Winter in the City
No more winter blues: cities like London, Copenhagen and Milan show with festive glitter and bubbly champagne mood that frosty temperatures suit them particularly well. The best addresses - plus New Year's Eve highlights, shopping experiences and many insider tips.
1 December 2021
Best of London
No other Big City does winter as well as London. When its famous rain turns into dancing snow flurries and experienced taxi drivers utter silent curses, when buns with glazed Norfolk ham and Christmas chutney are served at teatime in the Drawing Room of the legendary Brown's Hotel while the fairy lights begin to twinkle outside; when the ghost of Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist and Miss Marple wafts through the small, mysterious second-hand bookshops and children with fluttering Harry Potter scarves flit along the Thames, a smile flits across the face of even the biggest curmudgeon - after all, he doesn't want to end up like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "Christmas Story" (which, by the way, will be shown again from 13 November onwards in the fantastic "Old Town"). November, by the way, it's back at the fantastic Old Vic. Or how about a pint in the pub, of which there is one winking invitingly over on almost every street corner in the capital? Finally, it's time to discuss which team you belong to: Queen Elizabeth's or royal rebels Meghan and Harry? If you'd rather keep quiet about it, you can dance at the Silent Disco at the National History Museum - under a massive blue whale skeleton. But tickets are only available if you're very lucky.
Decorated with three Michelin stars and bespoke art by Damien Hirst, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is in itself a guarantee of a gourmet experience of the highest order. But with Hélène's luxurious festive menus (from € 266), the exceptional restaurant goes one better. The latest asset: the "Chef's Table" made of pink marble for a maximum of ten people is only an arm's length away from the action in the kitchen. the-connaught.co.uk
At home with the Royals
The venerable five-star luxury hotel "The Rubens at the Palace" is enthroned opposite Buckingham Palace. Guests can also feel like royalty here: Hurried doormen in red uniforms stretch their protective umbrellas over arrivals, highly decorated chefs are available for exclusive private dining experiences. And the champagne service in the Royal Room is simply one thing: a matter of course. Double room with breakfast from € 263 per night. rubenshotel.com
Luxury under palm trees
An enormous glass dome spans the eight-story atrium of the luxury hotel "The Landmark London," and the "Winter Garden Restaurant" offers dignified dining under palm trees. The Sunday champagne brunch (€ 106) is particularly popular - as are the spacious rooms, which with an average of 50 square meters are among the largest in London. Double rooms with breakfast from € 496 per night. landmarklondon.co.uk
The Roaring Twenties
Every day from 12 noon to midnight, bar director Benoit Provost and head bartender Salvatore Megna revive the lifestyle of the 1920s cocktail bars. The "American Bar" is located in the traditional hotel "The Stafford London", which is decorated with over 100 glittering Christmas trees. Double room with breakfast from € 645,- per night. thestaffordlondon.com
Marc Newson designed "The Ultimate Bottle" for Louis Vuitton - four floors of pure luxury await in the store on New Bond Street. At € 15,000. louisvuitton.com
Selfridges: The limited edition of the Laurent-Perrier cuvée rosé champagne "Butterfly Robe". At € 94,-. selfridges.com
New Year's Eve highlight
Champagne o'clock! The "Aurora Rooftop Bar" of the "Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere", which opens in 2019, offers probably the most spectacular view. The gourmet package (€ 249) is also a delight: a five-course New Year's Eve menu with wine accompaniment, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Extra Old - and probably the best way to start the new year. bar-aurora.at/silvester
Best of Vienna
A lap around the Ring is a must! The Prunkstraße embraces the innermost district and provides the perfect first impression of the former imperial city: the dignified State Opera - home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the famous Opera Ball -, the winding parks and decorated museums; opposite the Rathausplatz with its fairytale Christmas world (from 12 November), the rebellious Burgtheater (known by connoisseurs only as "the Burg") presents itself with a swollen chest. Right next door: the "Café Landtmann", opened in 1873, where the "Herr Ober" still wears a black mascot and meets the hustle and bustle with Viennese charm. Time for a warm apple strudel or the original chestnut blossom! Strengthened, we go to the Golden Quarter, where Chanel and Co. reside, on to the delicatessen heaven Meinl am Graben and finally to the "Schwarze Kameel", founded in 1618. There you can recover from shopping with one of the legendary sandwiches (tip: salmon caviar). For the grand finale, head for Stephansplatz, where the hooves of the Fiaker horses clatter on the cobblestones and the cathedral is beautifully silhouetted against the night sky. The traditional three-four waltz on New Year's Eve is as much a part of the Viennese lifestyle as the thriving LGBTQ scene.
New Year's Eve highlight
Celebrate at the highest building in London with fountains of champagne bottles at midnight and the most spectacular view of the whole city? You can - at The Shard New Year's Eve Party. Limited VIP packages include table reservation, fast track entry and drinks. From € 354,-. theviewfromtheshard.com
Father Markus Mraz (center) and sons Manuel (right) and Lukas can be proud: They run a double-starred, always full restaurant - and employees who you can see that they love their work. More than 1100 wines are stored in the cellar, there are 50 to 60 kinds of cheese, and yet the creative trio has remained friendly, funny, and above all curious. Their unconventional "Tasty Menu" (€ 145) contains surprises like Ösi miso soup, smoked Reinanken dashi with nasturtium and young sheep's cheese. mrazundsohn.at
With love for the sea
Fish and seafood are on his new menu (eight courses for € 195,-) - with this Konstantin Filippou celebrates his Greek roots. From almost every table there is a view into the kitchen, where culinary works of art are created. Even more exclusive: the Private Dining Room for a maximum of 20 people. konstantinfilippou.com
Inspiration in eight courses
We know him, the busy star chef Juan Amador, who refines "Des Kaisers Schmarrn" with quince and Tahitian vanilla. With his restaurant in the noble suburb of Grinzing (eight courses for € 285), he doesn't follow trends. His cuisine is, he says, "the little black dress - there's nothing to hide." restaurant-amador.com
Treasury with a long tradition
Since 1823, J. & L. Lobmeyr has been an institution for glassware and one of the most beautiful traditional shops in the city. At Kärntner Straße 26, lovers of fine things can purchase the Venini vases "Fazzoletto" (see above), which translates as "handkerchief". Price on request. lobmeyr.at
Surreal, daring, magical
Velvet, brass, marble: Recently, the boutique hotel "Die Josefine", inspired by the Golden Twenties, has been delighting not only guests, but also the neighborhood in the boho district of Mariahilf - because "Die Josefine" revives the go-to cocktail bar, the legendary "Barfly's". Double room from € 150,- per night. hoteljosefine.at
Only a few steps from St. Stephen's Cathedral and in the middle of the golden quarter: exclusive moments are guaranteed here
Three wide stone steps lead to luxury heaven: a gentleman in spick-and-span uniform indicates a polite bow and leads the way to reception, while the guest lets his gaze wander in wonder. The Landesbank once resided in the imposing historic building (it dates back to 1915). Under the strict conditions of the Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments, a unique hotel was created here that preserves the splendour of bygone times and combines them with all conceivable amenities of modern life: a spectacular, 15-metre-long indoor pool in the former vault is just as much a part of it as the golden shimmering "Arany Spa" with sauna, steam bath, sanarium and vitality shower and exclusive beauty treatments. The 120-minute "Signature Gold Treatment" (€ 310), for example, includes a peeling with gold particles, a full-body massage as well as a facial treatment with a touch of gold and a glass of champagne. Now you're ready for a winter city adventure! Right in front of the hotel, the delightful Christmas market beckons with fragrant almonds and punch. Those looking for gifts will find them in the numerous luxury boutiques, from Chanel and Cartier to exclusive kids' fashion. For refreshments, return to the hotel's own "The Bank" Brasserie & Bar and enjoy the legendary Beef Tatar, Seafood or the best Rahmschmarrn in Vienna. Of course, festive highlights are not to be missed: The "Advent Gabelfrühstück" on Advent Sundays (€ 99,-), the "Magical Christmas Evening" (€ 143,-) or the big "The Bank Orient Express" New Year's Eve party with seven-course menu, live music and show acts (€ 539,-; reservation required). Double room including breakfast from € 585,- per night.
Park Hyatt Vienna, parkhyattvienna.at
Am Hof 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 22740 1234
The new five-star home of the international creative scene with a sense of unmistakable luxury.
When it opened two years ago, the five-star Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, a member of the Hyatt family, already caused quite a stir in the press and on social media. On the one hand, this is due to the exciting location: in the middle of the innovative district around the new central station and in the immediate vicinity of the Upper Belvedere and its modern offshoot Belvedere 21, the Andaz Vienna demonstrates a good feel for trends. On the other hand, it not only convinces with international design, but also skilfully stages local modern art - not for nothing was the cosmopolitan, art patron and builder Prince Eugene of Savoy the godfather of the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere. Individual, cosmopolitan and perfect in terms of craftsmanship, this is how the Italian star architect Renzo Piano created the luxury lifestyle hotel. The 303 urban-designed rooms, including 44 suites and a penthouse suite on the 15th floor, prove that someone with an eye for detail was at work here: one is delighted by the unobstructed view from floor-to-ceiling windows and the refined cut glass in the mirrored door. The herringbone parquet flooring is immediately used for a "selfeet" and hashtagged #andazvienna; the pleasant lighting mood also runs throughout the house. The Health & Wellness area scores with a state-of-the-art fitness centre, sauna, steam bath and relaxation room and leaves nothing to be desired. Another highlight is the restaurant "Eugen21", which offers modern Austrian cuisine. In the afternoon, guests can look forward to a Wine Hour with free snacks and fine wines. The fact that "Andaz" means "personal style" in Hindi is only logical. Double room including breakfast from € 195 per night.
Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, andazviennaambelvedere.com.
Arsenalstraße 10, 1100 Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 205 7744 1234
Glamour in the heart of Vienna
The "Hotel Sacher" in the heart of Vienna is one of the best and most famous luxury hotels in the world. It has already hosted illustrious guests such as Anna Netrebko, Queen Elizabeth II of England, Sharon Stone, Justin Bieber and Naomi Campbell. It is not known whether the supermodel also had a bite of the famous Sachertorte - but Naomi was probably not averse to a drink in the "Blaue Bar" (picture). Vienna at its best! Double room from € 890,- per night. sacher.com
Best of Copenhagen
If you glide through Copenhagen on the water, past Nyhavn's colourful houses and magnificent sailing ships, you'll be amazed: the locals ride bicycles even in sub-zero temperatures or swing on electric boats (for hire at goboat.dk) through the canals - a warming mulled wine, called Gløgg, in hand. The spotlessly clean self-propelled metro (it only takes 15 minutes from the airport to the city centre) is also impressive. How do the Danes do it? Where do the people here get this inimitable knack for design classics that are appreciated all over the world? Probably the most progressive European city, Copenhagen is already doing what other metropolises are only beginning to think about: in 2025, Copenhagen wants to be the first city in the world to be climate-neutral. Even at the smallest Christmas market stall, you pay with your smartphone as a matter of course. And some of the best restaurants in the world will change the way we dine in the future. The fact that Copenhagen also welcomes its visitors with glittering snow, crackling fires in the lobby, and its special Nordic coziness known around the globe as "Hygge" makes it even more charming.
Design oasis of calm
A neoclassical building from 1914 that served as an art museum houses the showroom and studio of Danish designer Oliver Gustav. In ten rooms, the social media star curates antiques and works he admires. olivergustav.com
Live better, live more beautifully
In a palazzo-like building in Copenhagen's city centre, the Paustian design house opened its universe of regional and international furniture and home accessories. It recently relaunched the designs of Danish architect Philip Arctander. Pictured: a newly designed sofa. At around € 7100. paustian.com
New Year's Eve highlight
Clear the ring ...... is the name of the game at "Wallmans": Under the large dome of the Circus Building, the show of the year hosted by drag queen Megan Moore takes place on New Year's Eve: a mix of breathtaking artistic performances, comedy and music, plus a five-course menu - and after the grand finale, the dance floor is calling. From € 167,-. wallmans.dk
A piece of Bali in the heart of Copenhagen
The "Manon Les Suites" stands for five-star luxury in its most relaxed form. Here, bohemians celebrate "365 days of summer", even when Father Frost reigns outside. The heart of the house is the exotic Junglefish Pool surrounded by lush greenery. On the roof terrace, things get more rustic: a sauna, a cold water bucket bath and a steam bath with essential oils provide a Nordic feeling. Don't forget your swimwear! Double room with breakfast and late check-out from € 349 per night. guldsmedenhotels.com/manon-les-suites
Like in a fairy tale
This five-star boutique hotel can justifiably call itself "unique": 38 rooms in a palace like from One Thousand and One Nights, directly adjacent to the festively decorated Tivoli amusement park, which sets off the most spectacular fireworks in the city on New Year's Eve. Those who then greet the new year on the roof terrace of the "Nimb" have done everything right in the old. Double room with breakfast from € 436,- per night. nimb.dk
The eye eats with you
One of only a handful of Thai restaurants, Kiin Kiin has held a Michelin star since 2008. The eight-course tasting menu (from € 154) includes an aperitif in the lounge with exciting entrees such as fermented pineapple and Pad Kra Pao squid. kiin.dk
With all senses
On 2300 square meters, the 30-year-old Dane Rasmus Munk, one of the most innovative chefs in the world, provides a thoroughly orchestrated sensory experience: 50 courses, served under a huge dome similar to a planetarium, on which visuals are projected (from € 685,-). alchemist.dk
Simply the Best
Also this year, already for the fifth time, René Redzepi's "Noma" was chosen as the best restaurant in the world. No wonder that the upcoming Ocean Season 2022 is already fully booked. Next chance: the Vegetable Season from June 2022. noma.dk
Best of Milan
Here in Milan, everything is just right: the purple lips, the eyebrow sweep, the somnambulistic confidence on sky-high heels. Not even the darned cobblestones in the trendy Navigli district can harm this lightness. Dressed in oversize coats or couture bomber jackets, the street fashion scene takes selfies. At "Rita's" you can enjoy an aperitivo - preferably the signature cocktail called "Bloody Focaccia" with a shrimp tartare. Then drift into the richly decorated historic center, dotted with some of the most expensive flagship stores on the planet, which reinvent themselves season after season. The arts are also in the metropolis' blood: Giuseppe Verdi celebrated fantastic premieres here at the Teatro alla Scala and Leonardo da Vinci left "The Last Supper" in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In general: Milan does not believe in minimalism, exuberant enjoyment is the order of the day here. The heavenly panettone at the "Pasticceria Marchesi" is just one example among many. Nibbling on all this makes you happy - and the Lombard metropolis a hotspot, especially in the cold season: Capodanno on the Piazza Duomo is top, this highlight should probably be on every bucket list.
Culture, art and fashion
In 1991 Carla Sozzani, sister of the then Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, opened a shop in a former garage and named it after its address: "10 Corso Como". Her "slow shopping" concept caused an international sensation, and to this day the store combines culture and shopping, fashion and art, design and gastronomy. Even a mini-hotel with three rooms has moved in here. Worth seeing! 10corsocomo.com
Whether it's limited editions, exclusive collections or the best that international high fashion has to offer (like the argyle wool vest by Gucci for €790, see above): although Milan is already more than spoiled when it comes to fashion, the Antonia boutique stands out even more here. antonia.it
New Year's Eve highlight
Bellissimo! The fashion gurus of Dsquared2 renovated the historic Palazzo Enel at Via Ceresio 7 and added a terrace with American bar and pools on the roof; 360-degree view over downtown Milan included. One floor below you can dine on Italian classics - reservations are absolutely necessary! ceresio7.com
A place of its own
Already one of the city's most exclusive boutique hotels, Bulgari is now shaking up the next ace for its "Bulgari Hotel Milano": the new Bulgari Suite (picture; 210 square metres, two bedrooms) includes an almost 200-square-metre private roof garden with a panoramic view of the old town. The wellness area with indoor pool is then just the icing on the cake of an experience that is second to none. Standard double room with breakfast from € 870 per night. bulgarihotels.com
All the way to the top, please!
If you stay at the venerable five-star hotel "Principe di Savoia", one of Milan's landmarks, the first thing you do is slip into a super-soft bathrobe and head to the top floor. Relaxation is only a matter of minutes in the Turkish bath, the sauna or the pool with frescoes - afterwards, the splendidly decorated restaurant invites you to a "chocolaty afternoon tea". Double room with breakfast from € 630,- per night. dorchestercollection.com
Parisian chic meets Milanese flair
Architect and hotel owner Paola Giambelli wanted to create the epitome of a "private palace" with the "Palazzo Parigi Hotel & Grand Spa". She has succeeded: The marble grand staircase alone allows every signora to make an appearance à la Sophia Loren. The rooms also have star qualities: At night, the view from the balcony falls on the brightly lit Duomo, the glittering Porta Nuova skyline and the Castello Sforzesco. Double room with breakfast from € 756,- per night. palazzoparigi.com
Born in Tuscany, Giacomo Bulleri always had big plans. His mother called him a "restless soul" and he soon moved to Milan, where he opened the "Trattoria Da Giacomo" in 1958 - the beginning of an incredible success story: to this day, the Milanese love "their" Giacomo; the city awarded him its highest distinction. Because when it comes to classic Italian cuisine, no one can fool him in a hurry. giacomomilano.com.
Hidden Champion Bolzano
Nestled between gentle vineyards and guarded by rugged castles, Bolzano opens the gateway to the snowy Dolomites. The journey through the Alps alone is enough to make your heart race. In the up-and-coming capital of South Tyrol, which has become a popular destination, especially in the winter months, for combining a holiday in the snowy mountains with urban flair, medieval buildings mingle with Baroque palaces and late-Gothic archways in the old town. In December, the popular Waltherplatz - dedicated to the musical Lord von der Vogelweide - is transformed into a fragrant Christmas market, right at the foot of the cathedral. Traditional pastries such as Strauben with icing sugar and South Tyrolean fruit bread will make your eyes light up. Not far away, the delicatessen butcher Egger hands homemade smoked goods over the counter, and the traditional boutique Oberrauch Zitt puts a burgundy Dolce & Gabbana coat around the customer's shoulders. Now it's time for an aperitivo at the "Wineboutique Lisa", this year's South Tyrolean Wine Shop of the Year - it seems that Bolzano has the magical gift of combining the best of all worlds.
Places to Be
Reduction to the essentials
You don't just stumble into the restaurant "In Viaggio" - you ring the doorbell and are then shown to your table. There, nine sophisticated creations await the guest, whose ingredients owner Claudio Melis has studied in detail. His goal: a "circulatory cuisine" for holistic well-being. Menus from € 90, wine accompaniment from € 36. inviaggioristorante.com
The New Kid on the Block
"Chief Conductor" Manuel Astuto, who compares cooking to an opera, has big plans for the new "Luisa Gourmet": Only opening in mid-November 2021, it is part of the five-star "Manna" resort and aims to become the new hotspot of the Dolomites. There is a choice of five-, seven- or nine-course menus and countless wines (with a focus on Pinot Noir). manaresort.it
New Year's Eve highlight
All good things come in threes. Not unlike the "Grand Budapest Hotel", you can slide into the New Year in style for three nights at Bolzano's first address, the "Parkhotel Laurin". Included: half board, five-course New Year's Eve menu and party in the "Laurin Bar". And the best thing about it: from the dance floor you fall straight into bed. From € 687,-. laurin.it
Stylish tradition and unconventional zeitgeist: Magda's" is the place to be in Bolzano
A stone's throw from the old town, the "Magdalener Hof" escapes the bustling excitement and plays up the qualities of tranquillity to the full, without being far from the action. The boutique hotel is also not far from the mountains: nature lovers can reach the snow-covered Dolomites in just 30 minutes - or discover the St. Magdalen wine-growing area bordering the hotel. But it is not only this magnificent backdrop that makes "Magda's", as it is affectionately called by its many regular guests, so special. Managed in the second generation by the Ramoser family, it convinces with an irresistible mixture that has become rare: a dignified atmosphere meets cosmopolitan-artistic flair, moss-green Wittmann furniture meets South Tyrolean charm, a spacious garden and a cosy library meet city feeling. The high-quality furnished rooms - 52 of them, including four suites - invite you to feel good. In the premium suite (60 square metres), children also have enough room to play, and the modern gym on 110 square metres provides sporting compensation if the jogging round is cancelled due to sub-zero temperatures. But the lively heart of the hotel still beats in the restaurant, where it all began in 1978 and where to this day not only excellent food is served, but friendships are also made. Locals and visitors from all over the world enjoy smoked salmon, the fabulous paella or the homemade truffle pizza from the wood-fired oven. Later, Bolzano insiders move into the library and toast the good life with the finest whiskies - because there's nowhere else you want to be but here! Double room including breakfast from € 170,- per night.
Magdalener Hof, magdalenerhof.it
Rentscher Street 48/A, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
T: +39 0471 978 267
Text: Heidi Rietsch
This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Winter 2021/22.