Firstly, just to correct the first review, the actual name of this property is ViaDeiBanchi, not ViaDeiBianchi. (I noticed that Booking.com just list it as 'Banchi' but the official website www.riomaggiorerooms.com lists the full name)
My partner and I spent hours trawling through Tripadvisor reviews, travel blogs and weighing up many factors when trying to establish the best place to stay in the Cinque Terre that met our needs. In the end, we took a chance on a place which at the time of us booking, didn't even have a Tripadvisor listing.
We stumbled across the official website, loved the look of the rooms and the content on the website and directly contacted the owner, Barbara, via e-mail, who responded promptly in perfect English to each one of our queries, sent us some photos and reassured us so much that we made a booking (no deposit/credit card details required).
She offered us a room on the fifth floor which wasn't even advertised on her official website yet (although we noticed that some of the photos she had sent us were visible on Booking.com as the accommodation had just been newly listed on there).
As is often the case with the Cinque Terre, it is polite to let your hosts know your arrival time, and we contacted Barbara via e-mail a day or two before we arrived and also decided to contact her via SMS/text message about half an hour before we got there which she responded to.
The building is very easy to find as the door which leads up to the rooms is directly adjacent to the Bar Centrale on Riomaggiore's main street, Via Colombo. As you leave the tunnel from the train station, turn left, head up the bank and it's literally a 1 minute walk.
Barbara was sitting waiting on the step for us and kindly offered us help with luggage (which we didn't need as we were travelling light). The steps up to the rooms are steep and fairly narrow, but fully lit and with a handrail and to be honest, anyone coming to the Cinque Terre and not expecting steps hasn't really done their research!
I offered to pay Barbara upon arrival (although she was very flexible about this) as she stated she is normally available first thing in the morning and then between 3 - 7pm in the evening and as we were unsure about our departure time, I didn't want to miss her.
Our room was exactly as it appeared in the pictures. We were quite possibly the first people to even stay in the room (Barbara mentioned the room didn't have air conditioning 'yet' so the room on floor 5 is possibly even a work in progress as the official website explains that many rooms are gradually being renovated in the building). Our room key stated 'Cucina Bri' and had a lilac coloured keyring - there were a dozen rooms in the building so I feel it's important to be clear about which one we stayed in!
As we entered, we had a large bed (it was 2 singles pushed together but it took us several days to realise this, such was the comfort level!), open brickwork wall to the head of the bed, a wardrobe with hangers, a table, a stool, an immaculate en suite bathroom with modern shower enclosure, toilet, bidet, basin, toiletries, glass tumbler, fresh towels which were changed - it was stunning. There were 2 windows in the room which open although the view is only of the building opposite so not much natural light enters the room, but we were aware of this when we booked.
Access to the large terrace was accessible from our floor too and although we were too busy out and about exploring the Cinque Terre during our trip to make much use of this, it would offer someone a wonderful opportunity to drink and relax after a hard day's hike!
For anyone concerned about staying on a main street so close to a bar, I can assure you that we were not disturbed throughout our entire stay. Perhaps this is because we were on floor 5, so maybe we were lucky, but I doubt many people visit the Cinque Terre to sit in their rooms all day anyway!
The total price of our stay was 195 EUR for 3 nights, so 65 EUR a night, room only staying at the end of May 2013. We felt that this was exceptional value when compared with other places in the Cinque Terre which offered a lot less, especially as we had such a brand new, modern room in the heart of Riomaggiore!
Thank you to Barbara and her husband for helping to make our 2 year anniversary so unforgettable - we absolutely recommend this accommodation and would return in a heartbeat!
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- Also Known As:
- ViadeiBianchi Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy