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“The best place to stay in Varenna” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Olivedo

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Hotel Olivedo
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Varenna
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The best place to stay in Varenna”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2010

Recently, I stayed for three nights at the Hotel Olivedo in Varenna. The hotel situated just off the ferry dock is the ideal location for travelers setting out on an easy boat excursion to the other towns on Lake Como. The hotel with a brightly colored yellow exterior boasted a welcoming feel as we arrived from the train station early our first evening. Having not yet made dinner plans we were informed that dinner would be available at a rate of 25 pp which after our first meal had us sold and each night there we were dreaming of Laura's(the hotel innkeeper and wonderfully fairminded proprietor), upcoming menu for each night thereafter. As an Italian American with extremely high food standards, I must admit Laura's food was the best of our trip to Italy. Again from a family of cooks, chefs and foodies we know what we are talking about and don't give thumbs up to food unless it meets our standards. Aside from the hotel restaurant the hotel's old world charm and ambiance led to a wonderfully relaxed stay in the hotel. Since it rained 2 of our three full nights at Hotel Olivedo, our clothes may of gotten wet but still our spirits were not dampened when at times we stayed in a play cards, check email and chat with other guests and staff, who made us feel at home and treated us as special clientele. I only have two drawbacks about this hotel. The first being the stairs which are not for the fainthearted and the second being the bathtub which was extremely small, but are not the fault of the hotel service but rather to the style and charm of the building. Still 5 stars to me. Stay there. Don't eat elsewhere in Como. The food is topnotch. I still am dreaming of Laura's Eggplant Parmesan, the best I have ever had in my life.

  • Stayed September 2010
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AngelaLovesFreddie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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715 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Billingshurst, UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2010

We first discovered the Olivedo in 1992, fell in love with it immediately, and have returned every year since, in some years, twice! We think the Olivedo is the most wonderful place to stay, and our visits never feel long enough. We plan to return every year that we are able.

The Olivedo is ideally situated by the ferry dock, convenient for both passenger and vehicle ferries. Watching them, and the passing people, is entertainment in its own right, especially in the evening sun with a cool beer! The train station is a 5-10 minute walk should you want it, and the village of Varenna has all you need for a comfortable stay on Lake Como. There are a number of interesting things to do and see in the village; passeggiata along the ‘Passerella’ is just one and a must. Fiumelatte is a 30 minute walk, although it's source is a bit of a climb, as is the Castello above Varenna! Likewise, Lake Como has many sights, all generally easily accessible by ferry.

Laura’s family have run the Olivedo for generations, and her family and staff’s hospitality is second to none. Laura will always help with any issue if she can, including travelling, sightseeing or weather forecasts, and each time we have stayed she has made every effort to make sure our visit is as perfect as possible.

After nearly 20 years staying at the Olivedo, usually for at least a week each time, we naturally have a few habits (a cool beer each evening in the sun, we like the same room for every stay, and the same table outside for dinner each evening, although the identities of those will remain our secret!) and Laura is at all times extremely accommodating, and always remembers, even when very busy.

The hotel has a traditional Italian feel, which is what we look for. The rooms are elegant, full of character, yet with all modern facilities, having been tastefully updated over the years. The vintage feel and period features have been retained throughout the hotel, with much antique furniture. The dining room is superb, with its original style and fittings. The view from the rooms, well, the view is the most stunning one of Lake Como and cannot be beaten anywhere.

We always eat in Laura’s restaurant. The menu is traditional and varied, yet not fussy, but always absolutely delicious (the tiramisu, we believe, is the best anywhere, and the only dessert for us!). Service is always prompt and very attentive.

We find the negative comments here rather surprising, as they are far removed from our experience. For those troubled by noise, either from the bar behind the Olivedo, or early morning traffic and ferries, may we suggest ear plugs! They are a simple solution and one that should be part of every traveller’s luggage, as they’ll ensure a good night’s sleep wherever you may be staying.

If you yearn for traditional Italian family values, food and hospitality, in a location with an unrivalled view, on the most beautiful of all Italian lakes, then you will very much enjoy this hotel. If we sound a bit biased, then it’s because we are, this is simply a wonderful place to stay.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tndcarpenter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2010

We looked at the very varied reports on this hotel before booking three nights in September.
First, Laura. We had no problems with her or the other two. Mind you, we did eat there for two of the evenings and splendid food it was too!
As for the hotel:
77 steps up to our room was rather gruelling when you are in your sixties.
The room was too hot. When air conditioning was requested Laura said to open the skylight. We did that the second night and it worked and, thankfully, no problem with insects. The ‘window’ was at floor level so there was no view at all.
The room was clean enough but very old fashioned, small TV, no wifi, but as we were out all day it didn’t really matter.
There was only a bath which took an age to fill, no proper shower.
The bed was rock hard, but hotels everywhere seem to consider that the norm. The bed linen wasn’t changed on the second night, somewhat surprising considering the tariff. We stripped the bed after the second night to make sure that it was changed.
It was a bit noisy, but we find hotels noisy and always carry earplugs.
The hotel is very well placed for the train station and excellently placed for the ferry. Varenna and the mid-lake region of Lake Como are very nice indeed.
Breakfast was rather poor in contrast to the excellent food in the evenings.
Cost per night was 125€, which was extortionate really, but on a par with the region.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sadoldman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC USA
Level Contributor
61 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2010

We had a delightful time in our five night stay at Hotel Olivedo. We had a lovely room with a balcony looking out over Lake Como. Laura and her staff were most helpful with any questions and requests. In fact, when my husband was feeling unwell after overdoing it on a hike, Laura was quick to offer any help we needed and supplied us with water & juice in the middle of the night. The hotel is in front of the ferry dock, so there is easy access to the other towns on the lake. The restaurant serves a very nice meal. We ate there on the first and last nights of our stay. The ravioli was to die for! And as for the dog, Dolci was a sweetheart and in no way grumpy!! He was adorable!

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MFol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Level Contributor
92 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2010

My wife and I stayed at the Olivedo for 3 nights. Laura was welcoming upon our arrival and told us she had a beautiful room for us. She wasn't lying. The room was spacious and elegant with a gorgeous bath and a small balcony overlooking Como. We decided to eat dinner at the hotel our first night because we were tired from traveling that day. Dinner was good. Not great. The house red wine we ordered was awful so we sent it back. Laura didn't seem happy about it but she took care of it. With only two more nights in town, we decided to eat our dinners elsewhere for the remainder of our stay. I would concur with other reviewers that once we made that decision Laura's interest in our stay at her hotel fell off a cliff and her demeanor towards us was quite frosty. The other issues we had were also common to fellow reviewers. Inconsistent and/or no air-conditioning at all was quite frustrating during our stay in July. It truly was up to Laura whether the heat outside warranted it's usage. Not up to you. She made no apologies. The nightclub behind the hotel was also a major problem with lots of noise till 2 or 3 in the morning. The lack of air-conditioning mandated that we had to leave our windows open at night which flooded the room with noise and made it very hard to sleep. Another sleep issue was the Olivedo's location right across from the ferry landing. Cars, trucks and loud motorcycles, as well as, boat exhaust beginning at 7am was also a problem. Inside the hotel, the towels were not towels. They were made of table-cloth material. One of my biggest issues was Laura's unwillingness to accept credit cards. I guess she is just to cheap to pay the transaction fees. All in all it was bit disappointing. The hotel is beautiful and Varenna is wonderful, but Laura's tight-fisted ways and the location next to ferry landing and nightclub (which is not Laura's fault) would force me choose another hotel on Lake Como.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MisterBespoke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 14, 2010

A friend and I were travelling in Europe this summer and booked 3 nights at Hotel Oliveda (after reading a good review by Rick Steve's). In fact, we wanted to arrive at Oliveda a day early and called Laura who was able to accommodate us in an attic room for that one night. She greeted us upon arrival, came out to direct us to the parking area and couldn't have been nicer. The next day she let us know we could leave our belongings in the attic room and she would have them moved to the new room. I asked if the new room would be as lovely as the attic room to which she smiled and said "I have a beautiful room for you". She didn't lie. We had a beautiful room...clean, spacious with a balcony overlooking the lake. The linens were a top quality and a glass of wine on the balcony in the evening, watching the sunset was incredible. We ate lunches in other places in the village while sightseeing but dinners at her restaurant were far superior. I'm even hoping to get a recipe for one of the dishes.
Laura always greeted us with smiles, was helpful with questions and we found the entire staff to be very pleasant. Rick Steve's said she runs a tigh ship and that's exactly how we found it. This isn't a bed and breakfast where people "take you into their family", but it is a charming and lovely small hotel in a beautiful setting that I hope someday to return to. I highly recommend this hotel. Iris

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ExploringCultures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2010

If we ever return to Varenna on Lake Como (which we would love to do) we would stay at Hotel Olivedo again. The hotel if very charming and picturesque. The room was nicely furnished and, best of all, comfy beds! We had lots of uncomfortable beds on our trip but Hotel Olivedo was a nice improvement.

There was a little noise outside but it was not problematic for us. We really enjoyed our lake view (we were on the corner so actually had two windows facing the lake).

We'd read the complaints about Laura and were prepared for the worst. We were pleasently surprised. She certainly wasn't overly sweet, but always polite and never a problem. I really think the problem that others may have experienced was due to expectations. Like many Europeans, Laura doesn't seem to subscribe to the Disney/outgoing/friendly American hostess style, but was actually very nice to us when we made an effort to be polite and friendly. She seemed to fit in perfectly with the mood in Varenna - old fashioned, elegant, comfortable.

The best part of Hotel Olivedo was the restaurant! I highly recommend visiting the restaurant and trying the handmade ravioli even if you don't stay there - yum!! We ate there two nights in a row because we couldn't stop thinking about the ravioli. My lamb was also delicious. The buffet breakfasts that is complimentry for hotel guests was fine - no better or worse that the average Europe buffet breakfast.

I would highly recommend the Hotel Olivedo.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank patandmel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Olivedo

Property: Hotel Olivedo
Address: Piazza Martiri della Liberta' 14 | Lombardia, 23829 Varenna, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Lombardy > Lake Como > Varenna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Varenna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Olivedo 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Little charming hotel on the edge of Lake Como. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Olivedo Hotel Varenna

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