Address: Via Santa Maria / 94
Having an early morning flight back to Edinburgh, and looking to spend our last night of our trip to Italy in Pisa, we chose the Grand Hotel Doumo. Why?
Well, if you're looking for a hotel which is ideally located for all that Pisa has to offer, you'd be hard placed to find a more suitable one. It's literally a few steps from the famous tower and in fact, many of the rooms have a magnificent view of the tower and Doumo (hence the name).
That explains the Doumo part of the name...you could hardly be more accurate. And describing it as an hotel is pretty spot on too. But Grand? Me no think so.
The hotel may indeed have been grand once upon a time (possibly around the time the builders had forgotten their plumb line and were erecting said tower with all haste), but it sure ain't now. Dated, tired and in need of a general refurbishment...but enough about Mrs p, what about the hotel? Well I'm afraid the same description could be used for it.
We parked right outside the door and checked in where we were offered the choice of garage parking for 16 euros, or street parking for 5. The street parking is VERY limited, but we squeezed in and saved ourselves a few euros...as they forgot to charge us for the street parking, we actually saved a few more...result.
The lobby certainly has pretensions of grandeur, and you could see that 40-50 years ago it probably was quite grand. But it's very old fashioned. It did have one of those modern fandangled lift things though which we soon entered and sped our way to our room...way at the back of the hotel with a magnificent view of...um...nothing much really. Oh well.
The room itself was adequate. Not too big, but definitely not poky. All the usual amenities were present although the beds weren't the most comfortable I'd ever lain on. The decor was ok if a little jaded but everything was clean enough. Lots of channels on the TV (many in English) but it somehow spoils the fact of having so much choice when the screen is only 14in. Luckily, we weren't there to watch TV anyway.
There was ample storage space in the room with a large built-in wardrobe and plenty of drawers. The AC was very good and kept the room cool without making much noise.
The bathroom was fairly large and well equipped with all those little goodies like soaps and bath foam etc. Ironic really, as there was no bath, only a shower...and not the best shower in the world either. It was wet though - which is quite important.
We didn't use the hotel's restaurant because, let's face it, why would you forego the pleasure of sitting eating on a terrace with the tower looming overhead to dine in a restaurant that was so brightly lit and so devoid of character, it could have been a hospital ward...hopefully a little cleaner though.
We did have breakfast there though. This consisted of a cold buffet and was the sort of affair that gave continental breakfast such a bad name in the first place. Stale bread, salami and Edam cheese (or the Italian equivalent of tasteless rubber), watered down fruit juice and all the yoghurts you could ever wish for...not to mention mueseli and so-so croissants. When the coffee finally arrived, it was pretty dire too.
Now, the fact that it was 7 am on the eve of what would turn out to be a long day and what was in effect, the morning after a long night didn't help much. But, the breakfast was just not very good.
One good thing about the Grand Doumo is their roof terrace. Well it would be if there was anything there. Sorry, that's not strictly true - there were four, count them, four chairs. And an ashtray.
The view was out of this world though.
For the life of me, I can't fathom why they wouldn't locate the restaurant on the roof. Or do something with the space. The view over the Doumo and Tower has to be one of the top vistas anywhere, especially when the sun sets and reflects on the marble of these buildings.
This may sound like a very negative review, but it's not really. I had read a little about the hotel before going and knew what to expect. To be fair, this hotel is all about location and on that score, it probably deserves its four star rating. We were looking for an hotel right in the heart of the Field of Miracles, and that's what we got.
We booked it through otel.com and managed to secure a rate of £60 which was not too bad compared with many of Pisa's hotels.
All in all, although it has seen better days, the hotel is adequate and comfortable enough. It's handy for an overnight stay if visiting Pisa but I wouldn't want to make it a base for any length of time.