Don’t be put off by the Altwienerhof’s unfashionable location, south of the Westbahnhof in an unattractive part of town: this is a gem. Its restaurant, rated one of the best, if not the best, in Vienna, attracts local gourmets as well as foreigners, especially the French. The ever-changing menu focuses on fish, but baby lamb and potato strudel are also specialities; the wine list, with French classics and Austrian vintages, also receives rave reviews.
The hotel has changed hands recently, but atmosphere of intimacy and luxury that the previous owners created – both in the alcoves of the restaurant and in the hotel itself – has not changed.
The best bedrooms echo the belle époque, with plush velvet and lace, though gilded taps in the en suite marble bathrooms may be too much for conservative tastes. Breakfast is taken in the conservatory or during warm weather in the garden, sheltered by cascades of ivy.
A warming to those on slimming diets: the smell of delicious food permeates the premises and piques the appetite.