Room service: Hotel Gabbia D'Oro, Verona

The Hotel Gabbia d'Oro is a beautifully restored 18th-century palazzo in the centre of Verona. The reception and public rooms, while exquisite, have a museum-like quality; think vaulted ceilings, stone floors, original frescos and objets d'art. The small, relaxed and cosy bar is thus a welcome surprise. Staff are charming and service is good, if a little stuffy.

The Hotel Gabbia d'Oro is a beautifully restored 18th-century palazzo in the centre of Verona. The reception and public rooms, while exquisite, have a museum-like quality; think vaulted ceilings, stone floors, original frescos and objets d'art. The small, relaxed and cosy bar is thus a welcome surprise. Staff are charming and service is good, if a little stuffy.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Hotel Gabbia d'Oro, Corso Porta Borsari 4a, Verona, Italy (00 39 045 8003060; www.hotelgabbiadoro.it). On a cobbled street beside the corner of Piazza dell'Erbe, the main square, the hotel adjoins the 14th-century Gardello Tower.

Time to international airport: Verona's Villafranca airport is a 15-minute taxi ride from the centre.

ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?

Rooms are small and quite cluttered, but this becomes an irrelevance once you sink into a chaise longue to admire the gold-framed antique prints on the wall or to sip wine from a heavy crystal glass. On the other side of those sumptuous drapes is your own private balcony. Beds are larger than usual in Italy, with luxurious linen sheets. Opulent is the only word for the bathrooms: golden mosaics decorate the pale-pink marble walls, clawfooted bathtubs take centre stage and towels are large, fluffy and plentiful.

Freebies: the usual stylish bathroom goodies.

Keeping in touch: internet and fax facilities are available through reception and all the rooms have telephones.

THE BOTTOM LINE

During the opera season (June to September), doubles cost €351 (£225), suites from €516 (£330), breakfast not included. The rest of the year, prices are more reasonable – doubles €232 (£148.50), suites €284 (£182), breakfast included; children under five free.

I'm not paying that: check out Gabbia d'Oro's website for special offers. Otherwise, try the family-run Hotel Italia, Via G Mameli, 58/66, Verona (00 39 045 918088; www.hotelitalia.tv). Doubles €140 (£89), with breakfast.

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