In Vienna, Affordable Luxury Comes at a Price



From about 80 euros, or about $93.

Ruby Lissi, which opened this past spring, is the third and newest hotel in culture-packed Vienna from the Munich-based Ruby Group and is billed as offering its guests “lean luxury.” This outpost is housed in an 18th-century Neoclassical stone building that has accommodated a disparate collection of tenants over the years, among them a monastery, a post office and a shopping mall, which helps to explain the cavernous entrance at Fleischmarkt 19. (Another entrance is at Laurenzerberg 2.)

The hotel is just minutes by foot to the Danube Canal (an offshoot of the famed river), the Schwedenplatz U-Bahn station and the tram system for getting to the Vienna State Opera or the famed Volksgarten rose garden at the Hofburg palace. It’s also an easy stroll home after a slice of chocolate cake at Café Sacher Wien or a manhattan cocktail at the tiny Loos American Bar.

I booked what’s billed as a “Lovely Room,” the second largest of the hotel’s four accommodation categories, which is outfitted with an artsy glass toilet/shower cubicle. But I learned upon my late (and guaranteed) arrival that the only remaining room was a “disability friendly” space, which meant a separate traditional bathroom modified for wheelchair users. Both the bedroom and the bathroom were spacious but there were issues: The metal sink stopper was stuck in a closed position and its rim was grimy. The soap dispenser didn’t dispense. The bathroom heater was scalding and a worker was unable to turn it down or shut it off. I found hairs on the sheets and a pillow. (When I complained, I was offered apologies and a free drink at the lobby bar but not a change of sheets. Because it was late, I decided just to brush the hairs aside and go to sleep.)

All that aside, the room was nicely furnished with a comfortable bed and a flat-screen, wall-mounted television. But the desk/shelf seemed too shallow to work comfortably and was crowded by a shiny, silvery Rococo desk lamp, guides to Vienna’s food, drink and fashion hot spots, and a device that played loud music as you entered the otherwise serene space. In keeping with the “lean” theme, there was no minibar or room service.

A bathroom at Ruby Lissi.CreditRuby Lissi Hotel & Bar Vienna

A large window, which overlooked a side street, lent loads of natural light. The slate-colored wall tiles gave a sense of elegance. Above the wide, white sink was a mirror surrounded by Hollywood-style bulbs. There was no makeup mirror for the nearsighted but there was a hair dryer stored in a black fabric bag hanging from a hook in the back of the bedroom closet. As this was the accessible room, there was a fold-down seat in the shower area and metal bars flanking the toilet.

The bar is open 24 hours, with at least one staffer on duty all night, and the lobby area has a fun travel theme with vintage-style suitcases, eclectic chandeliers, a tufted red velveteen circular sofa and a tongue-in-cheek “Departures” board with destinations like Atlantis and Far Far Away. Rooms feature a Marshall amplifier in case you want to borrow an electric guitar from the bar or happen to travel with your Stratocaster. There’s no gym on the premises, but there is a discounted arrangement with one that’s about a 10-minute walk away.

The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant, but a wall of windows in the lobby looks down onto the entry to Frank’s American Bar & Restaurant & Music. Before you think that’s an inappropriate choice in schnitzel city, remember that you are on Fleischmarkt, or Meatmarket, street. The smallest cut of beef is a six- to seven-ounce filet for about 20 euros. Side dishes are à la carte.

A buffet including whole-grain breads and fresh fruit, along with plenty of cheeses and cold cuts, costs 15 euros (13 if booked online in advance). Items are advertised as being organic, vegetarian or vegan. The eggs are boiled. There’s no toaster. The bar staff can make you a latte or brew an organic tea.

While my stay had its hiccups, Ruby Lissi, Vienna offers trendy design touches at a reasonable price in a convenient location. As for its “lean luxury” theme, this is a winning formula on paper but there were times when I wished they had bulked up on housekeeping and maintenance. The next morning, after I sought out the manager to tell him of the issues concerning my room, he offered to refund the cost of my breakfast and provided a late checkout at no additional cost, which is normally half the daily price of the room.

Ruby Lissi, Vienna; Fleischmarkt 19, Vienna;

Susanne Fowler was an editor in the London and Paris offices of The New York Times.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR4 of the New York edition with the headline: A Stylish Spot Where Luxury Is ‘Lean’. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



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