Luxury is not just the domain of fancy resorts on gorgeous beaches. While in cities there are generally far more options to choose from, including budget hostels and rental apartments, it’s also worthwhile to splurge every now and again. This was certainly the case last year when I spent Christmas period travelling in Europe, and choose to stay at the Hotel Altstadt Vienna for 5 nights over Christmas itself.
When you’re spending Christmas overseas, ideally you want to stay in a hotel that feels like a home away from home. And the boutique 4-star Hotel Altstadt in Austria certainly feels like that.
🐾 Dog-friendly: This hotels allows small dogs in selected rooms for a small charge. However, when I stayed it was without my dog.
One of the stand out features of the hotel is the combined dining rooms and salon. It’s here that you’ll start the day each morning, dining on a delectable breakfast spread. There’s a buffet of many fine and fresh options. Plus the option to order additional hot and cold dishes from a menu that changes daily.
Later on, after spending the day exploring the city, return for afternoon tea and a chance to rest your feet. Between 4pm and 6pm help yourself to a slice of freshly cooked cake, along with a range of gourmet teas, for no extra charge.
But perhaps the salon is best appreciated in the evening, when the open fire is lit in winter time. After returning from dinner you can curl up on a lounge next to the fireplace and enjoy a glass of Austrian wine, perhaps a snack. While reading a magazine or softly conversing about plans for the next day.
Your Unique Room
Upstairs in the charming, renovated building (built in 1902) are 45 guest rooms. They vary in size, including a number of large suites up to 110m². Plus there’re some apartments, which have a separate bedroom and a kitchenette. The majority of rooms though are double sized, with the option of booking an elegant “classic” room or a “reloaded” room. Each is decorated by one of a number of designers and stylists, including a selection by Matteo Thun who brings a touch of old-style erotic Vienna to your room. All rooms show an attention to detail, plus include toiletries by Malin+Goetz and an Nespresso machine.
The Spittelburg District
Upon venturing out, you’ll find yourself in the arty Spittelburg district. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the Museumsquartier and a 10 minutes walk from the Old Town and Hofburg Palace. This area of cobble-stone streets is known as the “village in the city”. Here you’ll find gorgeous design shops, local boutiques and many fine restaurants, whether serving traditional Austrian dishes or food from across the globe.
Just a block away from the Hotel Aldstadt is the delightful Ulrich (Sankt-Ulrichs-Platz 1), open from 8am or 9am right through to 1am. Head here anytime of day for a modern menu and extensive range of drinks (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic). The daily lunch special for just €8.50 (vegetarian) or €9.50 (meat or fish) is highly recommended.
A Christmas Stay
If visiting over Christmas, unfortunately many of the local shops and restaurants close for a number of days. However, you’ll instead be able to experience the charming local Christmas market in the narrow streets. At this market the emphasis is mainly on local arts and crafts. Plus there’s plenty of lively stalls serving glühwein and punsch.
It also helps that the staff at the Hotel Altstadt are generous in their customer service, letting you know what restaurants are open and making dinner bookings. The final touch is the opportunity to join the owner of the hotel in the salon on Christmas Eve, next to the enormous, decorated pine tree, for a toast to Christmas: Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Note: The author stayed in the hotel at her own expense.
(Main photo is taken from the hotel website.)