Room Service: Radisson SAS Astorija Vilnius

Having been bought by Radisson SAS, the hotel group affiliated with the Scandinavian airline, it was totally renovated in 1998 and two years later it expanded with the acquisition of the next-door building. Today it is widely rated as one of the two best hotels in town - the other is the more boutiquey Relais & Chateaux Stikliai Hotel.

The Radisson SAS Astorija is just big enough to cater for both the business and tourist markets that have been developing since independence in 1990 and that have really started to burgeon over the last five years. Recently its eclectic guest list has included Prince Charles, both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice (but not simultaneously), and Marilyn Manson.

LOCATION

Radisson SAS Astorija, Didzioji 35/Arkliu 2, 01128 Vilnius (00 370 5 2120 110; www.radissonsas.com). The hotel's stunning location is its main attraction. It is set right in the heart of the Baroque Old Town, opposite the pink and ornate church of St Casimir, patron saint of Lithuania.

The famous Renaissance Gates of Dawn are a short walk up the road; there are designer shops practically on the doorstep (the likes of Escada and Armani) all at the moment offering excellent value for money; and restaurants and night clubs are just around the corner - you couldn't wish for better surroundings.

Time from international airport: It takes around 10-15 minutes to cover the 6km by taxi (costing less than 20 Litas/£4).

COMFORTABLE?

The slight boxiness of the 120 rooms is mitigated by the luxury of heated bathroom floors. Non-smokers should specify that they want a no-smoking room at the time of booking - Lithuania has yet to catch up with smoking bans elsewhere in Europe and as a result there's a faint whiff of smoke in many rooms.

Freebies: Bathrooms are stocked with cheerfully packaged, Radisson-label liquid soaps and conditioning shampoos. There is an €10 (£6.80) entrance fee to the basement health club with sauna and small pool.

Keeping in touch: There are standard broadband connections in every bedroom and WiFi hotspots around the hotel, notably in the lobby area.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles are from €135 (£92) including breakfast. Romantic weekend packages are currently on offer at €199 (£136) per couple for two nights in a standard double, including breakfast and dinner on the first night.

I'm not paying that: Then try Domus Maria (Ausros Vartu Str 12; 00 370 5 264 4880; domusmaria.vilnensis.lt), a spotlessly clean, 39-bedroom guest house that was formerly part of a Carmelite monastery. It is very close to the Radisson SAS Astorija, set within its own courtyard behind the Baroque church of St Theresa. There's a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere here, even if rooms are a little spartan. Doubles cost from 249 Lt (£49), including breakfast.

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