Grand Hotel Palazzo
What We Love
- An exuberantly elegant stay in the port city of Livorno, with breakfast, spa access and moreThe proximity to the waterfront – the promenade is right in front of the hotel
- The luxury, decadent interiors that make you feel like you’re staying in a gorgeous renaissance palace
- Discovering Tuscany - a staple in many a traveller's destination wishlist
What To Know
- Located just a minute's walk from the beach; rooms have panoramic ocean views
- Guestrooms have free WiFi and flatscreen TVs
- There's an Italian restaurant on the top floor
- The city center and harbor are just over a mile away
Tuscany needs little introduction; it’s preened, historic towns, olive grove-peppered hills and world-class wineries keep it firmly on the map. The port town of Livorno, on the western coast of Tuscany, effortlessly encapsulates the region’s spirit and is home to huge piazzas, superior seafood and an abundance of renaissance architecture.
It’s within this beguiling setting that Grand Hotel Palazzo, a five-star grande dame from MGallery by Sofitel, makes its home. Set back from the water, this luxuriously grand property has panoramic sea views, decadent interiors and huge rooms. With a sophisticated restaurant and access to the Tuscany Wellness & Spa to boot, this is slice of Tuscany you won’t want to leave in a hurry.
How to Get There
My wife and I came to Livorno as part of winter break for a few days In February.
We found this hotel on secrete escapes and it appear to be a bit of a bargain for a 5 star hotel so we booked it (having completed a little trip advisor research first of course!).
There was some mixed reviews on trip advisor regarding this hotel but I’m not sure how fair they are so I’m going to break it down and be honest with both positive and negative aspects of the hotel.
1) location - this is a huge hotels looking directly over the sea and you can fail to smile when you look out of the window and watch the sun rising over over the water
2) staff - I have to stay they were complete professionals from start to finish. Really helpful and friendly and spoke excellent English
3) rooms - we have a classic double which was pretty huge with a balcony and large bathroom. Our rooms were cleaned everyday and turned down every night
4) cleanliness - the hotel was spotless and constantly been cleaned by staff
5) facilities - the hotel has a breakfast room, dining room, spa, gym, rooftop pool and lots of seating throughout
6) Spa - this is not included in your stay and costs €25 per day (weekdays) and €32 (weekends). This is literally just to use the spa area (although gym is free) and does not include any treatments
You do get a 10% discount on treatments but they are still pretty expensive
7) breakfast - the range of breakfast was pretty good from cereals, croissants, bread, ham and cheeses and also bacon and eggs. Make sure you go early as they stop cooking towards the end of service and you will end up with leftovers (as we did several times). Not the most amazing breakfast I’ve had and if you paid full price for your room then you might feel a little hard done by
8) gym - it’s flipping tiny and has no air conditioning so be prepared for this if you want to train whilst away. The locals run, walk of cycle so join in with that instead as there are plenty of paths along the sea to enjoy.
There are really good transport links in and out of Livorno. The LAM BLU bus is great for getting into town (shops are in the centre and station is on the opposite side form the hotel - 15 minutes away). A single bus journey is €2.50
Trains - the train are cheap and pretty quick. We got a train from Livorno to Florence (via Pisa) in 1h20 door to door. Loads of space on the trains and all of a good, clean standard.
Walking - this is a beautiful place for a stoke. Directly outside of the hotel is the sea where you can walk for miles and miles.
Restaurants - There are lots of amazing restaurant in Livorno (over 500) mainly serving Italian food with a few exceptions. I have posted lots of restaurant reviews separate to this but would give this advice. Most of the restaurants chose to go to were local family restaurants (no chains)where the space is limited, the atmosphere lively and the menus non existent! We love walking into local restaurants and. It knowing really what we are going to be served but it’s not for everyone.
If you don’t want to play “lucky dip” then research your restaurants to ensure they have a menu and that it is written in a language you understand.
Town - in the centre of the town is where most of the shops and restaurants are. This is a 45 minute walk from the hotel or 15 minutes on the bus (LAN BLU bus stop right outside the hotel). There is a good range of clothes shops with brands we all recognise.
Time zone - it’s worthy of note that everything starts later here (about 10am) and goes on until 3pm. MOST places close between 3-6 (or 7) and then are open until the early hours of the morning. Very few restaurants open before 7.30pm so this needs to be planned carefully if you normally eat early of have kids to feed.
We loved Livorno... it’s great for a dead days away from home but you might run out of things to do if you stayed for more than a long weekend. If you are willing to travel then Pisa, Rome and Florence are all well worth a visit.
I hope this review is helpful.
Take away the slow check in process and the rest was all close to perfect ( not the fault of the receptionist since she was left alone, trying to answer phones on one hand and trying to help you on the other hand)The rooms were spacious and comfortable with great view. The service was good and the breakfast was sufficient. Good value for the comfort that you get.
I shared the huge room with my girlfriend from Milan, we loved the view, open window to the sea. Enough space for both of our things in the large closet in entry way. The bathroom was beautiful as well, rooms were kept impeccably clean.
The reception team was wonderful, always ready to help us.
The weather was warm enough to sit out upstairs by the pool, just lovely.
We ate twice at the restaurant upstairs, the service was perfect, the ladies working there were delightful, and the food was delicious.
Breakfast in the morning was not really remarkable, and I think the coffee was defiantly not up to par with most Italian coffee.
I was there for a fencing championship and getting around was a challenge, would have rented a car had I known. But there is a bus from the train station that stops in front of hotel.
Before I forget, the Spa was great but a bit pricey on the weekend.
I would not stay anywhere else if I find myself in Livorno again.
We visited for only 6 days as a middle aged couple.
Upon arrival we drove up and the approach looks fabulous. Hotel appears to be exceptional and gives the impression of a truly luxurious hotel.
Hotel provides free car parking which is a real bonus.
The reception area is clean and well turned out. The Concierge's desk was unmanned for the whole of our stay, however the quality of the reception staff was exceptional. The management needs to reward Francesca, Francesco, and Tomaso accordingly. They're incredibly helpful and a real asset.
The room we had was a corner suite with a sea view. Number 229 and it was huge. Exceptionally high rooms with a small balcony overlooking the Terrazza Mascagni. Room also unfortunately overlooks the small shopping centre beside the hotel, but nothing to spoil the overall views.
Room was a little tired in general, but the bathroom/shower showed the worst wear and tear. As some of the photos show this bathroom is long overdue a renovation. The TV did not work for 5 of the 6 days we stayed. I've seen this reported by other visitors and is not acceptable even if we have beautiful views outside. Sometimes we'd like to chill and see what is happening in the world, even if its horrible :)
A note for visitors on the A/C. Initially we thought it was broken, however it is tied to the windows which all need to be closed before it will work. We thought the windows were closed, but the sensors are finicky. We needed to walk around opening and closing all until we found the window stopping the A/C working.
We did use the restaurant on our first evening, and whilst expensive it did have a fabulous view over the bay as the sun set, and was a wonderful experience.
We did visit the spa, but it was rather dingy and not very impressive. The staff seemed surprised to see us, and were not very friendly.
Breakfast was a shambles! Luke warm water for tea. Filter coffee only. If you wanted a "real" coffee you needed to "Brave" the waiter on duty. You know who you are! We found the coffee waiter to be surly, rude, evasive and generally unpleasant. I was frequently ignored, and needed to approach the main desk to get coffee twice in the 6 days. He managed to get the wrong coffee order twice out of the 4 days I did manage to get him to provide service. I once made the mistake of asking a waiter assigned to clear tables if we could get a coffee. Our "Waiter" turned up within a couple of minutes with the line: "What do you want!"
I understand language can create misunderstandings but this experience I found bordered on insulting! If management wishes to discuss I will do so but do not name and shame publicly.
As for the range of food, rather unimpressive and I could not help feel that I'd had better at a Premier Inn! Certainly not 5*, and needs real attention from the management.
The pool area is small, and besieged by pigeons and seagulls. Loungers need to be checked more often for "Deposits" from these flying rats. The area is certainly incapable to supporting the whole hotel and was always busy.
I was less than impressed by the cost of the pool service. The service itself was fine, but €10 for a small bottled beer felt unnecessarily excessive.
To summarise the hotel has great potential, but is let down by its breakfast arrangements and pool size. Whilst it's not feasible to enlarge the pool, the breakfast service is unforgiveable in a 5* hotel. I would hope the management also take steps to refresh the rooms.
I stayed here with a group but we booked this hotel because it was supposed to be 5 star. Sadly it did not live up to its ranking. The location was perfect if all you wanted was a view of the amazing sunset every evening. If you choose not to use the hotel dining room there is nowhere close by to eat, although we did frequent and enjoy several of the local restaurants within a 15 minute walk. Every time I showered in my second floor bathroom the floor flooded and became excessively slippery. The replacement toiletries were inconsistent - some days there was no body lotion and on other days I would receive two! There are no ironing or laundry facilities within the hotel so I had to go into the Old Town to buy an iron having decided that to have my items laundered by the hotel so that I could wear them would be prohibitively expensive. The breakfast was OK, but the staff practically avoided eye contact so getting a barista coffee was pretty much impossible even though it is included. The main lobby lift broke down while we were there, but I guess these things happen. The Spa services were quite good. I had a sports massage which was quite good, although there was a funny smell in the -1 area. This is a beautiful looking hotel with great potential but there's a lot of work to be done ...