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Sestri Levante: Hotel Vis-a-Vis

Via della Chiusa, 28

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Reviewed by: Trevertoon from NM, review #2125

When: October 2007

Great service, great dining, spectacular views on the Italian Riviera. {4 stars}

The 4-star Vis-ŗ-vis is built into the side of a promontory above Sestri Levante, affording spectacular views of the Gulf of Tigulio and the Bays of Silence and Fables on either side of the peninsula of old Sestri.

It is reached from street level through a tunnel and an elevator to the reception level. The pokey elevator only holds five, so it can be a bit of a bottleneck if youíre arriving with a group. Alternatively, you can walk up the steep switchback driveway to the lobby entrance. A second set of elevators carries you to the guest rooms on floors 1-3, the restaurant on 4 and the terrace bar and pool area on the 5th.

Our room (#310) was seaside with a balcony and a lovely view of the Bay of Silence and the peninsula. While on the small side (though not for Europe), it was nicely paneled and furnished with two large wardrobes on either side of the double twin beds made up as one, a desk, mini-bar & safe, and a unit of drawers.

It reminded us of a nice veranda cabin on a cruise ship; indeed, the hotel was built by a former sea captain. The room was quiet and the bed comfortable. The TV was small, but we never watched it. The bathroom was attractively tiled; the area between the toilet and the shower stall was a bit cramped. The shower had ample hot water with good pressure. The bathrobes supplied with the room are a nice touch. The hotelís staff and service were excellent in all respects, friendly and prompt. One day we forgot to use a converter and blew the roomís electrical circuits; within 2 minutes of calling the desk, housekeeping was there to reset the breakers. When we needed a taxi, it arrived exactly on time.

The dining room with its huge picture windows was beautiful in the morning with the sun streaming in. You could see all the way across the gulf to the cruise ships arriving at Portofino. Breakfasts featured an ample selection of juices, fruits, pastries, yogurt, cereals, cold-cuts and rolls, plus eggs and even bacon. Waiters bring the coffee to your table.

Dinners were delicious, enhanced by the views of the twinkling lights of the bay. We were with a group, so we ordered off a fixed menu, but the courses were varied and creative throughout our 7-night stay. Luigi, the dining room chief, takes delight in describing the choices in some detail. There are salad and dessert buffets, the latter being particularly hard to resist. The wine list is fairly extensive and includes a page of Ligurian wines, several of which we enjoyed. The house wines were decent also. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Vis-ŗ-vis and, if we are ever so lucky as to be back in the area, would definitely stay there again.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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