Reviewing Vienna

Reviewing Vienna - Vienna, Austria

Check out Vienna reviewer Alexander Basek's take on Vienna. Learn about his two favorite hotels in the Austrian metropolis, gain some insight into his dietary practices, and read about his general impressions of the Habsburg city.

1. Favorite Hotels.

My favorite hotel in Vienna is the Baronesse My Secret Home. I love Josefstadt, which is the most classically and authentically Viennese neighborhood in the city. The hotel has nifty touches like portable GPS units for walking around and is the décor is the best expression of the otherwise tiresome Viennese style I saw in many, many hotels elsewhere.

The best deal in town is at the Pension Kraml, off the Mariahilferstrasse. Technically two-star, the service is exemplary, the location is great, and touches like a beautiful inner courtyard garden and a breakfast room next door that used to be a diner make it special.

2. Favorite thing about working in Vienna.

The Viennese! They're Hapsburgs to the very end, and love their titles and history and are happy to recommend things about their city, as long as you ask and seem interested. Some find them a bit distant but they just reminded me of New Yorkers.

3. What surprised you about Vienna?

That the neighborhoods outside Innere Stadt were so accessible for visitors. They're all that not far off, and they provide a glimpse of Vienna as experienced by its inhabitants.

4. Funny story.

Sabine, the receptionist at Pension City, managed to tell me the entire story of her life (and modeling career) while I was quizzing her on breakfast hours and wireless capabilities.

5. City Secret.

In the warm weather, there's sand, a beach bar and lounge chairs all set up on the Donau Canal underneath the Taborstrasse bridge at Schwedenplatz. Who knew there were beach bums this far from the ocean?

6. Favorite local food.

Weiner Schnitzel: a huge floppy cutlet of the stuff, paired with boiled potatoes and a cold beer. It's rare to find it with veal these days, as most places serve it with pork or chicken. My favorite iteration was at the Schöne Perle in Leopoldstadt.

7. Highlight of the trip.

Asking for a würstel stand recommendation at the Hotel Arpi, the owners told me to get a käsekrainer, a sausage injected with cheese. "Eat one of those and you'll be speaking German by the time you finish!" Indeed, it was that good.