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“More like 80s survival than 80s revival”

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Mercure Bologna Centro
Ranked #51 of 104 Hotels in Bologna
Warsaw
Level Contributor
61 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“More like 80s survival than 80s revival”
Reviewed October 16, 2012

Tourist guides rightly state than Bologna remained one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, and I guess the same can be said of the Mercure Bologna Centre.

The hotel's rich history begins with it being constructed/refurbished probably sometime in the 1980s, and this is also where it ends. It is almost awesome how the hotel survived since them in its entirety, meaning all the fixtures, furniture and equipment. If you like a weird sort of time travel experience, nothing can top it.

I booked the hotel based on its location right accross the train station in Bologna, and I must say it couldn't be more convenient if you want to take a Frecciarossa train to or from Bologna and/or access the airport, as the BQL bus that takes you from/to the airport departs from the little square separating the station from the hotel. This is where the hotel delivers 100% and this alone might have contributed to its unique preservation by Accor.

While the hotel itself is absolutely functional and provided me with a good night's sleep, the room was so outdated it wasn't even funny. The table between beds includes an old-style alarm clock/radio, disabled by simply physically removing the "ON" button (the hole remains). The days before the hotel was downgraded from Sofitel to Mercure (which only ever involved some "m" stickers around and a couple of modern LCD screens displaying proclamations of hospitality and the weather) are remembered by the trouser press, disabled by being unplugged - and I guess for a reason, so I didn't try to plug it in.

To plug it in would also require me to move the minibar/fridge cabinet with the safe and (slightly more modern, but extra-cheap) TV on top of it to find a spare socket. I had to do this eventually and unplug the minibar fridge to "unlock" an Italian-to-European socket converter, as the only socket available within reasonable proximity of a bed was a desolate Italian one.

The hotel has free WiFi, at least they proclaim to have it, as while the signal in my room on the 2nd floor was rather strong, I could not work for me after loging me, so I charged my laptop with my cleverly attained socket converter but no late night emailing. So I was left to enjoy the vast emptiness of the room and the fading yellowish walls, adorned by little but the askew mirror. In short, this is not a good hotel for business travellers.

The bathroom is a story of its own, with the blue tiling and old-airport-terminal-like ceiling making one wonder how this could have possible ever been a Sofitel. The toilet flush is also weird, as is a string labelled "alarm" in some rooms that is the first thing one could pull on when losing balance when in the bath. It's simply spooky, especially when you discover that your choice of water temperature is between hot and boiling, and (this somehow happens all too often to me) all the taps are marked inversely.

The breakfast was also a letdown in a country known so well for its culinary prowess. It was a very narrow selection of all things dry or packaged that could be easily recycled for the next day. The coffee machine was barely capable of making ANY coffee, let alone a proper Italian latte machiatto, cappucino or espresso. To add to that, the tableware was worn out.

The rest of the hotel is decisively 1980s - the corridors, wallpapers, assorted stairs, confusing floor plans, doors with handles worn out after a few decades and keylocks (no cards of course) and if you were wondering if the 1980s black leather couches from the hotel's old promo photos are still in the lobby, they are in all their faded glory.

Any pros except for the location? Well, there is the oft-mentioned garden in the courtyard, looking really splendid in the sunlight (visible from the lobby, sala collazione and some rooms not facing the street), and the reception staff were professional, understanding, helpful and spoke very good English. I felt sorry for them to have to front such a dated property.

Room Tip: Not all rooms not facing the street face the garden - mine had a lovely view in the opposite directi...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank JTCz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Juelsminde, Denmark
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed October 7, 2012

The hotel is well situated, there's a parking facility in the basement. Room was OK, though it had bin in service quite a few years. Service was good except that the manager of the breakfast restaurant was very unkind/arrogant. There are a lot of places nearby where you can buy breakfast.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank theboss618
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rookhope
Level Contributor
71 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2012

We stayed in this hotel at the end of September having previously stayed in 2009. We felt not much had changed in the three years, and whilst staff are very helpful the hotel is a little tired and therefore expensive for what it delivers. The location opposite the railway station is worth the price for us and the short walk into the centre of the town equally useful.

We did not find that the rooms were dirty but the decor was scruffy. We dined out for everything because in essence this is a commercial hotel (and indeed was full for a commercial fair when we'd wanted to stay before returning to the UK) and therefore for people with an expense account - not money conscious travellers!!

All this being said, we'd stay again.

Room Tip: Rooms at the back overlook a small park, whereas rooms at the side look onto an adjacent building...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Gelim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 19, 2012

Chose this hotel for proximity to train station as a base for day trips. Staff and service was acceptable but room cleanliness was not very good, returning every evening it looked like only the bed had been made and the towels changed. We could wipe the dust off of the furniture and the bathroom had hairs from previous occupants on the floor. Our room was of an average size and towards the rear of the building so limited the noise from the train station. Be aware Bologna now has a tourist tax and you will be charged a varying rate, per person, per night for your stay

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Penry_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2012

We booked through lastminute.com but got treated like every other customer (they were aware that we'd booked this way). Staff were friendly, helpful and very polite. Hotel was well maintained and room was well equipped, spacious & clean, with a view of the terrace balcony from the large window. You do actually step out of the hotel, cross the road and you are in the main train & bus station at Bologna. Fairly central to Bologna itself too. We're planning going back, enough said.

  • Stayed September 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bobdebilde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Loughborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2012

This former Sofitel retains much of the character and charm of Accor's luxury brand. Without exception, we found the staff charming and very helpful.
The hotel is situated by the railway station and is a good walk from the city centre but very frequent buses take you to all parts of the city centre. Rooms are spacious and well appointed.
The garden at the rear of the hotel provides a peaceful 'oasis' away from the bustle of the city.

Room Tip: 'Preference' rooms are at the back of the hotel and are much quieter
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank kbtleics
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malta
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 6, 2012

I stayed in the hotel Mercure Bologna Centro - which is right across the train station and the bus terminus, making travel to other places and cities that much easier - for five nights. For a twin room, we had to pay 330 euros. True, August is the low period for the tourist industry in Italy, so in other months a twin room, or any other for that matter, would have been more expensive. But at this price, our stay was a steal - at a higher price, I should imagine that it would have been equally worthwhile.

The reception staff all speak English and are very corteous, and were ready to offer suggestions and the like; the free breakfast buffet that was included in our package was small but tasty and energising - as all breakfasts should be; the hotel also has a relatively big garden in which you can either take your breakfast, stroll around, or alternatively take a drink from the hotel bar in the lobby, which is run by a wonderful gentleman called Luciano, who makes that pre-dinner or after-dinner drink that much more enjoyable - his cocktails all tasted good, and he always offered us some appetisers in the form of black olives and nachos, and then parmesean and mortadella; the chambermaids were also very helpful when we required any further toiletries.

The hotel itself is aesthetically very pleasing both on the outside and on the inside. The rooms, if a bit old, were very spacious and comfortable, with the bath being a particular highlight.

An odd feature of this hotel is that they still use room keys instead of the usual room card which I would have preferred to have. But that is only a minor complaint.

Overall, this was the best hotel that I've ever stayed in. I do not know how much more expensive it is in the more touristy months, but it is certainly a hotel that I would go to again if I am in Bologna, regardless of the price.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank iacobfar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mercure Bologna Centro

Property: Mercure Bologna Centro
Address: Viale Pietro Pietramellara 59, 40121 Bologna, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Emilia-Romagna > Province of Bologna > Bologna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#32 Luxury Hotel in Bologna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Mercure Bologna Centro 4*
Number of rooms: 244
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Mercure Bologna Centro boasts a strategic location opposite the train station, just 1.9 Miles (3 km) from the exhibition center and at the gateway to the historic center, making it ideal for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel has 244 rooms with all the modern comforts, 5 naturally-lit modular meeting rooms and a private park spanning 53,820 sq. Ft. (5000 M²). Free WIFI throughout the hotel. Private car park with direct access to the hotel. Small sized pets allowded with daily supplement. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mercure Bologna Centro Hotel Bologna
Accor Bologna Centro

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