Like a few others we read the reviews AFTER we'd booked this place and were a little worried. However, we've just come back after a week at the Hotel Il Duca and can say without any hestiation we'd stay there again. Its a family ran hotel, located right on the edge of the pedestrianised area of the old part of the city (okay saying pedestrianised is pushing it as the locals seem to ignore the rules but hey we're in italy :) )
Yes we were a little worried when the first thing we had to do was pay a 42 euro `tourist` tax, which came into effect in July (after we'd booked), this would have been fine if the man on reception could have said it himself, but he was trying to find his crib sheet which had it pre-written for him, but couldnt find it, so we were really worrying why we were being asked to pay more on a pre-paid trip. Needless to say once we had paid and settled into the room we were more then happy. Clean and simple rooms, with 1 english speaking channel (CNN - be prepared to see a lot of Piers Morgan and the same adverts over and over) but we not in italy for the rooms, thats just our place for sleeping).
Breakfast was at 8am, so yes not exactly early, but what the give was really fresh and tasty. Brioche and light cakes and coffee. Fruit juices available too oh and cereal. Not an `english` breakfast, but i wasnt in England. :)
After our first day out, we returned (our italian becoming a little more flowing then when just arrived) and the simple nods and afternoon/evenings to the staff were reciprocated with a smile.
If you have any problems with the room i can understand that the family may struggle if cannot communicate easily, but i found a quick check on google translate gave me an idea of what to say etc and we didnt have any issues arise.
On evening prior to our check out, i spoke with the gentleman on reception asking for our passports to be returned as we had an early start (5am), he wrote down the time as he returned our passports, and i thought nothing of it. We got up at 4 and were all packed up and rang the taxi company (note - when they say will be 5 mins they MEAN it, they are QUICK and its fixed cost from airport to hotel and back!!). Carrying our luggage down the stairs (there is no lift for the 1 floor there is) and in reception was the lovely gentleman who was waiting for us, he unbolted the huge door and waved us off.. people who said they found the family cold and unhelpful missed something i think. He wished us a safe trip and we left. As i said, we'll be back.
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