Under the careful supervision of its young owners, Christoph and Sabine Unckell, the Hotel Rebstock recently completed a four-year renovation project with major upgrades to all 72 rooms and suites. The result is a hotel with charm and tradition, more than comfortable accommodations, and an extremely service-oriented staff. An 18th-century building, the hotel attracts visitors who stop by just to see its exquisite Rococo façade. Although it's just a five-minute walk to the center of the Altstadt, the hotel feels relaxed and somewhat separated from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Daily Rates: Rooms €98 ($98). Discounts for guests over 60. Garage parking €7.67
Rating: Quality 17/20, Value 18/20
Nichtrauch-Hotel Till Eulenspiegel
Behind its ivy-covered walls and through its arched entryway, the Nichtrauch-Hotel Till Eulenspiegel provides a casual and friendly environment to a somewhat eclectic clientèle. It's on a street filled with bistros and cafés and itself has both a wine bar and beer cellar.
Its 15 guestrooms are comfortable with most modern features (showers, no baths). As the name states, this is a Nichtrauch no-smoking hotel, opened in 1993. The better rooms are 24 and 34, facing the courtyard, and 25 and 35, with balconies overlooking the street. The street becomes a pedestrian zone at night, eliminating traffic noises.
At most a seven-minute walk to the heart of the Altstadt, it's also convenient to catch the trolley, which stops virtually at the door. Though the cost is comparable to the Rebstock, the level of pampering and luxury is lower a trade-off for a much more familiar and intimate environment.
Daily Rates: Rooms €98-118. Parking €7.67. Cars can still access hotel when street closed.
Rating: Quality 15/20, Value 14/20Daily Rates: Singles €80-90, doubles €120-150, suite €150 ($150). Sauna €8 per person. Garage parking €6
Rating: Quality 18/20, Value 16/20 Daily Rates: Singles €44-55.50, doubles €88-111. Free parking, free bicycle use.
Contact: Vier Jahreszeiten Haupstr. 31, 97080 Würzburg, tel. +49 09381/8484, fax +49 09381/8484-44.
Rating: Quality 17/20, Value 17/20
Schloss Steinburg Hotel
For centuries, the Steinberg has been covered by the terraced slopes of Würzburg's preeminent vineyard, Stein. At its crest, the Schloss Steinburg Hotel looks down on a stunning scene: the vineyard, the Altstadt, ships plying the Main, the Marienburg and beyond. Although the turreted Schloss looks authentic, it was in fact built barely 100 years ago as a villa for a local businessman. Today, as a sumptuous hotel, it continues to play the role of a medieval castle, with marble staircase, parquet ceilings, and period antiques and decor, including multiple suits of armor. The staff is extremely attentive and the Weinrestaurant a destination unto itself.
The hotel has 52 guestrooms, an indoor pool with a view to the city, a relaxing sun terrace and a newly remodeled sauna area. Each room has its own personality, and many have four-posters and canopy beds. The most charming rooms are in the original building (be sure to ask) rather than the expansion wings. Room 15, a spacious suite with a large balcony, overlooks the vineyards and city. Room 14 is smaller, but with the same view. Room 12 is a medium-size corner room with both a city view and a more extended view of the vineyards. Note: The hotel has no elevator.
A delight for some, a drawback for others, the hotel is a circuitous three miles from the city center. Cars and public transport travel along the mountain ridge and then through farmland and vineyards for the 10-minute ride to the city. Walkers can go more directly along the scenic Stein-Wein-Pfad, 30-minutes through the vineyard terraces into the city.
Rooms are spacious and modern, with plush carpeting, matching Laura Ashley upholstery and bedspreads, and soothing colors overall. Room location is not an issue, since windows are soundproof, and views are pretty much the same throughout (courtyard or streetside). The Restaurant Rebstock has been given high marks by Gault Millau, and the quality and care are obvious in the extensive breakfast buffet.
Volkach, about 20 minutes by car or 40 minutes by bus (leaving from the main train station), is especially charming. At dawn, in the morning mist, it's easy to imagine this wine village as it was 400 years ago: the only sound is the tolling of the bells in the Gothic Bartholomäuskirche. The steep, red-tile roofs of half-timber houses are topped with wooden gables and brick chimneys. Vines form leafy walls on the buildings, where clouds of pink and violet belladonnas explode from carefully tended flower boxes. During the harvest, grape-laden wagons squeeze through the medieval gates, clatter over cobblestone streets and disappear into half-hidden courtyards of family wineries. At Weingut Max Müller (Haupstr. 46, 97332 Volkach; phone 49 093 81/12 18), Rainer and Monika Müller will happily show you their cellar filled with nearly a century of family vintages. Monika also leads four-hour bicycle tours (advance booking required) through the vineyards, followed by a tour of the winery and a wine tasting including a bottle of wine (€30).
In the charming village of Volkach, the Vier Jahreszeiten (Four Seasons) is a peaceful place with character, charm and a strong sense of history. A small but friendly staff welcomes guests with open arms.
In earlier times, "guests" weren't treated with such warm attention. The 1605 Renaissance building once housed the towns courthouse and jail. (To stay the night in one of the refurbished and enlarged cells ask for Numbers 5 or 6.) Each of the 20 rooms is spacious, with hardwood floors, writing table and antique furniture, rugs and paintings, as well as phone, television and other conveniences. Bathrooms are modern. The top-story rooms reached via a winding staircase in the former tower have slanted ceilings, the original wood beams and gabled windows that look out on the steep roofs of equally old buildings. Rooms 106 and 109 are especially nice, with large sitting areas and four-poster, canopied beds. A cheery breakfast room is the site of a generous buffet. The inn also operates a splendid, intimate restaurant two doors down, the Weinstube-Torbck. The Max Müller Winery (see page 4) is immediately across the street