Destination: Austria: Vienna
On my next visit to Vienna, I would book a room at this artfully designed four-star, located in a five-story building that dates to 1902, in the residential Spittelberg neighborhood. The comfortable red-walled salon where breakfast and afternoon tea are served, looks like the living room of a fashionable friend’s home, with original parquet floors, an open fireplace and lots of cozy reading nooks. The Altstadt’s wide hallways have been left unadorned, almost cold, but behind each door lies an individually decorated wing that holds a cluster of guest rooms ranging from doubles to veritable apartments. Each interior is unique, and it’s impossible to sum up the different design styles: there’s the spacious Bösendorfer Suite, with a Grand Piano in the living room and a decorative fireplace in the bedroom; the Auersperg Garten Suite, which has a 1,200-square-foot rooftop garden; Marie’s Home, an all-red apartment with a kitchenette and a red tiled bathroom; and the charming Room 53, a double with picture-perfect views of Baroque St. Ulrich cathedral. The owner’s personal art collection is displayed throughout, and includes works by Andy Warhol, Gilbert & George and Niki de St. Phalle.
The newest wing of the Altstadt, which opened in 2006, was designed by Italian architect Matteo Thun, who also created Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole in Italy and who will be unveiling two Missoni properties this year. Thun’s nine Altstadt rooms, including one suite, are vampy and dramatic—you half expect to find a character from a Schnitzler novella to be draped over one of the velvet-covered fauteuils—with stained-oak floors, dark damask wallpaper, drooping Swarovski-accented chandeliers and black-tiled bathrooms. Suite 9 has a claw-foot tub and a swiveling flat-screen TV on a tripod. It’s all about dark Belle Epoque decadence—I personally preferred the homey feel of the other rooms—and the design has been incredibly well received (rooms are almost always booked).
The young staff seemed plugged in and eager to assist guests; the hotel even publishes an in-house restaurant guide that’s chock-full of insider tips. Wi-Fi and breakfast are included in the room rate. Rooms from $211.
WHAT TO KNOW: All the rooms are slightly different in design and layout. Be sure to inquire about the room’s design scheme before you book or, even better, have the hotel send you some images. Most of the suites come with bathtubs and showers; double rooms have one or the other, so be sure to ask.
WHO SHOULD STAY: Couples, families and friends traveling together who prefer staying in a residential neighborhood at a hotel with a contemporary and totally original look.
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