And we're off again! This time heading across the pond to London and then on to Vienna - to say that we are excited would be an understatement. It was a short flight from Newark, NJ but traveling in United's Polaris cabin, sipping bloody Marys, dining on divine food and enjoying the ice cream sundae bar at 50,000 ft, I certainly wished that it could have been for a little bit longer!
Checking into the St Pancras Renaissance hotel was a seamless experience, with our bags taken from the check in desk and swiftly whisked up to our rooms. Shortly after walking into the room there was a knock at the door with a waiter offering a beautiful bottle of merlot and two wine glasses, just what I needed after a travel day *deep exhale*, we made it. The property is host to a Gothic facade of rebuilt spires and cleaned-up brickwork that towers over the London terminus for the Eurostar high-speed trains, perfect for those who are thinking about doing a hop, skip and jump through Europe.
We took full advantage of the hotels dining options, starting at The Booking Office, which is the original ticketing hall for the station serving some of the finest cocktails in London and they know how to make a show of it! The 'Tails of Discovery' cocktail list is something to add to your MUST TRY list when visiting, each drink is curated around inspirational characters and events, bringing to life journeys of discovery and adventure, not to mention they are delicious.
Gone are the days of bad British food. Today London is one of the world’s leading culinary centers, with creative new restaurants like the German Gymnasium, an instagram worthy restaurant serving only the freshest seasonal options with a German flare. Despite the abundance of good King’s Cross restaurants, bars, and cafes, eating and drinking aren’t the only things to do there. We also wandered across to explore the new multi billion dollar investment, Coal Drops Yard, named as a mini Covent Garden, it did not disappoint. This strip of indoor/outdoor shopping is filled with some of Londons finest boutiques, beauticians and a kids pay area that we also took full advantage of. After a day of exploring, we were in the mood for bubbles, lucky for us Granary Square Brasserie was steps away and champagne was on the menu...
Before we knew it, it was time to pack our bags again and head to Vienna for the AMOUR love travel show, British Airways was our most convenient carrier and got us there in just over two hours. A new stamp in my passport, check! 25 minutes and an uber ride later we arrived to yet another stunning hotel, The Imperial, which we would call home for the next 4 days. This hotel is as grand as they come, with decadent wallpaper and dazzling chandeliers in each room, absolutely breathtaking. We quickly settled into our room, The Elizabeth Suite which was equally as stunning as the main hotel decor. The double balcony was the pièce de résistance that offered commanding views of the city. Famished from the journey, we hurried downstairs to catch the tail end of the dinner service in their main bar, I opted for the wagyu burger with truffle fries *drool* and a perfectly chilled bottle of champagne to wash it down, goodnight Vienna.
Waking up to the perfect sunrise, we were excited for our first day of the show, prepared to meet some great travel advisors and wedding planners from around the globe. The show was set out in a 'speed dating style' giving us exactly 13 minutes for each meeting, and I mean exactly! The scheduling of the show meant that we were done with meetings by 1pm and were free to explore the beauty of Vienna. Prior to arriving, we got the inside scoop on what to see and where to go so we had a list to work our way through, first stop, the Onyx bar at Do & Co Hotel.
After a few cocktails and feeling slightly peckish we stumbled upon Bitzinger Würstelstand, a Bratwurst stand also selling bottles of champagne and local beers. It simply would be rude not to! The crowds flocked to this stand, but it truly was worth the wait, I opted for the spicy sausage and a mini Moët. This truly was a slice of Viennese HEAVEN.
Hotel Sacher for their famous apple strudel and the original Sacher-torte that is known as one of the worlds most famous cakes since 1832 and the original recipe remains a well kept secret of the hotel. The icing was the crowning glory for me, not to be missed when traveling through this historic city. Steps away was the infamous Albertina museum, currently showcasing The Monet to Picasso - The Batliner Collection and Warhol to Richter, art at its finest.
This trip was one to remember, if a picture paints a thousand words then i'm coming home with a million. Both London and Vienna are architecturally two of the most stunning cities I have ever visited, filled with a cosmopolitan lifestyle, rich history, unique culture and most importantly to me a creative and bustling foodie scene! The area of Kings cross has been revitalized beyond recognition and Vienna is one that continues to boast opulence. It won't be long until I'm back. Until then, continue to #packlighttraveldeep.