Well the curiosity was killing me, reading the reviews posted on this site and I hope this will help clarify the situation.
I would also like to mention that I am a very seasoned world traveller and know Italy very well so I had other hotels and areas in Italy to compare to.
Firstly, the positon of this hotel is outstanding! It is slightly up a hill overlooking the gorgeous town of Santa Margherita and the beautiful bay area.
Every seaview room had lovely balconies with access to a gorgeous large outdoor terrace, a beautiful warm salt water swimming pool and lovely all day and night deck bar/restaurant.
We had lunch at the pool several times, after dinner drinks at the bar most nights, and ate dinner at the hotel restaurant one night. Also, we had room service several times and in every situation, the service was impeccable and the food was very good.
We were fortunate to get a room which had extra beds and were grateful to have the extra space since we stayed at the hotel for 7 nights.
The room bathrooms are updated and wonderful, the room cleaning service was outstanding and the beds are very comfortable. I happen to like a firm bed and had no problem sleeping - well until we heard the church bells.
Oh yes - through no fault of this hotel but the town operation and traditions, I found it amazing and ridiculous that the leaders of the town would allow all of the churches and Basillicas to ring their church bells to the degree they do.
Let me explain - no matter where you stay in Santa Marghuerita the church bells begin ringing at 6:30 a.m.! They ring a full bell on the hour and one bell on the half hour and the best part is at 7:30 a.m. they ring 32 times as they playing the Ave Maria. This recurrs again at 8:30 p.m.
The bells ring on the hour and half hour and several chuches ring them so if you missed the first set you will hear them several times more.
Therefore, if you want to sleep late in the morning or nap during the day or go to bed early - don't count on it as they ring right up until 9:00 p.m.
The inconvenient flaws noted at the hotel are as follows: no refrigerator in the room and no safe. Having stayed in every hotel imaginable throughout Italy this is a first for me to not have either and in my mind unacceptable.
In general we found the people of Santa Margherita to have attitude and that was reflected at times also at the front desk. My guess is that it is a reflection of France being so close by and it is very noticeable compared to the more southern areas of the coast. Overall the hotel was ok and did answer your questions when asked - but not really flowing with friendliness or wanting to speak with their guests in any way.
Lastly, the hotel does cater to bus tour groups coming through and staying for one night.This can be noisy at times as the entire hotel is hardwood floor. Guests were getting up at 6:00 a.m. and walking with their heeled shoes and dragging luggage. Again, between the bells and this noise, we cannot say it was an overly restful holiday.
However, we had a fantastic time exploring around the area and going to Porto Fino.
We did not care for Cinque Terre and feel it is overrated and it takes a long time on the train to get there. It is good for the back packer type of traveller, but personally I much prefer the Amalfi Coast.
Regarding the decor, like many hotels in Italy this was once a very glam place and now tired looking. It is very '60's style and kind of cool.
For the price of the hotel in the area, and the spectacular view I would recommend this hotel and certainly stay again. Bring ear plugs though.
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- Also Known As:
- Park Hotel Santa Margherita Ligure