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Hotel Piroscafo, Desenzano

Hotel Piroscafo, Desenzano del Garda: Review

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Our balcony at the Hotel Piroscafo, Desenzano del Garda

Hotel Piroscafo is a very decent three-star hotel in the heart of Desenzano del Garda, just yards from the shore of Lake Garda. We stayed for one night in early September 2007, and we were very impressed with the location, price and customer service. This is definitely a hotel we'd return to.

We booked at short notice through Our twin room with a view cost 99 for the night; a good price considering the start of September was still busy tourist season.

Bedroom and facilities

Our room was quite small, but not unreasonable for a budget hotel. We had comfortable twin beds as requested, and a view over the old harbour from our lovely little balcony. The bathroom was a good size, with smart fittings, real towels and a shower over the bath. There was a television, full-length mirror, wardrobe space, hairdryer and all the usual requirements apart from a fridge/mini-bar. The hotel had provided some tourist pamphlets too, which isn't routine in Italy

It is definitely worth paying a bit extra for a room with a view - we looked out over the old harbour (see picture) with a very picturesque view from our balcony. Returning at night, we were disconcerted by the jolly band playing music nearby, which even closing the windows and rolling down the blinds couldn't drown out. Briefly our central location seemed less of an advantage. However, we were asleep by midnight, so can only assume that the revellers must have moved on.

The hotel had tables outside under a portico facing the pretty harbour, and a sitting area on the first floor. There was a small sun terrace (nice for guests without balconies).

Since we'd got a cheap room rate that didn't include breakfast, we can't report on the hotel's breakfast buffet. We could have arranged breakfast at the hotel, for 9 per person. But the bar immediately next door provided excellent croissants and cups of tea at tables under the portico for just a few euros.

Our room with a view at the Hotel Piroscafo

Customer service

Desenzano in general seemed an organised and hospitable place for tourists. The hotel had outstanding customer service - probably the most helpful and organised receptionists we've encountered in Italy.

We left our bags on arrival and when we returned later to check in, they'd been taken to our room for us. The girl on reception in the evening gave us detailed directions to a couple of restaurants; we tried one of her recommendations - a restaurant called Kapperi, which turned out to be very trendy and decorative - and were extremely pleased with our meal. The following morning another receptionist produced a whole ring-binder full of tourist and travel information and helped us with a list of public transport questions, even producing railway timetables. And when we made our final return to collect our bags and use the bathroom the girl from the previous evening seemed overwhelmed with happiness simply to be of help.

The hotel staff had a good grasp of languages; and the Piroscafo is obviously popular with British tour groups. A thoughtful extra touch was a bookshelf of holiday reading in the lounge.

Getting to the Hotel Piroscafo

We arrived from the railway station and simply walked to the hotel, wheeling our suitcases down the hill. It's about a ten-minute walk and is very straightforward - simply cross the road and head straight on - you'll emerge at lake-level close to the old harbour and the hotel. There are also urban buses if you prefer not to walk. The ferry stop is five minutes' walk from the hotel - from the stop, cross the main road and walk to the right till you reach the little 'inland' harbour; the hotel is on your left. Its address is Porto Vecchio 11.

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