In re-living our recent Italy trip, I can't move on from Bologna to our next destination of Le Marche without some RAVING about our favorite hotel. Staying at Hotel Porta San Mamolo in Bologna is as close to "going home to family" as one could get in a hotel. We are on a first name basis with all of the staff, and are welcomed like old friends. They go out of their way for us and our guests, and all details are taken care of immediately. They know how we like our coffee (and how many cups I need to wake up). They anticipate our every need, and do it all with graciousness and always with warm, sincere smiles.
The property, guest rooms, garden, lobby and breakfast room are immaculate and well-maintained. Flowers bloom everywhere you look.
Breakfast is a happy time in the cheery breakfast room, or outside on the terrace under the shade of a persimmon tree.
Everyone loves Nino, the friendly hotel cat.
There is even a lovely little "hidden" shrine in the garden that is beautifully lit with candles in the evening.
Here is a story that describes how the hotel staff went "above and beyond" during our recent travels. We did a REALLY dumb thing! After 8 nights in Bologna, we continued on to Le Marche, where two of our guests, Diane and Frank, were able to join us for three nights. We drove them back to Bologna the afternoon before their morning flight home, and dropped them off at Hotel Porta San Mamolo. We greeted manager Roberto Condello, and Agostino, who was at the front desk. Our plan was to return our van to the airport, and pick up a smaller rental car for just the two of us for the rest of our trip. After saying good-bye to Diane and Frank, I had a moment of panic. I looked at Brad and said, "I didn't bring the passports, did you?" Neither of us had remembered our passports. They were back in our room at Giulia's in Le Marche! Roberto and Agostino did some quick brainstorming. Our passport numbers were in the hotel's computer. Agostino called Budget Rental Car and explained the situation in Italian, vouching for us and writing our passport numbers on a hotel card. Budget said they would accept this at the rental counter. Roberto even offered to drive out to the airport if it would help us.
When we arrived at the Bologna airport Budget customers were directed to the Avis counter. I explained the situation to the Avis clerk, and she absolutely refused to rent me the car without my actual passport. I asked her to please call the hotel and speak with Roberto or Agostino. After some coaxing, she dialed the number, and told Agostino it was against all company policies. Whatever he said to her on the phone was magic. He vouched for us, swore he wrote the passport numbers down from the hotel's records himself, where we are frequent guests. Then she yelled at me, saying how lucky we were, and that if anything happened, the hotel would be responsible! But it worked, and we got our car.
To all of our friends at Hotel Porta San Mamolo (Roberto, Agostino, Monica, Elisa, Irene, Paola, Miguel, Mattia, Sergio, Antonio, and ALL of the staff), Mille Grazie! You are our Bologna "family", and we love you! We will see you next year.