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“Five star prices for three star service - you are paying for the view” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Maria Hotel

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Villa Maria Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Via Santa Chiara 2, 84010 Ravello, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 20 hotels in Ravello
London, United Kingdom
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Five star prices for three star service - you are paying for the view”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2011

We stayed at Villa Maria over a weekend in June for a friend's wedding. The town is very quaint and picturesque and due to the shortage of rooms, the hotels take massive advantage of the supply and demand dynamic.

Checking in took ages - after parking at their sister hotel and the 10 minute walk up the stairs with our luggage we arrived to the front desk. The receptionist was helping someone else while we waited patiently for 10 minutes. When she was finished she started to check us in only to stop to take a call to book someone in for a spa treatment - something she could have easily done by asking to call the guest back while she checked us in and showed us to the room. When we called to ask for the WiFi code, we were given the code for their sister hotel and it took us until checking out to get it sorted. Again, these are small things but staff generally seem completely disinterested in maximizing the enjoyment of your stay.

While our room had a lovely view via a shared terrace with 2 other rooms, the room itself left much to be desired. We entered our musty smelling room to find a very large room that was desparately in need of upgrades. The antique armoire was a nice touch but offset by an old pull out couch which was likely the source of the musty smell. While the bathroom looked like it had been upgraded in the past 5 years, it was done to such a low standard with mould growing on the walls of the shower. We were given a single towel each and a single pillow - no bathrobes or any of the other amenities you'd expect when you're spending USD500 a night.

We were leaving early on the Sunday and asked repeatedly to make sure our car that was parked at Hotel Giordano (their sister hotel) would be free and clear and ready to go. After taking our luggage down to the Hotel Giordano lot, we found our car to be blocked in by a service van. While it was eventually sorted, this is not the sort of service you'd expect after asking 3 times from a hotel that purports to be 4 star.

While it was not an issue for us, older guests may struggle with the stairs - both from the parking lot to the hotel and both within the hotel itself as there are lots of stairs, especially if you are staying in the rooms facing closest to Amalfi. I cannot imagine my parents dragging luggage first from the parking lot to the hotel and then around the hotel itself. I'm not sure if staff help with bags - we certainly were not offered assistance, maybe this is something you need to ask for directly.

Ravello is lovely and I can see why people want to visit. Just be warned when you go to visit, there is some "grade inflation" when it comes to the star ratings for hotels and you are paying up for the view. I left quite disappointed and as shocking as it is to write, think the South of France offers much better value for money than Italy without sacrificing special views.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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247 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
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English first
London UK
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2011

We picked this hotel on recommendation from someone who had stayed there many years ago, so we weren't sure whether we were making the right decision. But other reviews on TripAdvisor seemed to be largely complimentary so we decided plump for it. We weren't disappointed.

The hotel is at the top of a hill, accessible only by walking up one of two reasonably steep lanes to where the hotel nestles in the hillside. We loved the walk, particularly after a good meal; somehow it helped to assuage our guilt over the carbs we'd eaten. It isn't an arduous walk at all, but if you have difficulty with walking or going up hills, this isn't the hotel for you. The Villa Maria is jointly owned with the Villa Giordano, which is lower down the hill and accessible by car. Villa Maria guests can park there free of charge and also have free use of its pool, because the Villa Maria does not have one. When you arrive at the Giordano, a helpful chap with an electric cart will transport your baggage up to the Villa Maria, so you don't have to tug your cases up there yourself.

The hotel is a large villa, obviously once a fine single residence, with large airy public rooms, a dining terrace overlooking the valley with views of the sea, and small gardens or at the very least balconies with sea views for all rooms. Our room (19) was one which shared a small garden with four other rooms, but we were usually the only people who used it. The views from there are delightful, and we often sat and rested there before dinner. However the garden was not secluded; it is overlooked by the diners at the terrace restaurant above, but that didn't seem to detract from the pleasure it gave.

The room is a good size, with a king-size bed that is pleasantly firm. The room has a large en-suite shower room with a reasonably good shower and a bidet. We did find that if we wanted hot water, we needed to be showering by 6pm in the evening and before 7am in the morning, otherwise others got there first and then our showers were luke-warm. Not cold … but not hot enough to be pleasant.

A curious thing about the way the room was appointed was the fact that there was no drawer space for clothing. There were a couple of shelves in the wardrobes but it did make storing one's clothing a bit of a challenge. I've seen this before, including on cruise liners but I've never understood the logic.

The hotel offers free WiFi (which for me, made up for the lack of drawers), and although I could never get my Blackberry to connect, my wife's iPhone and my iTouch were able to connect with no problem. This facility is also offered at the Villa Giordano so if you want to connect to the outside world from the poolside, you can (although the staff there are always struggling to make it work, in my experience).

Breakfast was served in the dining room, a double-aspect room, again with wonderful views over the valley, which is particularly spectacular in the crisp morning light. A buffet table is provided in the room next door, where cold meats, cheese, various breads pastries and cakes, as well as a choice of cereals and condiments are on offer. Also included are eggs, cooked to your requirements. The coffee in this hotel, incidentally, is excellent. It is all over Italy, but this hotel served some of the best we had during our stay.

The food at the Villa Maria is very good. Lunch and dinner are served at the terrace restaurant with its lovely views, except when it is raining, of course. Prices are not cheap but the quality is high and the views are delightful. When it is windy they lower plastic see-through screens so you can still sit on the terrace. These are necessary because that particular terrace acts as a bit of a wind-tunnel, so even a light-ish breeze will howl along there. The screens do, of course, obstruct the view a little, but it's still a pleasure to sit there rather than indoors. In the evening you watch the light fall and then see the lights go in the villages across the valley; it really is lovely. The staff at the restaurant are a pleasure. Attentive, polite and personable, they made every effort to ensure our comfort, even offering shawls (what they amusingly called 'blankets') to the ladies on breezy nights. A point to note is that if you are a resident at the hotel, you are given a 10% discount on the meal prices in the restaurant.

Piped music plays in the dining room at breakfast and on the terrace at lunch and dinner. I have a personal dislike of piped music, I don't think it adds anything to the ambiance and some restauranteurs use it to make up for lack of atmosphere; which never works. However, if you're going to have to listen to muzak, at least this stuff was good quality and fairly unobtrusive. At breakfast it was largely popular tunes played on syrupy strings with elaborate piano arpeggios, but at lunch and dinner it was (very good) light dinner jazz, or low-tempo New Orleans jazz. On some occasions they played light classical music. I actually began to enjoy the music on the terrace.

The staff at the hotel are all very friendly and exceptionally helpful and honest. They spoke good English and were always ready to answer questions or give assistance when asked.

In all a very good hotel, one to which we would like to return in due course.

A few local tips:

We were particularly pleased to have chosen Ravello over the other offerings of Amalfi and Positano because these other two, while very pleasant, were noisy and frenetic by comparison. So we stayed in the quiet little oasis of Ravello and travelled from there to the other places in Campania that we wanted to see. To come back to this little town with its quiet square, leafy lanes and pleasant restaurants at the end of each day was a sheer joy. The hotel itself is in a quiet location, with no traffic noise (no vehicles are allowed into Ravello, except down one little road to a few hotels), so no motor horns, and also no aircraft noise, as no flight paths appear to pass over this area. If you like the frenetic pace of a tourist town, with its bars, noise and crowds then Ravello will disappoint you. If, on the other hand, you like to escape from that at the end of the day, then this is the place for you.

The Villa Maria is close to one of Europe's highest-rated gardens, attached to what is now a hotel called the Villa Cimbrone. Go visit; it's stunning.

There are several restaurants in Ravello, some of which are very good, others not so good. By and large, restaurants with spectacular views are very expensive and the food is not necessarily that remarkable. When you're fed up with opening a vein to pay for mediocre food at these joints, book a table at Cumpa Cosimo - at the end of Via Roma. It's family run, all indoors, cosy and welcoming and food is not only very, very good, but it's also not terribly expensive. A husband and wife team run it and Mama (as we came to think of her) will welcome you like an old friend and take care of you.

For a light lunch or evening meal there's a very good family-run restaurant just up the side of the duomo, called Caffe Calce. It has as lovely shaded garden, food and drink at not too exorbitant prices, and a very pleasant staff to help you.

The Vittorio restaurant disappointed us. The food was very poor (but the staff were lovely and wine was very cheap) so beware. If you want to enjoy good wine and beer at less than the usual sting-prices by all means go there but the food is not really up to snuff. How can any self respecting Italian restaurant cook a Napoli sauce with no garlic, and serve mozzarella with the consistency of old rubber ?

Ravello is famous for its music festival. Held in the Villa Rufallo it costs about 25 Euros per person to attend and when the weather is good, performances usually take place in the Villa's gardens. So here's the thing: a) you don't necessarily know whether it's going to be held in the garden. When we went it was indoors in a rather poky room in the villa, and b) be careful of the quality of the performer you pick to hear. On the night we went the pianist was little short of terrible. We had a nearly full house until the interval after which half the audience left. We stayed on (it did cost us nearly fifty quid, after all) and regretted it. The guy knew only two modes in which to play: loud and very loud, and when he finally got to a piece that I recognized, I realised why the others had left. I almost felt sorry for him though; when he came back into the room for his encore everyone was rushing for the door. I'm sure they have good musicians at this festival, but unlike at the Proms in the Albert Hall, not all of them are good.

If you do book fora a performance, the tickets afford you a discount for that day only in several restaurants in Ravello.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2011

Restuarant is good with a lovely view and they use their organic home grown produce. Room 3 is great with fantastic view and large balcony. Great location.
Vincenzo Palumbo (the owner) even took us for a tour of Gore Vidal's villa which he is renovating. What an amazing experience
NO access by road to the hotel but the hotel organises Porters from the Piazza.

Room Tip: Ask for Room 3
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Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Positano, Italy
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2011

My mother, aged 80, and I travelled to Ravello for the day and lunched here on the recommendation of locals. We watched others who arrived after us receiving water, bread and menus as we waited patiently. We had to ask for every single thing and finally decided it was because we did not have a male with us. We were ignored to the extent where we left without paying a bill of 100 plus euros after sitting for over 20minutes. All this after receiving the wrong coffee. My mother insisted we return to ask for the bill which we did. I asked to see the manager who graciously! gave us a 10% discount. Beware elderly, chauvinistic waiters.

Room Tip: Make sure you have a male in your group
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  • Stayed April 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2011

Please ignore all the negative reviews for this hotel.. my bags are packed to stay at Villa Maria anytime!
Beautiful hotel, wonderful staff, excellent service. Ravello is amazing, picture perfect views from our balcony (ask for room # 3). The junior suite and you will not be disappointed. The room is huge, has private balconies and verandas bigger than the big room and spectacular views, all yours. The wisteria covered the balcony and it looked amazing.

Best part of Ravello, no cars, no factories, you walk everywhere. We hiked down from the Chiara church via Santa Barbara down to Minori. Excellent walk, good signs on the way and fantastic views of the coast.

Bought a lot of ceramics at the local shops. Shipped to USA via DHL by door to door service. Good to negotiate though. They will give upto 15% discount off their prices.

Room Tip: Ask for room # 3, the junior suite. Worth it!
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2011

My adult daughter and I spent three nights at Villa Maria for her birthday. We were in a deluxe room with a picture perfect view and patio. It was still a little cool in early April but that was just fine given all of the walking we did. Ravello is a wonderful town and the Villa Maria has great charm and service. We loved the Sinatra style music they played outside and in the restaurant. The breakfasts were wonderful and we enjoyed two dinners that were outstanding. Our only disappointment was with the beds, which were quite uncomfortable. Be aware that the entire area requires walking and steps but it is a wonderful experience. We did the cooking class with Chef Vincenzio and loved it. The whole experience is a memory we will cherish.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2011

I visited the restaurant at Villa Maria with my father on a recent trip to Ravello. It was a quiet lunch towards the begining of the season. The weather however was perfect and the views were just stunning. The service was incredibly efficient and the food was simple but perfectly executed. My father had some fried fish delicacies which included some beautifully plump and flavourful anchovies stuffed with polenta and herbs and then breadcrumbed and shallow fried. These were served on lemon leaves which added a zingy undertone to the dish. I had fettucine with pesto and olives which again was simply gorgeous. We both shared an insalata caprese and a bottle of Pinot Grigio....a perfect accompaniment to a near perfect eating experience.

Room Tip: Take a sun hat for the terrace ! :)
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Villa Maria Hotel

Address: Via Santa Chiara 2, 84010 Ravello, Italy
Location: Italy > Campania > Amalfi Coast > Ravello
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 Luxury Hotel in Ravello
#6 Family Hotel in Ravello
#7 Romantic Hotel in Ravello
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Maria Hotel 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in the historic centre between the Clarisse nunnery and S. Francis Convent, in a restful aristocratic area so much as to be chosen, the only hotel in the area, by the French guide-book "Relais du Silence" as an oasis of peace and by the Italian "Charme e Relax" as Ravello's pearl. Villa Maria assures his guests in addition to maximum tranquillity also the most services including the parking of nearby Hotel Giordano (of the same property) where it is possible to park for free the car and take advantage of free luggage handling and of the swimming pool. Rich and interesting is the history of this villa which was roman noble Marquis de Cinque family's manor, an history which blends with Ravello's and the Amalfi Coast's. The structure, while preserving the elegant forms of a lordly mansion, in the years has undergone noteworthy redecorations which have fashioned its actual splendour. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Maria

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