More about Hotel Olivedo
A terrible place to stay
Hotel Olivedo does not live up to any of it's positive reviews......it faces a loud parking lot and ferry dock that is mobbed with tourists..there are so many nicer hotels to stay at in this lovely town of Varenna...why even waste your time or money here. We arrived to meet Laura the owner and see our "little house" on the Lake that we rented for three nights to find the first floor not finished as well as the third floor not finished, but the second floor was done with three beds..each with incredibly thin mattresses and a small bath...that was it..one big room. Sorry, one room does not constitute a house....I complained to Laura and she says fine, give me the key....she had already taken our deposit and was unwilling to find us appropriate replacement accomodations for two adults and two children. I would never recommend Hotel Olivedo to
anyone...I can't believe anyone ever would. It's hot, noisy and pretty rundown.
Great for single woman traveler
I spent three nights here on a whim and adored it. The proprietor Laura made me feel so welcome, and my room was small, cheap and with a million dollar view. Dinners were the best I had in Italy. Magical town and lake. Strolled the waterfront path after dark, all that was missing was the man. I swore I would come back here for a honeymoon.
Glad we stayed at the Albergo Olivedo
Varenna has much less activity than some of the other places on Lake Como. If relaxing makes you nervous, don't go there. However, we had a great experience at the Albergo Olivedo. Laura is in charge, and you will have a great experience if you can accept this. (My elderly parents adored her.) We had a slight misunderstanding about our reservation, but I kept smiling and showed her my documentation and everything was quickly resolved. The food and the views are tremendous. We stayed at the guest house next door and had a lot of personal space for relaxation. The ferry did not seem that noisy, and I enjoyed the activity. The night club next door noise could be a problem, but I am a sound sleeper in the first part of the night--so I can not complain.
A fun family gathering
My husband and I were two of a group of family and friends totaling 17 peiople that had a great 4 day stay at the Albergo Olivedo. Trying to accommodate that many people (from early 20's to mid 60's) at the height of the travel season is no easy feat. Laura did it admirably! She contacted my sister (hotel arranger) re ages and physical limitations before making room assignments. She supplied us with a glorious cake for the birthday of one sis-in-law. She provided wines for our oicnics. She has a terse demeanor but also a sense of humor. Amazing what please and thank you on the part of a guest can result in. We were there for the fireworks down the lake. No problem to make arrangemnts for a late return to the hotel.
Meals were not spectacular dining but certainly more than adequate. The "local fish with green sauce" was very good as were the lamb chops. Breakfast was basic but ample and the coffee was very good and plentiful.
Our room was up the beautiful winding staircase (check out the circular stained glass window) and down a littlw hall, just off a public lounge. We were never bothered by noise from the lounge or from the ferry stop even though the room faced the lake and had windows on two sides. View was spectacular. Very firm but comfortable matresses - we slept well.
Very convenient to train station and tourist office. The walk along the lake to the main village was very nice - hydrangeas were everywhere! We look forward to returning.
Rudest service ever
I am an American having traveled extensively in the US, Europe, etc. and I have practically lived in Milan for 4 years, so my Italian is decent. NEVER, and I truly mean 'never' have I ever been treated so rudely in a hotel/restaurant in my life.
In short, the worst of it was when 2 Italian friends unexpectedly joined my friend and I. Our server, an older woman, proceeded to conscisouly ignore them after a younger server had given them menus (and no one offered to get them drinks), forcing them to sit there and watch us eat our dinner without even a glass of water (I offered mine). Mind you, the place was not incredibly busy and we offered to eat quickly and leave together as to not impede their 9p dinner hour. After we finished our dinner, then the woman came over and offered to take their order, at which point my Italian friends told her it was too late, and she replied 'benissimo' (very well) and abruptly walked away.
Varenna is gorgeous, picturesque Italian village. I've visited @5 times. I highly recommend that you keep moving to the other side of the village, away from the ferry port, where you'll find more charming hotels (particularly Villa Cipressi) and restaurants.
Glad We Stayed here
Varenna is a beautiful little town on Lake Como - we preferred it to the bustle of Bellagio. We stayed there for a night while on a cycling tour of the area, and happened upon the Hotel Olivedo. The owner Laura is a no nonsense type of person who speaks several languages fluently, but she was pleasant and accomodating to us. We had a beautiful corner room furnished with antiques with the most idyllic view of the lake. The ferry across from the hotel did not bother us. The dining room is lovely, and our dinner was good, if not memorable. My only negative comment would be that the breakfast was pedestrian - only corn flakes and a basket of bread.
We would stay here again.
Don't know what all the fuss is about....
The room was beautiful, but I felt like I was visiting my parent's old home and tip toed about so as not to disturb anyone. Not exactly a 'private' honeymoon experience. The beds are VERY hard - the worst we slept on in two weeks, creaky floors and thin walls made for some loud nights.
The only thing memorable about the dinner was the first cours options. The second course left little to be desired. And breakfast was weak coffe, bread, and jam.
Overall, I felt it was not a good value for one of the most expensive hotels we stayed in during our trip.
Olivedo: a good option and a fair value.
My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Italy. We stayed at Hotel Olivedo for three nights. I must say that after reading the mixed reviews on this site that I was somewhat apprehensive about my decision. I picked Olivedo because it is recommended by Rick Steves, and in the end I felt his advice was on the money.
After our stay, I am pleased to report that I do not concur with most of the concerns that have been indicated on this site. I'm not saying others are wrong; perhaps we just have maybe a little different perspective. The following are my thoughts. First and foremost, we did not find the owner, Laura, to be impolite in any way. In fact, we really enjoyed talking with her, though she is quiet and sort of no nonsense by nature. She was very kind to us and was willing to help with anything we asked. Second, we had a corner room nearest the ferry (amazing views) and I did not think noise was an issue...we could hear a faint horn sound. If anything, it made it more atmospheric for us. Third, the food was the best we had in Italy, particularly the ravioli and the egglant first courses. Oh, and the tiramisu is great too. Because it was, by far, the best food we had in Lake Como, I wouldn't be too turned off by the full pension in the summer requirement. Fourth, the beds are very firm. They are more like futon mattresses than typical American mattresses. It didn't bother me or my wife, but if you have a back condition or something which requires you to sleep on a very soft bed you may want to think about it. Fifth, the breakfasts are basic, but the cappucino is great. And finally, the showers... The rooms don't really have showers so much as they have large bathtubs with detachable shower heads, so you sort of have to be careful where you spray the water. Again, this was not a problem for my wife or I, but if you are elderly or have mobility problems, you might think about this...or just take a bath.
Overall, I thought Hotel Olivedo represented a very fair value: it was very clean, smartly decorated with many well worn antiques, and perfectly located. We would definately stay at Olivedo again and when we do hope that it is still being run by Laura (it has been in her family for 56 years). For about $100 USD, I don't think there is a better option anywhere on the lake.
Loved the Olivedo
We loved the Olivedo and it is suggested by our Rick Steves Guide. Great food, great room with a view. Thunder over the lake was unforgetable. Laura and her staff are very professional. We are going back next year.
Noisy, hot, average food
It was relatively inexpensive and did have great views, but the Olivedo was extremely loud. I can't believe people have written they barely heard the ferry. The refrain "Solo Belaggio, solo Belaggio" has become a running joke in our family because we were subjected to the ferry announcements at all hours of the day and night. The car and motorcycle traffic waiting to get on the ferry made the seemingly quaint piazza very noisy and fumey. Since the tables for all meals sat in the little piazza, all dining experiences were marred by this. The food was average, but after two days "fish with green sauce" or "ravioli with meat sauce" got very old. I feel sorry for people who thought this was their best food in Italy - food from the ubiquitous reststops "Autogrill" was much better, let alone the numerous other restaurants we happened upon elsewhere in Italy. In fairness it is in a beautiful spot and the lake was beautiful but we expected a relaxing time on the lake and did not get it at all. Laura was brusque, but I would not say she was rude. She also graciously declined to charge us for our 3 rooms when we left 3 nights early (we had to leave since we were all so miserable).