on July 23, 2002
Albergo Navegna was one of those places that was just a delight to drive up to. Situated pleasantly on the shores of Lago Maggiore, a promenade connects it to Locarno, about one kilometer south.
The hotel is warmly and efficiently run by the Familia Ravelli. Senore Ravelli personally welcomes all of his guests at dinner each night. My single room was really a double for single occupancy and the windows opened up to the garden with a view of the lake beyond. The room was small but very comfortable and the bathroom was perfect with a very nice shower.
Breakfast is included daily and for 24CHF you can opt for "half board".
My normal rule of thumb is never to eat at the hotel restaurant but I had read great things about the Navegna's restaurant and couldn't tear myself away any of the four nights I was there. I didn't select the half-board option and the regular menu was rather pricey (averaging 70CHF per night) but the meals were all well worth it. The carpaccio verdure was excellent, and while I managed to actually try the prawn salad one night in it's place (also very good), I had the former 3 times! The pasta is hand made at the hotel and melted in your mouth. The Montepulicano Abruzzo, by the glass was a bargain at roughly $2.00 per glass and kept me well above my daily Weight Watcher points!
All but one very cool night, I ate on the terrace overlooking the lake. There's an outdoor woodsmoke grill where the chef prepares the meat dishes and it smells heavenly. Service was excellent and by the end of the stay I felt like the staff were my friends.
The hotel also has bikes available for rent and there are miles and miles of bike paths along the lake and in the vicinity.
Only one small negative. About 3 times an hour, beginning about 6:30 am and continuing until 1:30 in the morning, trains rush by and make a horrendous noise. At first I thought it was awful but I guess I got used to it. Besides, if all those fabulous villas could deal with it, certainly I could!
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