This is a great hotel. Really one of the best hotels I have stayed at in Italy. The Pasini Family have been doing this a while, and they know how to run a good business. I was very impressed.
It’s important to know before staying here that this hotel and the family’s other hotel, the Villa Steno, are both used by large tour groups pretty regularly over the tourist seasons. (In other words, tourist groups come and book out a majority of the rooms). While this didn’t affect us one bit (and we hate organized tours and try to avoid touristy things and instead go where the locals go), I can see where it might bother others. Independent do-it-yourself travellers like us can sometimes get “irked” by the large tour groups that get shepherded around.
Because the large tour groups (with 25+ people in the groups) reserve up most of the rooms at the hotel, you need to reserve very far in advance here if you can. Then also check back if it was full, because as the tour groups finalize numbers they will after a certain point cancel some room reservations if they don’t have enough people on the tour to fill the number of rooms they had reserved.
It’s a smart move for both hotels. They are popular for a reason! But they will both get abnormally large numbers of reviews online when compared to other hotels in Cinque Terre and Monterosso because of these organized tours that ask specifically ask their customers to come online and review hotels. I just wanted to share that tidbit as you compare other hotels in the area and in case you wonder why those 2 hotels have so many more reviews when compared to other hotels.
The Hotel Pasquale is a beautiful hotel. All rooms have the same ocean view. I liked that they had a good website where you could easily contact them (most hotels in Monterosso and Cinque Terre don’t have a good website, and don’t allow you to book online). This hotel did, and that’s a huge plus in my book!
Breakfast is served from 8am-10am. Why so late? (most hotels in Italy start serving breakfast at 7 or 7:30am) This is because by 7-7:30am the Rick Steves Tour groups staying at the hotel all come down together and eat together all at once before hopping on their mini vans to be shuffled around. The hotel feeds them first and gets them out of the way before the other guests come down.
We were able to check-in at noonish, even though our room wasn’t clean. We were able to store our bags in the closet, freshen-up, and leave to explore Monterosso while they cleaned the room. This was a really nice gesture, and I’m glad they let us do this, but I could have done without seeing the previous guest’s anti-diarrheal medicine left out on the counter! Actually, it was pretty funny and didn’t take away from this hotel in any way.
They give you 2 hours of Internet free, and charge you 5 euro for additional time and charge you to use their computer station. This is common for hotels in Cinque Terre, but no longer common for most hotels in Italy (and Europe for that matter). If they really want to set themselves apart, they should offer free internet to guests. There are some cafes in Monterosso which advertise free wifi to customers.
That said, the internet connection here was the worst we experienced in Italy (and we’ve been to many places all over Italy on several trips now). Very unreliable. Very slow. I’d watch my time wind down… and watch as websites just wouldn’t load despite me being connected. There’s no way I would pay for internet in 5 euro increments when it was so slow.
I really wish I didn’t need to use internet on vacation, but I have to sadly sometimes for work to check-in via email.
Room number 2 has the only balcony in the hotel. It was just lovely. We sat out there each night with a bottle of local wine and cheese. The hotel is beautiful inside and out, built right into the cliff (and parts of rock are exposed inside the hotel). The bathroom was spacious. The only thing lacking in the room were cabinets and drawers. Even though we are just 2 adults, room 2 is a triple room and I was surprised that there were only 2 small drawers located in the closet with the safe and hangers. Not enough closet/drawer space for 3, let alone 2.
I liked how the room had a mini fridge that was not packed with things for you to buy. There was actually enough room for us to put our water bottles, wine, etc. inside without having to dismantle a mini bar! Ha!
The bathroom was large, and had a huge rainfall shower. Very nice. Lots of lighting all over the room.
Each night we’d sit on our balcony and watch the Rick Steves Tour Groups meet outside in front of the hotel and then walk to dinner early, so that was kind of fun because we knew to avoid those restaurants! We’d watch other tour groups walk by and do the same thing so the balcony is a great place to people watch!
Because Monterosso is small the locals have just as many choices as the tourists. They wait until 9 or 10pm before they come out, when most of the tourists have gone back to their hotels. If you really want to see local Monterosso come out, you have to go out for dinner at 9 and just wander late. Kids playing, old couples sitting on benches in the piazza, etc. A group of men playing Bacchi Ball. It was great to see Monterosso shift at night to a more local scene.
In the evening it can get a little noisy as people come and go to restaurants, but that never bothered us. Neither did the trains at night (the hotel is right next to the tunnel the trains go into.) While the passenger trains stop service after a certain point, you'll still hear and see large freight trains shipping things like loads of marble late at night.
A rock slide had previously blocked the tunnel entrance in Monterosso connecting the old town to new town. It’s now back open – but only to pedestrians which actually was really nice because there were no cars in the small tunnel or on the streets leading to the tunnels. They are now doing construction on the walls around the tunnels to prevent future rockslides. You cannot currently (as of June 2013) walk over the tunnel to get to/from new town and old town in Monterosso. You must go through the tunnel.
The Pasini Family were wonderful hosts. Marco and Emmanuela were especially great. I noticed that they did ask a lot of their guests if they wanted to pay in cash, that they could have a slight discount (usually about 5-10%). We got asked too, but I wasn’t prepared to do so budget wise (and I couldn’t take that much out from an ATM at once.) Plus, I like using my credit card for large purchases and racking up travel points.
Breakfast was just delicious with a wide variety of choices. Pastries, home-made jams, cereals, juices, caffe, they could make you eggs if you like, fresh fruits, breads, etc.
Keep in mind that at 8:30pm(ish) they lock-up and close the main area downstairs. You can then only access the hotel with your room key which you press to a strip and it unlocks the door. This was unique to most hotels in Italy where you must leave your key at the front desk. Here you take it with you so at night you can get back in hotel when the front desk is closed.
The hotel gives you a good map at check-in of the area and they can advise you on what trails are open/closed (basically the popular No. 2 blue trail is the only main trail that’s closed – and it’s closed for another year or more from Corniglia – Manarola – Riomaggiore). There was a landslide and if you visit Manarola and go around the side of the cliff, you can see where the trail leading to Corniglia is just gone in one section completely. They say another section may open in Fall of 2013, but some locals we talked to told us that won’t happen.
While you are in Liguria, don’t miss out on Focaccia Bread, Trofie (a type of pasta), salsa di Noci, or Pesto. All are origins of this area and get what’s good in this area to eat.
Monterosso is just lovely, and the Pasini Family have done a great job with their hotel. If we come back to Cinque Terre, we’ll stay in Monterosso and would love to come back (and maybe the internet will have improved!)
If you can get in at this hotel amongst the tour groups, you won’t regret it!
- Also Known As:
- Pasquale Hotel Monterosso Al Mare
- Hotel Pasquale Monterosso Al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy