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Verona by night





Desk


Grand Hotel Verona: review

About the Grand Hotel Verona

Our room's terrace at the Grand Hotel Verona

The name is grand, but don't get your hopes too high: the Grand Hotel Verona is not one of those five-star fin-de-siècle grand hotels. Instead it's a smart four-star hotel in central Verona with a business as well as tourist clientele (or at least that's what it seems to aim at). I stayed for one night in November 2007: here's my review of the hotel and its facilities.
> Verona tourist information

Online booking

This was a short-notice trip and I booked only the day before. Of the websites showing late availability the prices quoted were consistent: €100 for a single room. Not a bargain, but the hotel was more conveniently located than cheaper two/three-star options so I booked online using the efficient website of our hotel partners Booking.com.

Hotel and services

My first impressions of the Grand Hotel Verona were mixed. The entrance was smart, and reception staff were efficient, but I felt that I had stepped into an outdated business-conference hotel, with tired décor and in need of an overhaul. On closer acquaintance, I realised that the décor wasn't actually old or dirty, it was in fact fairly fresh and appeared to have been refurbished recently. It was merely the style that was dated; a rather 1980s corporate traditionalism that was an unfortunate contrast with several of the other hotels on the street, with their modern, stylish foyers.

In November there wasn't the weather for sitting outdoors, but the hotel does have an outdoors terrace and a garden, as well as indoors sitting areas. Staying for only one night, I didn't use many of the hotel's services. My luggage and laptop were safely stored for me after I'd checked out.

I found the Grand Hotel a good, practical and safe place to stay, and I'd return if the price was competitive. But if you're looking for romance or atmosphere, consider casting your net a little wider.

Bedroom

My bedroom at the Grand Hotel Verona

After checking in, I headed past signs to conference rooms towards the lift. My room was on the first floor, facing the street. I wasn't totally sure if my 'single room' was truly a single room or occasionally used as a small double. It was certainly much more generous in size than any other single room I can remember having, although two guests would have been cramped. The bed was probably 'one and half' size. Outside French windows was a terrace which was about the same size as the bedroom, above the hotel's entrance. This had a table and chairs and a view along the busy street. Although I had requested a non-smoking room when I booked the previous day, my room was furnished with ash trays. However there was no discernible odour.

Back indoors, the room was clean and well-equipped with a good flat-screen TV (with Sky), a suitcase stand, a desk, chair, armchair, bedside tables, wardrobe with a small safe and a mini-bar. Apart from the determinedly conservative style I only had a couple of complaints with the bedroom, one being a matter of personal taste: the bedlinen. Having come from a lovely modern hotel with duvets (Hotel Rivalago at Lake Iseo) I didn't appreciate returning to the Italian norm of a bed with sheets and cover. My other moan is also a common one: a lack of electricity sockets. In order to use my laptop computer at the desk, I had to unplug the lamp.

The bathroom was smart but with unnecessarily large fixtures for the small space; I kept knocking bits of my anatomy on basins, corners and towel rails. Again it was spotlessly-clean. There was a shower rather than a bath.

If you are a connoisseur of hotels' complimentary items, you'll be pleased with the Grand Hotel. Toiletries were decent and tea-leaf scented; there were the usual bits and pieces as well as a notepad and pen (not universal in Italian four-stars) and a bottle of mineral water 'with compliments'. When I returned to my hotel room after dinner I found the bed had been turned down neatly. I was disappointed, however, to discover that the little sachet placed by the bed was not a mint but 'night cream'.

Although my brief stay at the hotel was comfortable, my over-riding memory will unfortunately be of the passionate nocturnal (and morning) activities of a couple in a nearby room. Although my room was generally very quiet, their loud cries managed to overcome any soundproofing and in the morning they were clearly audible even from the outdoors terrace.

Breakfast

Breakfast, included in the room price, was in a basement room, and was a very good spread. A helpful waiter produced hot drinks and replenished the buffet plates, which contained not just the usual Italian breakfast buffet staples, but also delicate little cream cakes and pastries. There was a fresh fruit salad too, as well as cereals, bread, croissants, cheese and cold meats.

Getting to the hotel

The hotel's address is Corso Porta Nuova 105. Corso Porta Nuova is a very wide and busy street; the main road leading towards Piazza Brà, the Roman Arena and the heart of town. It's about a fifteen-minute walk from the railway station and long-distance bus stops: turn right from the station, following signs to the centre (centro) and head across pedestrian crossings to the big stone gateway which gives its name to the Corso Porta Nuova. As you walk up the street from the railway station towards town, the hotel is on the right-hand side.

The location is not as picturesque as it would be were it in a historic lane, but it's a good compromise between the convenience of the transport links and the proximity of tourist sights. The medieval centro storico is just a stroll away; the street was wide and busy enough to feel safe at night. Although my first-floor room overlooked the street, I wasn't bothered by traffic noise.

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