By summer 2022 I had the need to bring my parents (and me + myself + I) out of the hell of the Terni’s valley as per weater forecasts of 40C max day temperature for kind of 10 days in a row.
The choice of Hotel del Lago came after the the experience with Hotel Michelangelo happened “by chance” the week before: I got in touch with the kind hotel manager through WhatsApp, after a booking.com ad seen over facebook suggested me I had also this option 15min driving away from home, being the lake-front Hotel Miralago sold out until next september.
I Travel for Business and Leisure in up to 5* Hotels since 1989 and having seen so many, it is still pleasant to discover hidden jewels “next door”, such in this case where i didn’t suspect I could find a spot that can be preferred to locations such as Viterbo, Saturnia and even Montegrotto or Abano, obviously for things as a quick spa-breakaway … and as for my sport passion, in this case I found out not the perfect Triathlete’s paradise with indoor pool, but still a multisport athlete “sweet spot” with indoor gym and quick access two swim+bike+run+kayak facilities.
All of the above brought me to decide to write one of my thorough reviews and leverage the mistery guest that used to be in me
The Hotel itself
Hotel del Lago is a somewhat aged 3* Hotel that sits outside Piediluco’s hamlet, which gives the name to the beautiful like where Velino river “stops” before throwing into nera through the well know Marmore falls, being these the highest in europe with a 165m water jump.
Clearly the hotel has been restructured in the late 1990s as per the style of various hotel signs and the infamous “sirio” SIP telephones in every room, but its undergoing a step by step restructuring: by Easter 2022 a contemporary “superb” spa took the place of a (useless) congress room, which is find out as a key move by the new hotel manager, and a number of rooms have been renewed as well.
In such an ongoing situation producing a coherent review score has little meaning, but I would clearly state that the hotel “will” deserve 3*L status provided all of the rooms are refurbished and some signs are changed as well, beginning with the roadside hotel signs, passing through
Needing a place for the perfect relax of my parents, I booked the best room of the place with “dedicated” sunbathing terrace plus a “basic” room
Room Review : 234
Being the only room with a “dedicated” sunbathing balcony, the room is probably actually the best in the hotel … as I was shown by the kind hotel desk lady I decided I wanted for my parents and there we go: newest of the rooms, largest of the rooms, brand new toshiba tc with netflix+youtube access (and the free possibility to log in with your youtube premium or netflix account, provided you then logoff before leaving)
Ants in the room: for as bad as it may sound, this is kind of ordinary stuff … we left a piece of cake on the table in the evening and found ants in the morning … nice to see how those creatures find their way onto a piece of cake through the narrow leg of a table … no cake, no more ants, still is something noticeable as some sanification + proper plastering is recommended.
Bonus tip: my mother, coming from an experience last week with the 4* Michelangelo in Terni, noticed that the towels there are better and softer than here, which is ok as the star rating is lower. Still is good to know that a customer noticed it
Suggestions for room 234
THIS year I will “upgrade” room 234, and ONLY this room to “Junior suite” status, changing it’s name to something different than a number, like room 2J, and provide it with bonus items such as cordless telephones
NEXT year I would plan to have the room upgraded with a large LCD screen with business pc cables, premium internet connectivity with dedicated fritz.box router, fritz.box phones, side privacy fences on the terrace to make the space more “private” with a plan of “covering” it also from the sight from above (breakfast room and rooms at third floor)
a nice idea would be to further rename the room from 2J to 2❤J and change the background picture every year: next year with a Valentinian love theme, then every year a different theme and a different room name.
Room Review : 226 (Basic Room)
So I finally entered my “basic” room, which I found with a little bit not comforting temperature as the air conditioning was not on, but programming it the right way quickly fixed the situation.
The room has a french-sized bed which is especially fine for a single-use double room.
Two water bottles was waiting for me “with compliments” out of the fridge, which is very nice and well done with respect of people liking ambient-temperature drinks, so I decided to quickly access the fridge as I’m not one of those 🙂
This is the result on the right: the fridge was not “fixed” to the furniture with screws and the cable was floating on the left. As a “bonus” I found a nice “stream” of mold inside, there were the inside shelf was leaning more than pisa’s tower.
That was a quick fix as well, but I decided not to clean the mold to show the hotel manager.
Suggestions for room 226 (and all of the basic rooms)
as a suggestion, I would upgrade the term “basic” in something more appealing such as “fresh”, as in the summer being “in the second row” with respect to the sun can be a bonus especially for elderly people … then you also have “some like view” and addedd privacy … why basic? Fresh!
The still-brand-new and magnificent SPA actually had me move the rest of my records from third place and below, being topped only the magnificent two-floor Silva Hotel Splendid 1800mq SPA: this one is way smaller, but with a magnificent view of the Piediluco’s Lake which gets superb by dusk, dawn and night.
NINFEA spa sits very conveniently at first floor so a number of rooms have easier access to it, which is good for elderly people.
The spa was open by Easter 2022, replacing the old (and probably useless) congress with such a spa looks to me not only a genius idea but a real game changer, capable of re-shaping the hotel offer especially during winter.
At the entrance you are always welcome by a “professional” guiding you to your chair and asking for your preference about the water: plain or sparkling, which is a surprise as you never have such a service in a spa, where usually you make your tisana drink yourself.
Solange has 30 years of experience as a pro sport (and non-sport) massage operator and beautician while the younger colleague is less experienced but still professional: i had a total body massage done to my and my father as well and I can clearly state that we are out-of-rank at least in the first case.
Massages are served in room 22, which puzzles me as it should be 122 … anyway i’m one of those who would forget about numbers and re-start from something similar like letters (1A, 1B, 1C … ) or names (1Massages, 1Fresh, 1Essential,1Plus, 2Junior).
Also the name of the SPA … ninfea … well, the logo is good, the name as well, but it’s too classic and too diminishing: this SPA is SUPERB so it deserves a SUPERB name and BETTER logo design … in 2023 I would “upgrade” the name to something better (hear a marketing professional) the same day you separate the gym from the rest of the spa with a glass door and make the gym available 24/7 at least with external access, letting the option of renting the spa area for couples (occupying the one or three junior suites) at a (big) price.
The sauna occupies the rightmost part of the spa and it’s in front of a nice ICE fountain which shows a clever design.
it is obviously brand new and so very pleasant, as the view is superb from inside the sauna as well, and it’s easy to get out, reach for ice, and get back in or finish the job with the showers.
“Emotional” showers are fine, but instructions about of to use them needs to be there: green and blue buttons work on/off while the red one does not, and no, not anyone knows how to regulate temperature without instructions
The green button gives you access to a cascade of water, which is fine to have near Marmore’s waterfalls; the green button turns on nebulized water around the more classic shower flow activated by the red button; optionally you can switch to the manual shower.
Note: while the green and blue buttons works on an on/off trigger way, the red one only turns on and never stops .. this may be a technical defect for a technician to fix (the relais seems to be working, but nothing happens as the button is depressed).
I will one day figure out why “Hammam” or “Turkish bath” there where “Calidarium” is the correct technical term: i found the values of temperature and humidity to be proper and properly distanced from the values found in the sauna, where humidity can be regulated with the now common water on the stones.
[insert a better pic here]
The Hot Tub
I was told by the hotel manager the SPA was boasting a very large Jacuzzi: the brand is not there, but it’s large, very large, indeed …
You can easily stay here in up to 8 people, maybe more if they are polite … and even if it looks unprofessional, I decided to add the following of mine … yes, it’s a technical selfie wisely taken from above, but not only as an age-masquerading technique, but just to let you understand how wide it is 🙂
The hair pin – no no …
The first day I used the spa, and then the hot tub, I found out a lady’s hair pin which I decided to move from the back of the hot tub to the very front: next day it was there in the morning, and still there in the afternoon.
Not a good message to give by covid time …
90+90 : no no no no no …
What about this sign on a door in the spa? In such a spa? NO WAY!
The gym is not a gym but there is plenty of space for one: the self-powered bike is new and very good for some indoor cycling with lake view, the weights are ok provided that info sheets are “provided” to non-professionals while the rack can still be used by some non professional.
Please install one or two gym backrests and additional tools: also make the gym 24/7 accessible, at least from outside : gym HAS TO BE something different than the spa, which you can do simply installing a glass door.
Breakfast is served between 7:30am and 10am which is kind of ok in summer time, besides we have sunrise before 6am in June/july, but may be a little bit “narrow” for business people as kind of 20 minutes are needed to reach any business area in Rieti or Terni (anyway as far I could see asking the option to be able to have breakfast at 7:15 instead of 7:30 for work reasons should be no problem at all).
To find out it was served on a wonderful terrace on the fourth/top floor I had to take the elevator down to ground floor as I suspected it was served on the restaurant room (only one of the two elevators reach fourth floor, which is ok as it is properly announced).
To my surprise I found a wonderful light as a plus welcoming bonus on a large covered terrace with a 4* level buffet breakfast: delicious english-breakfast-level eggs+bacon served at the right temperature, large selection of sweets and breads nicely covered with bee-fly protections, self-serving coffee machine as well as two kind welcoming waiters ready to serve a traditional italian man-made coffee+cappuccino
On monday I was sent by the front desk to their “molo 21 restaurant”, which it was closed: no way that the hotel front desk ignores such an information!
So I went back on tuesday with a guest …
Hotel Front Desk review
In “ranking” reverse order
- chiara: joung but promising, possibile future hotel manager;
- man: joung but outstanding, future hotel manager “inside”;
- evening lady: good for the evening, just for the evening.
- Mistery guest: mistery guest inside
Hotel Maids review
I saw just one of them with a proper (black) uniform and the rest of the wandering in the hotel at various times all with their clothing … they looked fine to me, especially the one serving in my room and offering to clean/sort it, which I declined for such a short stay, then she insisted if I ever needed something like fresh towels, which I declined with a smile and she kindly responded with one: well done, besides the non-italian accent :=)
Briefly: do have your hotel maid wear a simple but “uniform” uniform, being a black and light one the best option for summer AND winter times … and for valentine’s day or carnival time, english/french maid uniforms to go 🙂
Internet Access review
While being served by TIM’s EVDSL service, the hotel management choose a wireless carrier as its main provider, Oxygen Wireless
The hotel infrastructure has an hub and spoke design towards a number of floor tp-link hotspots with displaced antennas that bring a reasonable service to the room, but it’s clearly at its limits as the download bandwidth is clearly shared by all of the hotel guests and management while the upload one is freely available … without technical data I can only think about a 100/100 wireless link with Oxygen wireless, clearly a custom business solution by the provider as nothing similar is on their standard website.
While the service is reasonable, the wifi password “lago2016” is clearly advertised in the elevators, which informs us than their technology is back from ancient times (as it is for 6 years old technology in the modern IT age) and that anyone could use it freely for crime inside and in the vicinity of the hotel in the last few years.
This NEEDS to be upgraded quickly to a captive portal hotspot, maintaining the wifi infrastructure that can be upgraded node by node to wifi6 maintaining the design. I would also provide key business customer with a dedicaded powerline room hotspot.
Quick Fix 226+234
Ho portato con me due placche pregiate della serie living light per metterle nella 226 e recuperare le due placche nere per coprire l’intollerabile mancanza di placche nelle prese lato destro della 234.
Ho portato con me due telefoni cordless dect, da sostituire all’irricevibile sirio “SIP” (neanche a dire telecom italia) almeno nella 234
Con un avvitatore e 4 (quattro) autofilettanti fisso il frigo della 226 al suo posto, fisso il frigo della 234 al suo posto, e monto la porta del mobile frigo dal giusto lato perchè in questo modo non solo è irricevibile, ma è ridicolo.
Bisognerebbe poi sistemare il filo fuoritraccia che va alla tv della 226 (in tanti modi possibili fra cui con treccia bianca estetica) e sostituire i due vecchi portamensola con degli appendini da muro, riciclando lo stesso foro-stop in modo elegante.
Infine sarebbe banale “raddrizzare” la placca della presa del bagno (montata al contrario) accorciando il filo phon perchè non dia fastidio nel lavandino (e crei rischi di sicurezza) e facendolo uscire dal frutto rimasto libero, forandolo.
La password “lago2016”? Ma allora mettiamo tutto aperto e via!
Il messaggio che passa è “la nostra tecnologia wifi è del 2016 e vi dovete accontentatare” … gli access point tp-link a con tre antenne a vista sono irricevibili, e una password unica significa che se qualcuno commette reati gravi il responsabile è la proprietà dell’hotel, e non certo l’hotel manager.
INDISPENSABILE INSTALLARE UN SISTEMA DI CAPTIVE PORTAL SUBITO, in alternativa, e con urgenza, togliere tutte le password.
What if I was the hotel manager
THIS year: I will straight away “upgrade” room 234 to “Junior suite” status, change it’s name to Room 2J, provide it with bonus items such as cordless telephones and plan to have it upgraded with dedicated fritz.box router, fritz.box phones, side privacy fences on the terrace to make the space more “private” with a plan of “covering” it also from the sight from above (breakfast room and rooms at third floor)
NEXT year: I would further rename room 2J to room 2❤J and make a new background for Feb 14, day in which I would sell the room for 300€ with exclusive gym+spa access from 20pm to 7am.
More Junior suites: room 232 and 230 could be upgraded to junior suite status as well, especially creating a terrace access window next year … but is it worth ? may be yes, may be not, because experience teaches that having a single junior suite in all of the place (aka the best room) makes it “wanted”, overbooked and oversold still if always at rack rate, which I would double as a base price.
What if the hotel was my properties
I will try to convince myself in front of a mirror that I own a little jewel to be promoted FIRST to Terni’s and Rieti’s several possibile targets such as
- Couples looking for a weekend or in-week spa breakaway, providing up-to-midnight spa access at least on saturdays and on a specific mid-week day such as thursday
- Business people looking for an out-of-town place of (not-spa-only) relax, but in such a case inside restaurant is mandatory
- Elderly people looking for a place of relax without the need of travelling far away
I will then target sports teams different from boating teams, starting with kayak teams, triathletes, swimrunners … giving the hotel a “sporting hotel” shape, providing stuff like strava segments starting from the hotel, a short run track around the hotel itself, and conventions with sport structures in Piediluco such as ccp’s gym.
Public vote -> 8.2 : Superb location, Contemporary spa with out-of-rank panorama view and professional operators, nicely refurbished contemporary rooms
Mistery Guest vote -> 7.4 : too old signs, photocopied new signs, no DND cards, no in-room info sheets, no maid uniforms, no room spreading policy, no inside restaurant, no correct info on outside restaurant.
- Superb Location
- Contemporary SPA with out-of-rank panorama view and outstanding professionals
- Nicely refurbished contemporary rooms along with pleasant “basic” or “essentials” rooms
- Professional Daikin air conditioning units at one per room, with fan/dry/cool function
No non-misetery-guest-level minuses excluding the temporarily-closed restaurant, even if DND signs are still welcome.
Please review and comment at the following Google Photos album location:
July 17th to 19th, 2002