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“Elegance and charm - and yummy food!”

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Hotel Villa Paradiso
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Meina
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Elegance and charm - and yummy food!”
Reviewed 18 August 2013

We went on a long weekend to Villa Paradiso in August 2013. We booked through Teletext, and flew into Milan Malpensa on Easyjet.

First tip - book the bus from Malpensa to Lago Maggiore in advance - it's organised by the local region and only 7 Euros each way. www.safduermila.com, tel 00113970032. Plush seats, and air conditioning. As it happens, the driver let us on without an advance booking, but the hotel emailed for our booking going back to the airport - pay on the bus. The journey took @45 minutes, with a lovely view and dropped us off at Lido da Meina (the second Meina stop), which is just across from the Hotel Paradiso. Walk to the zebra crossing to get across the road, which is very busy - cars, bicycles in droves with men in lycra, motor cycles - all going crazy fast.

We had a back bedroom on the 1st floor which was very quiet, and as it was a corner room, had a view of the lake from the bathroom. If you plan to spend time in your room, do pay for the lake view which is a dream. However, keep your windows shut, as there are mosquitos, including the Tiger Mosquito, which leaves a huge welt if you scratch the bite - we had to go to a chemist and get antibiotic ointment, and my partner had to go on penicillin for a week when we got back b/c the bite on his ankle swelled and went purple like a plum and his foot enlarged with a dull red sheen. Scary. Am told if you take antihistamine tablets the bites don't do this.

We had lunch on the terrace overlooking the lake when we arrived, which was delicious - spaghetti carbonara & a bottle of beer. We were Half Board, and enjoyed a buffet cooked breakfast each morning and three course dinner each night - fresh, lovely food, and excellent frizzante house wine. Took our drinks to the terrace after dinner on the first night, which was the source of the mosquito bites.

The beach of the hotel is across the road - the water is warm and clear. Loungers and parasols provided. The pool is long enough to do laps, with sun loungers and a ping pong table at the back of the garden - manicured, and mature. The hotel is an 18th century villa converted in 1958 (or so) and updated from time to time - the ceilings in our bedroom were 14 ft high or so - impressive.

We took the bus to neighbouring Arona, which we found nice for a stroll along the water, and bought excursion tickets for the Lago Maggiore Express - a must do - www.lagomaggioreexpress.com . We chose the two day ticket, which on day one is a cruise along the lake stopping at every major town, all the way to Locarno in Switzerland. Book lunch in advance, or when you first get on the boat - 17 Euros for three courses including water, wine & coffee - we had absolutely gorgeous starter of pasta and risotto, followed by tender pink lake trout panfried with rosemary & roast potatos - didn't realise there were two courses, so had to sleep it off on the top sundeck afterwards.

In Locarno we went to the Castle Visconti at the edge of town, which has some interesting murals and exhibit on 1925 peace conference. Then (as part of the ticket) we took a train into the Alps - the exhibition carriage has windows floor to ceiling and costs 5 Euros more, but worth it. Lots of amazing glimpses of Alpine meadows, gorges cut into stone with clear glacial streams, geese, farmland, stone huts - ending up in Domodorsola, where we caught another train getting back into Stresa, where we caught the last bus (around 7pm) into Meina. In the Alps there is one town with "Boris Bikes" you can rent and cycle down into the valleys.

The next day (as part of the ticket) we caught the boat as a hop on / hop off service, and went to Isola Bella, which is a palace, still owned by the Borromeo family. Breathtaking - formal staterooms on the 1st floor, including the bedroom slept in by Napoleon and Josephine overlooking the lake, and a three-storey-tall ceiling over the ballroom. The basement / water level are grottos displaying statuary & archaeological finds from around the lake, including Etruscan pots and an Iron Age canoe, and a set of fine tapestries.

The gardens at Isola Bella are legendary - terraced levels with statues and espaliered citrus trees. There are white peacocks and an aviary of parakeets. The gift shop is tasteful and and the coffee shop reasonably priced - they have lemon and orange ice creams in scooped out fruit made locally. There's one ferry a day on a Sunday which stops at Meina around 6:15 at night - luckily we made it - otherwise, you can go to Arona or Stresa, but as another reviewer wrote, there is no evening bus service, so you'll have to get a taxi, which we were told costs 30 Euros or so.

In conclusion, this was a MAGIC holiday in an elegant, charming hotel - we felt we were going back in time - there were even crests on the pillowslips and the name of the hotel on the shampoo and soap in the bathroom. The hotel is privately owned, and the owner very kindly loaned us local travel guides to read in our room without buying them. I note we are a couple, not going out dancing, but there were young people at the hotel, which has a bar - I believe there are nightclubs in Stresa.

Room Tip: Pay more for the lake if you want to stay in your room, but back room is quiet; 1st floor in the mai...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank LivingForTheTrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2013

I spent 5 nights here with a friend in May 2013. The staff were lovely; the food delicious and our room was very nice. We found it to be a really convenient location for exploring the area using public transport. Excellent buses & trains that linked to the ferries - we really didn't need a car. The weather was dodgy but the hotel warm & comfortable.

Room Tip: The front has lake views and the back is very peaceful - I don't think it matters which room you...
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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2 Thank Millymollyfrankie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glenfinnan, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2013

Stayed here for a week in mid May, weather was awful but the hotel was good. Went with Thomson/Crystal flying EasyJet. Great transfer from airport in private hire minibus.

Our room was on the second floor at the front and had a lovely lake view, there was no balcony but it was OK just sitting at the French Windows. The room was very well furbished and very clean, bathroom was spacious with the exception of the shower which large people would have a struggle with.

We liked sitting in the conservatory for our meals and would disagree with other comments that it makes you feel second class, it was a lovely bright and airy place to sit with great views, while by comparison the main dining room was busy with a coach group and seemed duller and more traditional.

Food varied from OK to excellent and we had no issues with ordering for the evening at breakfast. Best meal of the week was the Gorgonzola Risotto which was outstanding. Choice at breakfast buffet was a bit restricted but we have found this is fairly common across Italy as breakfast is only considered a light snack. The waiting staff were superb, the Maitre d, Amadeo, is very professional and helpful, particularly when recommending wines from the excellent list, while his assistant Massimo has a quirky sense of humour that really lifts the atmosphere.

We did not find the location by the road a problem, when in the hotel you barely notice the traffic, and it was easy to walk along the side of the road if necessary to get to buses or into Meina. However there are a lot of lovely walks around Meina through the back lanes just by going out of the small gate at the far corner of the grounds above the car park. Meina itself is a charming little place and the Supermarket there is very well stocked and only 10 minutes away.

With the bus stop just down the road and the train station five minutes’ walk away, public transport is easy to use and we found both buses and trains punctual and clean with very helpful staff. The bus to Stresa runs every hour and only cost us 1.95 Euros each. It helps to get the change ready. The bus stop coming back from Stresa is not well marked but is by the Church opposite the pier.

Things we did:

Train to Milan – very easy, direct from station in Meina to Milan then underground to city centre by Duomo. Cathedral is amazing from outside but gloomy inside, then walked to Castello Sforzesco, interesting old castle with lovely grounds.

Borromean Islands – Favourite was Isola Madre, nice and peaceful, Isola Bella is a must see but very busy and somehow seems unreal. Villa Taranto gardens on opposite shore very interesting and well worth a couple of hours.

Centovalli Railway and Locarno – caught the train from Meina up to Domodossola, then short walk to Centovalli train, we got one of the new panoramic trains and the views we got were jaw dropping. Locarno a pleasant place to spend an hour or two before catching the ferry back down the lake. NB the travel agents in Stresa opposite the main pier (Tomassucci www.stresatravel.com) were incredibly helpful and sorted us out with a 2 day rover ticket covering rail and ferry for 45 Euros each.

Mottarone Cable car – short walk along the front from Stresa to base station. Incredible 360 panoramas from the top.

The Villa Paradiso would not suit everyone, certainly not young families or those with mobility problems as there are a lot of slopes and stairs to cope with. There is not a lot of night life so once back at the hotel you are there for the night.

The beach looked nice but was mostly underwater when we were there, and the pool was closed due to the colder than expected weather. However in all the rain and storms we experienced did not stop us doing anything and there were several sunny spells during which we found some nice cafes and bars to do some people watching. At least we did not have any problems with mozzies.

Niggles? A couple of mornings there was no hot water as the coach group that was in left early and used it all up. The wifi is patchy and frustrating having to renew the password every day. The owner was usually to be seen gliding Basil Fawlty like around the hotel, checking this and adjusting that, but never stopping to speak to his guests.

Overall really enjoyed our stay here and would recommend it as a good base for exploring while being in a peaceful location away from the main resorts.

Room Tip: Go for a front room on either floor 2 or 3 for the best lake views. Rooms at the back do not get the...
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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5 Thank Bobsatravellin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2013

I recently spent 5 days at the Paradiso with a friend. We had a lovely twin room on the third floor, and despite being a very light sleeper I was not disturbed by being close to the train line. The room was kept very clean and all the staff were lovely. From the hotel we managed to do everything we wanted to using only public transport, including a trip to Milan and a train ride to Switzerland. The weather was mixed, so we did not feel any urgent need to go out after dinner, but it is possible to go for a walk behind the hotel, but sadly not by the lake. The food was varied and of a high standard, and it really wasn't a problem deciding in the morning. Overall I would recommend the hotel as a good base for exploring in May/June. Public transport changed in the school holidays when a car would probably help.

Room Tip: Third floor at the back is probably quietest and has the highest ceilings
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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1 Thank skybluestraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burgess Hill, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2013

We booked this hotel with the Thomson discovery package, and was not disappointed. The restaurant staff were excellent with special mention to Amadeu and Massimo who were brilliant.The village of Meina is very quiet, but if you read Trip Advisor you would have been aware of this and if not to your liking booked for nearly twice the price in Stressa. I would recommend this hotel to anyone wanting a clean, quiet hotel, serving very good food.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Keith H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
455 reviews
156 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 250 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 May 2013

We rarely return anywhere but we had stopped here Easter 2012 and wanted to take my husbands elderly parents for a 50th wedding anniversary treat. We knew they would like the traditional room and food so rebooked to come back late May this year.
We had booked independently so I emailed the hotel before travel - they sent back a lovely response and gave us a table in the convervatory overlooking the lake. They also did a cake for my husbands parents which they loved.
The table you are allocated is your table for the duration of your stay - breakfast and dinner. We found the food very good although we were only there for 3 nights. Breakfast is fine with adequate choice and the dinner in the evenings was freshly prepared and of a good quality. I don't think for the money you can complain about the food. The coach parties are seated in the proper restaurant next door so the noise level is not too bad
The bar is fine and the drinks good value. You get little nibbles with the beer and wine and biscuits with coffee and tea!
The rooms are large and we had booked lake view which is lovely. They are quite dated but very clean and have all you need. Shower is very powerful although there was a small issue with the water temperature in the mornings - i think all the coach guests get up and ready at once and so it puts pressure on the water system!
The hotel is on a busy road but in an elevated position so you are not disturbed by traffic noise and this does enhance the view from your room and dinner table.
I would say that if you stay here you do really need a car - public transport is limited - a car will give you freedom and flexibility and there is ample free parking at the hotel.
Staff are very friendly and will do their utmost to make your stay comfortable and pleasant
This was an ideal choice for us

Room Tip: Pay extra for the lake view room - the view is worth the small extra cost!
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank davidandmel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 May 2013 via mobile

Travelled to the Paradiso on a Thomson discovery tour package, but discovered Thomson appeared to have sub-let the tour to a company called Cristal, who didn't measure up to previous Thomson experiences.

Our small room had an excellent view of the lake, the beds were very comfortable and cleaning staff kept it really clean throughout our stay. The room had a tiny en-suite bathroom with no bath and space at a premium in the shower - not really enough room for a couple to stow all their gear. Menu was limited with little choice and the evening meal had to be ordered at breakfast! Got the impression that there weren't enough staff on duty to cope with workload at mealtimes. Tour customers ate in a conservatory annexe and meant you felt a bit like second-class citizens. Free WiFi was great, but codes had to be renewed by reception every 24 hours, so became irritating. Staff very friendly and did their best to be helpful.

Hotel a bit isolated and located on a busy road that is dangerous to walk on and public transport appeared to end at 19.30 leaving an expensive taxi (€30 to Stresa one way) your only option. The bar was a dull and gloomy affair that didn't seem to get a lot of use, so with no public transport it was usually an early night after dinner! However, it is a small hotel so very quiet.

Some internal wildlife prevalent at the hotel, Lots of spiders, mozzies and ants in eating area and en-suite bathroom.
Air con in room, but had to ask for it to be turned on.

Tour Rep pleasant, but obviously new and under informed: didn't know trains would be on strike: bus times on a Sunday and wrote wrong times on excursion tickets. The excursions: Zermatt, long journey with very early start; anticipated railway trip up mountain never happened so spent three hours in Zermatt, which was way too long; guide Barbara excellent and showed us Fuchs restaurant which was very good; 3 Lakes, another 7 hours on coach but three nice stops and Barbara a mine of information again; Milan, a good day out.

Overall, an enjoyable holiday but the hotel does have some shortcomings and so not quite paradise.

Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Maccoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Villa Paradiso

Property: Hotel Villa Paradiso
Address: Via del Sempione 125, 28046 Meina, Italy
Region: Italy > Piedmont > Lake Maggiore > Meina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Meina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Villa Paradiso 4*
Number of rooms: 57
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Also Known As:
Hotel Villa Paradiso Meina, Lake Maggiore, Italy

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