A modern Austrian masterpiece, Altstadt Vienna hotel houses hundreds of pieces of contemporary local art in a grand historic residence. Surrounded by galleries in hip, art-centric Spittelberg, the hotel itself has 45 rooms and suites each uniquely decorated by area tastemakers to reflect the neighbourhood and the building’s rich history. The hotel houses more than 300 works of art, including a suite dedicated to musicians with a grand piano for original compositions. Set a short walk from the city’s cultural centre, Altstadt offers inspiration at every turn.
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Welcome drinks on arrival. For GoldSmiths, a room upgrade (subject to availability); if unavailable, a selection of luxury chocolates or seasonal fruit basket
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $164.67 (€150), excluding tax at 13 per cent.
Rates include buffet breakfast and afternoon tea.
The house art collection includes more than 300 works, primarily by Austrian artists, and exhibitions are regularly hosted on the ground floor. Art manager Saskia Wiesenthal offers tours to interested guests.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, valet parking. In rooms: Flatscreen TV, Malin + Goetz bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each room is different and special, but the Otto Suite and Garden Suite each have a private roof terrace overlooking Vienna’s west side. The Bösendorfer Suite is ideal for musicians, thanks to its original grand piano and serenity – ideal for composing.
No need to load up on reading material: staff have a full library of interesting tomes for travellers.
There is no fitness centre or spa on the premises, but the staff can arrange for personal-training sessions near the hotel and in-room treatments.
Pets weighing under five kilogrammes are welcome for €15 a night in the Classic Double Rooms. Pets are allowed in the public areas, excepting the breakfast room. See more pet-friendly hotels in Vienna.
All ages welcome, though the space is not the most pram-friendly. Cribs and cots are available on request.
A model of green living, the hotel was the first in Vienna to receive the Austrian Eco Seal for sustainability. Recycling is encouraged, plants are tended with recycled water, and food is composted. The hotel serves organic, local food — including coffee roasted across the street — in reusable pottery. The bath and cleaning products are green.
Lisa’s Salon has comfortable chairs and sofas, as well as an open fireplace for cooler days.
Bring bright colours to match the boldly artistic setting.
There’s no dedicated restaurant, but a free buffet breakfast is available in the hotel’s various salons – guests can choose depending on their preference for sofas or tables. Later in the day, a small bar menu is available in the lounge, and an all-day tea buffet offers a variety of brews with afternoon cake.
The Bar at the Red Salon specialises in local wine and spirits, including Viennese wine, with typical Austrian cheese, sausages and other snacks.
Breakfast is served Monday to Friday, from 6:30am to 11am and 7am to 11:30am on weekends and holidays. Tea is served from 6am to 6pm, with cakes from 4pm to 6pm. The bar serves from noon to midnight.
The Altstadt Vienna is located in the historic Spittelberg area in the heart of Vienna.
Vienna International Airport is 22 kilometres from the hotel (a 30-minute drive). Call our Smith24 team to arrange flights and airport transfers for €40.
Wien Hauptbahnhof, four kilometres away, is a major continental hub, and offers service to Salzburg, Innsbruck and elsewhere in the country. The CAT (City Airport Train) offers a 16-minute trip into the city for €11.
The hotel offers valet parking Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm, for €10 a transfer. The secured garage nearby charges €10 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Altstadt is perfectly positioned for a tour of Austria’s best art. After a leisurely breakfast in the triple-storey salon, linger to look at the hotel's extraordinary contemporary collection, then set off for the nearby MuseumsQuartier, a five-minute walk from the hotel. The eighth-largest cultural area in the world, the 60,000 sq m complex holds the Leopold Museum — home to exceptional works by Gustav Klimt — as well as modern destination MUMOK, kid-friendly Zoom Kindermuseum and several other art institutions. Across the way, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Museum of Natural History ensure a full day of cultural immersion. Around the corner from the hotel, Mariahilfer Strasse is Vienna’s longest shopping street, with large-scale department stores and cool boutiques.
Take a table in the garden at Glacis Beisl, a renovated mid-century bistro around the corner from the hotel on Museumsplatz. With diners as chic as the setting, the restaurant serves contemporary twists on classic Austrian fare. Within beautiful Stadtpark, Restaurant Steirereck is one of the city’s best restaurants, with elegant takes on classic Viennese dishes ideally paired with one of the 30,000-plus bottles from the wine cellar. Take a break from Austrian fare at Fabios in the centre of the city, where locals dig into Italian dishes at sidewalk tables primed for people-watching.
Austrian cafés, or kaffeehäuser, are ideal for lingering between tourist sites, and the espresso is especially fortifying. Café Central on Herrengasse is a destination on its own, with soaring chandelier-strung ceilings and a standard-setting sachertorte (back in the day, Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky fueled up here). Settle into red velvet booths at Café Sperl on Gumpendorfer Strasse for a retro setting with strong, possibly spiked coffee. Move over, Italian gelato and French glace: Veganista around the corner on Neustiftgasse scoops all-vegan frozen desserts in flavours like lavender, poppyseed and matcha.
A bearded, urban mountaineer is talking excitedly at Mr Smith in the airport gents. It wasn’t a long flight to Vienna, but the rugged Austrian is drinking copiously from the tap as if he has just trekked here from Innsbruck. Mr Smith (also dressed in unnecessarily hardy outdoor wear) explains that he can’t speak German. 'Ah…’ the lumber-sexual smiles, gesticulating to the tap, ‘Austrian tap water – the best in the world!’
Sure enough, when we open the door to our suite in Hotel Altstadt 45 minutes later, what should be sitting on the exquisite marble-and-teak occasional table but a decanter and two gold-rimmed glasses, alongside a printed exhortation from the management to: ‘Fill up your source of life.’ ‘We love tap,’ it says. ‘Drink Viennese water and enjoy the energy of the Alpine springs.’ (Was this what the novelist Stefan Zweig meant when he said that the city had ‘sperm in the air’?) Shoving Mr Smith and any unaesthetic travelling debris into the cupboard in our exuberantly wallpapered entrance hall, I drape myself onto the cream chaise longue with a glass of this elixir.
Named after the Jewish-Austrian architect and designer who fled Vienna in the 1930s, the Josef Frank suite is the latest addition to Hotel Altstadt. Created in 2016 by Svenskt Tenn – the Stockholm design firm Frank helped make so iconic – it showcases the colourful style of the father of Swedish modernism. Mid-century furniture and modernist lamps clad in Frank’s wildly florid textiles are wittily juxtaposed with the grand ceilings and high windows of this turn-of-the-century town house, originally an Austro-Hungarian industrialist’s palais.
Mr Smith creeps out of the cupboard to find me Googling Svenskt Tenn lampshades – dangerously, you can buy most of our suite on their website – and whisks me out for pre-opera apéritifs. Shortly, we are crammed into the epicurean warmth of what is best described as a cheese, ham and wine womb talking to a middle-aged couple about Brexit. They’re astonished to find two Brits sardined amid the handful of locals catching up over cured meat. But thanks to Hotel Altstadt’s insider guide, here we are in Urbanek, a tiny speciality stall in the Naschmarkt, enjoying truly echt ‘Wiener Schmäh' (Viennese banter).
Walking home through the city’s formidable architecture, we feel we’re in Vienna a hundred years before. And, as we climb up Hotel Altstadt’s grand staircase to bed, we feel more like residents than tourists. This likely has less to do with the ghosts of old Wien, than with owner Otto E. Wiesenthal’s commitment to ‘the art of hospitality’. A travel-weary former businessman, he wanted to create a sense of home from home in his hotel, and it does exactly that: throughout our stay I am oblivious to any other guests and float across its parquet floors with patrician propriety.
Waking up the next morning from the kind of sleep you dream of, I pad across a mock animal-hide rug (Frank’s playful finger-up to game hunters) to the retro coffee machine to pour the grunting Mr Smith an espresso. I draw the curtains and, as if by magic, the whole city is covered in snow. Coming to Vienna in late December at the height of advent, we had anticipated the glitter and glühwein of Christkindlmarkts, but this feels like we've won the yuletide jackpot. We rush to breakfast as giddy as children on Christmas morning.
Breakfast doesn’t disappoint. Served in a series of grand rooms decorated in Altstadt style – Ringstrasse Vienna with a modern and playful sensibility – it is a smorgasbord worthy of the name. It’s not that there’s an excessive spread, it’s that everything is just right: granola that likely came from an Alpine health farm; superior stollen that wonderfully has not. We plump for a table by the 10-foot Christmas tree, our festive-season harangued immune systems revived by an organic vitamin-juice shot before we order the day’s eggs.
Finally managing to step full-bellied into the frozen air, we stomp through five minutes of snow to the Museumsquartier, occasionally nipping into the shops of Boboville, Hotel Altstadt’s arty environs. After a day imagining ourselves in the world of Klimt, Schiele, Wittgenstein and Schoenberg, we slip into Freud’s favourite hangout to analyse our plans. We realise it’s the 19th December and most restaurants are fully booked. Mr Smith has dangerously low blood-sugar levels, so I order him one of Café Landtmann’s famous Mozart cakes and ring the hotel. Five minutes later, they confirm our reservation.
And so, we find ourselves sitting amid the Doric columns of Emperor Francis Joseph I’s private coach entrance to the 19th-century Burgtheater. This is Vestibül: Christian Domschitz’s modern-Viennese restaurant. And thanks to the hotel’s superior staff, we’re sat in its historic marbled interior, pairing the exquisite tasting menu with Austrian wines.
Just as we’re planning to move to Vienna while we’re still in the EU, somehow it’s nearly time to leave. After a walk through the mist to The Third Man’s iconic Ferris wheel, we enjoy our last moments by the hotel’s fireplace, eating home-made cake. We may not speak fluent German, but we’ve picked up one word describing Vienna’s satiated, cosy pleasure. Forget hygge, it’s all about gemütlichkeit. And Hotel Altstadt has it in strudels.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Altstadt Vienna’s Guestbook below.
The amazing breakfast.
A super modern room or the most quiet place.
Stayed on 28 Jul 2019
The coziness of the hotel, the great amenities, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, the comfort of the room and bed. Also, the cozy, comfortable lounge areas and honesty bar.
A beautiful entryway - the sidewalk in front is under repair.
Stayed on 27 May 2019
The Opera Suite was unlike any room we've stayed in – it was very comfortable with a homely feeling.
Stayed on 14 Apr 2019
I loved the fact that the Altstadt is in a "mixed use" historic building, meaning that there were private apartments and, as far as I could tell, some offices. I felt that I was part of a living community rather than being in the usual boutique hotel. People went about their business quietly and their presence added an interesting dimension.
I stayed in a medium sized room which was perfectly adequate but no idea what the larger rooms/suites are like. My guess is they are lovely as a lot of thought has gone into creating atmosphere in each room.
Stayed on 27 Mar 2019
We loved the location; brilliant for the Neubau design quarter and museum district. The interior looks incredible with design pieces merging seamlessly with the traditional. A lovely touch is that after a day sightseeing, you return to tea and cake in the sumptuous hotel bar. Sofas and armchairs for sinking into tempted us back for a drink several times...not always tea! The staff are brilliant, from reception to breakfast and all in all it was a joy staying there. Tian Bistro, a brilliant vegetarian restaurant, about 5 minutes walk away and Käseland in Vienna's Naschmarkt for the best cheese in Vienna washed down with a splash of wine.
Don't expect to be disappointed.
Stayed on 1 Jun 2018
Location. Character. Room decoration. Old charm in a renovated package. Unpretentious. Artsy. Great location and a short walk to many restos and boutiques. Walk across the street to the church area with lovely places to have drinks or meals like Urich.
Small boutique without all of the amenities. Some construction going on to add rooms.
Stayed on 22 May 2018
The attention to detail and individuality applied to each of the spaces. The breakfast and afternoon tea. The easy and relaxing atmosphere. The Albertine gallery has an amazing collection of paintings, specifically Monet to Matisse, rivalling the big galleries without the crowds. I would highly recommend a day trip to Bratislava, arrive by boat and take the train back. Beautiful and cosmopolitan. Make sure you have a hot chocolate.
A chain hotel feel.
Stayed on 15 Apr 2018
The hotel is delighful. Well located and about 7 minutes walk from the nearest metro. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants in the area. The room was well maintained with TV, Minibar, Safe and enough storage. You have a Nespresso machine in the room. Breakfast has a wide selection, and the bar is a nice touch after a long day sight-seeing. Ask the barmen to recommend some local wines. The staff are very friendly and helpful; we felt like family and very much enjoyed our stay.
Too much noise.
Stayed on 30 Mar 2018
Breakfast was generous, inventive and delicious. The breakfast room transforms after hours into an intimate, low-lit space complete with cosy fireplace. The hotel's artwork is quirky. Location-wise, Altstadt Vienna is a winner – Ringstrasse is a stroll away, but don't miss Neubau's indie shops and bars a couple of blocks south. Erich café, good for brunch and two minutes' walk away; Café Museum is one of many great Viennese coffeehouses.
A plainly decorated room.
Stayed on 24 Dec 2017
The stylish and individual fit out and décor. The generous size of the room, and the thoughtful design touches. The breakfast rooms and provisions. The helpful, friendly staff, especially the night receptionist, who helped us cheerfully with our midnight arrival and later with our pre-dawn departure.