Hotel Nazionale was an easy walk down the small hill from the train station, with directional signs for local hotels guiding the way once into town. The two huge palm trees out front were a nice greeting after the train ride. These lovely trees are a highlight of the hotel's business cards and brochures and an easy way to spot your hotel when returning home from a day of hiking or touring at Cinque Terre or elsewhere.
The family run hotel has a certain charm that is enhanced by the owner who not only greets nicely, processes transactions well, but also shares history of the building and her family. Amazingly moving easily among four languages, the owner and her niece were most generous with their time and information. The hotel had once been a home (monastery, convent, rectory or the like) before it was expanded and ultimately updated into a hotel. The niece kindly answered questions about things we had seen but didn't understand such as the expansive building clinging to a hillside that turned out to be a huge collection of burial vaults.
Yes, the little flowers on the tables are silk and not real but the lounge/living area and dining/outdoor patio areas have a certain charm nonetheless, and everything was always very clean and neat throughout the property.
The morning breakfast buffet was adequate where one could boil one's own eggs while selecting from a few bread items, breakfast biscuits (cookies), cheese, meat, chunked-fruit bowl, cereal, some pastries, coffee, etc.. Servers would take orders for cappuccino, but only one !! If you wanted a second cappuccino, you would have to pay. A bit strange, really, considering it is just milk and espresso.
The room overlooked the lovely outdoor patio that has tables, umbrellas and many pretty plants. In addition to a king-sized bed, the room also had a daybed that was nice for reading on a rainy morning or in the evening when one's mate turned in early. The bathroom was long and narrow but perfectly functional and typical for a European bathroom. The shower worked well with instant nice hot water to sooth aching muscles after various day-trips to CT.
Across the street is a local café/bar where we watched European football (soccer) game until the rain stopped after overnight storms. It was fun having cappuccino along with the other usual neighborhood suspects (mostly men) while also being free from smokers (there was separate room for those folks). Various restaurants and cafes were very close and of course the gelato shops were never far away. Also nice was the two English-speaking TV stations (CNN-International and BBC); good to catch up on World news from time to time.
Levanto has its own charm and has a community feel that one doesn't necessarily find in the five villages that are soooooo full of tourist (of which we were two). In the afternoon after the storm passed, we took umbrellas and made our way thru the Levanto tunnels that had once been for trains before the Alleys bombed them during WWII. They have been converted to bike and people paths and go a long way along the beach and thru mountains. The pool in Levanto was closed for the season and some of the bath houses were being taken down. Walking on the beach just a very short stroll from the hotel was nice. It was also fun to watch the little kids in the grassy park as they either were learning to rollerblade on sidewalks or running around having fun.
The hotel is in a convenient area in Levanto filled with local corner shops and a bit larger food market where one can purchase bread, cheese, wine for an impromptu picnic.
Hotels in Italy are expensive. That's the way it is. This hotel seemed to appropriately present itself in its brochures, specifically mentioning wifi being available on the first floor, for instance. We chose not to bring our computers this trip but were able to use the hotel's that is situated in a small office just beyond the reception. This was convenient for us and helped us stay in touch with clients and friends as needed.
The study/office area to the right when entering the hotel seemed a little musty but that area seemed to be used by the family versus by the guests. The other zero-floor areas were bright, cheerful with a fresh feel and smell.
All-in-all, this was a pleasant and convenient place to stay while in the CT area. We would stay at this property again.
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- Also Known As:
- Nazionale Hotel Levanto