My wife and I stayed at this resort for a week in May 2013, primarily with a view to playing golf. I hope the following helps others when deciding whether to visit this spot for a holiday.
Architecturally the hotel is of a very contemporary design, and furnished in an equally modern way. The front of the hotel is not particularly inspiring, facing a large covered car park, but the back of the hotel, which overlooks the eighteenth hole of the golf course, is very interesting on the eye, blending in superbly with the surrounding wooded countryside.
We were offered a room upgrade on our arrival for which we would like to thank the hotel. Our room was extremely comfortable and quite spacious for a hotel room, and the bathroom large and well maintained. We also had a deck that overlooked the surrounding wooded hills. I can imagine sitting out there on a hot Summer night watching the world go by.
The staff throughout the hotel were all incredibly helpful and friendly. I would particularly like to thank David for looking after me so well at the bar and for introducing my wife to the Spritz. The Spritz is a wine-based cocktail prepared with Prosecco wine and a dash of some bitter liqueur such as Aperol or Campari, commonly served as an aperitif in northern Italy. As my wife has developed a liking for this drink, I am grateful for the fact that it’s made with Prosecco and not Champagne.
The WiFi system deserves a mention. Many hotels advertise free WiFi and then don’t deploy the infrastructure required to provide an adequate service. The Argentario service was superb thanks to the many Netgear repeaters deployed throughout the hotel.
One quibble concerns the room towels. Towels were changed twice daily. I personally see this as a bit of overkill, even at a five star hotel. However if you are going to wash towels so regularly, you need to provision for their earlier replacement as some of the towels we received were decidedly on the thin size. My recommendation to the hotel would be to review their towel washing policy thereby conserving energy and reducing the need to replace thinning towels.
There were from time to time some odd smells in the air when standing outside the hotel. I couldn’t really tell whether these smells derived from the nearby lagoons or from some sort of treatment plant some 200-300 metres from the hotel’s entrance. I did wonder whether these smells might be exacerbated in hotter months and was therefore thankful for the cooler and windier conditions that we experienced in the week we stayed.
The hotel was very quiet the week we stayed so it was a little surprising that spa treatments couldn’t be arranged on the day. I suppose this could be accounted for by non-hotel residents using the spa facilities. Nevertheless booking some days in advance is advisable.
Whilst we can’t comment on the treatments, the Spa itself was very polished and the staff friendly. The inside pool was fun to swim in although perhaps a little colder than one would have expected for an inside pool, and the poolside atmosphere very relaxing. The steam room, sauna and gym were also of a good standard for a resort hotel.
The weather was a little unsettled the week we were there and the evenings a little cooler than we were expecting. We were therefore not as inclined to explore alternative restaurants as we might have been had the temperatures been a little more balmy. However our decision to eat all of our meals in the hotel’s restaurant (the DamaDama) was primarily influenced by the quality of the kitchen and the ambience of the restaurant itself.
If you enjoy nouvelle cuisine, then you will love this restaurant. First courses and main courses were in the ranges €12-€18 and €20-€25 respectively, which whilst not cheap, are fair, especially compared to restaurant prices in or around London. The wine list, which features many fine local wines, has a much wider variation in price, but we never felt pressured into drinking from the more expensive end of the list. We drank some wonderful wines for prices ranging from €25 to €35 per bottle.
My wife is a member of a dining club consisting of girlfriends. Every 6 months for the last 10 years they have been dining at some of the most fashionable (and expensive) restaurants in southern England. Comparison between restaurants can be difficult as so many different things contribute to an enjoyable dining experience, but from a food quality and presentation perspective, my wife thought that the DamaDama compared very favourably with the best restaurants she had experienced in England.
The Golf Facilities
The golf course is very picturesque with wonderful views of trees and water. Moreover, each hole is unique so we never tired of playing the course, even though we played five times in total. At just under 6,000 metres off the yellows and with very strong winds for much of the time we were there, it was also very challenging. The greens are incredibly even and not as lightning quick as some continental golf courses I have played on, a combination that my shaky putting action found more than acceptable.
The hotel monitors this site so I offer the following in the hope that other peoples’ experiences might be better.
As noted above, the hotel was quiet in the week we stayed, and generally the course was quite quiet as well. We played however on a day when there a pro-am. This slowed play up on the course immensely. We were not particularly inconvenienced. We played the back nine first in about 2 hours and then played the front nine in about 3 hours (as we caught up with the back end of the tournament).
We had been joined at the start of the second nine by a lovely golf mad German called Karl. When we finished our round at the ninth hole, Karl continued on to do the back nine. We bumped into Karl in the car park several hours after we had last seen him. He told us that he only had been able to reach the fourteenth hole. 6 hours to play fourteen holes!!
Karl had travelled two hours by car to play a not inexpensive course. A lack of effective on-course marshalling had ruined this man’s experience and may well have impacted on hotel guests as well that day. The hotel might try to argue that this was a one-off but we spoke to an Englishman who lives on the island and is a member of the club, and he remarked that 6-7 hour rounds were not uncommon. Slow play happens, but an unwillingness to pick your ball up when you are out of hole when playing Stableford, or to give up looking for a lost ball, only serve to compound the problem.
The hotel needs to police slow play better and also cut down the grass around the greens and along the sides of the fairways. On a resort course, you should not have to spend 5 minutes looking for a ball if you are inches off a green or fairway. The ability of a ball to completely disappear in 6 inches of dense grass has a measurable detrimental impact on the speed of play.
I was also surprised by the amount of maintenance that happened over the weekend. If you intend to play a course 5 times over a week, you know that you will encounter a green keeper or two, but I would expect maintenance to be scaled back at the weekend to not slow play down on what you would expect to be the busiest days of the week.
The Surrounding Area
Orbetello, Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole are all just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel. We didn’t really experience Orbetello (other than to drive through it to cross the lagoon to the hotel), and were not overwhelmed by Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole. Nothing particularly wrong with either but I have been to more picturesque and interesting ports/marinas.
We spent one day touring in the car, visiting the medieval towns of Manciano and Pitigiano, and the hot springs at Saturnia. The countryside is delightful and driving was a real pleasure. We should really have spent more time sight-seeing as there were so many more places I would have liked to have visited, particularly the Maremma Nature Park.
We didn’t necessarily experience the resort at its best given the weather but our stay was thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. The resort somehow lacks the wow factor that would bring us back (although I would love to play the golf course again) but that’s primarily because there are so many new places to try rather than any particular failings of the resort itself, but I would have no hesitation in recommending the Argentario Resort Golf and Spa to others.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.