My wife and I stayed at the Astoria Hotel for a week in July as part of a two centre holiday booked in the UK through Inghams (the second week spent on Lake Garda). We had a thoroughly enjoyable stay at the hotel, which, although not perfect, had an elegant and relaxing feel which put us immediately at ease in the beautiful surroundings
The hotel has an ideal location and is set on a quiet street, surrounded by parkland, close to the magnificent Tettuccio Spa and about 5 minutes walk to the centre of this small town.
Montecatini Terme is a charming small town and offers the ideal base for exploring the area. it has a central railway station (5-10 minutes from the hotel) which offers cheap, easy access to Lucca, Florence and Pisa (with a change at Lucca). The town was at its peak in the late 19th century as a spa town and the Astoria, like many of the hotels in the town, dates from this period. It's is a charming old building set in pretty grounds with a selection of pleasant terraces at various points around the hotel. The pool area is set a little way behind the hotel and although not particularly modern, the pool is a good size and the whole area is a very relaxing place to spend some time.
Although we were shown to our rooms by a porter, our welcome to the hotel was a little cursory and we were left to find out where everything was without any information from staff, although in general, during our weeks stay the staff were extremely helpful and friendly.
Our room, on the first floor, was reasonably spacious and well equipped. The decor and some of the furniture was a bit dated and although the room and bathroom were clean and perfectly comfortable, they would possibly benefit from a makeover in the future. Some of the other rooms have already been modernized and those looked very smart.
Our room came with a huge balcony, equipped with table chairs and sunbeds. The balcony had a nice view over the breakfast terrace and up towards the hills behind Montecatini. Although the balcony was very welcome, like the room, it was also due a bit of modernization. The balcony wall needed a coat of paint and it was curiously covered with some rather tatty and badly laid Astroturf which was a little out of keeping in what was otherwise a smart 19th century building.
The public area were very elegant and beautifully decorated, consisting of a series of smart lounges, a modern stylish bar area and an elegant dining room with an outside terrace. A small criticism would be that the bar rarely seemed to be staffed, so that on the odd occasion we used it to have a drink we had to search out a member of staff to serve us. On one occasion, went we went for a drink after dinner, we were served by one of the waitresses from the restaurant, who made a poor job of disguising the fact that we were putting her to some inconvenience with our request.
We stayed at the hotel on a half board basis and were served evening meals of the very highest standard.
The meals consisted of a delicious selection of starters and antipasti, normally including a least one choice of soup and one of pasta. The main course included a choice of meat and fish dishes typical of Italian cuisine. These courses were accompanied by a choice from a salad buffet bought to and served at the table by the waitresses.
These courses were followed by a selection of delicious homemade desserts and then, if you still had room, a choice of cheese and fresh fruit.
The food was well presented and perfectly cooked. There was a good selection of local wines, which weren't too badly priced and the whole meal was delivered with silver service by waitresses dressed as if the hotel was still in the 19th century.
The only criticism was the speed at which the food was bought to the table, with each course arriving in quick succession and possibly a little faster than we would have liked.
It was disappointing, after such superb dinners, the breakfast was a little less impressive. Although there was nothing wrong with what was actually on offer and it was served on a lovely outside terrace, the selection was rather limited.
There were no hot options apart from a bowl of hard boiled eggs and the selection of savoury food consisted of just one type of cheap ham and one choice of cheese although in fairness there was a decent selection of fruits, sweet pastries, cereals and yoghurts. On the whole, the breakfast was adequate but we have come to expect a bit more from breakfasts served at 4* hotels in recent years.
To summarize, the Astoria is a good hotel in a perfect location, in a town which is a perfect base for exploring this area of Tuscany. The hotel has quaintly old fashioned feel to it which gives it a relaxing atmosphere which many other hotels cannot match. The staff are friendly and helpful and the food, certainly that served in the evenings, is excellent. There are some areas in which it could be improved and a few parts of the hotel which could do with updating. This is a good hotel and we very much enjoyed our weeks stay but I felt it could have been even better if the owners showed a bit more attention to details in certain areas.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Astoria may not be for everyone! It is for individuals who enjoy a restful and quiet environment...It is for those who enjoy a "step back" in time, by providing you with service unheard of in these "modern times." Yes, this is Italy at its best! Once you've spent three days in this unusual hotel, the Hotel Astoria will become a part of your life, for the rest of your life! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Astoria Hotel Montecatini Terme