LOCATION: Hotel & Hostel Montarina is located up on a hill overlooking Lago Maggiore, at Via Montarina 1.
Lugano furnicular and train stations are a quick 5 minutes' stroll away. When you exit the station at the back (away from the Old Town), just head towards the left, then go up a steep slope leading up to a 19th century historic building with a pink-and-white exterior.
To reach the Old Town and boat pier (whence cruises on Lago Maggiore depart), you need to take the Lugano Città–Stazione furnicular downhill. The furnicular station is conveniently located within Lugano train station and the service runs from about 5:20am till 11:50pm daily; frequency seemed pretty good with a furnicular departing every 5~10 minutes.
ROOM: We stayed in a clean and spacious Antique Room decorated in an archaic 19th century style. As befitting its name, the room had really creaky floorboards and worn-out, vintage furnishings: 2 single beds; a pair of bedside tables with reading lamps (1 of which didn't work); small desk by the hearth; 2 chairs (clearly in need of new upholstery); a huge armoire with hangers and ample storage space (door was badly jammed, had to be pried open with great difficulty...)
BEDS: both were clean and comfortable. Pillows were much too soft for my liking. To conserve energy and water, bed linen was not changed during stay.
BATHROOM: no ensuite facilities but in a corner of the room, they have installed lighting, mirror and a shelf above a wash basin. Clean towels together with 2 tiny bars of soap and 2 packets of hair-and-body-wash were provided.
Communal bathrooms and toilets are located in the hallway. These shared facilities were not always found in a clean and tidy state... Unfortunately went into a toilet where the previous user failed to flush, thus I was faced with a huge 'unpleasant surprise' in the bowl ~ totally ruined my morning!
Shower stalls were quite small, so it could be a tight fit for some people. Water pressure in the shower was adequate but took a while to adjust the water to a comfortable temperature...
F&B: room rate did not include daily breakfast, which was available at an extra CHF15 per pax. There was a self-catering kitchen on the ground floor as well as vending machines for drinks and snacks.
SERVICE: Room Reservation, Check-In & Out all proceeded smoothly. The multilingual staff are fluent in English; service was efficient enough but not exactly warm.
FACILITIES: there is no lift nor porter service so be prepared to lug your bags up the stairs. Hostel has coin-operated washer and dryer somewhere but we didn't utilize the laundry facility here. The property offers free WiFi and there's a swimming pool for guest use.
IN SHORT: For the rates charged, I wouldn't want to stay in an Antique Room again, not with its creaky floors and worn-out furnishings. The shared facilities also fell short in terms of comfort and hygiene levels...
Besides the Antique Room reviewed above, there are other room categories available at Hotel & Hostel Montarina. If you don't mind paying higher rates, you can probably enjoy a more pleasant stay in their Comfort Rooms which have ensuite facilities, air-conditioning and flatscreen TV.
A major down side to staying here is the tiresome daily trudge on that steep slope leading up to the property. On my next visit to Lugano, would probably choose a different hotel more conveniently located downhill in the Old Town.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Montarina & Backpackers Lugano
- Hotel Montarina And Backpackers Hostel