Top reviews in both Lonely Planet and Time Out guidebooks for Tuscany made booking a junior suite at the expected traditional glory of the Royal Victoria Hotel by the river Arno in Pisa. The low price was a warning unfortunately ignored. In Italy there is no such thing as a bargain except for the well brewed espressos available everywhere for 1€. You get what you pay for.
The location is superb, in the centre of the lovely, underrated university city of Pisa.
This suite/family room, booked for two adults and three children for a few hours sleep before early flight, was extremely worn down. Classy old furniture was ok, charming bathroom with a few facilities, and objects from the not-so-faraway-past such as a pack of q-tips under the cupboard gave me a hunch of not too thorough cleaning. A TV and a fan; no bin, no A/C, a nice balcony with a facade screaming for paint was some of the interior details on site. The whole experience was dark wood and dusty textiles, complete with a scary phone booth in the reception with a device from Mussolini´s days. Pittoresque to some, a tad on the ramshackle side for others.
On the positive side is the friendly and professional staff, mastering the English language in full. Service minded and polite, doing their best to make up for the impressive lack of refurbishing. The roof terrace is also a nice spot for a nightcap, and at night the empty dining rooms and gloomy hallways seem perfect for a horror movie.
However, we will probably try the Bologna Hotel the next time. The four star Royal Victoria does not deserve more than two.
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Victoria Pisa
- Hotel Royal Victoria