by Ron Bernthal
Getting to Das Triest from Vienna’s international airport was easy and affordable. From the airport terminal I took the S7 metro train (25 minutes) to Wien Mitte, one of the Vienna’s several, large rail stations that lie just outside the city center. From there I transferred to a U-Bahn subway train, just two stops (two minutes) to Karlsplatz, the closest “U” station to the hotel.
A five-minute walk along Wiedner Haupstrasse brought me to a somewhat non-descript looking building, the site of a former 19th-century coach station used by travelers en route to the spas of Triest, a northern Italian city now, but then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Only the Art Nouveau-style DAS TRIEST letters, in glowing blue neon, on the front of the building, offered any indication what was behind the large wood doors.
The 72-room property, which opened in 2006, is a member of the deluxe boutique hotel group Design Hotels, and is beautifully outfitted by the well-known British interior designer Sir Terence Conran, and Austrian architect Peter Lorenz. The intimate lobby faces an interior courtyard, where the hotel’s Collio restaurant is located, and the entire interior of the property is designed with an understated elegance. After check-in, I took the elevator up to the top floor, where one side of the 6th floor hallway was a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street and nearby buildings, while the other side of the corridor displayed round, port-hole shaped designs on the guest room doors.
There were other “nautical” themes throughout the hotel, including port-hole mirrors in the bathrooms, ship railings, and flag motifs in public areas. I was somewhat confused about these marine design elements since Vienna, although located on the Danube River, is quite far from the a large body of water. It wasn’t until I read about the hotel’s background that I understood about the hotel’s historic link to the Adriatic seaport of Triest.
My room, however, was far from resembling a small cabin on a historic sailing ship. Its ample size included large windows overlooking the rear gardens of nearby 4-5 story residential buildings, a King-size platform bed with Frette linens, and a sleek-looking Apple TV enhanced the lovely design features that filled the space. The coffee-colored carpeting, the comfortable, upholstered furniture pieces in reds, yellows, and Royal blues by the Austrian company, Wittmann, the expansive cherry wood desk with the extra electrical outlets, and the “I want this at home” Artemide light fixture, all added to the overall ambience of the room. Several framed black-and-white photographs of old Triest and Vienna contrasted nicely with the modern amenities.
The white-tiled bathroom, with the signature port-hole mirrors and windows, had heated towel racks, both bathing tub and shower, and attractive lighting embedded within the vanity mirror. Molton Brown supplied the bathroom toiletries, and high speed Wi-Fi is complimentary in the rooms, and throughout the property.
In the lower level courtyard, where the hotel’s restaurant, Colliio, is located, the builders who restored the structure were able to save some 30 year-old olive trees, which add a nice atmosphere to the restaurant’s Mediterranean-style cuisine during lunch and dinner hours, like fillet of sea bass and chanterelle risotto. It is also open for breakfast. Next to the restaurant, with its own street entrance, is the Silver Bar, a quiet and cozy venue that specializes in cocktails, and has become one of Vienna’s secret hideaways. The hotel also provides a fitness centre with exercise equipment, sauna, and solarium.
Das Triest’s location not only puts it within easy walking distance of a convenient metro station, but the Nasch Market, with its appetizing-looking food stalls and outdoor cafes, the Opera House, and the Museumsquartier, a complex of cultural institutions, restaurants, and entertainment venues, are all close by.
One evening after dinner I walk a few blocks south of the hotel to F. Worthman, a typical Viennese café, where tables are placed on an outdoor patio, under the spreading limbs of hundred-year-old oak trees. It is a good place for coffee and cake, and for enjoying Vienna on a warm summer night.
Wiedner Haupstrasse 12
1040 Vienna, Austria
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