After a long 20 hour trip from the US, I was finally in La Spezia, Italy. I stayed 3 days at My One Hotel La Spezia, which by most accounts and reviews online is one of the nicest hotels in the city. However, being a relatively small town, and quite a ways from the normal tourist destinations, that’s not saying much. It’s more like a Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn in the US, nice, but not much more than a simple room. The owners really try though, and it was nice enough for the three nights I stayed there.
I stayed in room 407, which is actually one floor DOWN from the reception area. The hotel is a bit strange, as the reception and restaurant are on the 5th floor, where the front door is, and where a taxi will pick up or drop off. On the first floor, on the other side of the building, is another door that opens onto an alley, and ultimately connects to the extensive shopping and restaurant area that is the core of the city. Most of the La Spezia is built on a very large hill that rises up from the waterfront with row after row of buildings towering above.
The room had two twin beds pushed together with queen sheets for a single person reservation. It had one window looking out to a courtyard just below street level, which fortunately opened, as the air conditioning was not functional (it made noise and blew a little air, but the digital temperature setting made absolutely no difference to the room temperature). Luckily, it was mid fall and cool outside, so it was fine to just have the window open most of the time.
The bathroom was small, with a very small shower stall that would likely not even fit an average-sized American. Luckily, I appear to be about the size of a typical Italian, so I was able to squeeze in if I turned by shoulders sideways and stood completely straight. I found that any arm movement would bump the faucet, so I kept making the water very hot or cold the whole time. It also didn’t drain, so I had to keep turning the water on and off alternately to keep from flooding the whole floor. The bathroom also had a bidet, which was kind of silly given the size of the bathroom. I would have preferred more room to stand at the sink, or maybe a slightly larger shower instead.
The next problem was the Wifi. It is provided free of charge, and as is typical in Europe, you get a code for each device you want to connect. I got 3 codes, but only ever got two of them to work. It kept saying “Maximum Devices Connected”. It seems that any time you use a code, that device’s MAC address is recorded and that device will be allowed to connect without any authorization for 7 days. So, even if someone stays one night, their device reservation is held for 7 days, meaning you have to wait for one of those to expire before you can add your device. I was able to connect my phone the first night, then my laptop the second night, but the code expired before I could get my iPad connected. I just decided not to get another code since I was leaving the next morning anyway. The connection, once I actually got one, was so slow that it was almost unusable.
I have seen this problem all over the world actually…hotel Internet bandwidth is not keeping up with the number of devices connecting, and the amount of data they are using. I really wish more places would adopt the concept of tiers of bandwidth, where the free pipe is slow and you can pay more for a faster connection. That would make life better for all, as the free Internet would not be any slower than it currently is, and those who need or want a better connection could get it.
They did serve a small breakfast buffet, but it was pretty simple. Just a few juices (not orange juice though), scrambled eggs, bread and pastries, tea, and a full espresso bar (it is Italy after all). I ended up shopping at a nearby grocery and just eating in the room most of the time…or in addition to going upstairs in the morning.
You can get to the local shopping market area and the bay frontage and marina via the back lower exit. You go down to the first floor of the hotel building (the front entrance is on the fifth floor), and exit through a gate and then an alley. Once you get used to this, it’s really quite convenient to get to restaurants and shopping.
By the fourth day I was quite ready to get out of La Spezia and the My One Hotel. While I love Italy as much as the next person, and La Spezia is relatively nice and quiet, it’s not on the top of my list of places to visit in Italy.
Do you have a favorite Italian weekend destination? Please post below.
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