Palazzo di Varignana – Bologna (Italy)

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.

View over the manicured park at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

View over the manicured park at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Trio of pools at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Trio of pools at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Two sisters wearing dresses and holding hands while admiring the mountain view from the restaurant terrace at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Two sisters wearing dresses and holding hands while admiring the mountain view from the restaurant terrace at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Two sisters, one with sunglasses, standing on a marble bench and posing in front of the mountaintop panorama at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Two sisters, one with sunglasses, standing on a marble bench and posing in front of the mountaintop panorama at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Little girl in a white dress dancing on a small wooden bridge over the creek, next to a fountain in the manicured park of Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Little girl in a white dress dancing on a small wooden bridge over the creek, next to a fountain in the manicured park of Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

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. 🙂

Little girl in a white dress posing in front of the mountaintop panorama at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa trivia

Hotel identity: Independent boutique hotel, member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts association and the Châteaux & Hôtels Collection

Classification: 4*

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 an important vibe that can only come naturally. Time to highlight some details.

Two sisters in the transparant pool at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Trumps for a stay with the kids

Room

  • 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 junior suite at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • The room was bright, spacious and featured a private terrace.

The terrace to the junior suite in the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • Cleanliness was very good and upon arrival we were spoiled with not one but three iPrefer welcome gifts: whine, candy & biscuits.

The bathroom of our junior suite at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa

The iPrefer welcome gift upon arrival at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Food & beverage

  • The Pool & Lounge is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This restaurant has a special Alice in Wonderland themed children’s menu and offers pizzas fresh from the wood-oven. Stunning views from the Lounge terrace.

Two little sisters at the dinner table during sunset at the Lounge restaurant at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Healthy breakfast at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna, with fruits, nuts, goji berries and yoghurt
(The matcha tea is mine and I brought it in. It’s my morning fix.)
  • 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.

Little girl in a white dress laughing at the terrace of the Il Palazzo restaurant at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna, with a stunning nature view in the background

Hors d'oeuvres at restaurant Il Palazzo atPalazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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.

Little girl on a bar chair waiting for the bartender to make her drink at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Facilities

  • There are several outdoor swimming pools. And after the expansion, there will be even more.

Mother and her daughters in the pool with a view from the mountain top at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

– A children’s pool equipped with all body boards, tubes, rings…

Handstand in the children's pool in Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near BolognaLittle girl jumping in the children's pool at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

– A large outdoor pool that flows into two smaller pools down the hill slopes through a set of waterfalls.

The transparant pool with in the backdrop the palazzo at the domain of Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna– 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.

A family enjoying the whirlpools at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna, flanked by a slope with vegetation

– 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.

Two girls at the play area with a view at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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.

Little Jade in a purple bathrobe at the VarSana spa, part of the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • The hotel has its own maze, located just across from our room.

The maze at the domain of the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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!

Little girl with sunglasses waving at the ancient ice cellar at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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.
Lakes along the lakes trail at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Lakes along the lakes trail at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Little girl and her dad working during a hiking on the wellness trail at Palazzo di Varignana

Little girl and her dad working during a hiking on the wellness trail at Palazzo di Varignana

Little girl working out on an outdoor treadmill on the wellness trail at Palazzo di Varignana

Little girl working out on an outdoor treadmill on the wellness trail at Palazzo di Varignana

A map with the walking trails on the domain of the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

A map with the walking trails on the domain of the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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.
The enchanting garden in the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa with a little girl eating grapes straight from the vine

The enchanting garden in the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa with a little girl eating grapes straight from the vine

Enchanting garden with a view at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Enchanting garden with a view at Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Lush flower and herb garden at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

Lush flower and herb garden at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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.

Two little girls sitting on a wooden bench and looking at a game on the tennis court on Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

  • 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.

 

Conclusion

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.

Two sisters in dresses reaching out from both sides of a wooden bridge at the meticulously manicured park of Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa near Bologna

It’s located close to Bologna, Ravenna, Ferrara & Modena but also is within reasonable distance. Should Italy be on your list, then look no further. The Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa is a true gem!

Pin this!

 


Liked this article? Spread the love!
Share

2 Comments

    1. Sarah

      Thanks for passing by! You’ll totally love it and so will the kids. And since it’s only a 6 hour drive away from Zürich, driving times are reasonable. With plenty of things to do for the girls and a spa to pamper you, it would be perfect as a first trip with the newborn too. 🙂

Comments are closed.