- Prime Location – great location right next to the Duomo, so right in the heart of the historical center.
- Good sleep – the shutters really kept out the light and street noise, so we slept well on our first night in the country.
- Compact Rooms – our room was quite small, making it better suited for short stays or solo travelers.
- Styling – the hotel boasts a contemporary design, but we found the overall style somewhat drab.
Overall, STRAFhotel&bar was a good use of points for one night in the heart of Milan.
Venice: Ca’ Venissa
- Convenient Location – a few minutes from the famous Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal, this allowed us to explore the city primarily on foot.
- Well-Equipped Kitchen – all the basics needed for our stay, including coffee maker. We had breakfast in the apartment each day, plus one takeaway dinner.
- Good Sleeping Conditions – Ca’ Venissa surprised us with its relative quiet. Additionally, the shutters let us get the room really dark, which we prefer for sleep.
- Unreliable Internet – the Wifi connection proved to be quite problematic, leading us to restart the device multiple times each day. Even when it was working it tended to be quite slow.
- Unavailable Laundry Facilities – the washing machine was located in a locked closet, and by the time we figured things out it was too late to start a load (since everything needs to air dry).
- Lack of Door in Master Bathroom – we knew this would be an issue when we booked, but we also knew there was a second bathroom with a proper door, so we just used that one. This might be more difficult for those traveling with companions or family members.
- Dim Stairway at Night – the stairway leading to the apartment was quite dim during nighttime.
- Paying in Cash – another minor inconvenience, as getting enough cash from an ATM could be challenging for longer stays.
It is important to note that the owner was quite responsive over WhatsApp, but doesn’t live in the city. Overall, Ca’Venissa had promise but I would probably consider staying elsewhere given the internet issues.
Bardolino: Appartamenti La Grotta
Our apartment didn’t quite match the photos for the place on Booking.com – for example, there were no wood beams in our room, nor much in the way of a view – which leads us to suspect that there are multiple apartments in the building listed as the same.
- Great Location – one block from the lake and surrounded by restaurants. It provided easy access to the scenic surroundings and vibrant atmosphere of Bardolino.
- Convenient Parking – guaranteed parking in an underground garage was included with our stay, although it required a short walk. Having designated made parking much less stressful!
- Spacious Shower – the bathroom had a spacious shower with good water pressure.
- Wifi – consistent and good speed.
- Electricity Restrictions – perhaps our biggest issue was the requirement to turn off the electricity when leaving the apartment. There is no easy away around it as the keys are connected to the card that controls all the electricity. This meant that the laundry didn’t run properly while we were out, which was quite inconvenient given how long the machine took.
- No Laundry Detergent or Drying Rack – the apartment had an accessible washing machine, but we found the absence of laundry detergent and a drying rack to be an inconvenience.
- Potential Noise – due to its central location, some noise should be expected, particularly during weekends when the area gets livelier. We used earplugs on Saturday night.
- Oversized Bowls – the bowls provided in the apartment were quite large, really meant for pasta rather than for cereal.
Overall, we liked the location, but our main goal was to do laundry here, and it was more difficult than many other places we’ve stayed in the past. If that wasn’t a consideration I might consider a return in the future.
Verona: Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts
- Convenient Location – about an 8 minute walk from the train station, making it easy to drop off our bag on arrival. Within another 10 minutes we were in the heart of Verona.
- Helpful and Personable Staff – multiple staff suggested spots around town to check out and helped with dinner reservations on our behalf.
- Upgraded to a Patio room – we were pleasantly surprised to receive an upgrade to a room with a patio. It was a nice spot to return to after our full day, and we also had a breakfast of pastries there the next morning.
- Attractive Common Areas – several nice seating areas in the lobby, plus a nice courtyard.
- Relatively Small Room – while our room was comfortable, it was relatively small in size. We were grateful that we didn’t have larger bags as it would have been a tight fit.
Overall, Hotel Indigo Verona was quite pleasant for the night, and we’d consider a return in the future.
Bologna: white apartment (AirBnb)
- Terrace – offering a great view of the square from the long terrace, we sat outside several times in our short stay.
- Bright and Well-Lit – located on the 4th floor, the apartment has lots of natural light.
- Convenient Location near Train Station – located just two blocks from the train station, making it easy for us to drop off our bags, plus access the trains for day trips. Also, the apartment is only a 15 minute walk to the center of Bologna, with plenty of interesting bars and restaurants even closer.
- Well-Equipped and Thoughtful Layout – the apartment provided all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay including a wine opener, coffee machine, and even a washing machine with detergent and drying rack.
- Elevator Access – since this is on the 4th floor the presence of an elevator was quite welcomed!
- Creaky Floors from Apartment Above – we did experience some noise from the apartment above due to the creaky wooden floors. While this was a minor inconvenience, it wasn’t a large problem.
- Limited Light Blockage from Shutters – the shutters in the apartment didn’t completely block out all the light. This may be a consideration for those sensitive to light while sleeping.
- Multiple Keys – managing four keys, including one for the elevator, proved to be a bit cumbersome over multiple days.
Overall, this was one of the best apartments we’ve stayed at in the past few years, and we’d certainly consider a return the next time we are in Bologna.