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Levanto: Villa Margherita

Via Trento e Trieste 31, Phone: 0187.807212

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Reviewed by: bcwired from USA, review #2220

When: June-July 2005

Situated on a hillside with a lovely view. Family owned B&B.

I am writing this review in Spring 2008 though I stayed in Villa Margherita by the Sea in summer of 2005.

At the time I was planning that trip I did not know of Slow Travel and had to research various sites. I knew I wanted to take my two daughters (16 and 21 yrs) to Cinque Terre but was so confused about which town to stay in.

I finally decided on Levanto just outside of Cinque Terre because I had read about the possibility of renting surfboards there and the 16 year was into surfing. (After the fact: the waves were poor this time of year.)

I thought this might be an added plus to Levanto and because it was situated close to CT and Portofino with easy train access to both areas.

When we arrived at the Levanto train station we called Villa Margherita. I thought it was really nice that Frederico sent a taxi to pick us up. This was great because if you don't know where the Villa is, it can be a long hike up a steep hill lugging your baggage. Once you are situated he will give you great tips on short cuts to the train station and to town.(Be warned it may still be a bit of a hike for some.) The Villa is on the hillside and overlooks lovely vistas of the mountains and the sea.

Frederico and his sister took turns at the desk. His sister helped us immensely in locating surfboard rental places in town. At the time he asked me how I found his B&B and I said on the internet and I was attracted to his webpage. He proudly told me that "Pauline from Slow Trav" had designed it.

Funny to think of that now having since met Pauline and becoming a SlowTrav member but at the time it seemed to be a random comment. The room we had was comfortable for three people. The room service and breakfast help were so sweet and nice. They seem to try very hard to make everything very comfortable for their guests. The breakfast room was bright and lovely with small patios off from various rooms and a nice garden setting which you can wander, sit and write postcards and sun.

The cost of the room at that time for 5 nights was 650 euros.

We only spent one full day and night touring and sunning on the beaches of Levanto. The rest of our 5 days we spent going to the towns of the Cinque Terre and finding favorite spots among the 5 towns to shop, eat and sun (and one day to lovely Portofino).

Because we always had to take a train into the Cinque Terre and then be mindful of trains going back to Levanto late at night (trains frequently "in ritardo"/late) we then wished we could have stayed directly in the Cinque Terre. This first experience led us to return the next year and book a hotel directly in Monterosso.

Traveling with 2 teen girls who love easy access to the beach and then nightly walks and dinners by the beach, being in the CT worked better for us. If you want a slower pace and something just outside of the 5 towns, Levanto is a nice alternative.

Reviewed by: SarahA from CA, review #1554

When: July 2006

Lovely family run B&B with easy access to the 5T. Complimentary shuttle to and from train station, free parking, nice garden overlooking Levanto. {3 stars}

I echo most of what others here say about Villa Margherita.

Federico and his sister and parents are responsible for creating a hospitable and unaffected environment. We called from the station when we arrived and a complimentary taxi was there to pick us up within minutes.

We had reserved a triple for 145 (120 for a double) and were surprised to get a spacious apartment on the ground floor opening up onto the garden with 2 bedrooms (perfect for traveling with a teen), an outfitted kitchen and washing machine. We had some trouble figuring out how to use the washing machine but got help from Federico's mother who also pointed out that we had poured a box of bleach onto all our clothes and thereby not only saved us from a wardrobe disaster but also went to get us her own soap to use.

The hotel is on the hill and depending on where your room is you might have to haul your suitcases up and down about 15 rather steep stairs. There is no air conditioning which was fine for us even in this summer's heatwave. They did supply a fan.

Breakfast was an ample continental layout, but as one reviewer mentioned it is served at 8:30 which is a little late if you're trying to begin your hike in the cooler morning air or catch an early train. Perhaps the fact that the family doesn't get up at the crack of dawn to serve an early breakfast contributes to their graciousness and easy-going manner.

Federico will let you use his computer to access your email and he also found us a room in our next town for a great price. We didn't miss being in one of the Cinque Terre towns. It was a fine stepping off point.

Reviewed by: Suzanne Ferrio from USA, review #1239

When: October 2005

Villa Margherita and Levanto surpassed our expectations. Wish we could have stayed for more than two nights.

I had actually found and booked our room at Villa Margherita before I found the SlowTravel website. So I was very pleased to read and confirm my choice with the previous positive recommendations.

We stayed in Room #4 which had a small balcony and lovely view of Levanto. The room was clean and comfortable, the bathroom was spacious and included an enclosed shower. The downstairs living/breakfast area was comfortable and nicely furnished. The breakfast was very nice with a variety of items to choose from: meats, cheeses, pastries, breads, cereals, juices, coffee and fresh fruit.

My husband was also thrilled to find out that Federico has recently installed WiFi, so he didn't have to go looking for an internet cafe.

Although the weather prevented us from taking advantage of the lovely garden areas, they appeared to be very well maintained - a perfect place to relax with a good book.

While all these things make Villa Margherita a great place, Federico and his family make it a SPECIAL place. I can't say enough about the hospitality extended to us during our stay. Federico gave us two excellent dinner recommendations in Levanto (including making reservations for us) and then he drove us to the train station at 6:30 AM on our morning of departure!

We found that if you are walking from the train station and following the driving directions, you can turn right at the first small road with a walking bridge and you will end up almost at Villa Margherita's doorstep.

All in all we felt that Villa Margherita was well worth 100 euros/night and will definitely stay here again in the future.

Reviewed by: Janet Zinn from NY, review #665

When: July 2004

Wonderfully convenient, comfortable B&B to use as a base in the Cinque Terre.

We stayed three nights at the Villa Margherita. It is very conveniently located in the lovely town of Levanto; just a short walk to the beach, shops, and restaurants and about 10 minutes from the train station. Parking is available on-site but you are essentially discouraged from moving your car once you've parked it (the car park is basically a small garage where all the cars are fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.) In order to get your car out, other cars likely need to be moved and juggled. This wasn't a problem for us, as we intended to stay put, but something to note if you plan to take day trips by car.

The "soon to be built" elevator mentioned in a previous review was not in evidence at this time. Still, having parking right at your hotel in this area is definitely a huge plus.

Our room was very comfortable, with a large airy bathroom, and a small balcony to step out and admire the view over Levanto and the mountains. There was also a table-top fan--very welcome in the summer heat; as well as a small refrigerator. Breakfast was ample, a nice spread of pastries, breads, meats, cheeses etc. My only complaint was that it was served too late for us (8:30)...and for many, I'd think, who would want an early start hiking...we had to skip breakfast on our first day so that we could get out on the trails before the heat. Fortunately there was a cafe nearby to grab a cappuccino and pastry!

I recommend Villa Margherita and would not hesitate to stay there again if I were in Levanto.

Reviewed by: Pauline from NM, review #149

When: September 2002, September 2003

Nice inexpensive family run small hotel in Levanto, just north of the Cinque Terre.

We spent one night at Villa Margherita when driving from Switzerland to Tuscany. It is a small hotel (under 10 rooms) in a charming older villa in Levanto. You can walk to the hotel from the train (15 minutes) or you can park in the private parking lot beside the hotel (was under construction when we were there in September 2003 - should be finished by now).

The villa is on the hillside just two blocks up from the main street in town. It is built into the hillside - you walk up steps from the street to the reception area on the main level - and has several large, beautiful gardens on different levels on the hillside.

The rooms are beautiful - tall ceilings, large windows, old stone floors, with nice furniture. Bed was comfortable, bathroom was very nice (with enclosed shower). Our room had a balcony looking out to Levanto, the mountains and the sea - beautiful!

There is a living room and breakfast room on the main floor. The hotel is owned and run by Federico and his family. They also have a two bedroom apartment for rent in the villa (and other apartments in Levanto).

See my photos of the hotel: Villa Margherita Photos

Notes: - In September 2002 I noted that the hotel furniture was bland. This is no longer true - the furniture in all the rooms has been upgraded. The breakfast room has lovely wood and upholstery chairs. The private car parking lot beside the hotel was almost finished and an elevator (from the car park down to the reception level) is being added. The gardens are beautiful.

- It is a 5 minute walk on a quiet road to very nice beaches for swimming or to the nearest caffe and shops. Levanto has many good caffes and restaurants. 15 minute walk to the train station.

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

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