My husband and I like staying at boutique hotels to get some local flavor, and family-owned Hotel Gabbani serves it up in a literal way. The Gabbanis have been a Lugano fixture since 1937, selling gourmet, mostly local, food products. The hotel is above the cheese shop/wine shop/bakery/café, Bottega del Formaggio, which is across from the delicatessen, Macellaria Gabbani.
We were very comfortable in the sparse, modern room and loved the enormous bathroom with its powerful shower. I would have loved a desk to work at, but I made do hunched over an end table.
The breakfast was delicious. In addition to charcuterie, there were giant, delectable brioches and a changing selection of savory tortes and other local specialties.
The drawback to this hotel is that it’s impossible to reach unless you know where you’re going. It is located in a pedestrian-only area, which is fine once you’re inside, but it’s frustrating for GPS-dependent tourists. We circled the vicinity a few times, trying to find any street parking (impossible) or parking garage (the small one two blocks from the hotel was full). We tried calling the hotel, but there was no answer. When we finally arrived, we saw why: the reception desk was unmanned. So the bartender checked us in. Really.
It turns out hotel guests are allowed to drive into the area for loading purposes, but that tiny technical detail is not revealed until you get to the hotel.
We paid around CHF 250/night ($260 and €205) for a standard room and were upgraded to a suite, which meant more square footage. That almost made up for the hour we spent trying to find the hotel.
Hotel Gabbani, Piazza Cioccaro 1