Loved the Palazzo Alexander
Our stay at the Palazzo Alexander last fall could not have been more delightful. From the warm welcome and personal attention my family and I received from the manager Max and his assistant, John, to the delicious breakfasts and evening tea they graciously served to us in the elegant dining room to the very comfortable nights rest we enjoyed amidst beautiful surroundings - this is a first rate boutique hotel on a quiet street in the wonderful Tuscan town of Lucca. The kindness of Max and his team in helping us with our stay in Lucca as well as asissting us with plans for exploring the Cinque Terre was remarkable. We would give this hotel our highest recommendation and we look forward to returning to this lovely town and staying here again. Don't miss this one!
Quaint Charm And Excellent Service
We stayed at Palazzo Alexander for a week at the start of our Italian
honeymoon. It was our favorite hotel - the people are very friendly and helpful, great place to swap stories with other travelers, neat breakfast, clean rooms, charming, and very near the sites in the gorgeous walled city of Lucca!
We stayed 4 nights in Palazzo Alexander and it made our holiday perfect. There were no faults and that says something when you're well travelled, as there is always normally something at fault in a hotel. The decor was typically Italian, very tasteful. The bedroom was lovely, not massive but still quite spacious, the bathroom had a good shower. I loved the choice at breakfasts of cereal, fresh fruit(melon,kiwi,apple,banana,strawberries), croissants, bread, cheese, meats, cakes and biscuits. The staff were very helpful and friendly and spoke very good english. The location was central to the beautiful Lucca, we would definitely return to Palazzo Alexander.
Fabulous Hotel, Location and Service
I stayed at the Palazzo Alexander hotel, a charming and recently renovated convent into a small hotel with 18 bedrooms. The restoration of the bulding with its elegant decor was stunning. The location was only a 5minute walk from the main Piazza, San Michele but the hotel was a haven of peace and quiet, a joy to behold during the Easter vacation.
The buffet breakfast was very good and the staff at all times were friendly, polite and atentive.
On Easter Sunday all guests were presented with an Italian Easter egg which was a splendid touch.
Staff gave good recommendations for restaurants and made reservations for us.
The only downside was the vacation was too short, 3 nights was not nearly enough to enjoy not only the PALAZZO ALEXANDER but also the sights of Lucca.
Loved our stay!
We spent couple of nights (beginning March 2007) in the Palazzo Alexander. We really had a great time! Beautiful hotel, very near to the centre but still in a quiet area. The room was really nice and quite large with a fine bathroom (maybe only the cord of the hair-drier was a little too short ;-) ). Massimiliano is really friendly, gave us the nicest restaurants in the area and also helpful with all kind of touristic information. A nice place to stay again, we will stay there again next time!
We stayed two weeks at the Palazzo Alexander. We were very happy with our room, the location & the service we received. Our stay was very comfortable & being within the old city walls meant everything we needed to access was 5 minutes away. We also were given free local phone calls & internet use. The staff were very helpful in arranging reservations & making good suggestions to us. We would happily return. The hotel is recently renovated, very clean & luxurious & excellent value for money.
Class, Charm and Service
When we were redirected to a new hotel on arrival in Lucca, we were apprehensive. The Piccolo Hotel Puccini was closed for renovation and had sent us on to the Palazzo Alexander.
We wonder now if we didn't end up at the better place to begin with. The staff, the service and the accomodations were all superior at a reasonable rate. Our hosts were charming and very willing to help us with any need we had, explaining the vagaries of Rail Italia, or recommending eateries. We stayed on several days because we were so comfortable there.
Loving the Pallazzo in Lucca
My travel agent recommended, and booked us at the Palazzo Alexander. From the first time we saw it we loved it and the staff there! We had a little delay getting into Lucca and arrived about 1am. This is an excellent time to drive in Lucca!!
Jon Lucca enthusiatically got us into the parking "lot", an incredible area behind a big green gate, got us checked in and settled. Since we were starving, he rounded up some meat and cheese and got me an excellent glass of Chianti Riserva. The rest of the 3 night stay had equally stellar service from the day staff. From messages at the desk, tracking a package that was supposed to come, and using the parking lot or navigating Lucca by foot or car--everyone was very helpful and just plain nice!
Our room was right on the corner, Turandot, over the breakfast room. Large, incredibly high ceilings and Palazzo like textiles and furnishings. Good sized bathroom with a shower. There was a tour group in the building two days. I only know because there was someone knocking on doors two mornings, rousting people. Other than that, I never heard others in rooms or in the hallway. We had our windows open at night. That means that the outside shutters were closed, the windows cracked open, and the inside shutters kind of closed. We were across from the local courts and although we could hear some street noise, not enough to necessitate closing the windows during the day or the night.
There is a computer in the lobby to use, no wireless (boo hoo) and breakfast until 11am which was well appreciated since I am not much of a morning person. I needed that doppio espresso to get started each morning. Oh yes--and an elevator. Very helpful to move bags around.
By the way, we loved Lucca and would have stayed in the City, at the Palazzo Alexander had we had the time and the hotel had the availability. Lovely hotel in a lovely city!!
New Years in LUCCA
From San Gimi we drove to the Cinque Terre, which is described in another chapter. After leaving the Cinque Terre, we drove the autostrada very quickly to little town of Lucca back in Tuscany, which is located only about 15 minutes away from Pisa. Along the highway we saw the white snow capped mountain peaks of the Ligurian Mountains (or the Apuan Alps) reflecting in the sunlight and made for a pretty scene.
Lucca is another walled-in city. We finally found an entrance and followed some alley way which takes us to the Palazzo Alexander, our hotel. This was a pretty nice and very accommodating facility. Everyone there was apologizing to us for the unusually colder weather they were having. In spite of that which didn’t bother us at all, we find the place still full of tourists.
Unpacking at the hotel, we notice that the zipper on my 20-year-old duffel bag from Lands End has broken open. Oh oh. In tiny little Lucca of all places, I find a shoemaker like two blocks away from our hotel. The bad news was that his shop doesn’t open as we were told, until “15 and 50”, which we figured out to mean 330pm. At 330 pm, the shoe shop clerk takes my bag into his rear workshop and returns about 10 minutes later all repaired. He has it all fixed as new. He looks at me and tells me the charge will be1 euro! I give him 2 and was so happy just to avoid a potential disastrous situation with damaged luggage.
We take a walk around the old town and find a skating rink, band stage, and carousel in the main piazza area, all getting ready for some New Year’s Eve events. For our special New Year’s Eve event, we saw a poster earlier in the day in our hotel lobby, which was advertising some special Puccini (opera /arias) Concert to be held in an ancient basilica. Then we learn that this is Giacomo Puccini’s home town and then we notice that it shows everywhere. Even the rooms in our hotel, which didn’t have room numbers, but rather each was named after various Puccini operas. Ours was Gianni Schicchi – but we just kept referring to it as the ‘Johnny’ room.
The concert was limited to only 100 seats, so it was a very intimidate experience. This was a grand old stone church, with three aisles and regular dining room seats, instead of church pews. We bought our tickets at the door and sat in the fourth row, being about 15 feet from being face to face contact with the performers. What a grand group they were, great sopranos, tenors consisting of three beautiful ladies (1 being a Julia Roberts look alike) all dressed up in fancy evening gowns, fur collars etc. The one male was in a tuxedo and they all had voices that almost shook out the old windows. One of them was treated like some type of super star of some repute, but was unknown to us. There was a live full operatic orchestra plus a backup choir, who only sang the refrain responses during a one song from ‘Carmen’ the whole evening. It truly was one of the nicest events I have ever seen in my life. I didn’t even mind that it was so cold you could see your breath coming out of your mouth.
During one evening to escape the colder weather (now in the mid-thirties), we popped into a Salvador Dali exhibition that was going on. Not too much to like there. We also did a tour through the Palazzo Mansi – a local royalty’s old mansion that was very impressive. Their music recital room on the second floor was bigger that our whole house. Somehow this became our “culture trip” without our knowing it.
Getting tourist postcards in Lucca was a quaint little adventure. First you buy the cards off any rack in town. Then you have to buy postcard stamps that are only sold at certain ‘Tobacchi’ stores, and then you have to find only certain specially marked postal boxes for mail that leaves the country. Sending a few cards can take about 1-1/2 hours. Again here in Lucca we find that all the retail stores close from 1230 to 330 pm. Plenty of time for those long Italian lunch meals
"New Year’s Eve,"
We found that it’s ‘Buon Giorno’ all day, then at “15 and 50” it goes to ‘Buona Sera’
New Year’s Eve, back at the hotel after the Puccini concert, started off with some expected street noise of firecrackers. Then came the singing couples in the hallway (late), then they started to shoot off some champagne corks bouncing off the hallways walls while loudly laughing a good deal. Now, I have seen this in movies and/or TV situations, but never a real life experience like this next event - about three minutes after midnight, we hear a female guest voice in another room sounding with groans of ecstasy coming through her wooden door, across the hallway, and through our wooden door – “ah.. ah.., AAH!”. The next morning in the hotel’s breakfast room, Joan and I were looking around secretly from table to table trying to identify the noisemakers from last night. Only in Italy – Buon Anno!
Another day we walked around Lucca’s old amphitheatre from the 1st century BC. In the present day form, it has been filled in with shops and colorful apartments but still has many of the original walls intact. Today the area is known as the “Piazza dell Anfiteatro”.
In Lucca, during a day exploration, we found a nice quaint looking place that seemed to be a good restaurant choice for later that evening. Our hotel guy tells us that it is probably the best restaurant in town. Buca di San Antonio. We go there at 700 for dinner. Oops, they don’t open until 730pm; the owner’s wife takes us in anyway, sits us by a main fireplace in a little bar area, and we order 2-vino rosso locale. She then uncorks a bottle of Fubbiano rosso, 2002, leaves it with us and wanders off.
This was our big New Years Eve meal: We have a full Italian menu. antipasto of chicken liver pate with grilled Tuscan breads. Then the primo piatta consisted of risotto with pumpkin; then the secondi piatta; Joan has stewed wild boar with olives and a corn polenta (the first meat she has in 7 days and boy did she really order a meat dish!). Ed has roasted veal shank with spinach croquettes which looked like two green hockey pucks to us. When the meals arrived, we must have looked kind of bewildered so the waiter had to come and point to the item on the menu and then to us, so we knew which one and what we were having….. Mine was called “Stinco di vitella al forno”. Man, it was the best stinko I ever had!
"onto nearby Pisa"
Upon checking out of the hotel in Lucca, we take a short morning drive over to Pisa where we have an afternoon flight leaving Italy and going to Amsterdam. We are using an Internet only booking airline based in Amsterdam called Transavia. It flies only 2x a week from Pisa with 49e one-way fares. After worrying a little on the way to the airport if this airline actually existed, it turned out to be great.
Christmas in Lucca
We will be in Lucca on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of December, 2005. That is a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Will anything be open in Lucca or the surrounding areas on Christmas Day?
RE: Christmas in Lucca
everything open on 23rd and 24th, not only but everyone would be in the streets for the latest xmas shopping.
everything closed ont he 25th !
RE: RE: Christmas in Lucca
Thank you for the information. Do you have any suggestions on what to do Christmas Day? Are the trains running? Should we go to a city such as Florence or will everything there be closed as well? I think that our hotel, Palazzo Alexander only serves breakfast. We will have to plan ahead. Thanks.
RE: RE: Christmas in Lucca
Gosh, maybe I sound too panic.
every shop will be closed but you still will be able to eat and move.
public transport will probably run in the morning only while few restaurants and bar will be open for sure and you'll be able to get lunch.
I would say the best thing to do would be to ask your hotel before get there which restaurants will be open and book a table a bit in advance.
Suggestion would be to go in the countryside but you'd need a car.
Trains are definetely running although they may have different schedule than normal. go to www.trenitalia.com and check.