I know myself all too well… went to bed around 2:30am, set 5 alarms and woke up on the final buzz around 5:40am. Yes, I can function on 3 hours of sleep- more or less.
Walked to my local train station with ample amount of time so I could print out my ticket reservation (FYI: if I were running late, I could’ve skipped the “print out” since TrenItalia gives PNR CODES to verify reservations).
Journey started in Monza at 6:34am and ended in Riccione at 10:30am. This 4hr trip was the “fastest” option with a stop in Milano & Bologna Centrale for 54 euro (per person). When we arrived in Riccione, Google Maps said our hotel was 15 minutes away on foot.
As I started rolling away from the station in the direction of the hotel, I saw my friend sitting in a taxi. Now I’m not sure how YOU feel about taxis… but they stress me out! As a native New Yorker, I know almost every possible way (some) cabbies try to make that extra buck, and I find them to be even worse in Italy. Therefore, I always make sure to enter the cab with my route of choice so they know, I know, what’s up.
Prepared for this option, I had the route saved on the iTouch… however, the meter STARTED at 8,40 (umm, is that even legal?) and the 5 minute cab ride totaled to 12,50 euro- physically relaxing for my friend, not so much for me.
However, when we arrived at the hotel, my stress levels stabilized. Greeted by friendly faces, we checked-in and got our briefing for the week. Since we scheduled this holiday somewhat last-minute, we opted for the All-Inclusive package to make this vacation as relaxing and convenient as possible.
1 Week Package Includes:
- 1 Bedroom + WiFi
- Breakfast Buffet (Croissants, Tea, Coffee, Juice, Salami & Cheese)
- Lunch (Drinks, Antipasto Buffet, First Course, Second Course, Dessert)
- Dinner (Drinks, Antipasto Buffet, First Course, Second Course, Dessert)
- Daily Beach & Private Cabana Access with WiFi
- 1 Boat Ride in the Adriatic Sea
LOCATION: Riccione is a popular town filled with visitors from all over Italy, Germany, France, etc. Since the town is small, our hotel location was relatively close to the main square (95th Pier). Hotel Montecarlo is a hop, skip and jump away from the sea and one street over from the main road in Riccione. Very easy to get around by foot!
ALL INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE: Food is the reason why we chose this vacation spot. During my stay, I posted my favorite dishes from every meal, and it’s quite obvious that the Seafood Chefs reigned supreme. Riccione’s known for their seafood and piadinas, so I tried to pick dishes that represented the area. I enjoyed the flexible vegetarian, meat and/or fish options offered on the All-Inclusive Hotel Menu, but it would’ve been nice to try different restaurants in the area.
If given the option to purchase an All Inclusive plan again, I think I’d only opt for the Breakfast & Dinner option, instead of paying for Lunch & Drinks. Why?
- Meal Times: All buffets & meals began and ended at a certain time, therefore we’d have to leave the beach (even though the sun was calling our names).
- Filling: Sometimes you don’t want to eat (a lot)… but then you think, “I paid for it already!”
- Drinks: Even though we paid for unlimited water/wine, I asked to substitute wine for soda or juice because I don’t drink alcohol during meals. The staff said that would be fine, however after we’d get our bottle of water for the table, they’d say that they ran out of juice or it wouldn’t make it to the table. True stories.
- Variety: The hotel Chefs offered a nice variety, but I would’ve liked to try other restaurants that specialize in local dishes just to compare and contrast.
ROOM & MAINTENANCE: I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind a small room, so at first glance I thought it was GREAT: double bed, nice wardrobe with safe, big bathroom, AND a balcony with views of the sea! But I was NOT IMPRESSED for the following reasons:
- Double Bed: The hotel meshed two twin mattresses side by side which were held together by one large fitted sheet. Now, I’m the type of person who migrates to the middle of the bed and ended up sleeping in the crevice for 7 nights straight. Not comfortable at all.
- Maintenance: The cleaning ladies were nice… they changed the towels and made the bed… however, I found it really inconvenient to go downstairs to ask for standard supplies like toilet paper- super annoying.
- Noise Level: Bring ear plugs. I’m not joking. The building is poorly built for sound, and needless to say, EVERYONE in the building would wake up to screaming children and noisy cleaning staff.
- Balcony: I loved our little balcony! After lunch I would soak in the sun, update my blog and listen to the sound of the sea. However, on the cloudiest day of the week, I went to open the glass door and a sudden gust of wind pushed the glass door into the corner of the built in wooden desk (not the smartest idea to put a pointy edge near a glass door). Needless to say, the glass SMASHED. We reported the accident and asked if we were responsible to pay for it (in the US, you’d expect to be comp’ed for the room due to potential injury… and in Italy you expect to be charged). But we were told that everything would be fine and that they were just glad we were okay. Well, that was a LIE! At check-out we were charged 50 euros for the glass, but told that we were comp’ed free juice… even though we paid for the ALL-INCLUSIVE package which includes drinks and meals??? That statement alone left a bitter aftertaste- I lose respect for people who are not straightforward.
OVERALL: Aside from a few minor setbacks… the view, the location, & the food made up for it. To be honest, we were tempted to stay a little longer in Riccione because the water was getting warmer and warmer each day, but to much of a good thing can be
a good thing umm… pricey.
Hotel Montecarlo was recommended by a friend of a friend who got us a spot at this 3 Star Hotel with a 4 Star price tag. 100 euro per person, per day… you do the math. In general, Riccione is one of the more expensive towns in Romagna because they’re known for their Italian celebrity sightings and wild dance parties. With those reasons alone, prices in town tend to sky-rocket. We spent our nights around town eating icecream, attending free concerts in the square and browsing the night-time craft markets.
Would I come again? Potentially. But I think there are other places in Emilia-Romagna that I need to visit before I answer this question.