It is not often one gets an offer to stay in hotel in a medieval tower. As this one was also a member of the wonderful Design Hotels Group and naturally therefore featured interiors in ultra modern style we quickly accepted.
The Gombit Hotel is in the northern Italian city of Bergamo. This lies at a point where open plains meet snowy Alpine peaks and hence represents a key strategic and trade location. It seems everyone has battled over the city – from the Celts and Romans through to the Venetians and Austrians, even Atila stopped by to sack the city in the 5th century.
Bergamo is divided in to two parts – the fortified upper ‘Citta Alta’ and the newer (but still historic) lower ‘Citta Bassa’. They are linked by assorted paths for the athletic and twin funicular railways for the rest of us.
The compact walled upper city where the Gombit Hotel is located is a glorious maze of narrow cobbled alleyways and grand historic buildings. You will find churches, cathedrals, civic buildings (many now are museums) and a more than occasional tower. There are no chain shops or touristy cafes to be seen – the streets are full of genuinely atmospheric local establishments.
As with every Italian town there was a particularly strong emphasis on food and drink. On every corner there seemed to be yet another fabulous local trattoria, caffe, osteria or pasticceria. Behind old signs and steeped in history their interiors were often under vaulted stone ceilings or clad in old wood panels hung with old paintings.
In the heart of this almost overwhelming weight of tradition and history, sits the Gombit Hotel. It would have been almost too easy for them to have draped windows with velvet curtains, hung walls with gilt framed paintings and filled rooms with dark and heavy furniture. The hotel designer Giò Pozzi has however instead brought cutting edge Italian design to the tower’s interiors.
From your arrival in the lobby where a red iconic sixties vespa sits infront of two chairs-come-sculptures and some quirky features you know you’re in for a visual treat. Out of a shiny black floor sharp white walls rise to intersect the irregular medieval spaces. Occasionally you get glimpses of rocky alcoves or old features which are introduced in to the design scheme.
There is high quality contemporary art alongside clever and clever features like a paper clad table and an invisibly suspended saxophone that ‘pours’ red wires from its bell. Lighting is fabulous – uplights, downlights, backlights and coloured lights make the most of every space.
Bedrooms are similarly delightful. Ours featured heated solid wood floors, restful green walls, pale grey designer furniture and petrol curtains. The bathroom had heated slate floors, glass cubicle showers and ultra modern chrome fittings. Over four floors, the thirteen rooms all differ slightly but share the same stylish design.
There was a comprehensive and high quality breakfast in a lovely dining room. As everywhere the detail was immaculate. Quality linen napkins, stylish cutlery and beautifully presented food. The lobby features a small bar for drinks and coffee. It seems hardly necessary to add that the service was perfect too.
The Gombit Hotel’s modern design is an altogether perfect compliment to the feast of history that lies, not only in the buildings walls, but just outside the hotel door. Bergamo in a city that, despite our all too brief stay, is now fixed as one of our favourites and the Gombit Hotel a partner made in heaven.
For more information and booking visit The Gombit Hotel
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