Hotel 'Principi di Piemonte', Turin
last update: 20 Nov. 2019
The 5-star hotel Principi di Piemonte is more or less in the historical centre of Turin, and actually has its own webpage on Wikipedia (in Italian). We learn that the building is one of the tallest in Turin and has a somewhat austere appearance. Finished in 1936 it follows what the Italians call 'razionalismo Italiano' (rational architecture thrived in Italy from the 1920's to the 1940's). The hotel was completely restored and modernised for the XX Winter Olympic Games held in Turin (2006).
Driving into Turin from the North was not particularly exciting. The road surfaces are poor, and the many of the areas look a bit rundown, etc. The austere façade of the hotel did not alter our first impressions.
However, once on foot, we found that the hotel was surrounding by luxury shopping options, an impressive pedestrian zone (Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange) and lots of historical monuments and museums. For example Via Roma is one of the main streets of the historic centre of Turin. It combines the central Piazza Castello with the important and busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and includes Piazza C.L.N. and the famous Piazza San Carlo, ending in Piazza Carlo Felice. Oriented on the north-south axis, it follows the typical layout of Roman cities (i.e. in 44 BC Turin was called Julia Augusta Taurinorum).
Driving through the city, following the car GPS, almost inevitably means that you drive through 'Zona a Traffico Limitato' (ZTL or traffic-limited zone). These zones are exclusively reserved for permit holders, and you can be fined unless your hotel has registered the licence plate of your car. It can take months for fines to finally turn up, and most drivers don't remember the circumstances and end up paying without knowing why. I asked the hotel about this and they provided me with a special form so that they could declare my entry and exit through the ZTL. Despite the hotel knowing that I would have gone through ZTL's they just waited until I specifically asked about making a declaration. They lacked any pro-active attitude. Even having given them the necessary signed form I'm not convinced they will do anything. I will keep a scanned copy of the hotel bill just in case.
One positive element was that there are reserved parking spaces in front of the hotel. We were able to park, get our bags picked up, and the car taken to the hotel garage. The fact that there was a secure parking (costing 39€/day) was key to our booking in this particular hotel.
Our car can be closed through an iPhone app. The garage had to contact me because they had left the key in the car. So when it was closed and locked they could not move other cars around, and I had to leave the doors and windows open. So I'm not sure just how secure the garage was.
One major complaint I have is as follows. We had a gift for some friends, and the porters said we could leave it in the car and they would collect it when we needed it. On the day in question we asked them at 10:30 to pick it up from the garage for 12:00. Come 12:00 we had to request again for our gift, and naturally they had forgotten it in the garage. This is just poor service.
As I've already mentioned the hotel has a rather plain, even austere, façade. The reality is that all over the web the façade is presented with a kind of flowered terrace, often with two open sunshades. Whereas the reality is much more austere.
The reception area is overly dull, and a bit 'cold'.
The seats in the bar are not that comfortable, and the whole area lacks the colour and 'warmth' that you would expect in a 5-star hotel.
The staff were professional but, as a first time visitor, time was 'wasted' standing there whilst they input a lot passport information, etc. into their system. The hotel website does not offer a fast check-in option.
However as we moved to our room things picked up. The rooms are spread over 8 floors and surround an impressive central atrium.
The bell-boy delivered our baggage, but did not 'introduce' the room, e.g. explain heating/cooling, TV commands, minibar, etc.
We had booked a a kind of junior suite, and we found it warm and welcoming. I can't say that anything immediately stood out, but the overall impression was harmonious and comfortable.
As you entered the room through a wide and massive main door, to the left was the bathroom, and to the right an excellent walk-in dressing/store room (you can just see it across from the bathroom).
The dressing room was well equipped with a good sized wall safe, although a few more hangers would have been appreciated. The bathroom was a fine mix of marble and granite, with a separate large walk-in shower, and a WC and bidet. If we needed to find a complaint, perhaps two hand basins would have been nice (and the plug did not retain the water).
One problem we did find was that the hand shower and rain shower had been swapped around, so you could be surprise with a cold shower when you thought you were turning on the hand shower unit. My wife did not appreciate getting a cold shower on her hair.
Positive points about the rooms:-
Good sized bathrobes
Nice reading lamps at bedside
Two TV's, one in each room
Nice view over city
Large bed, but my wife found it very hard.
We had one negative comment in that the dark materials used easily show dust and dirt, even if the housekeeping was perfect.
We would have appreciated complimentary water upon our arrival.
Power sockets were not a problem, but they were not really adapted to modern needs. For example, the desk area should have had a selection of sockets, including USB for charging, etc.
The room service menu selection was reasonable, and the service was efficient and quick. Everything arrived on a fold-out table which made for a very comfortable eating arrangement in front of the TV. The food was good, and prices were acceptable, except for the glass of wine at 8€. Minibar prices were exaggerated.
One very good point was that the hotel Spa was free for guests (as was the fitness area). The Spa pool was pleasant and had a variety of jets, etc. The sauna was good, but the hammam was not working. The showers should be upgraded to wellness-type showers.
Checkout went without any problems. The car was brought round, luggage loaded, and off we went. Getting out of Turin took for ages due in part to what looked like a poor route selection on the GPS, and the multiple road closures.
Despite the odd negative comment this is clearly a 5-star hotel, even if it did not create a compelling experience. Would we stay there again? Yes, but it is quite likely that we would as easily try a different hotel. There are at least 4 5-star hotels in Turin. So for example, the Royal Palace Hotel & Spa, although more expensive, has private parking at 25€/day, whereas the Principi di Piemonte had public parking at 39€/day.