Italy - Lake Orta

Old Mar 18th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Italy - Lake Orta

Hello out there!
You all have been great helping me narrow down some of my choices for towns and hotels to stay in while visiting the Italian lakes.

My final 2 nights in Italy are going to be near or on Lake Orta. I want to take a day trip from there to Stresa and the Borromeoan islands. We are flying out of Malpensa/Milan.

I had almost reserved Villa Crespi but couldn't get a room w/a shower - so I need to find another hotel. The San Rocco looks nice but looks a bit like a tour bus place. What do you all think? Any other hotels/inns?

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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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To the top... I am wondering if Stresa would be better.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Lake Orta has a lot less to offer than Lake Maggiorre so I would recommend Stressa as you can hop on the ferry to other places around the lake. I don't know what your budget is, but Hotel des Ille de Borromee was very ideal for us. You can see the Borromean island from the hotel balcony. You can drive to Orta to visit the island in the middle as well as the Sacro Monte in one day. We only drove along the eastern side of the lake; we didn't see any charming old town to enjoy. You can get a great view of the island and the shuttling ferries from the top of Sacro Monte where there is a simple but formal restaurant with great authentic pastas & dishes.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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I've been to both, and appreciate both. But if I were picking one for a day trip and one for a longer stay, I'd do the longer stay at Maggiore. I really do prefer the Swiss end of Maggiore though. My favorite hotel is Albergo Navegna in Minusio. www.navegna.ch
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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Sorry, I forgot to say that if you decide on Orta, Hotel Orta is great.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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If you want more activity, shopping, places to see, and tour bus crowds go to Stresa. If you romantic serene ambiance in a pristine setting go to Orta. I have stayed in both more than once. See www.stresa.net
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 01:10 AM
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i also enjoyed both and agree with the observations of bob.. orta is so special and serenely romantic.. i would personally try to go back to stay there next time as i have already done the other "moving around" from stresa.

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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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The Contrada dei Monti is a charming, reasonably priced hotel in Orta. (When I stayed there late last May, our small but attractively decorated double room with beamed ceiling, view of rooftops, attractive bathroom, etc. was 100 euros a night). It isn't on the lake, and I don't know if any of the rooms have lake views, but it is on sweet antique narrow cobblestone alley. And the town is tiny, so we were at most three pleasant blocks' walk from the lake. I like Orta very much. It's quiet, but beautiful. My trip to Stresa went less well, due to a variety of things. The bus we thought went from Orta to Stresa didn't start until mid-June, so we had to drag our luggage up the hill to the train station and take a comparatively lengthy and indirect train ride, Stresa was rainy and foggy when we got there, I bought the wrong tickets to the Borromean Islands and didn't get access to the gardens, etc., but in other circumstances, I think the day trip plan would have been pleasant.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Thank you everyone for your ideas. I have settled on Orta and got a room w/a shower at Villa Crespi. This is the end of a week moving around in Italy and think Orta will be more relaxing for us.

Any special recommendations for dinners?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 11:43 AM
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I will be curious about your impression of Villa Crespi when you return.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 03:31 PM
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Bob - I will return late June and will post a message to the board. Have you stayed there? I found Villa Crespi originally on the www.slh.com website. I have stayed at a couple of other properties from that website and have been very happy.

Hotel Orta also looked very nice, but I couln't see enough photos of the rooms. I thought the rooms at Crespi looked very luxurious and very Italian.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 01:43 PM
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To some people, the hotel is the destination--not to me. Orta is all about the Lake and the cute village. The Villa Crespi is a long way from either and stuck out by itself at the entrance into the area. It Looks Moorish and frankly a bit creepy to me. It does get good reviews for food.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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i did not stay at the crespi, but thouroughly enjoyed our hour of tea time there and thought it would be a lovely place to send someone on their honeymoon.
the food must be fabulous as they have all sorts of gastronmic weekends, etc. there. we read all the info that was displayed, and articles from local magazines.

it is a unique place, and we are all anxiously waiting for your impressions!
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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I see you've already booked your hotel, but for future reference, we stayed at the Hotel Santa Caterina and it was great...the most incredible breakfast spread of our trip. You can see my review on SlowTravelers here:

http://tinyurl.com/5tnnn

We loved Orta and some of my fondest memories of the trip was sitting at the wine bar on the main Piazza each night before dinner with a prosecco and complimentary crostini..sigh..

you can see my photos of Orta here:

http://www.jczinn.com/italy04/orta/orta.htm

We had wonderful meals at Leon D'Oro...great seafood, right on the water, be sure to reserve a waterfront table; and Restaurant Olina, no view but an excellent and creative meal.

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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Be sure to go out and explore the lovely little island off the town of Orta.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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Wow - thanks for all the responses - I have taken lots of notes.
JCZinn - your photos are gorgeous!
I will report back in late June.
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