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Review 3622: Not Ordinary Ways, Palazzo della Croce di Malta

www.notordinaryways.com

Recommended
Review by NinaF from NY

3bed/2bath apartment in Lucca, Tuscany North


When

June 2008, 1 week

Location

My husband and I have stayed in Lucca twice before, but on this trip we were accompanied by our 22-year-old daughter and my elderly parents. My parents' needs led us to look for a place with air conditioning, an elevator (or on the ground floor), and a terrace. The Palazzo della Croce di Malta fit the bill perfectly.

This lovely apartment is inside the walls of Lucca, at the corner of via Vittorio Emanuele and via Burlamacchi -- a couple of blocks from Piazza Napoleone in one direction and the bus station in the other. It was an excellent location for exploring the town, but since the bedroom windows face onto via Vittorio Emanuele, there was quite a bit of street noise late into the night.

Nearby Amenities

There are numerous shops and restaurants a short walk in any direction from the apartment. My husband and daughter rode the bikes that came with the apartment to the Esselunga supermarket outside the walls when we wanted to stock up on groceries.

The House/Apartment

The building is in excellent condition, having been renovated not long ago. There is a small elevator. We were never aware of noise from other apartments in the building.

You can view the property directly: Palazzo della Croce di Malta.

You can also view the property here: Palazzo della Croce di Malta.

Garden

There is a beautiful terrace with a table and four chairs accessible from the kitchen. It was quite hot the week that we were there, so sitting on the terrace was comfortable only fairly early in the morning and late in the evening.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furniture is attractive and comfortable. Although the apartment sleeps five, there were only four chairs at the dining table and on the terrace, and there was no chair at the computer desk in the bedroom/study; we had to move chairs around frequently. There is ample seating in the living room, and the dining room table expands to seat up to six comfortably.

There are two ceiling fans in the living/dining room that kept things pretty comfortable. The bedrooms all have air conditioning, which we ran every night; even if the weather had been a little cooler, we would have had to close the windows because of the combination of street noise and mosquitoes (no window screens).

The apartment is equipped with a washer, dishwasher, satellite TV, DVD player, and a computer with Internet access. Other extras include the use of two bikes and pick-up and drop-off at the Pisa Airport or Lucca train station.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The two main bedrooms (one double, one twin) are both fairly large and have comfortable beds and adequate storage space. The third bedroom doubles as a study/computer room; it has a daybed that my daughter found somewhat uncomfortable (too soft). There are two full bathrooms; one has a shower stall, and the other has a tub with shower attachment.

Kitchen

The kitchen is small but efficiently laid out. All the dishes and cooking utensils were new and attractive (from IKEA), but there was a lack of large pots and serving dishes. We managed to cook several full meals while we were there, but it required some resourcefulness.

Problems or Bonuses

Based on the Website description, I was a little worried that the apartment would feel small for the five of us, but it was actually very spacious. The few small problems (not enough chairs, lack of a pasta pot) did not bother us very much. Overall, this was a wonderful place to stay!

Agency and Representatives (and price)

The apartment is managed by a small agency called Not Ordinary Ways, whose office is in the building next door to the palazzo. The director, Chiara, speaks excellent English and was great to deal with both before and during our stay.

The cost of the rental (1650 for the week in late June) was higher than we had originally planned on spending; however, we decided to splurge because it offered everything we wanted -- and then some.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

We enjoyed our stay at the apartment very much, but we would probably not stay there again because of the cost. However, I would not hesitate to recommend it to others who are looking for a "luxury" apartment in Lucca.

Things to do in this area

As in our previous stays in Lucca, we enjoyed taking walks and bike rides on the walls and wandering around the city. We took a day trip to Pisa. We had nice meals at Ristorante da Francesco and Trattoria da Leo, both near Piazza San Michele, and Mara Meo, a pizzeria in Piazza San Francesco.

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

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