Trieste is now a city we’re getting to know well, as it’s so close to home. Now that Croatia has joined the Schengen Zone, travelling through the small corridor of Slovenia between us and Italy, means no more border stops and so we can be in Trieste in just over half an hour. This makes supermarket shopping, for instance, more of a joy than a chore – especially as Italian supermarkets are so, so good. But sometimes we want to stay a bit longer and so we’re also getting to know some lovely accommodation – and, as we tend to stay over out of season, we can sometimes stay in places we wouldn’t normally consider because of price. One such place is the stunning Seven Historial Suites, right in the city centre, a couple of blocks away from the Grand canal. Yes, Trieste also has one of these. James Joyce, cast in bronze, and one of Trieste’s most famous expats, stands overlooking the canal. And he doesn’t do that in Venice.
The hotel is housed inside one of the imposing city’s stately commercial buildings in the graceful 18th-century grid of the Borgo Teresiana, an example of Habsburg town planning. (Most of these statuesque buildings are commercial on the ground floor, with the upper floors being either residential or hotels). The entrance, at ground level is discreet, but once inside, the absolute splendour of the building reveals itself. A grand sweeping staircase, chandeliers, dark wood, muted lighting, frescoes, tiled floors and beams. Very theatrical, very over the top, very beautiful – and totally Italian. A beautiful communal library area also added to the feeling of luxury and opulence.
Our apartment – living room/kitchen, large bedroom and bathroom was spacious and with everything we needed for a short stay. The kitchen was really equipped, and it was nice to have a full size under the counter fridge, to store wine, rather than the hotel sized mini fridges, where bottles just roll out when you open the door. The living room was comfortable with a big squishy sofa and chairs and a table – and lots of eclectic additions to add interest.
The bedroom was spacious, with a vaulted ceiling and a very large, very comfortable bed, with beautiful linen. Slippers and dressing gowns and big, fluffy towels added to a feeling of opulence, as did the complimentary Acqua di Parma toiletries. And these weren’t your usual dinky sized bottles – they were substantial tubes of bath and shower gel cream, body cream and shampoo and conditioner.
A very nice touch on arrival was a complimentary bottle of prosecco. Always appreciated.
Trieste is a city full of hotels and apartments, some so grand they are eye-watering prices. But I think we found a happy medium with The Seven Historical Suites – not cheap as chips (although, to be fair, they’re not that cheap these days), but definitely affordable as a treat. And, especially out of season. Top tip, right there.