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“Great food, Great staff and beautiful view”
Review of Il Sole Di Ranco

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Il Sole Di Ranco
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ranco
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 November 2007

What a find! I was searching for cooking classes in Italy but specifically on Lake Maggiore since we had never been there before. There weren't a lot of options. In October however, it is off season so two of the options I found, were not available that time of year. I happen to read a review in Conde Nast Traveler about this wonderful restaurant on Lake Maggiore where on rare occasion, the chef will give a cooking lesson. When I researched the restaurant, I found out it was a 3 star Michelin award winner and the hotel was a Relais & Chateaux hotel. So, I started my quest to get the chef to give me cooking lessons. I e-mailed several times and waited weeks before I finally got a reply to my request as it was there busy season when I was inquiring. My husband and I made reservations and I had confirmed cooking lessons so we made our way to Ranco. We had no idea how tiny the village was until we arrived. Unbelievable, this excellent restaurant was out here in this tiny village but it is easy to make trips to other locations all around the lake.
The staff could not have been nicer. We were greated the moment we arrived in the parking lot by one of the family members. We had reserved a jr. suite and were shown 3 options so we could make our own selection. The room we selected had twin beds so the staff moved the beds together and rearranged the furniture for us. The bathroom was very spacious with a marble tub and a separate shower. They went out of their way to accomodate us, it was such a pleasant experience.
The restaurant was fabulous. They showed my husband their wine cellar which houses 22,000 bottles of wine! I began my cooking lessons to find that the chef has about 14 sous chefs. I spent each day in a different chef's area of expertise, tasting as we progressed of course. Since I do not speak Italian, they provided a translator for me.
Although we were there in their off season, I find it hard to believe that anyone could write a bad review on this hotel and restaurant. The view and the grounds alone are unreal they are so fantastic. We could not have been more pleased, it was a great trip to Italy and a great stay in Ranco! I am recommending this hotel and restaurant to all my traveling friends.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled with family
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1  Thank temp.europeans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 - 53 of 156 reviews

Reviewed 17 September 2007

I stayed at this hotel with my husband and 2 children for 2 nights.
we had the surprise suite which was very spacious and nicely decorated. the sofabed for the children was one of high quality and large enough for two poeple. Often when you are travelling with children the extrabeds are extremely junky and uncomfortable.
I didn´t eat the restaurant although now i wish i did. it looked very nice and the menue was very appealing, but it seemed too fancy to eat there with the kids. there is a very good restaurant across the street.
i loved the setting and the peacefulness of ranco and the hotel. there is a great pool with a really nice view of the lake.
a delicious breakfast is served on the terrace and the whole atmosphere is very relaxing.
would go back and then try the restaurant. the staff was very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled with family
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Thank anit D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2007

Il Sole di Ranco has been in the ownership of the same family for 150 years and it shows, they've lost the plot!
My wife and I stayed there for four nights in early July with two friends from New Zealand. This was their second visit; the first having been 10 years ago. They were looking forward eagerly to their return but were somewhat disappointed.
The Good? Location: Perfectly situated on the lake with lovely grounds and an excellent swimming pool.
The Bad? The Restaurant. On the first evening we ordered drinks before dinner; they took 35 minutes to arrive and then only after I had asked for them 3 times. They were presented with a few pretzels on a saucer and some inedible yellow cakes which proved useful in silencing, for too short a period, the dog next door who barked throughout most of the evening.
All guests ate outside on the terrace, whilst the mosquitoes ate the guests.
The menu arrived exactly 1 hour after we did. Some dishes had a date next to them; our friends explained that these were the dates the dishes had been created. I'm not sure that is correct. We had two such dishes and they were both so cold that we felt the dates were more likely to be the years that they had been cooked!
The wine list is full of wines well past their sell-by date. The performance of the Sommelier in presenting the wines after swilling it from glass to glass is surely designed to divert the guests' attention from what he is serving. Our tip; go for the younger wines.
The waiters are poorly trained. They constantly had to be asked to remove empty mixer bottles and redundant glassware from the table and found it impossible to remember or record who was eating what and what cutlery was required. One knife brought after a second request was filthy. Was it deliberately so?
Service was a combination of erratic and non-existent. Some items never arrived at all and a salad ordered to accompany a main course steak arrived with the dessert.
The evenings had no pace; with an hour being the longest wait between courses; and all the time the mosquitoes quietly ate us.
Once dessert had been served the guests are abandoned. One evening my wife had the temerity to ask for a Limoncello (after all we were in Italy!). "No" was the surly response of the waiter whose attention we had finally managed to attract. Only the intervention of the resident duty family member resulted in the production (after nearly 10 minutes) of a warm glass of the yellow liquid.

The Average? My wife and I stayed in the "Surprise Suite". Excellent views of the lake and a good bed with top quality linen. The bath has a "shower over" arrangement with no curtain or anti-slip mat; so even if you avoid falling over in the bath you are likely to do so on the water-covered floor. There were no fly-screens on the windows so the mosquitoes were able to continue their meals throughout the night without interruption.
Breakfast was just about average. Plastic yoghurt in impossible to open plastic pots. Well cooked eggs smartly served by the excellent waitress (regrettably never on duty in the evening) but at a cost of 5 euros an item. Il Sole di Ranco is far from cheap and so this is an unnecessary annoyance.
So, would we stay again? No. If you want an excellent property on the side of a lake, with superb food and service, try Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown, New Zealand. It's a long, long way from Il Sole di Ranco in more ways than one.

Do my views mean anything? Well I'm 59 years old; a retired Solicitor with a home in England and a house just outside Nice, France.We travel extensively and occasionally stay in Relais properties. We cruise two or three times a year on Seadream, Seabourn, or Silversea. We enjoyed our time in Ranco thanks to the excellent company of our friends and fellow guests. No thanks to Il Sole (except for the waitress and the egg-chef)
nor the Mosquitoes!

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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Thank BRCOxton_Wirral
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2007

We just returned from a five week visit to Italy (our fifth in eight years), with a two night stay at Il Sole capping off our stay. On this trip we experienced everything from one to five star accomodations (based on the Italian rating system), and ate in everything from pizza joints to Michelin-rated establishments.

Il Sole ranks among the top in our book. The hotel is charming (we stayed in the main building with a lake view, top floor suite), and we were greated with a basket of fruit, cookies and amaretto in our room, much welcome after a long day of driving the nearby twisting, narrow and interesting mountain roads. The lovely hostess, Tatiana steered us to the restaurant next door for a tasty and reasonably priced dinner with a decent wine selection, also reasonably priced. We had reservations at their Michelin rated restauarant for our last night in Italy, and were not disappointed. We found the food and service to be excellent, and this even in light of the staff needing to scramble to re-seat diners at 10 pm when a world-class thunderstorm struck.

The negative comments in prior TripAdvisor commentary were simply not observed or experienced during our wonderful stay. We had no problem with the car park, found the grounds beautiful and the pool a bonus, and were treated warmly and graciously. The prices were well in keeping with other restaurants and hotels of this caliber (and we actually spent twice as much on dinner last year in three Michelin restaurants in Spain).

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank slcbiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2006

Let's get this clear. Sole di Ranco is a rally excellent restaurant. When you arrive, the directions given are to the car park - Ristorante Sole, not the hotel.

The food in the restaurant is up there with anything I have eaten in Italy and the wine list (let them choose for you) is unbeatable. Plus, when we went to the local wine shop, the price of the wine at the restaurant was not much more than the price at the wine shop, so although the wine is expensive, it is because it is the best available, not because you are being ripped off - that said, dinner for two came to more than the cost of the room, and with there being little in the way of alternatives nearby, you need to budget 240 Euros plus per night for dinner - they do not have a table d'hote. Decor in the restaurant and in the hotel was a little 1970's and tired; it is clear that this is a family and not internationally run hotel and therefoe budgets are not elastic.

The rooms though were disappointing. If I went again, I would choose a standard non lake view room. We chose a lake view junior suite which was a maisonette type arrangement with the lounge in the entrance hall and upstairs, the bedroom and bathroom. Because the bedroom and bathroom is in the roof, there were in fact no windows of any note. This first made the room claustrophobic and secondly, even in Feburary it was hot without the noisy air conditioning machine on (which you could not sleep with being on). Therefore the balcony lake view was downstairs and really the lake view was a waste of money - you want to see the lake from your bed when you wake up. In addition, whilst there was a walk in wardrobe with coat rail, there was no drawer space or facilities whatsoever; you need to keep everything else in your suitcase. TV if you are inclined was a tiny portable tv in the bedroom area. There is one suite in the main building (most of the rooms are in an annex across the courtyard) which is on one floor and not split level, which did look good, and so advice is, unless that suite is not taken up, don't spend extra on this.

Breakfast was small and really not to standard bearing in mind the cost of the room. You can have extras and they are good, but you need to pay extra (minimum of about 5 Euros per item).

What the hotel doesn't advertise enough is the garden which slopes down to the lake and has its own swimming pool (not sure if it is heated).

You arrive in the car park (covered) below the garden and need to walk up the slope. If you arrive or go out late (after 11pm), let the owners know, as they close the gate at that time and you won't be able to get back in without taking your key.

That said, Andrea who runs the hotel and his team are very friendly and will arrange whatever you need. This is a place for good food with some rest in a moderate hotel; in other words a good restaurant with a hotel attached, not the other way round.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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10  Thank peb7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2005

We recently stayed at several hotels in the region during our honeymoon. I can honestly say that Il Sole di Ranco was the absolute best in the small/boutique luxury hotel category. Moreover, the restaurant was fantastic and a tremendous value. 2 of the other hotels we stayed at also had restaurants rated in the Michelin guide (and were also in the Relais & Chataeux book). However, Il Sole was in a class by itself. It is only a matter of time before the restaurant receives its second (and even 3rd) star from Michelin.

Andrea, one of the owners, was a fantastic host and made us feel as if we were at home. The entire staff was extremely pleasant, and the hotel took care of booking our activities on the lake. They even took care of the bill at a local cafe/bar so that we wouldn't need to worry about paying for anything outside of the hotel.

The room was very comfortable and nicely decorated - with a great view of the lake.

We had a fantastic time and would recommend the hotel to everyone. It is only 30 minutes from Malpensa, which is also a positive. It is a tremendous place to stay on your way back to Milano from the Alps, etc.

  • Stayed: March 2005
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9  Thank VJO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2004

If you are visiting this area (for example when coming from switzerland), you should definitely check out this hotel. It's located at the beautiful lago maiore and it's a small, family owned hotel. Really charming.

It's really lovely, everyone cares for you there. Definitely book a room with a view to the lake, it's worth it. You can sit on a small balcony and have a bottle of wine there. Also the restaurant is outstanding as well. The rooms are really nice.

Check before, whether it's closed on the day of your visit. Also there is another really nice restaurant in this small village.

Be aware that this hotel is really hard to find - you’ll need a good map. Ranco is a really, really small village. Better be prepared.

6  Thank ThomasTravelTester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Il Sole Di Ranco

Address: Piazza Venezia 5, 21020 Ranco, Italy
Region: Italy > Lombardy > Lake Maggiore > Ranco
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ranco
Price Range: £129 - £217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Il Sole Di Ranco 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
14 camere distribuite su due edifici che si specchiano sul lago. Una parte delle camere è situata nell'edificio in cui l'hotel si è originariamente sviluppato, per lo più disposte su du piani senza ascensore, mentre l'altra parte si trova nell'edificio in cui è situata la reception, recentemente rinnovata e dotata di ascensore. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Il Sole Di Ranco Hotel Ranco
Il Sole Di Ranco Varese
Il Sole Di Ranco Italy - Lake Maggiore

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