This B&B was rated #1 for so long, but now I see it has slipped to #2! Well, I haven't stayed at any other places in Lucca, but while I was there it was clear to me why it had the #1 spot. Il Seminario is a wonderful place to stay for several reasons.
1. Location. It is ideally located, within 5 minutes walk to the train (going a short way through one of the passages through the walls), and close to the Duomo, Piazza San Michele and other key locations. A great bike shop for rentals is a few blocks away on Via San Nicolao, one of the on-ramps to the walls, and much more. It's very easy to walk everywhere in Lucca.
2. Price & amenities. The prices are very reasonable, especially for the small rooms (I was in the smallest, I believe--might be a bit tight for two people). And for these prices you get several nice amenities such as free wifi (that works very well) and a little fridge. My room (Napoleone) was absolutely delightful, spotlessly clean, cozy and bright and sunny. It has individually controlled heat, which also worked well. Napoleone has two doors, the front door opens into a wee hallway off of which the bathroom is located. A second door leads into the room itself. The inner door is supposed to be a barrier against sound (though I didn't think it worked that well). If it's closed, the heat won't reach the bathroom area, so I just kept it open.
3. The staff. Absolutely fantastic. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Paolo, one of the owners, went absolutely above and beyond. I had the misfortune of having a bunch of louts next door who thought it was a good idea to be rowdy and loud and talkative past midnight. Paolo had already said to call his cell phone any time of the day or night, but I felt bad about calling at that hour. So I just sent him an email to let him know what was happening. I thought to myself, well, I let him know, but I'll just have to suffer through the rest of the night, because even if he sees the email now, what's he gonna do, come to the B&B in the middle of the night to say something to the guests? Well, apparently, yes. That's actually what he did. Astonishing! And then they let me switch rooms just to ensure my comfort. And one day I asked for hot water for tea to have in my room. I was waiting for him to just heat up some water and instead I was presented with a lovely tray including some biscotti and jam and such. Lovely. And as others noted, he gave me a great annotated city map and told me about lots of local spots.
A few things to keep in mind:
1. As I said I had noisy neighbors--the walls are kind of thin, so yeah, if you happen to get inconsiderate neighbors, you'll hear them. I tended not to hear people at reception when I was sleeping but when I was awake, I was aware that a light sleeper might be bothered. The streets outside the B&B are very quiet and peaceful but if someone is standing in front, they will sound like they're right in your room (Napoleone's window looks out onto the sidewalk next to the front door).
2. The bathroom is small--I'm a small person, and it was a tight fit with the toilet, as it has the wall on the left and the shower in front. Large/tall folks will be in trouble.
3. The front desk is not often manned, as someone else noted. Again, Paolo really is available by cell at any time, but just know that you probably won't have someone right there if you are wanting to pop out and ask a question.
Oh and as for breakfast, it certainly was a lot of food, though I'm not sure what one reviewer was referring to about well cooked breakfasts--I didn't see anything cooked (except hard boiled eggs a couple of times). There was a large spread of cereal, pastries, bread (accompaniments of packaged jams, nutella), lunchmeat & cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit, canned fruit, dried fruit (e.g., dates), juice, and choice of hot beverage. The fresh fruits were apples and kiwi in a bowl. Most of the kiwi weren't ripe enough to eat. A couple of times they had warm apple slices with cinnamon, which was yummy. But for me the breakfast was a little too processed. I realize Italians mostly have coffee and pastry but for me I would've liked some more fresh foods and more plant-based foods. One reviewer mentioned focaccia, which I didn't see, the bread was regular sliced white bread that you'd buy at the grocery, not fresh baked from a bakery and not focaccia. Speaking of which there is a bakery on Del Moro that is fantastic in that regard. Anyway, and on the jam being packaged single-servings that are mostly sugar, it was a bummer not to get homemade as I had at a B&B in Bologna. Clearly I'm nitpicking but since breakfast is a major bonus for staying at a B&B it was a little disappointing.
Overall it was a really lovely stay and I would definitely return.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC