Mira Kolenc

  • Vintage lover
  • hobby confectioner
  • columnist

Mira was born and raised in Bavaria. After school she went off to Austria to study theatre-, film- and media theories at the University of Vienna.

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My 24 Hours in Vienna

My perfect day starts with sunshine and a matcha latte in bed. After getting ready, there should be a late breakfast. At the moment, my favourite spots for breakfast with friends are the Ulrich (weekend breakfast till 3pm, during the week till noon), the Kussmaul (weekend breakfast till 4pm, during the week till noon) or The Guesthouse Vienna. The last one is a centrally located hotel with its own brasserie and bakery (breakfast till 11pm every day).

Whenever I have friends in Vienna for a visit I pick them up from one of the hotels or apartments I’ve recommended to them. There are so many in town that radiate a very special charm. Here are just a few:

Just a few steps from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Hotel Lamée feels like a representative of the city. The interior reflects the stylish glamour of the 1930’s and the rooftop terrace has a legendary view.

In the middle of Vienna’s 7th district, next to Mariahilferstrasse and between MuseumsQuartier and Westbahnhof, you’ll find the tiny but cozy Hotel am Brillantengrund which has a lot of retro charm and a beautiful courtyard. The hotel is often a venue for exhibitions, concerts, or flea markets. It’s a lively and familiar place, where the young creatives of the city hang out.

Urbanauts is a different kind of hotel. Former shops have been transformed into beautifully decorated hotel rooms. All “Street Lofts” are spread over the 4th district and have a different style each.

The apartment “Mon Bijou” (via Airbnb https://www.airbnb.de/rooms/4150687) is a beautiful and exceptionally decorated apartment owned by the lovely and helpful host Armin. Perfect for a longer stay!

With a full stomach, I would start exploring the city. I always want to know what’s going on in town. For the latest gossip in Vienna, you have to visit the Salon Er-Ich. It’s not just a hair salon, it’s a hub for information and a kind of art gallery. Erich Joham, the owner, always knows what’s happening in the city. Celebrities, artists, actors, models, philosophers, writers – everybody is here. C0me in for a talk and a coffee or for a new haircut.

On a gloomy day, I’d visit the cinema Bellaria. It’s a small and old cinema in the Museumsstraße, a side street behind the popular Viennese theatre (Volkstheater). Every afternoon they play old German films to a mostly elderly audience – it feels a little bit like travelling back in time.

I might also have a look at the “Silver Collection” in the Hofburg. This is an amazing collection of tableware, used for the running the imperial household. I love these old things and all the stories around them.

If I’m in the mood for a little shopping spree, to spend money on beautiful things with tradition and quality, Vienna is just the spot. Here are some of my favourite shops:

For more than 100 years Altmann & Kühne have been producing hand-manufactured miniature chocolate delights. Their beautifully designed boxes of chocolates are always a perfect gift and the shop has been furnished by star architect, Josef Hofmann. With the original design retained, the building is listed as a historical monument. A must see!

Wilhelm Jungmann & Neffe is a shop for luxurious fabrics and a great place for gentlemen with exquisite taste and a passion for ties, scarves, and other accessories. The shop has been around since 1866 and is still a pleasure to shop in – breathtakingly beautiful!

For special leather goods, visit R. Horn’s Wien. Robert Horn is a man with humour and excellent taste (plus a love for short trousers with knee highs). Horn’s bag designs pay homage to the aesthetics of Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, and the Wiener Werkstätte. The result: high-quality, long-lasting, timeless, and durable leather briefcases, handbags, travel bags, wallets, and accessories for men and women.

Mühlbauer Hutmanufaktur is a fourth generation family business, manufacturing headwear using traditional handcrafting techniques since 1903. They make elegant hats for men and women of the best quality and with great attention to detail.

Ali and Peter are the cutest vintage dealers in town. The Vintagerie is not just a store with old and beautiful things, but sometimes it’s also a gallery or a bar (with pink champagne!). You’re always welcome to come and browse, even if you can’t fit any of the beautiful furniture in your tiny apartment.

In the afternoon, it’s time for cake or a small lunch. The Demel is a good idea, actually it’s a must. But the best time for Demel is after New Year’s Eve, when Vienna is quiet. From January to February, Vienna (and Demel) belongs to the locals. During this quiet time I love to meet friends and acquaintances here to eat a piece of cake in the late afternoon, preferably in the half-light of the basement.

If it’s not immediately after New Year’s Eve, there are many other alternatives:

Just behind the town hall, but away from the tourist trails, at Conditorei Sluka you’ll get perfect service and delicious cakes. In the summertime you can sit outside in the sun, sometimes joined by Austrian actor Peter Weck.

Near the Mariahilferstraße, the big shopping street, you’ll find the Café Jelinek. It’s a centrally-located old-fashioned café and the perfect spot to write and read. If you want to say hello, you’ll find me there hanging on the wall.

Nearby St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Café Korb is a spot where both artists and businessmen hang out. Here you’ll find the friendliest waiters in the city and you can enjoy your coffee and “Apfelstrudel” in an atmosphere full of 50’s charm. The café is owned by the most glamorous lady in town, Susanne Widl.

If you’re craving something salty, there’s only one place to go: Trzesniewski! These little slices of bread with egg spread are a Viennese specialty. The first shop in Dorotheergasse was opened in 1902 by Franciszek Trzesniewski and it’s still a beautiful place. You can take the sandwiches away (in small boxes) or eat them there, along with a “Pfiff” (a very small glass of beer).

If you’re really hungry by now and already in the mood for dinner, Vienna will not disappoint you:

Zur Herknerin is a straightforward place with Austrian cuisine and a small menu that changes weekly, depending on the season. Love and passion are the most important ingredients for owner Stefanie Herkner, who will always greet you with a warm welcome.

At Rudis Beisl you absolutely must book in advance! (phone: 01/5445102) Here you’ll find a typical Viennese atmosphere, wonderful traditional food, and excellent wine. Not to mention, delicious pastries (Mehlspeisen).

The Woracziczky is a small restaurant with an unpronounceable name and a somewhat isolated location in the 5th district, but it’s the best place for a “Wiener Backhendl” (deep-fried chicken).

My nights out always start with an excellent cocktail in one of my favourite bars. Vienna is very small and chances are you’ll meet an acquaintance with a tip on THE (private) party of the night. The most beautiful nights in Vienna are spontaneous. Don’t be shy to ask a local for insider tips on nightlife.

The Roberto American Bar is one of the newest bars in town and very popular. On weekends it’s difficult to find a spot here, but the drinks are excellent and the conversation will never run out.

The Bonbonniere Bar is supposedly the oldest bar in Vienna and really worth a visit. Red silk wallpaper, naughty engravings from the 18th century, a lot of crystal, and live piano music every night (from 9pm) is what you’ll find.

The Blaue Bar in the Hotel Sacher is the best place to go for a last drink after you’ve been to the theatre, opera, or cinema. And if you want to eat a Sachertorte, then do it here or in the red lobby (also possible during the day).

In summertime you’ll often find me in a “Heuriger” – meaning a long night with many bottles of young fresh wine. At the Hengl – Haselbrunner I usually have the cherry or apricot strudel, while sitting in the romantic arcades, or I’m dancing in the Volksgartenpavillon. The little pavilion with its shady garden near Heldenplatz was built in the 1950s by the famous architect Oswald Haerdtl and is a very popular place for warm summer nights. It’s also a venue for Lindy Hop dancers (every Monday), special parties like “Das Techno Cafe” (every Tuesday), or “Swell Time – A Mad Man Night Out”.

Vienna is very hot in July and August. To cool off the historic thermal spa in Bad Vöslau (very close to Vienna and easily accessible by public transport), is the perfect place to go. It’s a very glamorous “Sommerfrische” (a hide away in the countryside during a hot summer in the city) –  just like ancient times!

 

For memorable nights check out our Soulful Hotel collection here.

Locations



UlrichSankt-Ulrichs-Platz 1, Wien, Österreich

On weekends they serve breakfast till 3 pm.
KussmaulSpittelberggasse 12, Wien, Österreich

The Kussmaul not only serves a tasty breakfast, but has a very nice interior too.
The Guesthouse ViennaFührichgasse 10, Wien, Österreich

The brasserie and bakery is open all year round and you can have breakfast every day until 11pm.
Hotel LaméeRotenturmstraße 15, Wien, Österreich

The hotel's interior reflects Vienna perfectly.
Hotel am BrillantengrundBandgasse 4, Wien, Österreich

Not only a beautiful hotel but also a creative hub.
UrbanautsFavoritenstraße 17, Wien, Österreich

Former shops turned into hotel rooms - very unique!
Er-IchGriechengasse 7, Wien, Österreich

So much more than a hair salon, it's actually more of a gossip and news centre ;)
BellariaMuseumstraße 3, Wien, Österreich

A cinema where you feel like you've travelled back in time!
HofburgHofburg, Wien, Österreich

Gaze at the stunning old tableware from the imperial households.
Altmann & KühneGraben 30, 1010 Wien, Österreich

Home of chocolate delights since forever!
Wilhelm Jungmann & NeffeAlbertinaplatz 3, Wien, Österreich

THE store for real gentlemen and everybody who loves high quality fabrics.
R. Horn's WienBräunerstraße 7, Wien, Österreich

High quality leather items.
Mühlbauer HutmanufakturFranz-Josefs-Kai 15, Wien, Österreich

Tastefully designed hats for her and him, since 1903.
VintagerieNelkengasse 4, Wien, Österreich

Fabulous vintage furniture and just a nice shop where you can come by to sip a bit of pink champagne.
DemelKohlmarkt 14, Wien, Österreich

Have a piece of cake downstairs and chat with locals.
Conditorei SlukaRathauspl. 8, Wien, Österreich

Away from the touristy paths and perfect for a piece of cake and checking out Austrian celebrities.
Café JelinekOtto-Bauer-Gasse 5, Wien, Österreich

A cozy, old-fashioned café.
Café KorbBrandstätte 9, Wien, Österreich

A Vienna institution and definitely worth seeing. Have "Apfelstrudel" there!
TrzesniewskiDorotheergasse 1, Wien, Österreich

Viennese specialties and tasty sandwiches for a quick bite in between your day.
Zur HerknerinWiedner Hauptstraße 36, Wien, Österreich

A down-to-earth Austrian restaurant run with love and passion!
Rudi's BeislWiedner Hauptstraße 88, Wien, Österreich

Call to book a table in advance, otherwise you might miss these fantastic, typical Austrian dishes.
WoracziczkySpengergasse 52, Wien, Österreich

You have to try Vienna's best "Backhendl" (deep fried chicken) here! Absolutely delicious!
Roberto American BarBauernmarkt 11-13, Wien, Österreich

Quite a new bar but already very popular, and for good reason.
Bonbonniere BarSpiegelgasse 15, Wien, Österreich

Said to be the oldest bar in Vienna and truly a one-of-a-kind experience - see it, feel it!
Blaue BarPhilharmoniker Str. 4, Wien, Österreich

You'll find this nice bar inside the Hotel Sacher - a great spot to have a drink after going to the theatre or the cinema.
Hengl - HaselbrunnerIglaseegasse 10, Wien, Österreich

One of the most charming "Heuriger" in the area and their cherry and apricot strudel is just too good to be true!
VolksgartenpavillonVolksgarten Pavillon, Volksgarten, Wien, Österreich

The pavilion was built in the 1950s and is a magical place for warm summer nights. The venue is used for different kinds of parties.
Bad VöslauMaital 2, Bad Vöslau, Österreich

Thermal baths, a little bit outside of the city (easily accessible with public transport) but perfect for hot summer days to cool off in an atmosphere just like ancient times.
‘The most beautiful nights in Vienna are spontaneous.’
  • Entering the Bellaria cinema feels like travelling back in time to the 1950s.
  • The alleyways of this city are incomparable in charm.
  • Salon "ER-ICH" is not just a small hair salon, it’s a hub for information.
  • "Numen" by Alex Kiessling in the gallery VIERTELNEUN.

My thoughts about Vienna

What do you love about your destination?

I agree with Ioan Holender, the former Vienna State Opera director: “I respect and I have a great sympathy for Vienna because there is no other city in the world with such an interest for music and theatre in general.” Vienna itself is a large theatre stage with daily operettas and picture-perfect scenery.

Which music fits best to your destination?

Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, and Donna Summer.

What‘s a "must do" in your destination?

I like to see cities from above, so have coffee at the Sofitel Hotel (Le Loft Restaurant). The ceiling was designed by artist Pipilotti Rist. Sofitel Hotel, Praterstraße 1.

Oh, sweet nostalgia!
The cutest vintage dealer in town, Vintagerie.
Dreaming about the good old times.
I love Café Jelinek for reading and writing in a cozy atmosphere.

Take a vacation into My life

What’s your background?

Since 2011 I've been writing "Mira Kolenc | Ein Feldforschungsprojekt", a blog about my interpersonal encounters, especially in Vienna. Since 2014 I've also been a columnist for Option Magazine. Currently l live and work in Berlin.

What is the best moment of the day?

When the night begins.

What inspires you?

Life.

How would a good friend describe you?

Humorous.

Your lifestyle in 5 words?

There is always something to discover.

Which books, newspapers or magazines do you read?

I’m always looking for something new, at the moment I'm reading "Aus dem Berliner Journal" by Max Frisch.

Which films blow your mind?

There are many, but I’m always in love with the movies from Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Paolo Sorrentino, and Wes Anderson.

What are your favourite destinations around the globe?

I love Venice (in fall or winter) and London/Great Britain.

Your life philosophy?

Always be elegant, polite, thankful for what you have, curious about life, and don’t miss the chance to rejoice about the little things. Treat others as you want them to treat you.

Suitcase, Backpack or Weekender?

Suitcase(s).

What else should we know about you?

Sunshine is beautiful, but there is no need for anything above 27 degrees (celsius).

Travelling is…

excitation, liveliness, adventure.

Life is…

"a combination of good luck and bad luck, and every life is both ordinary and extraordinary."

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