We were not planning on going to Faenza actually but we were on our way from Croatia to France (ferry + train), and I woke up ill on the ferry. I had caught a cold in Croatia thanks to the airco and I really did not feel well once our ferry arrived in Ancona in the morning. The kids and I still had 15 hours of train ahead and I really did not feel up to it. We decided to take the train towards France and get out when I would get too tired. It ended up being in Faenza, a town in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.
I knew the name of the town because Faenza is home to one of the most famous ceramics museums in the world, but that’s about all I knew about Faenza.
Faenza turned out to be quite a small town (a population of around 58 000, just to give you an idea). We did not see any tourists, it felt very authentic and..Italian 🙂
As we did not have any hotel reservations, we had a walk through the historic center of town and stopped at hotel Vittoria, which looked nice. As last minute walk ins, we got the room for an interesting price. We were not able to check in right away though so we left our luggage and went for a walk through Faenza. It’s such a cute charming town.
Special mention for the location
I had a fever and it was really hot so we stopped on the terrace of a small cafe. We had croissants, those sweet Italian ones and I took an espresso because, as everyone knows, there is nothing an espresso cannot solve! 😉
So we were sitting on this gorgeous piazza in front of a beautiful fountain next to a very very old cathedral. It really was picture perfect. The location of hotel Vittoria is excellent because this beautiful little square was not even one minute by foot from the hotel, the ceramics museum about 5 minutes and the train station is a mere 15 minutes walk.
Hotel Vittoria Faenza is a four-star hotel. There is a wide variety of rating schemes used by different organizations around the world so not every country used the same rating. I must admit I am not very often convinced by the hotel rating system 🙂 For example, I would expect help bringing the luggage up to the room in a four- and a five-star hotel. You will get that help in a 5 star for sure but not always in a 4 star. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. In the case of Faenze, they didn’t. The reception staff was friendly but that’s it.
You can be friendly-because-it’s-polite and you can be friendly-because-you’re-considerate-and-really-want-to-help. So in the first case, they will do the minimum within the borders of politeness. In the second case, they will try to help where they can and make you feel right at home.
When we were in the hotel in Ancona for example, on our way to Croatia, we got complimentary bottles of water to drink on the ferry (they didn’t have to do that but it was considerate). Also, as we arrived early, they cleaned our room first so we could check in earlier. And yes, they helped with the luggage. In the case of hotel Vittoria they were polite and friendly, no extra’s.
The room was spotlessly clean and nice. It was a large room with high ceilings and pretty vintage wooden furniture. The bathroom was quite basic with a shower. The room was clean and comfortable, nice but not cosy. That felt a bit the same for the hotel actually. Nice but not cosy. It looked empty, we thought we were the only guests.
One positive thing worth mentioning is that they had large rooms for a family of four. This is not often the case. As I always travel with my children, it’s always the four of us and lots of hotels don’t have rooms for families. In those cases the choice is either a suite or two (connecting) rooms. In both cases, it’s not very joyful for my wallet. So hooray for hotel hotel Vittoria for having large rooms!
As I told you earlier, the hotel felt empty: the lobby was empty, the restaurant was closed and there were building activities (not sure what they were doing really) on our floor. They had hanged a curtain in front but you still heard the noise and saw the dust. I realise that my review sounds negative but it really wasn’t that bad because the room was large, the location was perfect and the price was fine. I would even stay there again if I’d go to Faenza again but I would have liked the hotel to be a bit more lively. Maybe some music in the lobby? I had a bit of a The Shining feeling now 😉
One can read the following on the site of het hotel: “The hotel organises many events, tastings or ceramic courses and offers plenty of opportunity to relax in the peace and quiet of the hotel”, and indeed ‘the peace and quiet’ can of course be seen as a positive note. So yes, if you are looking for peace and quiet, the hotel is perfect, as is the town!
At dinner time it became clear that we were not alone in the hotel. The restaurant downstairs was full. The chef Fabrizio Mantovani is in charge of lunch and dinner en the food is so so good! We had dinner there, in the patio. The menu is relatively small but the food is very good and obviously very fresh. Fabrizio walks around en has a talk with everyone. That was very nice.
It was clear that the guests in the restaurant did not all stay at the hotel so that’s a good sign, isn’t it? I liked sitting outside but the inside spaces are very agreable as well. Check out those impressive ceilings!
The food is not cheap by the way and the menu did not offer ‘easy food’ for kids. Only my youngest minded that but he did not complain at breakfast though as there were delicious cakes, pies and other sweet goodies. Breakfast was a real treat! Fabrizio was walking around in the breakfast room as well by the way, I don’t think he ever sleeps!
Hotel Vittoria: yes or no
I would say yes to Hotel Vittoria Faenze. Don’t expect any extra’s but it’s a good hotel with a perfect location and good food. Have a walk through town, look well cause there are beautiful ceramic details in the streets which one may not notice at first. Do visit the Cattedrale di San Pietro apostolo and, of course, the international museum of ceramics.
N.B. Sorry for the bad &#*&@# photos, thanks to Nokia 5. So now you know which phone NOT to buy. Ever. Really. 😉