Gemütlichkeit Recommends: Small Art Nouveau Hotel in Vienna

Vienna's Hotel Altstadt
Vienna's Hotel Altstadt

The accommodations, warmth of welcome, service, and savoir faire of the Hotel Altstadt place it among the best small hotels in Vienna. Each of the 37 guestrooms has been carefully decorated in the rather spare Art Nouveau style that includes such touches as low-voltage halogen lighting and pieces of well-chosen modern art. Every room has a telephone in both bed and bathroom. And naturally there are minibars, master light switches, cable TV with CNN, a selection of complimentary toiletries in each bathroom, and other comforts one usually associates with accommodations in a higher price category.

At night a little gift is left on each bed, and not just the ritual piece of chocolate. When we were there a couple of years ago it was a small Christmas decoration. On a late winter afternoon, guests can warm themselves with a hot drink by the open fire in a spacious but cozy main salon whose wide, soaring windows look out over the Church of St. Ulrich.

If you want the best room in the house ask for Number 14. This small apartment has a view of the church and a gigantic bathroom with a very large tub. We are also fond of Number 31.

Owner/manager Otto Wiesenthal reminds us of other hoteliers we have met along the way-Fritz Lay at the Hotel Abtei in Hamburg and Claas Johannsen at the Benen Diken Hof in Sylt-who, possessed with intelligence, good taste, and an obsession with details, have created outstanding small hotels.

The Altstadt's location outside the Ring might be seen by some as a drawback, but others will enjoy life in a flourishing, upscale, urban neighborhood filled with interesting shops, good restaurants, and not many tourists. Either way, the Zentrum is only 15 minutes on foot or five minutes by underground.

Contact: Altstadt Vienna A - 1070 Vienna, Austria, Kirchengasse 41, tel. +43/1/522 6666, fax 523 4901, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.