Perched on the Oberer Wöhrd, a small island that divides the Danube, the Sorat Insel-Hotel is just a five-minute walk across the Steinerne Brücke. This short distance yields two key benefits: a perfect panorama of the Altstadt rising above the Danube and refuge from the bustle of the city.
Once a factory that forged and gilded metal for churches across Europe, the hotel takes great advantage of its building's massive wood beams and sturdy brick walls.
The lobby is an airy three-story atrium, and the rooms and suites are spacious, brightly decorated and with all modern conveniences. A large fitness center includes a sauna and a solarium. Most of the rooms offer south-facing views of the Altstadt and the Danube. Number 301, on the eastern corner, has windows on two sides, also allowing downstream views of the Steinerne Brücke and the fast-flowing river. Like other top-floor rooms, it has the added touch of the original slanted ceilings.
Its Brandner restaurant features exotic fare like ostrich filet, French pigeon and wild boar. A lobby bar overlooks the river. In-house parking is about $12 per day. One room is wheelchair accessible.
Daily Rates: Singles from about $131, doubles from about $157
Rating: Quality 13/20, Value 14/20
Hotel Bischofshof am Dom
Once the palace of the bishops, Bischofshof may contain the oldest hotel room in Europe. One side of Number 119, the Porta Praetoria suite, is part of the wall from the ancient Castra Regina, making it 1,822 years old—sort of. The remainder of the hotel, while not as ancient, is unquestionably historic. A walk along the arcade has changed little over the centuries: Gothic columns and arched, double-arcade windows, filled with flowers and overlooking the cobblestone courtyard with its fountains and chestnut trees.
Rooms 117 and 118 offer superb courtyard views with the added bonus of the cathedral in the background. In Number 321, in the newly renovated south wing, the cathedral is almost close enough to touch.
The Bischofshof has arguably the best service and most professional staff in Regensburg, making guests feel like the royalty who have stayed there through the centuries. The hotel restaurant ranks among the city's finest.
Daily Rates: Singles from $82, doubles from $147, suites available from about $170
Rating: Quality 15/20, Value 17/20
Hotel Münchner Hof
The Hotel Münchner Hof is ancient, its cellar dating from the 9th century. Therefore, when the hotel underwent extensive renovations four years ago, the owners followed strict preservation guidelines. The result is modern rooms and public spaces built in, around and under remnants of medieval architecture. Many rooms have Gothic beams running through walls and ceilings. Others have doorways built into 14th-century stone arches. All are spacious and well outfitted: blond-pine floors, high wooden ceilings, wrought-iron chandeliers, and bathrooms with space-age, pod-like showers and with faux-marble tiles.
The staff's genuinely warm and friendly nature rounds out an overall relaxing experience.
Most guestrooms overlook the Tändlergasse, a narrow and charming medieval street lined with shops and boutiques and perfect for people-watching. (Number 411 provides enough height for both perspective and distance from street noise.) Those overlooking the courtyard have little view but almost total quiet. The adjoining restaurant features popular Bavarian specialties at reasonable prices.
Quality and service can be uneven and, paradoxically, is best when the restaurant is crowded. Perhaps locals know the chef's night off. In any case, the restaurant is under new management since this article was written.
Daily Rates: Singles from around $75, doubles from about $98
Rating: Quality 12/20, Value 15/20
In its three incarnations, the Altstadthotel Arch has evolved from a 12th-century patrician home to an 18th-century private mansion to a warm and inviting family-run hotel. Renovations in 1996 retained much of the lush atmosphere of the past, while also providing modern amenities.
The entrance is off the Haidplatz, through a courtyard and up a wide wooden staircase. Rooms (each named for a local street) are spacious (especially the two-room suites) and decorated in rich colors. Views aren't a major factor in choosing a room, since there's a choice of a back alley or the small courtyard. Rooms on the third floor, however, have maintained much of the older architecture including the original wooden beams and offer great views of the Old City.
Daily Rates: Singles from around $85, doubles from about $100; suites from about $145
Rating: Quality 13/20, Value 13/20