In a town centre overloaded with the baroque, The Ring Hotel is a breath of fresh air. Aficionadoes of Vienna will know that an edgy, modern city lurks below the veneer of olde worlde grandeur, but until recently you had to head into distant neighbourhoods to discover the handful of hip boutique hotels already in place.
Then The Ring opened on Vienna’s eponymous inner-city ring road to challenge the august, five-star palaces which hitherto dominated the hotel scene. It fielded minimalist chic in sharp contrast to its neighbour, the heavily gilded Musikverein from which the city’s famous New Year’s Day concerts are broadcast.
The affluent, over-decorated locals who flock to the Musikverein would not be impressed by the lack of deference displayed by The Ring’s reception staff — a tad shocking to even the most modern of visitors, given the room rates. But casual luxury is the hotel’s USP, so staff deliver the casual; rooms the luxury, with an elegant colour scheme, a nod to the Wiener Werkstatte in furnishings and welcome 21st-century amenities like in-room wi-fi and Nespresso machines.
Although the hotel’s restaurant, At Eight, has won accolades from Gault-Millau, it disappoints at breakfast, where international fare replaces the typical Viennese breakfast buffet table laden with calorific local specialities which are clearly not cool enough for this chic but rather self-consciously contemporary hotel.
RATES: from £125 double
TEL: 00 43 1 22 1 22, www.theringhotel.com