I’ve been to the lovely city of Merano numerous times, but somehow, I have never stayed there — the excursions were mostly day trips, either fleeing bad weather in the alps, or returning from a trip though Croatia or other parts of Italy. That may be due to its perfect location south of the main part of the alps, with soothing mediterranean climate, palm trees, if you come from gray and rainy mountain ranges, or offering just a short hop across the Brenner Pass to southern Germany and the autobahn leading home, if you are returning from somewhere in the South. Or maybe you*d like to drive up to Reschen, and dip into Switzerland?
This time, though, I stayed (and I can tell you I am glad I did). Invited by the tourism marketing agency of Merano, MGM, to take part in a blogger workshop which went by the hashtag #meetmerano, there was plenty of opportunity to rediscover Merano and the surroundings, and renew my love for the area.
Kindly enough, we had been invited to stay at City Hotel Merano, a just-opened new 4-star hotel right in the city.
The City Hotel Merano is located at the corner of Via Mainardo and Via degli Alpini (or Mainardstraße and Alpinistraße, but all street signs in Merano are bilingual).
It is only a few minutes walk to the pedestrian shopping area and city center (on the map: Laubengasse), and located close to the Terme Merano thermal baths (a rather new and stunning complex worth a few days visit alone). A short walk will take you to the banks of the river Passer, where you can take a refreshing stroll along the promenade shadowed by old trees, or sit in the park and enjoy the company of Empress Elisabeth, better known as Sissi, in the Parco Elisabetta.
The City Hotel Merano is, by concept, a business hotel with conference rooms and modern facilities. Of course, free wi-fi is included in the room rate, as is a breakfast buffet with quite a lot of choices for your fresh start into the day.
When we arrived, the hotel was bustling with activity – not ours, not too many guests (we were the first), but still some construction in progress. The air-conditioning, we were reassured, would work soon – unfortunately it didn’t during our stay, a bummer for me, since I had a room facing the street to the southwest, which heated up pretty nicely, and opening windows at night was not helping my sleep either. I am sure this has been fixed by now…
The rooms at City hotel Merano are very clean and refreshingly unostentatious, using a simple yet very modern design and just a single color accent. All rooms are laid out as one-bedroom apartments with a living room area and kitchenette to cater to the client’s needs. The 5-story building offers single and double rooms, on the top floor you enjoy a gorgeous panorama of the surrounding mountain ranges and the luxury of a vast roof terrace – quite the view, and a nice place to sit outside in the evening.
The beds were quite comfortable, although on the hard side (I like that, but not everyone does). The closet was a dark wooden something with a laptop-sized safe (no plugging option inside, though, which would have been nice in a hotel dated 2013). The bathroom was spacy enough, equipped with everything you’d need. I did not use the TV since I was too busy exploring Merano (or sleeping), but there is a flatscreen TV in the bedroom.
You can see pictures of the terrace and a double room laid out in green accents in the blog of my friend Cucina Casalinga (much better photos, plus a shot of the bathroom).
While my room was okay for a few nights of sleep and a little work on the laptop, for me this was not the type of place where I would like to stay the day and linger and relax – it felt all rather business-y. What I liked: the keycard to the room (although a temporary one, judging by the looks) was RFID-based, not a magnetized card – and old-fashioned keys are available on request as well.
A minor complaint of mine would be the electricity sockets layout – there is none adjacent to the bed, not exactly top-notch in an age where absolutely everyone is plugging in the smartphone and/or ipad as alarm clock and to recharge over night. Sockets were there plenty enough, though.
The service in general was very friendly and forthcoming. A very thoughtful feature of the City Hotel is the welcome drink served to customers in their room shortly upon arrival. I’d haved loved a word of warning ahead, anyway, since I was ready to hop under the shower at that very moment. In the breakfast room, on the other hand, the service was (while friendly) very slow, and left me with the feeling that processes were not yet as well-organized as they should be. Room for improvement for sure.
The hotel offers a parking garage, should you need it, and has a nice and well-stocked bar in the lobby, plus a tapas restaurant not yet opened when I visited the hotel.
Just around the corner there is a bakery and a small café, a coiffeur should you need one, and within a few minutes the whole city of Merano is at your fingertips.
Would I stay here again?
I am not sure. There were a few things which need improvement, but that’s to be expected in a brand-new hotel. It is a pretty nice hotel if you need a bed and a breakfast for one or two nights, and everything is in walking distance – that’s fine. If I’d stop here again, I’d make sure I’d get a top-level room facing away from the street. The roof terrace was pretty awesome.
The price tag feels a little too high for me. At the moment (checking for mid-August), the City Hotel Merano charges 190 € for a standard double on a Saturday night, and that is actually pretty much – especially given the fact that the wi-fi was unreliable (which may not be changing with more guests logging into the router), and with ample lodging options in the area to choose from.
Although the City Hotel is crowned with 4 stars, I’ve seen four-star hotels with rooms a lot more luxurious and comfortable, it looks somewhat basic for four stars.
City Hotel Merano
Via Mainardo 41