A historical facade, a modern interior

Vienna's latest five-star hotel, the Ring, stands opposite its opulent elder sister, the Grand, on the famous Ringstrasse. Set within a former bank, the building dates back to the 1800s. The historical faade has been sensitively renovated, while, inside, original features have been complemented with modern styling. Or perhaps it's the other way round: the ornate listed elevator in reception really saves a rather sterile space.

The hotel's concept is "casual luxury", yet the management will need to up the ante to carry this off. Currently, they're ticking all the right boxes for the travelling businessman, but to attract their target audience of romantic newly-weds and filthy-rich families, they need to offer something more unique: some slicker furnishings, a more experimental colour scheme. At the moment, "smart business hotel" is the only statement they're making.

The bedroom

Guests have a choice of 68 rooms and suites in six different categories. The light streamed into my extremely spacious X-Ordinary room through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The bed was big and bouncy, and the easy-to-use Nespresso coffee machine was a nice alternative to the old-fashioned travel kettle. The bathroom houses a powerful rain shower and sympathetic lighting. Molton Brown toiletries are there for the taking.

The food and drink

At Eight restaurant is found on the ground floor, next to Drings, an intimate drinking hole for the trendy locals who favour vodka. The restaurant is more formal in dcor and service and serves a mix of contemporary cuisine focusing on organic, local produce. I didn't get a chance to eat dinner but if my creamy scrambled eggs at breakfast were anything to go by, the chef can cook.

The access

All rooms are accessible by lift and one room has been modified for disabled guests. Dogs are welcome, which is hardly surprising for a city whose residents take their four-legged friends everywhere. Children under 12 stay free if they share their parents' room.

The bill

Casual double rooms start from 325 (232) per night room only. Return flights to Vienna cost 60 with Easyjet (0905 821 0905; easyjet.com).

The address

The Ring, Kärntner Ring 8, A-1010 Vienna, Austria (00 43 122 122; theringhotel.com).

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