In Vienna, Geneva and Berlin, designers play with art and time to conjure the unmistakable glamour of Europe. The result: destinations evocative enough for a history buff or design aficionado, and stylish enough for anyone who just likes pretty things.
“The construction of Europe is an art,” former French president Jacques Chirac once said. “The art of the possible.” And indeed, each country has diffused its own brand of possibility across the continent. With a design strategy based on the mantra “every place has a story,” The Ritz-Carlton has absorbed and distilled those European sensibilities, and channeled its distinct glamour into Vienna, Geneva and Berlin.
Staying in the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, is like being surrounded by a private art gallery. The city is an eclectic wonderland of architecture, art and design through the ages.
ART AND ECLECTICISM
Art was the starting point for designing The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna. It was constructed from four 19th-century palaces built in the golden age of Viennese Ringstrasse architecture, which liberally mixed Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic styles. Nowhere is this more apparent than in The Ritz-Carlton Albertina Suite, located in the former Palais Ötzelt. During his lifetime, Anton Ötzelt, the owner, builder and architect of the palace, became a keen art collector and used the building to house his extensive collection. Today, thanks to a curatorial collaboration with the city’s Albertina Museum, the rooms of this suite once again become a private art gallery of sorts. Canvas-colored interiors underline the brilliance of five paintings spanning Impressionism and Postimpressionism — expressive works by masters including Cézanne, Degas and Monet — while interlocking patterns repeat across smoked-oak parquet floors and oil-burnished walnut walls, adding dimension.
Good light and natural surroundings elevate good design, so it’s fitting that The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna borders the beautiful Vienna City Park and boasts Musikverein concert hall and Vienna State Opera as close neighbors. And the expansive Albertina Suite offers a balcony that overlooks the tree-lined Ring Boulevard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva, celebrates art and harmony with immaculate design and thoughtful references to the city’s heritage. Time feels suspended in these spaces of grace and beauty.
ART AND HARMONY
At the historic The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva, the art of harmony comes into focus. You’ll find it amid the Italianate lobby’s marble colonnades and gilded leaf, where two pieces celebrate the city’s clockwork history: Stemming the chandelier, La Cascade des engrenages suggests a timepiece whose gears are suspended like haloed orbits, ever in the process of coming together. While in the installation Le Panneau du temps, six pairs of white-capped clock hands resembling magician wands glow and spin, a meditation on the continuous trick of time.
You’ll also find harmony inside the sophisticated Grace Kelly Suite — named after one of the hotel’s most esteemed guests — which is backdropped in soft taupes and art deco accents, and features photos from the actress-turned-princess of Monaco’s remarkable life. Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock once described the starlet’s beauty as at once cold and sensual, and one needn’t look past the Grace Kelly Suite’s living area to see that duality translated: With its original cornicing, high ceilings and large bay windows looking out onto Lake Geneva (a view that Kelly herself adored), its stately symmetrical bones are balanced with curvy modern furnishings.
Bright champagne bursts of color evoke the roaring ‘20s, art deco and sophistication at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin. Located at Potsdamer Platz, the modernity of the city’s bustling technology sector is right outside the door.
ART AND REMEMBRANCE
The glitz of another time takes center stage at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, where East met West at Potsdamer Platz, once Europe’s busiest hub and epicenter of the Roaring Twenties. Inspired by the decadent glamour of the era, which was the Golden Age of German film, the lobby, whose fanned walls and brassy geometric art deco accents imbue a sophisticated air, is anchored by a sprawling curved marble staircase and overseen by a cluster of burstlike chandeliers reminiscent of paparazzi camera flashes. And just aside the grand entrance, a more intimate area, nestled around a bold kelly green hearth, calls for a well-crafted drink. You’ll find other thoughtful nods to movie history: The minibar, reminiscent of a piece of luggage, brings German singer and silent-film actress Marlene Dietrich’s song “I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin” to life.
The pinnacle of this homage rests at The Ritz-Carlton Suite, whose warm gold tones reflect the sunny side of this vibrant city, and whose geometric patterns and intersecting lines symbolize the historical importance of Potsdamer Platz. But the inspiration here is not all nostalgia; state-of-the-art amenities help marry the city’s past with its technologically advanced present. Nature abounds here too; the hotel overlooks the lush Tiergarten, the large urban park that’s popular with locals and visitors alike.