My boyfriend and I stayed at the Hotel President for a week from 13th July and had a great experience.
Unfortunately when we arrived after an early morning flight from Gatwick, our room was not ready as the previous guest had not yet checked out. The lady at reception could not apologise enough and almost appeared embarrassed to have to inform us of this but we were totally fine with it and as breakfast was still available, we ate and then headed out to explore for an hour or so. When we got back, not only were we able to check in to our room but the luggage we had left in storage had been taken to our room and we arrived to a bottle of champagne to celebrate our anniversary.
This delay to checking in served a good purpose in a way as for the first time; we ate the fantastic breakfast that the hotel has to offer. Whatever you can imagine for breakfast, they will probably serve – eggs, sausages, bacon, toast, croissants, fruit, prosciutto, salami, cheese, risotto (“RISOTTO FOR BREAKFAST?!” I hear you say), smoked salmon – need I go on? I will be astounded if I come across a review of this hotel that says that breakfast isn’t good. Asking me about lunch or dinner is another matter as we never ate dinner here; there are so many restaurants around Viareggio that it seemed pointless to stay in the hotel and not have a wander around town for a good meal. If I was to recommend anywhere, I would suggest that you at least try once any, or all, of these restaurants – ‘La Chiesina’ on Via Leonardo Da Vinci which serves a number of typical Italian dishes, ‘Sa Playa’ on Viale Regina Margherita which is cheap, cheerful and very busy with locals on the weekend which attributes to what a good restaurant it is and another restaurant whose name fails me but it is also located on Viale Regina Margherita and is next door to a book store/library. All of these restaurants do your typical Italian dishes and if you are travelling with anyone who you think may not like a traditional dish, you’re pretty much covered if they like pizza as most restaurants will serve pizza with various toppings.
The hotel does display leaflets for an excursion company who offer trips to towns and cities around Tuscany but to be honest, if you don’t mind travelling around by yourself then I would recommend that you just take them up on the day trip to San Gimignano and Siena as these places are a little more difficult to get to using public transport. Pisa and Lucca can be reached by bus and a round trip cost us ten euros each and a return train ticket direct to Florence is around 20 euros and you can jump on a City Sightseeing open top bus when you get there which is another twenty euros for a day ticket on all tour bus routes around the city. The trip to San Gimignano/Siena was very good and I have no doubt that the other day trips will be just as comfortable and informative but as we were a little budget conscious, we decided to explore certain places for ourselves. If you are in the same situation, just grab yourself a guidebook to Tuscany and an Italian phrasebook (even though most people speak English anyway) and you will be fine.
Viareggio did seem to be quite busy on the weekend but I guess it’s only like how busy Devon and Cornwall will be during summer. People are pretty friendly and we never had any hassle during our stay in Tuscany altogether let alone just in Viareggio. If you use the beach clubs that Hotel President offers vouchers for then you get deckchairs and an umbrella for free and sunbeds at an extra cost. The beach is very well looked after and clean so we usually mixed up our week by one day doing some exploring and the next day just chilling out at the beach. A good recipe for a holiday if I do say so myself. Although I originally thought that the hotel had a swimming pool, it is located further down the promenade at one of the beach clubs. It isn’t a problem but it’s not the same as just rolling out of bed, stepping out and chilling by the pool like I have done at other hotels in the past. By all means, still chill by the pool but you have to walk down the road first!
I would definitely return to Hotel President and recommend it to anyone looking at Viareggio for a holiday destination. The staff are pleasant and helpful, the rooms are comfortable and spacious and the bar serves a great selection of drinks. Thanks to the barman’s excellent cocktail making skills, I have now developed a taste for Aperol Spritz and Mojitos. Viareggio has a good beach, a vast selection of cafes, gelaterias and restaurants and is close enough to tourist attractions like Pisa and Florence to enable you to have a few days out and around Tuscany. It is a beautiful place full of culture and history so be sure to take a camera, some sunscreen and an appetite because you’ll need all three for your trip to Italy.
If you can, ask for a room with a sea view. Always a good feeling opening the curtains to a view out...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.