New styles, new destinations

A mirrored bookstore and high-end fitness club

Style blogger Costas Voyatzis spends his year traveling the world. In this column he turns the spotlight on new places, exhibitions and buildings that are worth a visit. This time around: elegant dining in Vienna, a gentle workout in Zurich, and shopping for books under mirrored ceilings in Hangzhou.

Costas Voyatzis

World-class architecture in a provincial town: the Abade Pedrosa Museum, Santo Tirso, Portugal

One would hardly expect to come across a building by a Pritzker Prize-winning architect like Àlvaro Siza in a small provincial Portuguese town. Yet that is precisely what you get with the newly repurposed Abade Pedrosa Museum in Santo Tirso, Portugal. The architect and his team completely renovated the former 18th-century monastery and designed new rooms for the museum. What they have achieved is a perfect symbiosis of tradition and innovation.

Reflective innovation: the Zhongshuge bookstore, Hangzhou, China

This amazing bookstore in Hangzhou, China, with its science-fiction-inspired interior raises the bar for innovative store design. With the entire ceiling bedecked in mirrors, you literally lose yourself in the rooms’ breathtaking visual effects. For bibliophiles who are also fans of balanced symmetry, like myself, it is the perfect place.

Dining in design elegance: the Gourmet Boutique Lingenhel, Vienna, Austria

I am always on the lookout for restaurants where the interior design looks as good as the food. With its elegant decor, the Gourmet Boutique Lingenhel on Landstrasser Hauptstrasse in Vienna is a place that combines the best of both worlds. In his “urban culinary oasis,” the proprietor accommodates guests in an attractive vaulted dining area that oozes authenticity and tradition. The restaurant also has its own cheese production, where visitors can observe the different stages of maturation for the various types of cheeses from behind a glass partition.

Gentle workout: the Balboa Gym & Bar, Zurich, Switzerland

Overworked career types in Zurich now have the ideal place to let off steam in health-conscious surroundings. The new Balboa Bar & Gym in Zurich’s banking district sparkles with ingenious design chic, motivation-inducing fitness machines, and a bar serving healthy snacks, as well as more traditional after-work libations – just in case you intend to linger and enjoy the vibe a little longer.

Breakfast in a lecture hall: the Generator Hostel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

My favorite hostel opened up in Amsterdam recently, near the Oosterpark in the city’s East district. Its exciting modern styling reflects Dutch art and design. The building that houses the hostel was once a health sciences institute and zoological museum. So there is no shortage of surprises, including breakfast served in a former lecture hall.