Our choice of the Hotel Borgo Pantano was based on the excellent reviews we had read in Trip Advisor, and we were not disappointed. I apologise for the length of this review but I felt the hotel deserved my best effort......
We arrived at around 11pm on Sunday 14 October 2012 and were greeted by Alice, the duty receptionist. She was wonderful! She helped us in with our luggage from the car to the room, checked us in quickly and immediately made us feel very welcome.
She had organised some antipasti/salad/bread as she thought we might be hungry - she was correct!
Rosi, a smiling waitress with a good sense of humour, brought it along to Room 127, a lovely room, and, along with Alice, made sure we had everything we needed. Incidentally they both spoke excellent English - so no language problems here.
The next morning the management asked us if everything was fine and proposed an alternative room with a more extensive view, which had become free, if we wanted. (This shows the ethos of caring that abounds in this hotel at all levels).
We duly transferred to Room 122, which is at the end of the hotel block nearest the grounds and pool. We loved the room. It was bright and had a better view, was nearer the pool area, and had a nice little 'private' patio area with table & 2 chairs - perfect for our evening 'aperitivo' or late 'digestivo'.
Both rooms we had used were equipped with very comfortable large double beds, with 'memory foam' mattresses. For almost the first time in any hotel room, I slept without a problem (I have a very bad back). The lighting in the rooms is good, and Room 122's bathroom has a fairly large shower with (just) enough pressure; good wash basin, bidet etc. & some shelf space; also an extractor that worked! Every room has a fridge & minibar, along with a large safe, which is very useful. The rooms are very stylish and individually decorated. Room 122 had shutters and curtains - so a complete blackout is possible if required.
The thought that has gone into the design of the grounds is obvious. The lovely grounds are extensive and beautifully kept, with various hammocks, recliners and large comfortable gazebos with beds, pillows and muslin curtains, dotted around the lush lawns on which to relax.(See photos). The grounds abound with lovely citrus groves of orange, lemon and lime trees and well maintained planted areas.
The pool is large and well designed with a gently shelving entry area and a shallow children’s' pool adjoining. It is well-maintained and beautifully illuminated with ever-changing lighting at night, creating an enchanting effect.
This is the difference between this hotel and others.
I would not use the phrase "5 Star Service" because the service in the Borgo Pantano is much better than many 5 star hotels in which I have stayed. The service and hospitality is simply the best I have experienced.
Giusi, the owner is ever present and personally oversees the breakfast service. It is obvious she loves her job - every guest is greeted with a wide smile and culinary offers & suggestions from her - a perfect way to start the day.
The breakfast choice is extensive and of very good quality - choice of several cereals, muesli, multi-flavoured yogurts, melon, dates, prunes, nuts; many different cold platters of meats, salami, ham, cheeses, cakes, various croissants, eggs (scrambled & soft/hard-boiled), pancetta (bacon substitute) etc.
Freshly squeezed orange juice brought to the table, and any type of tea or coffee you may desire. I should add that virtually everything is made in the hotel kitchen’s bakery - various delicious breads and wonderful cakes and tarts daily.
Giusi has trained the excellent staff well - they are always attentive and concerned about your well-being and always seem to strive to offer that 'something extra' to increase your enjoyment. The waitresses Barbara, Zia Lucia, Francesca et al do a great job, along with Stefano the head chef, who emerges every evening at the end of the dinner service to enquire if everything was fine (and for comments/suggestions/requests). In the dining room I had enquired as to how thick the steaks were at the end of a very good meal. The next day I was informed that the chef Stefano had made sure thicker/larger cuts of meat had been ordered - and the steak was very good! We had two good dinners in the hotel and on 4 other occasions ate out in Ortigia.
The Reception Staff are excellent.
We met Alice, Noemi and Luigi who all went out of their way to offer help and suggestions to make our 1 week stay memorable. Each one of them helped us 'above and beyond the call of duty' - with various requests too lengthy to go into here...... they all seem to have an excellent knowledge of the area, i.e. places of interest, restaurants etc.
It is this kind of special service that is impossible to find in the larger chains of hotels. Because the Borgo Pantano is family-run, this degree of attention is, I suppose, often possible.
One further point is that I noticed there are good staffing levels of waitresses, chamber maids, receptionists etc. Our room had always been cleaned by the time we had returned from breakfast. We even noticed the gardeners working on the Sunday when we departed.
The hotel itself is lovely. Fairly recently refurbished but with further improvements being carried out now during the winter months of closure. Superb grounds, lovely pool, excellent service and a good restaurant makes this hotel a great choice when in and around Syracuse, which is 10-15 minutes drive away.
Finally I would definitely say car hire is essential if you want to visit Syracuse/Ortigia and neighbouring towns and a Sat Nav is also a very good idea, (seriously consider investing in one for future trips too, which can be used in and out of the car). We would have been really lost without ours.
The hotel will give you extra details for its location in advance, by email.
We booked through Booking.com (See their reviews/photos of the hotel) but I may consider contacting the hotel directly as we definitely plan to return in 2013.
Their caption "Your Smile is our Energy" is the ethos of this hotel, and it seems to be working very well.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Borgo Pantano Sicily/Syracuse, Italy