We have just returned from a week at the Grand Hotel Royal, Viareggio, and we honestly couldn't fault the hotel. We stayed in a twin room, 441, which was perfectly clean and comfortable - no balcony or sea views, but this was not a problem as the weather was very hot and our blinds were permanently closed to keep the room cool. The aircon was a great help too. The bathroom was huge and sparkling clean, complete with lots of fluffy white towels and a double sink. The maid service was super - our room was never anything but immaculate. There was a mini bar/fridge available for us to use as well as tea/coffee making facilities.
The staff on the reception were always efficient and very helpful - infact, everyone you saw around the hotel (pool staff, handy men, cleaners) cheerfully greeted us throughout the day.
Breakfast was served in the lovely bright breakfast room. There was lots of hot and cold food available, though we wished we'd realised that you could request boiled eggs earlier in the week. The food was always fresh and locally sourced where possible - local figs, cheese and honey were all delicious and pastries were plentiful too. At breakfast we were presented with the menu for the evening, and we could pre-order dinner if we wanted - I thought this was an excellent idea - not only could I look forward to dinner and plan my lunch accordingly, but it was nice to know that the chef was buying in what he needed for the dinner service and that everything would be freshly prepared.
Dinner was served in the semi-alfresco dining room. Again, this was beautifully presented. Effectively, you are offered a four course evening meal; starting with a self service buffet of salads, breads, pasta, followed by your chosen three course meal. There was a huge variety of choices available for each course - usually 6 starters, 6 mains and 4 puddings to choose from - something for everyone. Melon with Ham was a regular starter staple, and there was always a choice of pastas or soup too. Mains always included at least one meat dish and a couple of fish dishes as well as a mozzarella and tomato salad and a vegetarian option. I like to think I'm a bit of a foodie, and I can say without exception, that I was always delighted with the presentation and the taste of every evening meal. Service was very efficient and the choice of drinks available with dinner was very good. We generally ordered a bottle of Santa Christina, and if we didn't finish it with our meal, it would be sitting on our table the following evening. Our waiter, Andrea, was always friendly, helpful and polite.
The pool and gardens were very tranquil. The pool and bar staff were helpful and friendly. There was a good supply of sunbeds, tables and parasols. The pool itself was quite deep - not suitable for very young children - but great for adults. Yes, you can hear the occasional scooter revving along the adjacent road, but that didn't bother us - in fact, it reminded us that we were in Italy! The gardens were very lush and green, despite the heat, and the hammocks and steamer chairs added to the old world charm of the hotel.
We were delighted with the beach towels left in our room each day for our use - it was really helpfully not to have to pack our own beach towels and try to dry them out each day! A lovely touch!!!
My Top Tip - avoid sitting under the trees around the pool in the late afternoon, it's the one place we were bitten by mosquitos.
We alternated visits to the pool with visits to the Annita beach. This is located directly across the road, and the hotel has secured ample chairs and parasols for hotel clients. The cost of two chairs and a parasol was included with our booking. We found this to be more than adequate for our sun bathing requirements - the chairs reclined sufficiently and were very comfortable. You can, at a cost of 10 Euro, hire a sunbed. We found the 'best' spot to be the parasols closest to the path, since these were the most spacious. It was great to find that there was a shower, toilets and changing rooms for us to use, as it meant we could leave our stuff at the beach and comfortably wander along the main street for lunch or ice creams.
In the evenings, the bar opened at 6.00. Should you possibly require yet more food, a range of complimentary snacks were available. The bar seating area, both inside and out, was elegant and comfortable for pre dinner cocktails or post dinner drinks. Mario is a super barman! We enjoyed his recommended cocktails and liqueur coffees, but also his knowledge of local wines and excellent choice of jazz. A really lovely, hospitable gentleman!
Finally, the building itself - it's simply old fashioned elegance. I found myself taking photos of ceilings, floor tiles, staircases ... the lovely period features are found all over the hotel - and not just confined to the communal areas!
Overall, Viareggio is a delightful resort, but the Grand Hotel Royal is outstanding!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.