Who. Arbaspaa is a specialist Travel Partner located in Manarola providing various services, including wine, gourmet, walking and art tours, as well as boat and car rental. However, we used their services to secure excellent accommodation in Manarola.
Location. When we were there in March 2010, their office address was Via Discovolo 252/A. However, it seems they have moved to Via Molini 11, Manarola.
Service. All our communication with Arbaspaa, whether by email, phone or in person, were professional at all times. Our agent, Heidi Pfeiffer, assisted us greatly when a train strike nearly disrupted our departure from CT. Heidi made a number of telephone calls to Trenitalia to obtain crucial information as to the exact impact of strikes on prospective train journeys. It certainly got us out of a sticky situation!
Studio Lucio is elevated high above the historical centre of Manarola, providing for outstanding views towards Corniglia and Monterosso al Mare.
Booking. We corresponded via email with our CT travel partner Arbaspaa. Heidi Pfeiffer responded promptly to our inquiries and we completed the booking process painlessly. We received a booking voucher as proof of our reservation.
Arrival. Upon our arrival at Studio Lucio, neighbours quickly notified the owner - who stays nearby - that his guests had arrived. We were promptly given our key and a quick tour of the apartment.
Apartment. The 32 square metre apartment is ideal for a couple. It has a double bed, fridge/freezer, kettle, bathroom with shower, and heating (if required). However, it is the view that makes Studio Lucio the ideal place from where to explore CT. From the bedroom, doors open wide onto a small balcony that looks out over Manarola along the coastline towards Corniglia!
Lovely, one bedroom appartment rented out by Federica Bordone, a friendly young woman who lives in the appartment above.
The appartment consists of one bedroom, with large (perhaps queen or king size) bed, cupboards and television (CNN the only english language channel, though there are channels in other languages such as Spanish and German as well). Kitchen is well equipt (no kettle, but lots of coffee making equipment, and basics such as olive oil, salt and coffee provided). Bathroom spotlessly clean (as was the rest of the appartment), with great strong, hot shower.
I loved the location, which although only a couple of minutes walk from the train station (uphill... but if you don't like hills, the cinque terre may not be for you!), feels like it is in a very romantic, quiet part of the village (with winding cobbled streets and passages). No view of the sea from the windows of the appartment, but walk only 10 metres from the front door (down the steps and to the left) and you find yourself presented with a spectacular panoramic view of the sea and village (with convenient wooden bench to sit and take it all in).
I also thought the appartment was nicely decorated, with lots of little touches that gave it a stylish, modern feel. All in all, a great place to stay if you are a couple who wants to explore the spectacular beauty of the cinque terre.
We booked this appartment through the arbaspaa website, and were particularly impressed since this was the cheapest appartment they listed, and is much nicer than the (slightly dowdy) picture on the website makes it appear. You could also probably contact Federica directly on +39 0187 920135 to book.
Sometimes people complain about lack of accomadations available in Manarola. Overlooking Manarola and Corniglia is the small village of Volastra. We stayed last year at a very nice bed and breakfast in this town. There is a free shuttle bus service from Manarola to Volastra but it stops running early in the evening, at least in November so be aware of that because it is a long walk up a big hill to get home, especially after a night at the cantina da zio bramante.
The town of Volastra is older then the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre and from the old church you begin a most beautiful hike down to Corniglia. It takes about an hour, is all downhill, unlike the paths between the other 5 towns, and is breathtakingly beautiful, giving the best views of Corniglia you will get anywhere.
The owner Patricia is wonderful and her breakfasts were great also. She speaks very good English plus several other languages fluently.
On our trips to the Cinque Terre, we have chosen to stay in Vernazza, as opposed to Manarola - here are details of where we stayed.
Albergo Barbara is located on the town square overlooking the harbour. Our room had amazing views (see photo) and was clean and roomy, with shared bathroom.
There are several flights of stairs up to the hotel, but the friendly owners will help with your bags if necessary.
No breakfast, though plenty of cafes nearby.
Great views from most of the rooms, particularly rooms 7/8/9 which have amazing views of the harbour.
The smaller attic rooms 2/3/4 also have a view of the harbour through the small windows, and are a lot cheaper.
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