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“If You Can't Be Happy Here...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Il Pellicano

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Hotel Il Pellicano
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Localita Sbarcatello, 58019 Porto Ercole, Italy   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Porto Ercole
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Danville, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“If You Can't Be Happy Here...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

While renting an apartment in Lucca (more about that later) we went to spend our anniversary at Il Pelicano. Here is my blog post - It is ridiculously expensive...and worth every penny.

You know you're in a hotel that caters to old people when:
-the first treatment on the spa menu is an age-defying facial, and:
-the make-up mirror in your bathroom is about 12x magnification. Great for people my age...if you're able to bend over to get within two inches of the mirror. If your back will let you. Otherwise, it's all a blur.

It is stunning here. Most of the guests are old, with a few dazed honeymooners thrown in. But the scenery trumps all.

And Il Pelicano has a great back story. Michael Graham, a Brit, was the only survivor of a plane crash in the African bush. He jumped out of the plane and trusted the trees and bushes to break his fall. Those who did not jump died. I think there's a life lesson here.

Patsy Daszel, an American socialite, read the story in the papers, and wanted to meet him someday.

Some years later, he went to a party in LA, under duress (I suppose after surviving a plane crash what you really want is a good nap. Or a stiff drink.) She was there and was being courted by Clark Gable. It was love at first sight. Between Patsy and Michael, not Clark and Michael. Good to clear that up.

So when Patsy and Michael were looking for a place to settle down, a friend - a prince, of course - showed them this wild piece of coast, down a twisting road from the fishing village of Porto Ercole (which of course has now become a retreat for wealthy Romans). A retreat, a place for friends to relax and recharge - and perhaps recover from an indiscretion? or an unpleasant divorce? What could be better?

It is still a retreat - one of the Aga Khan's wives - ex, I think - is here. Grumpy and beautiful. And old. I'm guessing the first ex based on her age, but I could be wrong.

It is now the lap of luxury. Within two seconds of checking in we have booked extra nights. We immediately headed down to the concrete beach for a swim in the sea, and thank goodness we did, because the next day the sea was closed. Too rough. Can you imagine a hotel that closes the sea?

That night as we are sipping Prosecco on our terrace a super moon comes up across the sea. Magic. The rooms facing the sea have stunning views of the sunsets.

We have dinner at their Michelin starred restaurant... outside. The food is imaginative and surprising in that silly-smile way.

Every request, no matter how trivial or ridiculous, is met with "Yes, of course!" And yet Mrs Ex Aga Khan is still grumpy. I wonder what her life must be like if she can't be happy here.

Ask for a room overlooking the sea. Play tennis, golf (you need a shuttle) go into the town of Porto Ercole and walk the old fortifications and the fishing/yachting harbor. Eat fried fish on the harbor sidewalk. Rent a bike and go over the Tombolo, stopping at any one of the dozens of beaches. Go shopping in Porto San Stefano. Take a ferry to another island. Relax - you're in paradise.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the sea. Leave the kids at home. Swim in the sea, in the salt water poo...
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  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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221 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Los Angeles
19 reviews 19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2015

Being active, there are very few hotels that we stay at and do not want to leave. Hotel Il Pellicano was just that. From the beach to the restaurants, and the spa, we spent three nights here and loved every moment.

I highly recommend a room in the main building with a balcony.

Dinner at both restaurants were wonderful and we really enjoyed the live music nightly.

The ocean water is absolutely freezing! But it is one of the most beautiful places in the world to sit by the water and have one of their very special iced teas.

I would love to return some day!

  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghent, Belgium
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2014

Great room, food, property, garden, sun deck, swimming pool, service and extremely friendly staff...The tsunami of extremely well cured wild rosemary is beautiful, congratulation to the gardeners. Someone a bit expensive, but understandable given the high service level. In my opinion among the best "non city' hotels in Italy...

  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014

We stayed here for three days. Once you arrive here, you will have no reason to leave the grounds for your entire stay. There is a beautiful seaside bathing/sun deck area at sea-level (accessible by both stairs and an elevator). There is also a gorgeous pool area -- with amazing views of the sea -- for those who prefer a swimming pool over sea water. The grounds are gorgeous, covered with flowers and sculpted bushes. There is a high-level dinner restaurant on the top level (VERY expensive), which is also where the breakfast brunch is served (a nice spread of good food). There is a more casual grill restaurant, too, which we very much enjoyed. There also is burgers/sandwiches/drinks chair-side waiter service at the pool and seaside sun-deck areas. There is a piano bar in the main building, and another bar open during daylight hours overlooking the pool (also with snack and sandwich menu). The grounds are immaculate. The staff is incredibly helpful and efficient. The 1 BR room was spacious and comfortable, with two small balconies, a large and bright bathroom, and with all amenities you would expect. And, I say this, even though we were in one of what they considered to be their worst rooms (because we booked late and nothing else was available ... and they were very apologetic about the room ... but frankly it was fine, even though it lacked any views). This was an amazing property, and we would readily return to it again for another stay of several days -- maybe even a full week.

Room Tip: The fancy dinner restaurant on the top deck is very good ... but we actually enjoyed the dinner more...
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  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
160 reviews 160 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2014

We have finally found it! According to our rating, this is a seven star hotel in Italy, against which every hotel should be measuring itself. Having passed through the small town of Porto Ercole on the Argentario promontory and after travelling along a windy road, with the anticipation growing by the second, you will arrive at this hotel, which is nestled in a bay on the secluded side of the promontory. As soon as you pass through the gates to the property, which guarantee your privacy and seclusion, you feel as if you have arrived home. The entire time you spend here, and we spent four nights, you will feel special and as if there is no one else in the world, even though there are 100 members of staff on hand to ensure that your every need is met and that you have the holiday of your life. We stayed in a junior suite with a sea view and were able to lie in bed with the door open looking out onto the Mediterranean listening to the sea crashing onto the rocks directly below. A walk down through the property past enormous rosemary bushes and olive trees to the heated sea water swimming pool and then further on down to the sea, where you can just sit and watch the waves crashing onto the concrete jetty was just amazing. The main hotel restaurant has two Michelin stars and three Gambero forks and there is also a separate grill restaurant. In addition, there is the Pelliclub Spa, at which you can be thoroughly pampered. The staff are all exceptionally well-trained and engaging, but are never intrusive. At night, there is a Piano Bar and the pianist will play any request, to which you can dance if you feel so inclined. You can arrange arrange transfers to and from Orbetello station through the hotel and the driver will even take your bags right on to the correct platform for you. We had flown in to Rome from Vienna to find that one of our bags, which hadn't been correctly tagged, went on to Frankfurt without us. Having stood in a long queue at Rome airport to report its non-arrival, we rushed to catch the train to Roma termini. Upon arrival there, we found that we had missed our connecting train to Orbetello. However, once we arrived at Orbetello, the hotel staff had re-scheduled our pick-up and also tracked our suitcase, so that it arrived while we were still there. They took care of everything for us, allowing us to just relax. We were fortunate to meet with owner, Roberto Sciò, who happened to be there and were able to congratulate him on his wonderful hotel. We could not have been more impressed and cannot wait to return. This hotel is expensive, but then anything that is exceptional does come at a cost!

Room Tip: Ask for a Junior Suite King bed with a sea view and private balcony.
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  • Stayed October 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

This hotel property is absolutely stunning. Only consisting of 50 rooms and two restaurants this is a smaller hotel. We stayed in a junior suite and was very spacious with a large private terrace.
The Pellicano Grill served excellent italian dishes, feel free to order dishes not on the menu, everything was accommodated for. The wine selection and the sommelier were fantastic.
We had one dinner at the 2 star michelin restaurant in the hotel but were slightly disappointed. The food was very good but one always has much higher expectations when trying to decipher why this particular restaurant is more deserving than others. Neither my husband nor i really thought it measured up unfortunately. It is however worth a visit if staying in the hotel.
The beach (cliffs not sand) area is reached by an elevator and is beautiful with fantastic water. Be sure to order some of the hotels home made ice teas or lemonades.
Be aware however there is a limited amount of walking space unless you take a hike straight up the hill or a car ride to the next town 10 min away.
We will certainly try to come back, perhaps not for 6 nights but this only due to our personal restlessness.

Room Tip: We recommend a room in the main building.
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  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

Stating the obvious, Hotel Il Pellicano grounds and views are stunning. The landscaping and layout of the property are near perfection. Every member of the staff we encountered was wonderful and very helpful, (that being said, italian courtesy is quite a bit more abrupt than english or american. my family is italian, so i wasn't quite as shocked as my wife on our one unpleasant encounter) still he was lovely all other times.
The beach area is unreal. We had great weather and really enjoyed the property. We also got massages at the spa which were impeccable.

On the flip side, everything is overpriced for what it is. The food is mediocre at best and priced to the contrary. If the food were great, the pricing would have been acceptable but it just wasn't up to standards of similar hotels.
The rooms : we had booked last minute and were lucky to get a room. i understand that. i had one option, a "Garden Standard". 750euro a night. ok, fine. i have wanted to stay here for years, and now was the perfect opportunity as i was in italy for work prior. We drove down from venice and i couldn't have been more disappointed when we got to our room. Walking up to it was charming although far back in the property, but once inside, i was shocked. It was like a nice best western. i didn't complain immediately, which in hindsight i should have done. we thought we would give it a fair try and look at rest of the property before saying something and/or leaving. that first night we both woke up around 2am and the AC was not really working properly. it was on and when you got right next to it, you could feel the cool air, but 2" out, it was 85deg. we called and asked for a fan which took about 40 minutes to come. the next morning we asked if we could switch rooms if possible. they switched us to another room that was a billion times better (still not clear as to why we didnt have this room in the first place). when checking out, i felt that i didn't need to pay the full 750euro for the first night, they felt that i did. it wasn't really the money that bothered me, it was the principle. what I asked for felt fair, i wansnt asking for a complete comp, just patial. they ended up offering 10% which i felt was slightly insulting, but what can you do.
Overall, an absolutely gorgeous property and lovely people but will definitely be more cautious when booking next time.

Room Tip: Make sure to let them know if you prefer a recently updated room or not. our first night was in the...
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  • Stayed September 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Il Pellicano

Address: Localita Sbarcatello, 58019 Porto Ercole, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Grosseto > Porto Ercole
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Porto Ercole
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Il Pellicano 5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The elegant five-star hotel, located in Tuscany's Maremma region, was built in the mid-1960s as a love nest for Michael and Patricia Graham and it is today part of The Leading Hotels of the World. The home, called Il Pellicano as a tribute to the first time the couple met at Pelican Point in California, was initially a club for the Grahams' friends, but was subsequently expanded and opened to friends of friends. However, a few things remained the same: the pleasure of feeling at home and the glamorous and slightly retro atmosphere. The hotel's discrete luxury and the still-rugged Tuscan countryside attract the international jet set. Today, the cottages and the central building are suspended between the sky and the sea, with large rooms, windows and terraces where it's unclear where the indoors end and the outdoors begin. There are pathways and stairways, fragrant gardens and discrete corners, a restaurant with one Michelin stars and three Gambero Rosso forks, a heated sea-water swimming pool, a spa with a sea view to soothe both the body and the soul, and for those wanting to take a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a white platform with chaise longue and immaculate parasols. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Il Pellicano Hotel Porto Ercole
Il Pellicano Porto Ercole

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