Lovely staff, a comfortable, modern hotel with good, imaginative food and easy access to some of Italy's hidden history gems; the hotel Allegria has the lot.
Really it does. And there's more: how many city centre hotels with rooms at €120 a night (including a good buffet breakfast) offer valet parking in a secure, underground car park accessed by its own lift, for €11 a day?
None that I know of, and certainly none where the ever helpful Massimo on the front desk (or, once the charming chef) would vanish into the depths of the building and appear a few minute later with the keys to your rental car, parked in the little alley outside.
If it sounds as though I'm making too much of mere parking facilities, consider this: the streets of central Udine are choc-a-bloc with parked cars from morning to night and you'll pay one euro an hour if you find a space. The Allegria is cheap by comparison.
Very well priced in other directions too. It must have cost the family which owns it a largish fortune to rip down the old Allegria a few years ago and build in its place a hotel where even the design of the wardrobes in the bedrooms is carefully considered - and looks like a smiling face with both doors closed.
The shower in our room was quite the largest I've encountered this side of a five star hotel and (rejoice!) there were enough drawers to hide five days' worth of clothing. Amazing how many hotels get that wrong.
Also very right indeed at the Allegria is the staff. Two stand out; Abigail in the dining room and Massimo on the desk. Abi was charm itself and so, so helpful at explaining a dinner menu that had been translated but still left you puzzled. The 'whole strawberry' for desert, for instance. Turned out to be a mixture of sorbet, strawberries, custard and meringue, and delicious.
A small point here; the menu is changed every couple of months but for guests staying the five nights we enjoyed, the choice is a bit limited. Some good Italian staples, like spaghetti, for instance, would be welcome and I'm certain the Allegria's chefs could add their own modern twist.
One delightful unmodern touch is the smart outdoor bowling green, whose artificial surface pays homage to the fact that there's always been a bowls club at the hotel and a total rebuild was no time to ditch the tradition.
You'll find bowlers, of a certain age, enjoying a lazy drink and a game of cards with their friends in the Allegria's modern bar that faces the street which passes the hotel.
A final point. For anyone unfamiliar with north east Italy and who loves the whole Italian cultural experience, from cathedrals dripping in Renaissance paintings to distinguished 18th century villas, the region will keep you busy for days. The Udine tourist office has lots of leaflets, in English, with all the details, but you'll have to ask.
Ask anything of anyone at the Allegria and the answer will be 'yes, of course.'
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- Also Known As:
- Allegria Hotel Udine