With no travel plans for the summer, we decided to let the Belgian weather decide whether to enjoy the school holiday at home or abroad. Always a safe bet, since Belgian weather is notorious for spoiling the local summer fun. 😉 It’s not technically cheating, right? It is? Well, then let’s just say we anticipated to go on a trip anyway. We just love last-minute travel! It does take some intensive planning right before leaving but it’s so exciting not knowing where you’ll end up. This year we had Italy on our mind and only a week to spare. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great in Northern Italy so we had to go beyond the lakes. We started looking for – available – resorts in the Liguria and Emilia-Romagna regions. We came across a few worthy options but this one truly stood out: The Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa.
For this break, we wouldn’t overload the program with cultural activities but just focus on some much-needed r&r. Therefore, the countryside setting and many pools looked tempting enough to make the booking.
We would stay 4 nights, from 8th to 12th of August but ended up extending our stay. And if Alegra’s birthday party hadn’t been planned on 15th of August, then we might still have been there at the time of writing this post. 🙂
Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa trivia
Hotel identity: Independent boutique hotel, member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection and the Châteaux & Hôtels Collection
Price: just below €300 per night for the junior suite breakfast included (high season)
Nearest airport: Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) at 31 km (or 19 miles)
Type: boutique hotel, spa hotel
Number of rooms: 90, divided over several buildings. The current expansion will increase this capacity from October 2017 onwards.
Wifi: free for members of the iPrefer Hotel Rewards program (registration is free of charge and our status match request based on our Hilton Diamond status was granted)
The hilltop location offers stunning views across the entire domain. The resort is set in 30 hectares (75 acres) of parkland and every corner of it is meticulously manicured. There’s a botanical garden, a maze, a wellness trail… The service proved to be impeccable. And as a guest, you really feel that the staff is happy to work there too. This creates a genuine vibe, one that can only come naturally. Time to highlight some details.
Trumps for a stay with the kids
- Type Junior suite with 1 king bed and 1 sofa bed. (The Family suite with separate living area was not available at the time of booking.)
- The room was bright, spacious and featured a private terrace.
- Cleanliness was very good and upon arrival we were spoiled with not one but three iPrefer welcome gifts: whine, candy & biscuits.
Food & beverage
- The Pool & Lounge has a special Alice in Wonderland themed children’s menu and offers pizzas fresh from the wood-oven. Also breakfast is served here. (The matcha tea in the photo is mine and I brought it in. It’s my morning fix.) The stunning views from the Lounge terrace guarantee a great start of the day.
- The posher Il Palazzo gourmet restaurant doesn’t have a kid’s menu but, on a quiet evening, they allowed us to request any meal for the girls.
- The pool bar offers a small selection of fruit and sandwiches during the day.
- There’s a fancy bar offering, again an amazing mountaintop view (especially from the terrace) and a wide selection of beverages.
- There are several outdoor swimming pools. And after the expansion, there will be even more.
– A children’s pool equipped with all body boards, tubes, rings…
– A large outdoor pool that flows into two smaller pools down the hill slopes through a set of waterfalls.
– A relaxation pool with hyper-saline water at 34°C (93,2° F) with whirlpools. There’s a separate fresh-water lap pool right next to it. These two pools are covered by a telescopic roof during colder months.
– During high season, there are always one or two lifeguards on duty, just in between the children’s and the relaxation pool.
- A play area is located right next to the children’s pool.
- There’s an indoor kid’s club during the summer months, every afternoon from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
- The exclusive VarSana Spa, to which were offered 3 hours of complementary Spa access per day, is equipped with the most modern facilities. Children are allowed in the morning and get their own bathrobe. There was one severe thunderstorm during our stay and the staff gladly made an exception to the rule, allowing the girls to enter the spa during the afternoon. We were happy to indulge.
- The hotel has its own maze, located just across from our room.
The palazzo’s original ice cellar is open to guests and the lighting makes it unique and stunning. This cellar was essentially used as a refrigerator avant la lettre. Such a cool space!
- Palazzo di Varignana’s domain is vast and offers different walking trails. Because of the location on a hilltop, the panoramas from every corner are breath-taking. We explored several trails. The kids especially liked the wellness trail, with plenty of outdoor fitness equipment, and the lakes trail.
- The enchanting garden is actually part of the Great Italian Gardens network. What an amazing place to spend the afternoon or evening. We especially love the intense evening perfumes that develop.
- There is a tennis, a paddle and an indoor squash field. The resort’s gym is open 24/7. Personal training sessions, yoga and meditation classes are offered.
- Bicycles, including one children’s bike, are available right outside the lobby. These are not locked so can be taken anytime to explore the resort’s grounds. If you plan on taking these outside of the domain, then you would just need to inform the front desk. A child seat is available upon request.
- Possibly thanks to our iPrefer status, we received one complementary massage. It’s just one of many, often highly specialized, treatments offered.
We couldn’t get enough of the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa! The views, the pools, the service, the smiles… We don’t tend to return to hotels where we’ve stayed at before, but we might make an exception for this property in the future.