Hello---we will be visiting Cinque Terre for the first time on our next trip to Europe (2010). We will have our 2 daughters with us, ages 18 and 22, and will spend 3 or 4 days in CT. This will be their first time in Italy. I want them to be able to experience the best---the great food, the friendliness, the scenery, the history, and a bit of "dolce far niente". We will be doing a lot of hiking while at CT.
I have read everything I can find on Cinque Terre---Rick's books and Helpline, other guidebooks, reviews on Tripadvisor, etc. and still can't choose a place to stay. My son, who has lived in Italy and visited CT many times, and knows my travel style, says we should consider Monterosso, as there will be more to do in the evenings. I would like to consider Vernazza as well.
With four of us, an apartment would work best, but we would also consider 2 double rooms in a hotel. The absolute requirements are a balcony or terrace with a sea view and friendly, reliable owners or management. (I have read too many "bait and switch" stories by people who booked one type of accomodation but arrived to be told they would be given something else).
We are quite independent and an apartment where we get the key and never see the manager again would be fine. But so would a hotel where we got a warm welcome and a nice breakfast with a smile from the staff each morning. We don't need luxury or a lot of space, but do want something nice--meaning clean, nicely furnished, and functional, not "ramshackle" as Rick likes to call some places. We don't mind a lot of steps, especially if that will give us a great view of the coast and the sea.
Any favorites you can recommend, particularly apartments or rooms with kitchen? Or places you would warn us off?
Also, I would be particularly interested in hearing about the quad rooms at Hotel Villa Steno and Hotel Pasquale---are they fairly large? Balcony? Views? Thanks!