We stayed here for 3 nights while visiting Stresa and the surrounding islands on Maggiore at the quiet start of the spring/summer season.
We arrived by rail in Stresa in the early evening in a downpour of rain and made the trip from the station down to the ferry where we got the last ferry across to the island and to the hotel. The island felt empty but the hotel was welcoming.
I'd say that if you were less quick on your feet or were arriving late you would want to check ahead with the hotel to make sure you understand how to get onto the island at the time that you're arriving. The hotel does have a boat but it wasn't entirely clear to us where to find this and whether it operated at this time of year - we never used it and Stresa was deserted in the rain - we had to go into another hotel to ask for directions.
We had a room with a lake view over Isola Madre which made you appreciate what a special treat it is to stay on the island rather than visit it during the daytime. The room was good and clean if perhaps a tiny bit basic - e.g. I'd prefer to see a shower in a hotel room these days than a bath tub.
We dined in the hotel restaurant (I don't think anything else on the island was open at this time of evening on this particular day) and had good food with good service although I'd say that the prices for food seem high compared to other places that we ate while on this trip.
That said, we continued to dine in the hotel for follow on nights because it was easier to return back to the hotel by ferry after a day of touring and then settle down to dinner.
We also ate breakfast in the hotel - this is a fairly basic buffet which I think could perhaps be improved a little as it doesn't compare quite so well with dinner but, again, the setting for breakfast is excellent with views over the lake.
As you'd expect at this time of year the island is heavily dependent on the weather. If it's sunny then it's nice and busy in the daytime and things open up and boats are everywhere. When it was rainy then it was very quiet indeed.
In summary, I'd recommend the Verbano as a very different, charming place to stay "on" the lake - it's got lovely views, the food is good and the staff were friendly and helpful.
What I'd add is that we went from Stresa to Cannobio where we stayed at the Pironi and I'd say that the Pironi had nicer rooms and better breakfast for less cost. We also had equally good food in Cannobio for lower costs.
That's why I'd give the Verbano 4/5 rather than 5/5 this time around but we still enjoyed it a lot.
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- Also Known As:
- Albergo Ristorante Verbano Stresa, Italy - Lake Maggiore
- Albergo Ristorante Verbano Hotel Stresa