Time of year: February 2017 –snowy and cold.
Purpose of trip: We were due to be in Slovakia around this time anyway, with one available night before our flight home. We’d both longed to visit Vienna, and discovered it would be a tantalisingly close 1 hour 45 minute drive away.
Why we chose this place: As this was to be a 24 hour visit, we didn’t want to waste a moment, so looked for somewhere in the middle of the the city with museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, cafes and shops within a short walk. We were looking for a boutique hotel with character and style. The Altstadt ticked all of these boxes.
How long we stayed: One night.
Our accommodation: The externally understated building which is now the Altstadt was completed in 1902 and has had a number of uses–some quite colourful! It sits on the quiet but central side street of Kirchengasse .Our room was up two flights of the hotel’s magnificent, winding, chandeliered staircase (there is a lift, too), to a newly completed section of individually styled rooms–ours, the work of Lilli Hollein, director of Vienna Design Week, and her designer husband Markus Eiblemayr. This junior suite was a stunning, contemporary space boasting a wealth of unique pieces: from side table supported by sturdy tree branches, to a mirrored wall almost concealing the entrance to a beautifully finished en-suite bathroom with separate ‘rain’ shower.
The seating area featured a velvet chaise longue, designer desk and a rug created specially for the room. Each lamp, lightshade and chair was an individual gem, so much so that at first glance it looked like a high end interiors showroom. On second glance; it was also a sumptuously comfortable but cool sleeping and living space, one of more than 40 individually designed rooms, suites and apartments here. The hotel has a private collection of contemporary art, and an elegant salon for tea, coffee and cakes, drinks and relaxing…or for finding a fabulous breakfast.
Service: Outstanding. Friendly, engaging, professional, skilled–and all, apparently, happy and proud to be part of the Altstadt team. One of the charming receptionists, Elena showed us our room,as proudly as if she had designed it herself. Her colleague Jaqueline was also incredibly helpful with information about transport in the city; both a credit to the hotel.
Location: In the quiet, yet still central street of Kirchengasse, in Vienna’s historic, but buzzing, creative 7th district. You’re close to an underground station (Volkstheater), trams, and a city bus to Vienna airport.
Food: The hotel’s salon is the setting for a wide range of breakfast choices to suit most palates–from delicious cold fresh meats and cheeses, to crusty breads and croissants and juicy, ruby-red local jams There is a changing menu of hot dishes such as poached egg and spinach and super-healthy options of yoghurts, cereals and fruit. Also great tea and coffee, and on the day we were there, tangy little kiwi and apple shots. Teatime’s between 4pm and 6pm–a great chance to catch up on a daily paper, curl up with a book by the fire and drink aromatic teas and a freshly baked slice of cake. And while there’s no dining restaurant here, the bar’s open in the evenings for a little pre-dinner sharpener before heading into town.. or a cosy nightcap on your return.
What we paid: The Altstadt’s prices vary according to season and demand…from 94 euros a night for a single room to more than 500 euros for an ‘XXL’ suite. We received one night’s complimentary stay from the Altstadt in return for writing a review in a newly designed, junior suite.
Activities close by: The hotel is moments away from the incredibly impressive Museums Quartier (If you know London….think British Museum, London’s Admiralty Buildings, St Pancras Station and the National Gallery…and then some. But together.) It’s close to the Volkstheater, Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna’s longest shopping street, an incredible array of eateries, bars and coffee stops and all kinds of independent retailers and businesses in between.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: Its sense of history, combined with its chic, contemporary yet comfortable designer feel, and among the staff an easy mix of super-efficient professionalism, friendliness and helpfulness. That’s a blend you don’t often find! Add to that its central location in a fabulous city, the range of cultural and gastronomic delights within easy reach, and superb transport links. And the magic ingredient? The feeling that all the staff are part of a happy team, that’s proud to be there.
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: It’s a small point (because we genuinely loved this place) and probably a cultural thing, but we’ve noticed in some central European hotels, including the Altstadt, that there is a preference for putting two single duvets on a double bed. It’s not quite a cosy as one big duvet in our opinion.
In the interest of disclosure, we received a one-night stay from Hotel Altstadt Vienna on the promise of writing a review. If we had had criticisms about any aspect of the accommodation or the service, we would have written about it. For more on our disclosure policy, read here.