Corte del Naviglio is in a working-class area relatively far away from the main points of interest for a tourist. Taking the quaintly bone-shaking linea 2 into the city centre from the terminus next to the hotel costs only €1, but we had to buy the tickets from the local tobacconist’s, which doubled as a bookie’s. The clients left me a little uncomfortable, not least because I was never sure whether they were queuing before me or waiting for a match to end, and the staff there were not always as friendly as those at the hotel itself. However, as Italian public transport operates the continental system of buying a blank ticket and validating it by “clocking on” at the time of use, there is nothing to stop you buying your tickets in bulk, and most tobacconists seem to do them.
While the area is not particularly appealing, the local restaurants are not cheap either (many of them were in any case closed during our stay in August). We found that the cover charges for bread etc. provided at the time food was ordered combined with overpriced soft drinks to make eating out an expensive business. Coperta charges are technically illegal, since they are for something that has not been requested, but we were reluctant to argue the toss. The Italians were generally very friendly, although not the best linguists. They clearly had a particular love of children, and the dishes on offer in restaurants were always good.
The hotel's own restaurant was closed when we were there, but there is a covered picnic area by the fish pond where you can eat your own food. One day we actually went to McDonald’s to save cash. On another occasion, we went to the unglamorous university refectory (mensa), which provided one of the best and cheapest meals we had during our stay. We are in our late 30s and arrived with a toddler, but there were no questions asked about our student status. Apart from the ubiquitous takeaway pizza, which most of the restaurants seem to do, buying one of your meals each day at a local mini- or supermarket is a good way of saving money; the local SMA is also well worth visiting if you have an interest in Italian cuisine. Even the table wine sold in cartons was good compared with much of what passes for wine at home. The connoisseurs among you may wish to pack a bottle-opener.
If you are staying in the hotel during the warmer months of peak season, to avoid raiding the mini-bar you will need to go to the supermarket to buy water. We went through about 1.5 litres each a day. It was very hot during our stay at the end of August and beginning of September, and the air conditioning system was never quite the match of the weather. Another point to remember is that the nearby canal means midges in the evening, and they do bite.
The room we were in was clean and well serviced, and we had no complaints about the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet that the hotel provided. In layout it was more akin to a motel, with the rooms freely accessible from the street. Despite the proximity of the main road, ours was not noisy, but on one occasion my wife did have a man open the door to our room, apparently because he was looking for the next-door hotel reception. Our suspicions were raised when he asked her in the same breath if she had a husband! It is a good idea to remember the door chain.
Although not one’s typical idea of a four-star hotel, Corte del Naviglio provided good value, with clean rooms and a great continental breakfast.
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- Also Known As:
- Corte Del Naviglio Milan
- Corte Del Naviglio Hotel Milan