“Arrived with high expectations - very quickly disappointed - price/value relationship main issue”
Fans of Italy for over 30 years with a lot of stays in 4/5 Star Hotels and a good exposure to many Relais & Chateaux places in many countries, we arrived at Punta Ala coming from a 5 Star Hotel at the Portofino Coast. On our first visit to Punta Ala and the Cala del Porto problems surfaced immediately as our 2 Double Deluxe Rooms Seaview/Half Board booked for 10 days on the 1st Floor with balcony -not garden level as specifically documented in writing-were not available. We were shown other rooms on the ground floor by reception staff, but all rooms looked rather dated with the bathrooms leaving a lot to be desired. Most indoor areas of the Ground and First Floor including the Restaurant looked in poor shape and in desperate need of renovation. We waited in the lounge 45 minutes for the Hotel Manager to arrive to address our problem and to be told that our rooms would be available the next day only and a move on the following day would be required. We were not happy and ready to leave immediateley, if it had not been for our 10 day commitment involving a 50 % penalty.
So we decided to take 2 Double Rooms on the Ground Floor (in brochure), which looked in somewhat better shape due to the tiled floors compared with garstly green wall to wall carpets on the First Floor (not in brochure).
Lots of problems and running around to get the room safe working, due to incorrect instruction leaflet, which after fixing the safe, the Hotel Manager discarded himself.
Restaurant food was of good Relais & Chateaux standard, but Restaurant Manager was rushed off his feet, as supporting waiting staff seemed to struggle, which became especially noticeable the next morning for breakfast. Breakfast had to be taken indoors due to an overnight thunderstorm which had left outdoor areas wet. Indoor restaurant facilities could not cope with a shortage of tables a seats and staff running around hopelessly headless. There had also been a good raid on the breakfast buffet, which looked thoroughly depleted towards the end of the session. One got the impression that staff were hoping customers would skip breakfast and go away.
Best of hotel are the more recently renovated outside terraced Restaurant area and the pool below. However, we experienced a big problem with mosquitos. The three of us got bitten to bits over dinner in the evening and those blighters were also around during the day, which may have to do with thick foliage and fast pine forests in surrounding areas.
We found the setting in and around Punta Ala just ordinary, as this whole recreation area including the port were stomped out of the pine forests starting in the late sixties with additions over the following decades. Architecture is plain and poor in places with ordinary concrete and brick to look at. The Hotel building looked at from the outside seemed the best in the place.
In our opinion the whole are around Punta Ala with it's pine forests, purpose built holiday villages and camping grounds all the way down the coast from Follonica just does not compare at all with the Portofino or Amalfi Coasts.
We did not experience the beach facilities, which are available 10 minutes drive away from the hotel at extra cost, as the weather did not play it's part on our first day. In any case, having experienced too many problems, we decided to leave the second morning after paying a penalty (50 % of total booking - 5 day stay - for two nights) to return to our favourite hotel in Santa Largherita Ligure.
Cala del Porto is selling itself to high up the ladder for what it represents, this Relais & Chateaux Hotel cost us aproximately 20 pct more (without the additional penalty) than the 5 Star Palace Hotel at the Portofino Coast.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.