A Sweltering Stay at the Hotel Aquila Bianca in Orvieto

Hotel Aquila Bianca in Orvieto has Great Location but the Air-conditioning Was Ineffective:

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Hotel Aquila Bianca

For a central hotel in the historical heart of Orvieto, you can’t complain about the Hotel Aquila Bianca. Located in Piazza della Repubblica, the hotel is within easy reach of shops and restaurants and the Orvieto Cathedral is just a 7-minute walk away.

Hotel Aquila Bianca

We visited Orvieto at the end of August 2012 as part of a tour of Italy. The country was in the grip of a heatwave that summer, some say that it was the hottest summer in 50 years, and when we arrived at 4:30 pm, it was still very hot. To reach the historical centre of this hill-town from the coach parking area, we had to go up four big sets of escalators. It didn’t help that two of the four escalators were not working and we had to climb the escalators with our equipment and hand-luggage.  Yes, there is an elevator as well, but our tour guide thought it was faster on the escalator!

We couldn’t have been more pleased to find out that the Hotel Aquila was so central.  The hotel is in a historic building, with timber floors and high ceilings. Reading the reviews from some past guests, it seems there are various room sizes and configurations. Some complain of extremely small rooms and decent size bathrooms whereas our room no. 25 was large, but the bathroom, which has been renovated, was very small.

A Very Hot Room at the Hotel Aquila

To get to our room we had to walk through a dark conference hall and another dark corridor as the light was not working – we had to ask for it to be fixed. When we entered our room, the first thing that hit us was how hot the room was. Tony turned on the air-conditioner to full but after half an hour, it made no difference to the room temperature. One front desk manager said that we should not leave the air-conditioner at 3 but to reduce it to 2. It made no sense, but we followed his instruction and it made no difference. The next guy who came to check the room said that we should put it back to 3. Well, 2 or 3 made no difference and we eventually asked for a table fan.

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28°C at 6:41 in the morning

Our room had a high ornate ceiling but the furnishing was rather spartan. The fan provided some air circulation, but it was hot air. Our room window looked out to a car park but we didn’t leave it open at night because of noise and fear of mosquitoes. At 6:41 in the morning, the temperature on our alarm clock was showing 28°C!

From reading some of the hotel reviews, I now understand that there are two sections to this hotel – the front section with newer, but much smaller rooms and the back annex with larger but older rooms like the one we had.

What we Liked

  • The excellent location in the city centre and the nice size of the room.
  • If you’re driving, this hotel has car-parking

What we Found Disappointing

  • The air-conditioning in the general area of the hotel was only switched on when the group arrived, no doubt to save on electricity. Talking to our fellow travellers in the morning, it seemed that those who had rooms in the back building had ineffective air-conditioning … and a sleepness night. This does not appear to be a one-off issue as reviews by other guests have complained about the cooling problem.
  • There is free WiFi in the room, but the reception wasn’t great. With the extreme warm temperature, we decided not to use our computer for long in case it got overheated.
  • The breakfast room is charming, but the breakfast itself was quite ordinary.
  • This hotel does not have a restaurant, but this is not a big problem as there are eating places close by. The big question is: How is this rated a 4-star hotel, when there’s no restaurant or other guest facilities?

If you’re planning on staying here during the summer months, ask the hotel about the air-conditioning of the room you’ll be allocated.

For the complete list of Orvieto hotels, see HERE.

Do you agree or disagree?

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