Time of year: March, 2017
Purpose of trip: We love Italy, had both wanted to visit Verona, and so decided to create a two-centre Italian city break for a few days.
Why we chose this place: Corte Realdi is ideally located to stroll around the city centre and explore its pretty backstreets and squares. It is also the perfect blend of boutique ‘hotel’ and stylish, rented accommodation…in a city which is, unsurprisingly, due to its Romeo and Juliet connections, unashamedly romantic.
How long we stayed: We stayed in Verona for three nights; two nights at Corte Realdi, and one night in another part of the city at the organisation’s Cinque Rooms, which we have reviewed separately, here.
Our accommodation: The Corte Realdi contains nine beautifully appointed rooms; some of which can be linked to adjoining rooms. The feel in this 17th century building is very traditional Italian style; but with the best in contemporary touches.We stayed in the Isabella Grand Deluxe Room with a balcony overlooking a smart pedestrianised area. And grand it was: lofty ceiling; lofty feeling, extravagantly large, gilt mirrors, with a decorated writing desk, a seating area, minibar (drinks here available via an honesty payment system, and for the first time in all our travels round the world, were at street-shop prices or less). There was also a Nespresso machine, fresh fruit and chocolates. The gleaming, state of the art bathroom had a large shower and good complimentary toiletries.There is free wifi. Rooms here are accessed by one flight of stairs.
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Service: Corte Realdi aims to offer a personalised concierge type service,which it describes as having ‘a good friend in a new city’. The on site staff, led by the charming and friendly Silvia, were on hand to meet us. Silvia was happy to spend time talking about places of interest, bars and restaurants, and to make sure we knew that additional help was just a phone call away. Like the best hotel concierges, Silvia would be able to arrange a private dinner, grocery delivery, tickets for shows or tours or any other advice you might need in the city. Rooms are serviced daily (with the duo of delicious chocolates replenished daily, too!). Valet parking and quotes for private airport transportation can be provided (though it’s a quick and cheap hop from the airport by public transport).
Location: Our room’s balcony overlooked an area which was bustling enough to allow you to ‘people-watch’, without seeming too noisy. Shops, restaurants-some overlooking the rushing River Adige-bars and coffee shops, the market square and historic buildings are at every turn.
Food: Breakfasts for guests here are provided at Ristorante La Canonica, just steps from the front door. The feel of this place (only sampled in the morning) was cool, clean minimalism, with quietly attentive staff offering a hot, cooked breakfast (we had scrambled eggs and bacon; beautifully presented). There is also an impressive and delicious breakfast buffet table of cold meats and cheeses, yoghurts and cereals, fruit, juices and pastries, with coffee and tea on tap.
What we paid: We received two nights’ complimentary stay at the Corte Realdi in return for writing a review. Ordinarily, depending on the season, expect to pay around £180 per night.
Activities close by: You’re right in the centre of things here. The Arena di Verona, an ancient, Roman amphitheatre is a few minutes’ walk away. It’s a thought-provoking place to stand and reflect on its long and sometimes gory past, but is now a popular international venue for opera and classical orchestral concerts. Giulietta’s House and balcony-made famous by Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, are a stroll away. Close by are a wide range of shops: from designer fashions to gifts and trinkets. There are high end, cool restaurants and the tiniest trattorias, along with numerous bars and coffee shops.The famous Piazza Erbe market square is around the corner; so too the Torre (tower) dei Lamberti .If you’re energetic enough to climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view. One of the great things about Verona is that it is a small city, so you can cover most of it on foot with ease.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: These rooms are classy and stylish enough to be a great base for a special, romantic treat, a weekend’s city break, or a twin-centre stay (we teamed Verona with Venice, over five days). You have the kind of independence a hotel provides, but with friendly, professional, discreet concierge-style back up by Silvia and her team, when you need it. Apart from the rooms here, and others at Cinque Rooms, the company behind them have a range of luxurious, traditional suites close by, overlooking life in the busy Piazza Erbe .
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: We are fascinated by Italian history, and are happy gazing wistfully at the faded facades and, in places, crumbling grandeur of some of this city’s architecture. If you prefer a shiny, streamlined, slick-city skyline, this corner of Italy will never be for you.
In the interest of disclosure, we received two nights stay at Corte Realdi on the promise of writing a review. If we had had criticisms about any aspect of the accommodation or the service, we would have written about it. For more on our disclosure policy, read here.