We stayed in La Spezia because we figured it would be cheaper and easier than staying in Cinque Terre.
It turns out that all five Cinque Terre towns are awash with rooms for rent. It is easy to find them when you arrive - just ask the locals or look around - and when we traveled (early October) many of these rooms were not booked. Oh, how I wish we had stayed in Cinque Terre.
La Speaks isn't a dump, unless you go a bit further into town from the hotel, where it becomes somewhat nasty. Still, it isn't worth seeing unless you've already seen the Cinque Terre towns - a day trip for the museums is a good idea, but no reason to stay there.
Now on to the hotel...
- Mostly good service; Rolf, who checked us in, was very nice and informative. The woman who runs the breakfast in the AM is very sweet and helpful. The cleaning lady did a great job.
- Not too far from the central train station, about a ten minute walk for us
- Free breakfast is better than expected, with green apple and orange juice, a good selection of fruit and yogurt, and pastries
- Clean rooms, great cleaning lady
- Everything is old and crappy. The drawer for the nightstand literally fell apart when we opened it.
- NO WIFI. This really sucks, and it boggles the mind - they have an internet connection, why not invest 30 euro in a WiFi router? They don't advertise WiFi, but it is still surprising.
- CANT USE THE COMPUTER. We were initially told that guests could use the PC, and we saw other guests using it. However, when we tried, we were told we couldn't use it. Go figure.
- Shower head is broken. More specifically, the mount is broken - it makes it difficult and unpleasant when trying to take a shower. Again, I have seen full shower head replacements for less than 10 euro. Going all out and splurging for a much better one than they had wouldn't cost more than 40 euro. I'm left to believe that management just doesn't give a damn.
- The ceiling fan was so noisy that it was impossible to sleep with the fan on.
The two stars I gave this hotel are for the cleanliness, decent free breakfast, and mostly helpful staff. The coins outweigh the pros in my book, though - even without internet, I expect a shower that works and drawers that open. Pass on Hotel Astra.
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