We booked the Diana Majestic in Diano Marina through the hotel website, and the process was easy. We booked a master suite which was over 500 Euros a night for High Season. We also had friends staying in a standard (loft) room for about 260 Euros a night. Our journey was by car from the South of France and we found the hotel easily, and found lots of parking space in the hotel’s open-air parking lot, which looked quite secure. We were not charged for parking.
Unfortunately, the middle-aged lady who ‘greeted’ us at Reception when we arrived at noon was not very friendly. She seemed rather upset that we had dragged her out of the back office where she was busy doing something. So the check-in process for us was rather mechanical and just efficient. Unfortunately no explanations whatsoever were offered regarding the bar, the restaurant, dinner, breakfast, the leisure facilities or the town – and the lady had to hurry back into the office. We had to find out more about the hotel later by asking questions or by reading the in-room hotel directory. We were nevertheless offered to use the pool as we were early and our room was not ready.
Our suite comprised of two rooms which accommodated a family of four very well. The bedroom and the living room were relatively spacious; and the kids’ beds were already prepared in the living room. Although there was no wow factor to the accommodation, the rooms and the bathroom were clean, ample and comfortable. The furnishings may have been rather ordinary, but they looked modern enough, and the housekeeping ladies who always offered a smile and a buongiorno made a very good and consistent job of keeping the rooms in order. Climate control in the rooms was unproblematic. The views of the town and the beach from the large windows of the two rooms were excellent. The suite had a very large terrace with a table and four chairs, as well as two cushioned sun-loungers, and plenty of space. Unfortunately, as the walls of the terrace were waist-high one had to stand and walk right up to the edge to enjoy the impressive views of the coast, the town of Diano Marina, and the hills behind. (Railings instead of low walls would have made such a striking difference.) We had no real view of the pool, but the other suite on the same floor had views of the pool and the beach from their balcony. We had the terrace and the Jacuzzi of the hotel’s best suite above our bedroom, and unfortunately the residents of this suite were rather keen on using their Jacuzzi fairly early in the morning – and you do hear the noise which can be enough to wake you up. If you’re thinking of booking a master suite, you may be slightly better off asking for 404 than 405.
I still believe that someone in the Italian hotel industry needs to start a revolution as regards breakfast; because while Italian lunches and dinners are generally excellent, the breakfasts leave a lot to be desired. While breakfasts at Diana majestic were quite good by Italian standards - with ample fresh fruit and reasonable cereals provided - I just can’t understand why - with the worldwide fame of quality Italian sausages - they still insist on serving those horrible fatty insipid factory-made sausages, not just here, but at most Italian hotels. The variety of bread here was also OK, but just that: “OK”. I’ve had a better variety of quality fresh wholegrain bread offered to me at Sri Lankan hotels. (The best hotel breads I’ve had have been at German and Swiss hotels.) Also there was an “egg station” with a tiny portable electric cooker and a young inexperienced egg chef churning out mediocre eggs very slowly. On the first morning, I arrived just as the eggs for the person in front of me were being placed in the pan; and I literally had to stand around for another15 minutes before my egg was done. I didn’t bother with freshly-made eggs on other mornings. I would suggest a gas cooker, with a more experienced chef; and small amounts of vegetable oil rather than big chunks of butter. Breakfast service was fairly efficient, but knives which were removed mid-breakfast were not replaced, and you had to roam the breakfast area in search of one, or find someone who could let you have a knife each time. Again, another area which the hotel may consider improving.
I liked the 2 swimming pools which catered well for both children and adults with plenty of sun-loungers. The pool attendant was a very pleasant and smiley young man. Please be aware that there is a 3.50 Euros per towel charge at the pool which is quite off-putting.
There is also a charge for the use of sunbeds on the hotel’s stretch of beach; deckchairs on the beach are free. By South of France or Ligurian standards the beach is fairly good albeit very narrow with soft but very dense sand. The immediate waters are somewhat murky, shallow, have been calmed, and are ideal for swimming or families with young children. You should still expect hawkers even on the ‘private’ beaches. There are a couple of quite good snack bars nearby for lunch.
There was no pool-side service as such, but at lunchtimes, the restaurant by the pool served fine daily specials for 11 Euros which I thought was quite good value. We also had a-la-carte dinner on the main restaurant terrace on our first evening. The meal itself was good although there were mixed reviews at the table. There were three let-downs to the dinner. First, the waiter’s choice of Ligurian red wine turned out to be a very young quite tart wine which none of us liked. Also one of the desserts (fresh fruit flambéed at the table) was so alcoholic that we were not able to go past the first spoon. We asked our waiter for coffee after desserts and he said we had to go inside to the hotel bar to order our coffees. Not something I wanted to hear when I’m paying well over 500 Euros a night at a 4-star hotel. I have no idea why the waiting staff can’t relay the hot drinks orders to the bar themselves. So one of us had to get up and go to the bar to order teas and coffees. We decided to have dinner in town after that.
The same hot-drinks situation occurred after having lunch by the pool-side restaurant. Unfortunately on almost all occasions that our group ordered coffee – including breakfast – it arrived rather lukewarm. I myself didn’t bother ordering another coffee after my third tepid coffee because I prefer my coffees hot.
Mondays to Thursdays there was entertainment on the restaurant terrace which was reasonable in quality and quite enjoyable depending on your taste in music and bands.
We always got smiles from the cleaning and housekeeping staff; Luca who worked at both restaurants was very friendly and approachable; and so was one of the gentlemen at the bar. We had a much friendlier older gentleman at Reception at check-out to whom I enjoyed chatting with. Other than that, I didn’t get an overall feel of happy friendly staff (especially at breakfast service); but I have no major complaints with staff’s competency or efficiency on the whole. On one occasion around 2:30 p.m. the bar was unattended for about 10-15 minutes and we had to get someone from Reception to find us someone to serve us.
I have been to a few Ligurian towns. The town of Diano Marina was not the most inspiring: it is a fairly ordinary small town, with no continuous seaside promenade and only a modicum of charm. (In the vicinity I would instead suggest the towns of Finale Ligure or Alessio or Laigueglia or even San Remo.) From the hotel, it is a good 10-minute walk to the edge of the happening part of town, and an additional10 minutes to the very centre. Most of the eating establishments are café-style, with comparatively few proper restaurants at the centre of town. I would definitely recommend Pizzeria Fra Diavolo and Osteria Vico del Rame. There is a lovely gelateria a few steps from the latter.
All in all I have quite mixed feelings about our trip to Diano Marina, both about the town and the hotel. The best parts were the views, relaxing by the pool and sipping a cocktail on the very pleasant restaurant terrace. We probably would not return to this town, but I would not discourage anyone from staying at the Diana Majestic despite our own lacklustre stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- You couldn't ask for a better setting, the enchanting Dianese Gulf, in Diano Marina in the heart of the Italian Riviera. It's here where the Grand Hotel Diana Majestic offers the perfect balance: sports and relaxation, sightseeing and stellar dining. Facing the crystal sea of Liguria, the hotel is surrounded by a park of secular olive trees, creating an oasis of tranquillity from the chaos of city life. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Diano Marina