When is a hotel not a hotel? When it’s the downstairs apartment a floor below the owner. That’s what we discovered when we booked B&B Sweet Home in Tirano. Tirano is a tiny village at the end of the Bernina Express, nestled in the Valtellina valley which connects Italy with both Switzerland and Austria.
We’d been asked what time we’d be checking in and it became apparent why that was important when we buzzed the intercom from the gate at the address listed. Cristina buzzed us in and we made our way up the spiral staircase to meet her at the door to the apartments.
Cristina was very welcoming, showing us around and giving us the key and then showing us down the hall from the lounge to our room. The room was lovely, with muted colors and wooden floors and well themed decor. A small juliet balcony looked out over the main road and an open clothes rack behind the door served as a wardrobe.
We’d been told that the bathroom directly opposite our room was ours (we’d paid slightly more for a “private bathroom”), but there was nothing stopping anyone from using it as far as I could see. It wasn’t an issue the whole time we were there though, so no problem.
As I checked out the bathroom I couldn’t see any toiletries and only a bathmat as far as towels went. I came back to the room to tell Ange and then noticed on the set of drawers a lovely knitted cosy with J F Amonn’s White brand of toiletries.
The communal area was jam packed with tourism brochures and guide books and Cristina was gracious enough to show us the local sites on the map.
As we walked towards the local church we turned and saw a lovely mural painted on the side of the building. A curious choice of picture but perfectly in keeping with the local style.
We’d arranged to pay the additional €7 each for breakfast and were very glad that we did. A lovely continental selection greeted us in the morning and it was obvious that there would be something there for everybody, from cereal to pastries to fruit, to yoghurt, cold cuts, boiled eggs and cheeses. Even walnuts with a nut cracker in case you wanted to feel like you earned your meal.
One wall of the lounge/dining room was taken with a giant mural of the Bernina Express, the red train contrasting beautifully with the snowy landscape of the picture, and a small balcony outside faced over the short distance to the Tirano station allowing you to see the real thing in person as you ate.
The only down side of the place were the shutters on the balcony window. The main road outside was quite busy as it ran through the town, which was great for the centralness of the location, but not so good with the lights from the cars and the noise as they drove past: the shutters weren’t quite up to the job of keeping the room dark or silent.
It’s a pity because Cristina was friendly and helpful, the bed was comfortable and the breakfast delicious (my favourite was the custard croissant which I had with butter and honey).
Would I Go Back?
I wouldn’t choose that particular room – I’d opt for one of the other two with the shared bathroom. The lights from the road were enough for me to risk not having the bathroom when I needed it, if that was the trade off. It’s hard to beat the location, the welcome and the breakfast, so if I found myself back in Tirano, I’d certainly visit Cristina again.