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“Nice place but fairly basic”
Review of Hotel Cristallo

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Hotel Cristallo
Ranked #32 of 81 Hotels in Chianciano Terme
Reviewed November 6, 2013

The staff were friendly and helpful, and our room was fine but many of the others on our Newmarket 7 cities of Italy tour had very small rooms
The food was basic - rather like school dinners although there was a good buffet salad bar to supplement the meal.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank GranniStuart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10 - 16 of 227 reviews

Reviewed October 17, 2013

We were on a Newmarket holiday for 1 week staying at this hotel ( which was an upgrade from the 3 star hotel plaza ). We were on the Tuscan tour and thought the holiday was very good. The tour guide ( Imma) was excellent. She had fantastic knowledge of all the towns we visited and kept us entertained on our trips.
The hotel was clean, our room was at the back and had a view of the countryside. Clean towels everyday.
The biggest disappointment was the food. Breakfast was continental, which is what we were expecting, however, there was only ever 1 kind of cheese, the cold meat tasted like spam. The fruit juice was awful, the coffee wasn't good either. The pastries were stale, often the cold pudding from the night before was on the table. Although breakfast was served until 9.30am. often the cheese and meat was finished and it wasn't replenished. The evening meals were better, but often consisted of watery soup with pasta, more pasta and sauce, overcooked vegetables and tasteless puddings. This was a real shame as italian food should be better than this. The waitresses were all pleasant and helpful and the wine was nice, and reasonably priced.
Would be wary of going on a Newmarket holiday again if this is the standard of hotel that they use.

Room Tip: Pick a room on a higher floor at the back of the hotel.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank sandy54Scotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2013

We have just returned from 'doing' a Seven Cities of Italy tour in 7 days with Newmarket Holidays and stayed in the Cristallo at Chianciano for 3 nights.

The tour is promoted as an 8 day holiday, but if like us you leave Aberdeen late afternoon on a Sunday, and spend the Sunday at the end of the trip waiting in a hotel near the airport for your return flight home at 18.30, I’d prefer to describe it as a 7 day holiday. It’s a bit swings and roundabouts though as some people from other UK airports arrived much earlier at the start, courtesy of having to get up about 3.30am, and had another ‘early hours of the morning’ rise for their return journey.

Having said that, this was a really wonderful trip! It is extremely hectic and exhausting, so certainly might not be for everyone, but what I’d say is that it shouldn’t take a lot of working out to know that if you book to see 7 cities - Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena & Assisi - staying in 3 different hotels – in Riva del Garda, Chianciano Terme and Lugagnano – in a week, and know you’ll be covering 1,700 miles by coach, you must appreciate this will be a very full-on holiday before you set off!

It was a terrific way to see so many places in such a short space of time though, but you are rarely off the go, and you should also be aware the nature of what you’re trying to pack in does mean you may not have as long at a destination as you’d like. There are very early starts on 3 of the mornings, especially as the excellent value price of the holiday does obviously mean you’re accommodated further away from the large cities, and journey in and out and around a great deal. On the two days you transfer hotels, cases travel with you from the crack of dawn, so being very organised the night before is also essential. You will be away a full 12 hours on some of the excursions.

With the trip costing a bargain £799 per head, which included hotel transfers, 7 nights dinner, bed and breakfast and fully escorted visits to all the cities, the hotels were all perfectly acceptable in our eyes for the money, but most of the 52 of us in the group expected a higher standard of evening meal. However, given that these hotels were often catering for a few coach loads of tourists at a time, we made allowances for the slightly canteen-style service. There were a lot of true Italian dishes we didn’t experience though, and that was disappointing. Of course there are always breaks in the daytime activities to have lunch, or a snack, but nobody really wants to eat a full lunch, knowing they are returning to the hotel for a full dinner later. We did have a lunch out one day as we really wanted Cannelloni and Tortellini. At another lunchtime we had pizza and Tiramisu, not confident we’d be offered my favourite dessert at the hotel.

You have the option of doing your own thing or at some destination such as Venice and Rome adding on additional supplementary tours you pay for and both are well worth it, especially in Venice, where the Gondola ride is included in the additional charge, and to take a Gondola ride of your own accord would cost far more.

As if the holiday isn’t hectic enough in itself with long days and non-stop activity, some of the destinations are less easy than others for anyone disabled or who has mobility issues to negotiate – as other reviewers have said, you do have to be able to walk at a reasonable pace, and there are plenty hills and slopes to navigate. Quite a few people, including myself, struggled with the pace at times.

We were rather lucky with almost perfect weather - rain on our first day on the coach to Verona but it very kindly stopped when we got there. Our last day trip to Assisi was also rainy following a massive thunder storm during the night, (we were there the day after the Pope's visit and it had been dry for the pontiff and the 150,000 people there to see him), The five days in between were perfect ‘sight-seeing’ weather with temperatures around a very pleasant 72/74 degrees, and no rain. October temperatures suited us all very well, whereas May-September could well be a tad hot for accomplishing what we were doing without suffering from the sweltering heat, I think.

What can I say about the destinations? All the places were amazing, and so it is impossible to choose a favourite. Time is limited when you visit, but this is certainly a great way to get a taster for each city, and then decide you’ll return for 3 or 4 days at a later date. We’ve already agreed we’ll re-visit Rome. Don’t forget too that you’re seeing vast areas of Italy on the coach journeys, so it is just incredible that you see and do so much in just 7/8 days.

Our travelling companions were a friendly bunch – I don’t think it would work on such a tour to try keeping yourself to yourself. We’d very sensibly change coach seats daily, so you’d have different people to chat with everyday, as well at at the hotels in the lounge bar and at dinner, and there was an amazing amount of ‘looking out for each other’s wellbeing,’ almost from Day 1.

For us there is no doubt that our amazing Newmarket Tours Rep Diane and our terrific coach driver Simone really made the holiday as special as it was for us all. The amount of fascinating information and willing help we all received from Diane was incredible, almost way above and beyond the call of duty at times, especially as there was a wheelchair used traveling with our party of 52, and this gave her additional logistical issues to sort out. Simone covered the 1,700 miles in a totally cool, calm and collected fashion and was always there to pick us up, load cases etc, etc, in a truly professional manner.

This is the trip for you if you can stand the pace of packing in the thrills of seeing 7 amazing Italian cities and a huge amount more - all in under 200 hours!!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Larsonsmummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2013

Having read other reviews before we went, we had some doubts about our first trip with Newmarket. As it turned out we had a great week at Hotel Cristallo in September. The holiday was very well organised and the excursions were excellent. Hotel Cristallo was pretty busy but never noisy and we found the staff were friendly, helpful and efficient. We enjoyed the food and bar prices were very reasonable. The room with balcony was well suited to our needs. There were few issues such as the air conditioning being off and the pool was disappointing. The town, set on a hill was was fairly quiet and sedate and the guests tended to be older rather than younger, which suited us. Overall we thought this was pretty good value for money.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Stubee47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

I wonder if we stayed in the same hotel as the previous reviewer? The rooms were pretty basic, but always clean with clean hand and bath towels daily. The beds were comfortable with TWO pillows each (I'm sure if the last but one reviewer who said she had only one pillow had asked for more she would have got them). We were lucky to have a room overlooking the hills but without a verandah which only alternate rooms had and although the furniture was a little shabby it was adequate.

The food was not Cordon Bleu but then we had not paid Cordon Bleu prices; there were choices for each course and an excellent salad bar as well. The six courses mentioned by the reviewer were served on the last evening of our seven day stay which was I'm sure meant to be a treat. We certainly did not have dried up, overcooked food.

The stars of the show were definitely the staff. Rosa and her team in the restaurant were absolutely brilliant and our table of six were in total agreement that they worked so, so hard and were always cheerful and extremely friendly and polite.

Room Tip: Try and choose a room at the back of the hotel which will have glorious views over the hills and cou...
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Irene W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2013

the hotel itself was beautiful, stunning entrance and reception rooms, the rooms were very basic, but the food was disgusting. the main meal served up every evening was dried up, overcooked, not like proper Italian food should be, we were served a dried piece of pork that looked black, the next night it was something that was meant to be a chicken cutlet(?) but was like a piece of rubber, the waiting staff were rude and unsmiling as if they begrudged serving us. very disappointing the facade belied the the restaurant, which was more resembling of a school canteen. i would not go there again.

Room Tip: the rooms we had overlooked the back of the hotel next door, and was not a very nice outlook
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank janetc186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

While the rooms were kept clean, the furniture was outdated and only one pillow was available per person. The shower was tempremental and you either got hot or cold water, never both together. We had a balcony on the third floor and overlooked the hills and valley below yet others on the trip faced a noisy road. The food was lovely but at 6 courses may be a bit too much in the evening. Breakfast was very limited. All staff were friendly but some seemed to think that it was OK to server breakfast half undressed.

Room Tip: Ask for a balcony room at the back of the hotel as the views are beautiful
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Dawn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Cristallo

Address: Viale Lombardia 35, Chianciano Terme, Italy
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Siena > Chianciano Terme
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 81 Hotels in Chianciano Terme
Price Range: $113 - $116 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Cristallo 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The top class, newly-built hotel, owned by a family who have been hoteliers for generations, boasts a central position commanding breathtaking views, near the spa buildings. The hotel has a lift linking it with lively Piazza Italia, large and welcoming rooms with bath and sitting room, balcony, air conditioning, telephone, colour television and piped music. It has spacious halls, reading and games room, bar, meeting room, swimming pool and garage. Service is to the highest standards. The Hotel Cristallo's renowned cuisine bases itself on wholesome food (various types of meat, poultry, wine, food, oil, honey and vegetable produce). ... more   less 
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