Piccolo Hotel La Valle, Pienza, Italy
"GREAT HOTEL IN A BEAUTIFUL LOCATION"
LOCATION: An easy drive from Florence, Piccolo Hotel la Valle is located near the city center. Within walking distance to restaurants and city walls. Fantastic views of the Val d'Orcia, (the valley of Tuscany).
RECEPTION: Marco, the owner, was very helpful and accommodating. He found us an extra chair and luggage rack immediately. Silvia, the evening manager gave us excellent suggestions for planning our excursions and for places to eat. She was very gracious and spoke English very well.
ROOM: Although the room was small, we managed to arrange the twin beds and the desk for writing and research. The housekeeping staff was excellent, our room was exceptionally clean. Spacious closet for storage. Nice window with beautiful view of surrounding valley and area.
BEDS: The metal framed beds were comfortable, but squeaked. Adequate blankets and pillows.
BATHROOMS: Good shower with a window for ventilation. Storage space in bathroom was limited.
WORK SPACE: Single pedestal desk, small and tight fit with two chairs to work.
INTERNET: Good internet - speed was adequate, no concerns.
BREAKFAST: Excellent fruits, baked goods and tarts, cereals, breads and typical cold meats and cheeses. Coffee, espresso, and cappuccino all hot and made to order by Marco.
ELEVATORS: No elevator, only two floors.
ISSUES: No major issues with this hotel. Parking area was small but free.
OVERALL: Pienza is a small village with limited activities outside of high tourist season. It is, however, a great location for driving to nearby hilltop attractions.
Grand Hotel, San Marino, San Marino
" GREAT LOCATION TO GET TO THE UPPER CITY AND THE SIGHTS."
LOCATION: The Grand Hotel is on the main street within easy walking access to the highlights of San Marino. There are restaurants, shops, and the Three Towers within blocks.
RECEPTION: All of the people at the front desk were exceptional! Antonio and Stephano were particularly helpful in giving us hints for things to do and places to eat.
ROOM: The spacious room was on the second floor with a view of the street and the valley below. We had a small balcony with a sliding glass door for ventilation. There was plenty of room for storage and the housekeeper provided us with an extra luggage rack.
BEDS: The beds were satisfactory; we also had extra blankets and pillows if needed.
BATHROOMS: The large bathroom had a full tub and shower. The housekeeping staff provided us with plenty of towels and toiletries.
WORK SPACE: Because the desk space was limited, we worked on the small table and two chairs that were also in the room. There was only one outlet for the floor lamp, but we were given a splitter so we could add our electric cables for our writting equipment and our several computers.
INTERNET: The Internet was good; there were no issues.
BREAKFAST: Breakfast was served from 7:00 to 10:00 AM. The first day when we went for breakfast at 8:15, a large group had depleted most of the food. There were no eggs, bacon, or hot foods, and the cut fruit was completely gone. When we asked about replenishing the offerings, the wait staff was not in a hurry to help us. After waiting for 30 minutes, they did bring out eggs, but no fruit.
The second and third days were much better. There were a variety of breads, cold meats, and cheeses along with dried fruit, nuts, and cereals.
ELEVATORS: The elevators were centrally located and readily available. Our room was on the second floor so we usually took the stairs.
ISSUES: In the contiguous room there was a barking dog. The walls were thin and the sounds of other guests carried. Parking was limited but we were given a parking coupon for the dash of the car and parked on the street close to the front door of the hotel. There was also valet parking in a remote lot.
OVERALL: The overall evaluation of this hotel was very good. The few issues of the breakfast buffet and the barking dog were isolated incidents, but did color our impressions of the hotel.
Landhaus am Giessen Hotel, Vaduz, Liechtenstein
"WELCOMING AND FRIENDLY - EASY WALK"
LOCATION: The hotel was easy to find, right off of the main highway into Vaduz. Only a few minutes walking to get to the main square, shops, and restaurants. It was in a very quiet neighborhood.
RECEPTION: Our hosts were wonderful. Charlotte, Isabella, and Nicole took very good care of us, bringing us extra pillows and making sure we were comfortable. Isabella helped us to confirm our reservations at the next destination.
ROOM: The room was small but by European standards, it was well laid out. We had a balcony with two chairs. Our window and balcony door providing fresh mountain air.
BEDS: The beds were very comfortable although they were connected. The heavy comforter was more than enough for warmth.
BATHROOM: The bathroom was clean and there was room for toiletries. No bar soap, only the shower gel and liquid hand soap. Shower base was very slippery.
WORK SPACE: We had a narrow table and two chairs. The workspace conditions were tight but we were able to make do.
INTERNET: No issues with the Internet.
BREAKFAST: The hotel served a simple breakfast with traditional meats, cheeses, rolls and break. They also offered cereals and yogurt.
ELEVATORS: The elevators worked well and were on call. We were on the second floor and walked up and down each time.
ISSUES: There were no major issues with the Landhaus am Giessen Hotel. WE WOULD STRONGLY SUGGEST SHOWER BASE REFINISH - VERY SLIPPERY.
OVERALL: The hotel was clean, quiet, and the staff was very helpful. The location was a bit out of the main shopping area and a walk to restaurants in the city center.
Hotel Margherita, Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy
"WE STAYED FOR 5 DAYS - WISH IT HAD BEEN 2!"
LOCATION: The Hotel Margherita is a block off the main street and within walking distance of the train station, parking, and many shops and restaurants. Because it was centrally located there was early morning local traffic noise, garbage collectors, and late night bar noise.
RECEPTION: Greta at the front reception desk was wonderful! She welcomed us, got us an extra luggage rack, and helped up to arrange the room for our five day stay. She helped us with the hiking schedules, train passes, and taking the ferry. Others were not as helpful or friendly.
ROOM: Our room was a corner room on the first floor (one flight above the street). We had a nice double balcony with windows and doors that opened for a nice breeze and fresh air. But we heard people and supply vehicles. We heard the people next door and the second floor movement was very distinct. Any footsteps could be heard along flushing toilets, moving furniture and closing doors. NO INSULATION!
BEDS: The beds were acceptable, blankets, and pillows were standard and sufficient.
BATHROOMS: The shower space was tiny, very restrictive glassed in area. Difficult even to turn around. Do not drop anything in the shower or one has to turn it off, open the door and lean down to pick up. The hair dryer hardly blew any hot air and it took forever to dry hair. The two shower fans did not work at all. Shower and sink drains were both clogged.
WORK SPACE: As travel writers we asked for a desk for two persons and our computers. There was one desk and we were given another chair to work. The electric outlets were adequate and space was workable once we moved the TV into the closet.
INTERNET: The Internet was the worst we have had in years. Because of the their dial-up technology, it was sporadic at best. The Linksys router system did not work on our floor so we had to go to the lobby for any kind of reliable service.
BREAKFAST: The breakfast room was large and the staff was very efficient. Breakfast was the standard European fare. The dishes were replenished often and fresh cakes were added to the menu each day. There is no fresh juices and some of the breads were a day old.
ELEVATORS: We were on the first floor so we used the stairs.
ISSUES: The biggest negative of the hotel was the poor Internet service. This service we found in the 1990s. When one can have internet in Antarctica and on busses - this was very poor. Heard all the excuses.
OVERALL: The hotel was a good base venue for our five days in Monterosso al Mare. The overall quality of the staff was questionable. Greta was the most helpful by far. Pictures we see here are not reflective of the 6 we saw in our walk around the hotel.There was no parking connected with the hotel, we had to use the public parking up on the hill at our own expense of 80 Euros.
05 - Novotel Hotel, Fiorentino, FI, Italy
"GREAT ROOM BUT HOT!!!"
LOCATION: Generally close to airport and to the rental car drop off area. Not many choices for restaurants within walking distance.
RECEPTION: Very helpful, on the phone for the location and city address and when we arrived in making sure our room was made up and ready for us. Offered a wake-up call and to organize a taxi for our trip to the airport at 4:15 in the morning. Also gave hints on where to eat on Easter Sunday.
ROOM: Typical high-rise chain hotel, room was clean, had storage space and was adequate for one night stay. No AC as it had not been turned on for the season. Room was warm but we had a window that did open but faced West and sunshine
BEDS: One queen size bed and made up sofa bed. Both were comfortable with extra pillows and bedding.
BATHROOMS: Excellent size shower and spacious sink, clean and roomy
WORK SPACE: Large desk with room for two chairs for computer hook-ups. Only one chair originally but we received another upon request.
INTERNET: Speedy Internet, no concerns.
BREAKFAST: We left too early for breakfast. No information
ELEVATORS: Only one elevator was working, but there did not seem to be many guests in the hotel so there was no concern.
ISSUES: The hotel was in more of an industrial area out side of the airport. No restaurants within walking distance, even on a normal day.
OVERALL: Good price for a single night while we were in transit. Parking for those with cars.
The Preserve was set aside to buffer some of the ecologically sensitive karsts in the area from encroaching neighborhoods. Karsts are caves that feed directly into the Edwards Aquifer below ground.
Because the three caves can be dangerous to hikers and nonprofessional spelunkers, they are...