Villa Sassa, Via Tesserete 10, Lugano - Switzerland
My wife and I stayed in one 'room' and a friend of ours stayed in another 'room'. I put room in quotes because in both cases, we got suites -- ours had 2 bedrooms and a living room (about 150 square meters total with white marble floors), his had 1 bedroom and a living room, and both had kitchens with dishwashers, ovens and large refrigerators (but no in-room coffee/tea making facilities!) -- leading me to believe this is not what you would normally understand as a 'hotel'. Rather, I think it is the kind of development where the rooms are individually owned and sometimes occupied by investors while the operator provides hotel booking/hotel management services. There are not so many staff (1-2 on the front desk during the day and a night manager only at night) and the airport pickup service/porterage seems to be provided by a single person so we had to have the front desk book a cab to the airport when we left (6:00 am) because he wasn't on duty at that time of day. In spite of this, the staff were all very pleasant and helpful with restaurant bookings in town, etc. The breakfast buffet (served in the hotel's only restaurant -- although the bar has a fairly large menu of grilled meats, etc) was not the most extensive I have ever seen but the quality of the food was completely satisfactory. In the evenings, the restaurant becomes quite an upscale eatery with many locals (rather wealthy judging from the Ferraris/Maseratis/Bentleys parked outside) dining here. The restaurant terrace offers stunning views over the town to the lake. The fitness center seems to be run as a separate operation but hotel guests have full access, although establishing your right to use it with the staff on the fitness reception desk can take a bit of doing. There is a good level of training equipment and there are two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. The location is not central (this is either good or bad depending on what you like: if you're like me you'll value the space, green lawns and the quiet), it's about a 10-15 minute walk into town and since Lugano is partly built on a mountainside it's a steep uphill walk back. However the station is only about 5 minutes' away so you can always take the funicular railway into town for about 1 Franc and save yourself most of the walk. It also puts Switzerland's amazing but expensive (it's Switzerland so don't ever expect cheap) rail service at your disposal: you can get to Lake Como in about 40 minutes from the hotel on a local train. Overall, I think I got extraordinary value for what I paid and I'm thinking of going back there again and negotiating for a month-long stay. As the hotel's name says, it's a hotel residence, and I could very happily reside there long term.
5/5 Standard of room
5/5 Quality of food
5/5 Value for Money