To be frank, this hotel was my second choice as our first choice, the Hotel Real Fini San Francesco, was closed for the season. However, I did not regret the slightest staying here as this is indeed a very good Hotel. All staff, esp. Lucca and a Lady who worked the morning shift, were very friendly and helpful in making restaurant booking and booking train tickets.
Our chosen Junior suite, room 233, was a tad smaller than expected. This is due to the unusually large spaces wasted in the bathroom area. If only a third of the bathroom space could be given to the bedroom area, that would be perfect! Everything in the suite looked very Italian, are pretty new and in good working condition. My favourite part was a real comfy 3 seater sofa, probably a sofa bed, of sorts?
We arrived at around 1.30pm by train from Parma. Made the serious mistake of not buying drinks, fruits, titbits from the Mercato first and went straight for lunch at Caffe Concerto, a buffet styled ristorante on Piazza Grande itself - yummy and good value at only 15 Euros per person. After lunch, we then realised that the Mercato was closed at 2pm, hunt around the Hotel area but couldn't find a single shop to buy drinks and fruits from, would you believe it?
Our suite has 3 doors to the common walkway, making it esp. quiet for a good nights' sleep, important for jet lagged travellers like us. The bathroom has a corner jacuzzi, a corner shower cubicle, TV has both CNN and BBC, and best of all - the suite was facing the Hotel's lovely, mid-sized garden! Though it was freezing when we visited in mid December, I made an attempt to explore it a little, and am impressed by it.
Initially, I had booked a 3 nights stay at this wonderful hotel, however, after much research, had found that Modena has only two main attractions to offer - the Duomo and the Palazzo dei Musei. I cut the stay short to two nights and booked it under the Hotel's weekend offer, 116 euros for a Junior suite with breakfasts, our best Italian Hotel deal so far! But do take note, under this scheme, they will not accept cancellations nor changes and the full payment has to be prepaid before arrival.
As can be seen from pictures, the Hotel's common areas are very elegant and classy, the sort of feel that I liked when in Italy. Location wise, this Hotel is also very close to the Mercato, Piazza Grande, Via Emilia shopping etc. However, to walk from the train station, you would need at least 15-20 minutes, not doable during snowing season. Take an elevator to the basement, and there is a Ristorante that offers 15% discount to Hotel guests. But its food is only average at best.
Our only regret is to spend two nights in Modena, a night would be just right in such an overly boring and overly quiet town. I like quiet places, however, this city is just too quiet for my liking. Buidlings are all built too closely together, and there are not enough signs pointing to places of interest, resulting in us getting lost on a few occasions. Trust me, I am a frequent traveller to Venice, and this is even more confusing than Venice ...
And these are the only small gripes of staying here - pillows are too thin for adequate neck support, breakfast was good in quality but limited in range, and worse of all, there are no food outlets nearby the Hotel, other than the one at its Basement and a small caffe on the same block. Distances from the train station is also a little too far for walking, we were so worried that we couldn't get cabs to leave for Ravenna during the snow, but luck was on our side, we managed to get one thru the Hotel at the last minute.
It is no wonder that the Michelin green guide to Italy has only given Modena a single star for visiting, while it had granted both Parma and Ferrara two stars each, and Ravenna, 3 stars! We had bought this guide a little too late, and after visiting the abovementioned cities, couldn't agree more with the Michelin green guide. From now on, I shall stick faithfully to the guide before planning all my future Italian trips - which is about 3-4 vacations in a year.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC