Our 1994 "Hotel of the Year" hasn't lost a step. The Altstadt retains all the endearing charms that first attracted us: Art Nouveau decor, pleasant guestrooms, and, most of all, owner Otto Wiesenthal's efficient but guest-friendly management style.

This is a hotel blessed with great "bones;" a wonderful building from a long-gone era whose legacy includes wide corridors, squeaky old wooden floors, high ceilings and soaring windows.

The Altstadt's spacious and inviting "Red Salon" is its gemütlich heart. Here, on a late winter afternoon, guests warm themselves with hot drinks by an open fire while looking out over the roofs of Vienna to the neighboring Church of St. Ulrich. The room works equally well for a nightcap and, next morning, as a light and airy breakfast room.

The 29 guestrooms, no two alike, have been carefully decorated in a minimalist Art Nouveau style that includes halogen lighting and well-chosen modern art. Every room comes with a telephone in both bed and bathroom, master light switches, cable TV with CNN, and a selection of complimentary toiletries.

A capable and accommodating staff will see that your early-morning taxi to the airport is on time, arrange for opera or concert tickets, and recommend off-the-beaten track restaurants in a variety of price categories.

The Altstadt's location, outside the Ring, might be a drawback for some, but others will enjoy life in an urban neighborhood of interesting shops, good restaurants and few tourists. The Zentrum is only 15 minutes on foot or five minutes by underground. In an expensive city, this hotel is a remarkable value.

Contact: Altstadt Vienna Kirchengasse 41, tel. +43/01/526 3399-0, fax 523 4901, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Daily Rates: Singles from about $120, doubles from about $146, suites from about $183

Rating: Quality 16/20, Value 17/20