Duomo Hotel, Rimini, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ***

Q: What is it? A: Somebody let Ron Arad loose on a hotel project and he, well… designed it with a giant chrome ring in the reception. Highly likable staff, trying hard to compensate for failing technology. If you’re in Rimini, why not stay here?

Drive carefully. Rimini streets are often... a little less wide than you're used to.

The Duomo Hotel exterior. You will find it on a very narrow street – even more narrow than this image suggests –  that the GPS refer to as Via Giordano Bruno.

The chrome ring in the reception. Actually, the chrome ring IS the reception.

It’s been featured in countless design and travel magazines. It still looks kind of weird: Ron Arad’s infamous chrome ring that doubles as front desk.

Cosy bed or bed module?

Instructions: You sleep on this side of the round window. You brush your teeth and take showers on the other side. And yes, the carpet is shaped like an ‘L’.

This may put some relationships to the test. Will you be comfortable taking a shit in there, even after closing the blinds?

Function of round window: To act as a divider between dry and wet areas.
Note the blinds. You will feel watched when going to the bathroom, though.

Designed by Arad. Made of Corian®. Messed up by me.

Inside the wet pod, all the surfaces are made of Corian®. And it will look messy as soon as you put your toothbrush in a glass.

”Prepare to make a left turn!”
Why are GPS always sounding like an old schoolteacher? More than so; it sounds like a mistake to make a left turn as you enter Via Giordano Bruno. Located on a narrow street in the old town is a hotel that until 2003 was just another insignificant hotel in Rimini. Then somebody decided that something must happen: Ron Arad and his team was brought in to give the Duomo an extreme makeover.
These days you enter the Duomo Hotel through a pair of signal red doors shaped as pinball game flippers. The bar is to the left and it’s quite spectacular with a lot of organic shapes – as if an Alvar Aalto vase had crashed into the counter of your regular hangout. But it is the front desk that steals the show. Of course, it’s that infamous giant tilted chrome ring.

The room feels odd.
It’s like walking on a cushioned rubber floor mat (well, that’s exactly what you do). You enter your bathroom and you discover that one of the walls is made out of Corian®. Oh, this is no bathroom. It’s called a ‘wet pod’. I suppose that’s because everything in the room gets wet, as there is no shower curtain. WC and bidet are Alessi, shaped like eggs. And yes, they get wet too. Besides, the room is the antidote of cosy. It is like staying in a rendered CAD-drawing.

Conceptual crap.
The people behind the Duomo Hotel, obviously discovered design as a marketing tool and took it all the way. A bold move. And most people know about the hotel with the giant chrome ring (etc.). But it’s mostly make-up. And like always I’m getting a bad taste in my mouth when reading websites and brochures that are full of the conceptual crap that no hotel will benefit from. Stuff like: “…we were sure that we wanted soMething that eMbraced the past but looked towards the future…” Those capital ‘M’s are not misspellings. They are part of their corporate concept caca.

So, how was your stay?
It was alright, thank you. When the internet was not working, I got grumpy and turned to the staff at the Duomo. God bless them! They are doing their best to compensate for the stuff that is not working. Adjusting heat in jacuzzis. Delivering Ethernet cables when the WiFi is not delivering. Plus, they go the extra mile to book you in at places they like. They smile. And right now they are really saving me the trouble to write a really bad review of this hotel.

A visual provocation.
The chrome steel ring has been featured in literally every design magazine on the planet. Someone called this hotel a ‘visual provocation’ and that is quite true. But it’s lacking heart and soul. No advanced CAD wizardry will ever change that. Design did put this hotel on the map – but design alone it will not make me return. The staff, however, just might.

Duomo Hotel
Via Giordano Bruno 28
47900 Rimini
Italy

+39 0541 24215/6

Click here to book the Duomo Hotel through TabletHotels.com!

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