For budgetry reasons, we're not exactly over-familiar with 5-star hotels (this is the first I've ever stayed in - we got a good deal via easyjet hotels.) But I have to say that in every way our one-week stay at the Principe was memorable, luxurious and incredibly enjoyable.
In the last couple of days, we had problems with the cold water taps in the bathroom - they only ran hot. But because the problem couldn't be fixed quickly, the front desk instantly provided us with a larger suite on a lower floor in addition to the one we were in. That’s what I call customer service!
From the moment our taxi pulled up outside the impressive and imposing building on the swanky Via Gobetti, we knew we were in for a treat. The welcome by the customer relations manager Sarah was warm and friendly – she nonchalantly mentioned that they had upgraded us to a junior suite (we had booked a deluxe double) without any extra charge. What a start! And Sarah, together with the other ladies (and gent) on the reception were wonderful throughout our stay. Daniella, Stephania, Monica and Carlo, (and the bellhops), were unfailingly polite, friendly, genuinely smiley and always eager to please. It goes without saying that their English was perfect. Although the lovely lady serving breakfast and one of the housekeepers did not speak English, they were incredibly patient with my pidgin Italian and were eager to understand and be understood in spite of the language barrier. (This we found to be the case with the vast majority of Turinese.)
It is the hospitality of the staff at the Principe that will stick in our memories long after we have forgotten about the physical characteristics of the hotel and our room. And the room was sizeable and tastefully furnished, with a massive King-sized bed together with a small sofa and a sofabed. The views of the city were enjoyable (especially with the backdrop of the mountains) if not exactly breathtaking. Torino is much more beautiful seen from ground-level than from roof-level.
Unique Quality: The bathroom was gorgeous with a substantial bath and excellent shower.
As we checked in, Sarah asked me if I’d like a complimentary English newspaper in the morning. I requested The Guardian or Times or Financial Times or Herald Tribune… whatever was available. For the rest of our stay, a selection of newspapers was delivered every day to our door. I was spoilt for choice, really, as we received the Daily Mail, FT, Times, Guardian, Herald Tribune, USA Today… usually three of them each day! How lovely is that?!
Although the swimming pool and wellness spa/sauna/what looked like a hammam were not open during our stay, the gym was perfectly serviceable, if not exactly comprehensive. (The free weights only went up to 10kgs, the weightlifting machines only included a chest press and a lat-pulldown and there were only one each of a treadmill, a stationary bike and a quad-pulverizing side-steppa thingy (to use the technical term!) But apart from once, we were the only users of the gym and it’s quite possible to remain in contact with your inner musclehead during your stay.
Breakfast was a lavish continental feast with a wide variety of juices, cakes, pastries, fruits and meats (both hot and cold.) Being vegetarian, I can’t comment on the carnivorous stuff, but the scrambled eggs were just right and I soon got used to the slightly wacky vegetable choice. (Peas? Potatoes? Courgettes, anyone?)
Other significant advantages of the Principe include the fact that even though it is in the city centre and within walking distance of most of the major sights and attractions, it is also on a very quiet and exclusive street, surrounded by upmarket boutiques. And it feels incredibly safe. After a hard day’s sightseeing, it truly feels like a haven away from home. And if some of the other guests seemed a bit too snooty for their own good, well at least that’s preferable to the staff having superiority complexes as we’ve experienced in far less classier establishments!
Directions: Parallel to Via Roma, a block or so before Piazza Carlo Felice.
via Carlo Alberto 35, Turin, Piedmont, 10123, Italy
Via Nino Costa 4, Turin, Piedmont, 10123, Italy
Via Gobetti 15, Turin, Piedmont, 10123, Italy
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Address: Via Gobetti 15, Turin, Piedmont, 10123, Italy