We’re back after a lovely week in the Italian Riviera. Thank you for organising everything – it all went very smoothly.
Transfers – on time, a quick trip to the airport and hotel, around 30mins – even though driver said 45!!!. Luxury minibus both ways (even though we were only 4 on the return).
Hotel – lovely especially as they upgraded us as you know, thank you. Great location and views, took us 10 mins to walk into Rapallo and 30 mins to walk into Santa Margherita. Breakfast was fantastic, loads of choice and sitting on the terrace which we did most mornings was perfect. Didn’t use the spa area but the pool terraces overlooking the coastline were exactly what we wanted. They had 2 infinity pools, lots of terraces at different levels hugging the cliff with sunbeds that had canopies and there were parasols. Swimming off the rocks into the sea if you wanted (we didn’t!) with a guard to watch over you. Didn’t eat in the restaurant but had drinks in the bar on the terrace one evening. Staff were perfectly pleasant and booked restaurants for us. The room was very comfortable, huge bed and plenty of storage with a small balcony and fantastic view. The London’s got the best room with a view – corner room overlooking the harbour and the coastline so very light and bright because of the double aspect! Bathrooms OK – shower over the bath. Could do with updating to a more modern shower. They changed the towels at every opportunity and it was luxurious to have the turndown service but of course, we were in a luxurious hotel!!! Loved the little jellies they brought on arrival and the lavender bags when we left.
Rapallo – excellent choice. We thought it was a lovely little town with plenty of browsing shops, bars and restaurants. We ate mainly here with one night in Santa Margherita. So to the restaurants – we rated them!
1) Angolo 48 in S Margherita – this was the most expensive but totally worth it. Excellent service, drinks, food and portions! The staff were really friendly and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. We had 2 starters between the 4 of us, mains and desserts which came to around 50euros with tip pp. Mark had lamb which fell off the bone and I had sea bream filleted at the table. Top class.
2) Gil Angeli – top-notch seafood. This was our number 1 until we went to Angolo. Great service too.
3) TR4ttoria – excellent farinata
4) Rapalo in Rapallo – again a very jolly waiter, seafood. Lovely fish ravioli.
5) Hosteria Vecchio – good first night choice, but main courses portions were not consistent. Mark’s choice of fish was much smaller compared to mine.
6) Rocco – style over substance. Very busy (probably because it’s no 2 on Trip), twice tried to get a reservation and eventually went on our last night. Huge menu with a lot of description but the food didn’t live up to promise and was expensive. Came out lukewarm. We had a main course and then left to have ice cream at a gelateria. Staff weren’t great either – just served – no smiles, welcome or ‘service’
7) O Bansin – avoid! Yes, it’s cheap but food not great. TR4ttoria soooo much better.
Boat Trip – the guys reported a lovely day. We were at the collection pick up for 10am as on the voucher but no one there. Called the number at 10;10 and Giovanni said he was expecting us at 10:30! Anyway, he appeared soon after. He did everything you said on the tour plus called into Portofino. Perfectly pleasant young man but a bit inexperienced with ‘customer service’. No drinks were offered at all. I went by train to Camogli and met them for lunch there. I loved Camogli, very pretty. Sat in the harbour having coffee waiting for them to arrive. The guys liked the boat better than the one in Positano and whilst Giovanni was absolutely fine, the people who did the boat last time had better service.
Santa Margherita – we went here a few times. Lovely village to potter around. The walk between Rapallo and SM takes 30 mins along the ‘red carpet’ although not much of it left just rivets and tufts of carpet in some places enough to follow!
Portofino – called in here on the boat trip and wasn’t too busy but we went back on Sunday ( I did the ferry boat – all OK). Extremely busy but beautiful. We had a pizza lunch up the back streets and gelato sitting on the steps around the harbour people watching. Huge boat in the VIP area caused much interest as the family, some big American, disembarked.
Our trip to the Cinque Terre wasn’t very successful as I think Mark reported. It was our worst day in terms of weather and the trains to get there took a long time. Our plan was to start at Riomaggiore, go to Vernazza and then Sestri Levante. I think it took almost 2 hours to get to Rio and when we got there it was overcast, heaving with people (it was Saturday) and very touristy shops! We walked and found a lovely cafe (Fuori Rotti) up high. Food looked fab but too early for lunch (after the massive breakfasts we were having at the hotel!). We walked around and then got the train back to Sestri missing out Vernazza. A mistake perhaps. Anyway, Sestri was fine to browse around and we had a nice foccacia late lunch. Again waited a long time for a train home – we forgot to look at the train times!!!!
Genoa – spent the day here on Monday. Found a fab covered local food market off the Via XX Septembre. Bought lots here – troffi pasta, risotto rice, pesto, olives – Mark in his element taking lots of pictures.
That’s it, we’re home. I’m 3lbs heavier - back to running.
Hope the above is helpful. Thank you, Rosa – we had a lovely time thanks to you again.