LOCATION: Bellinzona Youth Hostel “VILLA MONTEBELLO” is located at Via Nocca 4, near to Castello Montebello, about 15 minutes' walk from Bellinzona train station.
When you exit the station, follow the main road Viale Stazione which will lead you pass Piazza Collegiate & Piazza Nosetto, turn Left onto Via Camminata and at a roundabout, exit onto Piazza Indipendenza, continue down Via Fulgenzio Bonzanigo, then turn Left onto Via Nocca and stay on this road till you see the entry gate to a 5-storey historic building with a butter-yellow exterior with rows of pale blue shutters.
When you see “ISTITUTO SANTA MARIA” on its façade, you've found the right place, this is indeed the Youth Hostel “Villa Montebello”. Not easy to find for 1st timers, even more of a challenge when you are travelling with heavy bags...
ROOM: We stayed in a clean and compact Twin Room simply furnished with: 2 single beds; bedside table with reading lamp; desk with drawers & a chair; open-wardrobe with hangers & ample storage space; small CRT TV; wall-mounted shelves and storage cubes.
We were assigned a room on the highest floor and it was very hot & stuffy (especially in the day). It was so unbearable that we had to keep the room door open for better ventilation, which defeated the purpose of paying more for a private room.
Bellinzona was having very warm weather (32-35°C) during our stay so we had trouble sleeping at night. We tried to borrow a table fan from Reception but none were available. Trying to sleep with the windows open didn't work as all sorts of winged insects invaded our room & they really bothered us. We failed to get a good night's rest throughout our stay here.
BEDS: both were clean and fairly comfortable but pillows were soft and lumpy. Bed linen was not changed during stay and upon departure, we had to strip the beds and deposit the dirty linen into laundry bins located on each floor.
BATHROOM: no ensuite facilities but in a corner of the room, they have installed lighting and a big mirror above a wash basin. Besides towels, no other amenities were provided.
Communal showers and toilets are located in the hallway and there is even a spacious bathroom with sink, toilet and bathtub. There was adequate water pressure and good supply of hot water in the shower. Toilets were equipped with soap dispensers, toilet rolls and paper towels. Shared facilities were found to be clean most of the time.
F&B: room rate was inclusive of daily breakfast, which was served cafeteria-style in a huge dining hall with a sterile, institutional feel. Breakfast provisions were simple but adequate: bread; cereals/mueslis; butter & assorted jams; cheese, milk & yoghurts; cold cuts; fruit juices; hot chocolate; coffee & tea.
The Hostel has vending machines for drinks and snacks in the lobby.
SERVICE: Room Reservation via direct booking on the Hostel website was quite frustrating, encountered some miscommunication with the Reservation personnel which required numerous emails to resolve.
Check-In & Out proceeded smoothly. Full payment is required upon arrival. Frontline staff are fluent in English; service was efficient but without any warmth.
Didn't like the fact that they asked for a deposit (if I recalled correctly, CHF25~50) for the loan of items like electric fan, iron, kettle and umbrella.
FACILITIES: there is a lift in this historic building, a much-appreciated facility that saved us the hassle of climbing up the stairs to our 5th-floor room. There is a spacious TV Room where guests can watch TV, read or socialize with each other. The Hostel also has a Billiard Room, Gym, and Meeting & Seminar Rooms. Coin-operated washer and dryer are available on the ground floor.
IN SHORT: I wouldn't want to stay at “Villa Montebello” again, mainly because of its inconvenient location, uncomfortable rooms & lack of hospitality.
Besides its 3 famed castles (which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bellinzona does not seem to offer much else of interest to visitors. On hindsight, we should have made this a day-trip instead... Either Lugano or Locarno would make a far better base for exploring the attractions and sights in Ticino.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In Bellinzona the youth hostel welcomes you to the heart of Ticino. The hostel lies at the foot of the Montebello Castle, part of the UNESCO world heritage, only 10 minutes away from the railway-station, in the historic center. It is an ideal departure point for excursions and also a stopover for those travelling across the Alps. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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