scheme exuded industrial-chic. 

The icing on the cake (yes another confectionery reference) is the branding - from a graphics point of view, the 'Daniel' body-wash, headed note paper & pencil, and simple drawstring bag, all brought a successful design aesthetic to the mix. Such is the hotel's confidence in their brand, guests can purchase branded goods from the ground floor shop, including the famous hammocks.

All Images / Mike Ahern

Would I visit again? Yes, during just five days of constant exploring we barely covered a fraction of this incredible city, so there is much more that my inquisitive traveller's eye needs to see. And would I kick-back and relax with Hotel Daniel again? Again, yes, because when a hotel experience is as relaxed as this, and you get an industrial dose of style too, there's nothing I'd like more than to visit again.

I hope that you've enjoyed journeying with me.


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