Andy Mossack reviews the renovated Stadt Hotel Città, the legendary Grande Dame of Bolzano.
I just knew this was a hotel with a great deal of history. Frankly, any building that can command a prized position right on the most famous square of an important city has to have been there for a very long time.
And indeed, that is the case with the Stadt Hotel Città right in the medieval heart of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol and gateway to the Dolomites. The square in question is Piazza Walther, named after the most important German-language poet of the Middle Ages,
Walther von der Vogelweide and his imposing statue adorns the square’s cobbled centre. While not anywhere near the age of Walther, the hotel has silently gazed at him from its corner plot since 1913, the pink neo-baroque exterior with its many arched porticoes seemingly attaining its own legendary status. However, time took its toll on Bolzano’s Grande Dame, and she spent many years languishing in that corner, a shadow of her former self.
But all was not lost. Thanks to the love and attention of two entrepreneurs she has been reborn, her elegant belle epoque personality once again a magnet for Bolzano’s well-heeled locals.
It is, without doubt, an envious position any hotelier would gladly grab with both hands, right opposite Bolzano’s historic gothic cathedral and where the city’s Christmas markets are found. A veritable magnet for tourists.
The new look Stadt Hotel Città has been completely renovated, thanks to the investment of South Tyrolean collaborative owners Giovanni Podini from Podini Spa, a family business with interests in energy, sugar and wine production, and Cellina von Mannstein from brewery company Birra Forst. Together they have reimagined the hotel as a contemporary property, but at the same time brought much of its belle epoque glamour back to everyone’s delight.
There’s a new Viennese-style café out front and it was heaving at the seams when I was there. No shortage of customers for the outside tables directly on the Piazza. Bolzano’s coffee and cake crowd were back in full force.
The old town area is a beautiful place to wander around, but it was never built for traffic, so once I managed to negotiate the traffic and find a nearby parking spot it was a short stroll to the hotel. Fortunately, my traffic stress melted away once I was in my room.
Here’s the thing with historic buildings, the rooms will always be spacious with lofty ceilings, as was the case with mine. A junior suite overlooking the square, with pastel blue tones and drapes, a king bed, hardwood floor, and two desks with comfy seats. A large bathroom echoes 1930s black and white tiling with a rainforest shower and green luxury toiletries.
Back downstairs, the signature public room is termed the Elliptical Hall, an impressive circular space of green hues covered by a domed glass ceiling. Banquette seating surrounds the walls while an impressive green foliage centrepiece dominates the room. A little like sipping decadent beverages in a very posh greenhouse.
But for me, the most impressive part of the hotel was the Al Città restaurant. A quite beautiful example of Italian/South Tyrolean cooking from Chef Riccardo Forzan, who manages to serve a tasting menu with one hand and traditional pizzas with the other. The best of both worlds then, a relaxed and informal vibe, but with high-quality table service. In summer, the tables line the Via della Mostra, Bolzano’s foodie street, and where I had a perfect perch to people watch.
Bolzano’s access to the Dolomites makes it a popular place for visitors to base themselves for hiking and skiing the nearby peaks so toweringly evident from every part of the city. So, with its prime old town position, Stadt Hotel Città is ideally placed for anyone looking to be in the city’s medieval heart.
After languishing for decades, it seems the Grande Dame of Bolzano has that smile back on her face once again.
Tell me more about Stadt Hotel Città in Bolzano
Stadt Hotel Città, Piazza Walther, 21, 39100 Bolzano /South Tyrol Italy
T: +39 0471 1800161 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rooms from €120 per night.
The new owners also own and run Castel Hörtenberg, the only 5-star hotel in Bolzano.
Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com) offers a wide range of parking and overnight hotel stays at all major UK airports. One week’s APH Park and Ride airport parking at Stansted Airport costs from £108 in September 2022. For the latest prices and to book, visit www.aph.com.
At London Stansted, one night’s accommodation at the Novotel is available from £120. To book, visit HolidayExtras or call 0800 316 5678. Price searched on 20th October 2022 for arrival on 26th November. Holiday Extras is the market leader in UK airport parking, hotels, lounges, and transfers.