Situated up the mountainside in Mandello del Lario (Lake Como), this rustic, family-run hotel/restaurant oozes charm. Don't come here for luxury, but do come here if you like being nestled in a beautiful valley (part of Grigne Mountain), surrounded by tall trees, listening to birdsong, with Lake Como just down the road.
The Al Verde is really a restaurant with rooms, rather than a hotel. The rooms are simple (most have a private bathroom), clean, but not really set up so that you would spend too much time in them. But with such beautiful walking trails on your doorstep, history everywhere, and Lake Como just down the road, why would you stay in your room anyway? The hotel itself doesn't overlook the lake, but the restaurant has a terrace with a nothing short of stunning view up the valley. It's impossible to get bored with it.
But if you are taking it easy, there is wi-fi in the bar area, and if you're lucky, it will reach your room, but don't count on it. That said, now that roaming fees have been done away with within the EU, it's not such an issue to use your own phone's data package.
The restaurant is very popular with locals (always a good sign) and serves generous portions of delicious home-made dishes. There's nothing that I've tried that I have not yet liked! As for their lemon sorbet...aaah.
This is my second trip here (the first for one week, this time for two weeks). One downside for a trip this long is managing laundry. There are no laundry facilites in the hotel, but the helpful staff will happily lend you a fold-up clothes dryer if you need it. Otherwise there is a self-service laundry in town, and various places where you can get your laundry done.
You do need to have your own transport here, but there is plenty of (free)parking, unlike in town, where it's a constant battle to find somewhere to park for more than one hour.
And for motorbike enthusiasts, Mandello del Lario is home to the Moto Guzzi factory and attracts 'Guzzi' owners from all over the world, many of whom stay at the Al Verde whenever possible. This place has a special place in many hearts!
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