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Hotel reviews

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Parma: Savoy Hotel

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Ravenna: Albergo Cappello

Rimini: Duomo Hotel

Rimini: Ambienthotels Hotel Peru

Find and book a hotel in Rimini. With location maps and guest reviews.

I liked the bathroom mirror lighting
The entrance

Duomo Hotel, Rimini - our review

About the Duomo Hotel

The reception desk at Duomo Hotel

The Duomo Hotel is a design hotel in Rimini; opened in 2006 and hailed as part of a new wave of Rimini tourism. Forget the crowded beaches and the bare-bottom postcards, and bring on style aficionados, cutting-edge design and smart boutiques. Duomo Hotel is in the historic town centre of Rimini, not the modern beach development. It was designed by Ron Arad, whose avowed intent was apparently to make guests feel that they are not at home.

I stayed at the hotel for two nights in April 2008, having booked an 'urban double room' online at 99 for the first night, and then arranging an additional night once I was at the hotel.

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Hotel and facilities

When I travel, I look for comfort and service, so I wasn't sure how much I was looking forward to a night spent in a 'design hotel'. I wasn't won over on arrival by one of my pet hates; the unobvious entrance. In this case a large pair of shiny red doors are the entrance to the hotel; they swing open in your face as you approach. Inside, the reception desk is striking; a gleaming metal polo suspended at an angle, enclosing handsome reception staff. It's impressive, but I do note that they have a more practical normal desk secreted around a corner. Another of my pet hates is in evidence in the hotel's publicity: mucking around with capitalisation to look trendy is hardly novel and throwing in capital Ms all over the place just makes it hard to read the hotel's proMotional literature.

I was shown to my room by a helpful receptionist, who showed me how things worked and also explained the 'concept' behind the floor's colour scheme (I wasn't quite sure whether or not I could detect irony). More practically, he also pointed out a rather nice feature. Instead of a mini-bar in the bedrooms, the hotel has a 'bar' on each floor where guests can help themselves to drinks and make a note of their purchases, like an honesty box system. The plentiful bottles of mineral water are free. It would be great if they had offered kettles and tea, but the choice is limited to soft drinks and a few spirits. I think with more variety this would be a good alternative to sticking a mini-bar in every room, though I suppose it does limit the options for chilling your own private provisions.

My bedroom

My bedroom, an 'urban' double room

As I requested a second night at short notice I ended up changing bedrooms. However, they were both 'urban doubles' and there was no difference apart from the colour scheme - first purple, then green; I didn't learn the concept behind that one - and the window view. My original first-floor room had French windows which opened onto a communal terrace, the third-floor version just had a window.

Inside the bedroom door a blank white corridor space opened into a white-painted and fairly bare bedroom. A thick sliding coloured screen functioned as a window shutter, and the colour was mirrored in a screen behind the all-white bed. This screen contained a large round window into the bathroom (a blind could close this for the squeamish). There was little furniture: two designer chairs (reasonably comfortable), a shelf which was rather small for a desk (but did win points for having power and computer sockets), and a flat wide-screen TV on a bracket above. There was also a booklet of information about the hotel and lists of recommended 'cool shops', restaurants and so on.

The minimal look was obviously the stylish point, but it did cause conflicts with the comfort and functionality I require of a hotel. I really needed more surfaces - the desk was small and awkward under the television, and instead of bedside tables there were two tiny ledges. I thought the the room felt very much focussed on sleep and no more: with no comfortable workspace, soft chairs or tables for spending more time in the room.

Around in a second corridor space, this time giving access to the bathroom, was a see-through glass 'wardrobe' - style over substance made this rather inconvenient: clothes had to hang facing forwards on fixed hangers so access wasn't convenient, and there were no drawers. There was a small safe, but since it wasn't fixed and was easy to pick up, it didn't inspire much confidence. There was a suitcase stand alongside - a big style compromise, I suspected; I wondered if Alessi have designed one yet. A very big storage flaw was the lack of coat-hooks - it was hardly practical to hang a coat in the narrow wardrobe so I had to resort to throwing my jacket over a chair, which obviously spoiled the room's 'look'. I quite liked the possibility of different lighting arrangements, but I never quite worked out the interplay between the various switches in the room and bathroom.

I was undecided about the large pod-type bathroom. I'm not a fan of wet room arrangements, and even though the shower was at one end of the bathroom, it still soaked the toilet and the floor around it. The wood strip flooring dried slowly, although cleaners did sneak in to clean up and change towels. I also worried over practical arrangements - how was stagnant water and bathroom detritus cleared from the space under the wooden strips? The bathroom fittings were very stylish, designed by Alessi. Once I'd worked out how to turn the tap on, I was quite content with their quality and sleekness. The shower, which was illuminated, was good and would no doubt gratify exhibitionists and their companions. The toiletries were good quality and there were plenty of towels and face-cloths. The hotel provided slippers, a hairdrier, mineral water, a pencil and notepad. Again, there was a lack of storage space with no shelf space for a washkit. Although the round window could be blocked with a blind, the other glass door and walls - those incorporating the wardrobe - have no such option so you'd have to reach an accord with your travelling companion over how much you want them to see - no visiting the wardrobe while you're in the bathroom, for example.

Duomo Hotel, Rimini

Despite the first impression of rather chill bareness, I actually found my bedroom a comfortable place to spend the night. There was good autonomous air-conditioning/heating, the bed was very comfortable, with good quality sheets, and the rooms were well soundproofed. In my first room it seemed that drains from other rooms ran through my bathroom; in the second room I didn't hear anything at all. Before I dozed off, though, the thought did come into my head that it was rather like sleeping in a garage - a combination of the bare white walls and the solid sliding 'door' over the window, perhaps.

Service was good, friendly and helpful. However, there weren't all the extra welcoming touches I've encountered increasingly often during recent hotel stays; weather forecasts and chocolates on pillows, that sort of thing. One very nice touch, though, was a free drink at the hotel's bar, Nomi, which is a trendy bar-restaurant attracting some of Rimini's gilded youth.


Breakfast was laid out in the trendy bar on the ground floor. It was a slightly strange atmosphere on my first morning; a couple of Italian locals at the bar having a coffee before work; two Italian businessmen grabbing a light breakfast and reading the newspapers; and a carefully-prepared buffet just in case any foreign guests like myself fancied gorging on cereals, cake (two kinds), muffins, biscuity scone things, fresh pineapple and other fresh fruits, cheeses or cold meat. You could also help yourself to hot scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. There was even Prosecco for those wanting a truly decadent feast.

The second morning the set-up was fractionally different: someone had thoughtfully placed labelling by food items and fruit juices. But instead of being brought a fancy little tray of posh teabags to choose from, with a teapot, on this occasion my tea was brought ready-made in a caffetiere-type thing, which wasn't nearly as good. It was still a very good breakfast spread, though, especially by Italian standards.

My view

Although I picked out some problems such as lack of storage space, I did find the hotel much more comfortable than I'd expected - and in fact I extended my one-night stay into two.

It obviously wasn't part of the brief, but I do feel that a super-modern establishment like this should have - or publicise - some green credentials. An attractive staircase could be incorporated into the design instead of assuming all guests will use a lift every time, and I felt rather sorry for the receptionists in their artifical surroundings which exclude most natural light. Some of the shininess is a little reminiscent of children's toys and the bedroom did remind me of a garage; there's something of the toy car set about it all.

This probably isn't the most avant-garde place in the world, but it does still stand out pleasingly from the vast majority of Italian hotels, and certainly from those in Rimini. There will undoubtedly be those for whom the 'design' is an appeal on its own, and a crucial part of their holiday. Although I am programmed to look for niggles, I did still enjoy the novelty of the decor, and feel the thrill of the new. Although there are areas where style has taken first place over comfort, on the whole the design is quite functional and takes guests' needs into account. And whatever your views, staying here is certainly an experience in itself, not just a place to lay your head.

I definitely think this is a good place to stay, and would become part of the holiday experience. It would certainly be ideal for visiting Rimini in an altogether new and modern fashion. It obviously wouldn't suit every traveller, but this description should encourage or discourage holiday-makers as appropriate. I'm not a beach person myself, but I liked the historic part of Rimini and the possibilities of day trips. The Duomo is in a great position for both of those things.


I booked online and got a good rate at a few days' notice.
> More information / make a booking
> More Rimini hotels

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Ambienthotels Hotel Peru - our review of a cheaper hotel in seaside Rimini

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