I'm hoping this review may be specifically helpful to those booking with Thomas Cook, especially Weddings.
We spent 11 nights at the Alimuri this August and overall the hotel was very pleasant. The staff are hardworking, friendly and provide an excellent service.
The best things about this hotel is the food. Because it is all inclusive, I was expecting your typical low end buffet style food. It is the opposite, and were I asked to rate the food, it would be 5* (except perhaps the breakfast, which didn't suit my taste). the hotel offers an Al a carte menu every night with options for up to four courses. Everything I ate was delicious. Lunch is also pleasant, with pizza/bbq/vegetable buffet as a general option and is more self service.
The rooms are lovely, well decorated and comfortable, but we did have several issues with the rooms whilst there which weren't resolved. We paid to have a room upgrade to a Junior Suite, which was costly. The jacuzzi didn't work properly, and leaked into the dining room. The 'daily changed fruit bowl' was never changed, and the 'free breakfast in bed' was charged to us upon check out (currently waiting on Thomas Cook/Alimuri's response to my complaint letter). The cleaning staff are great though and our towels were regularly changed. The beds are pretty uncomfortable (too hard for my taste) and the floors don't get cleaned, meaning dirty feet whenever walking across the room. This was my only complaint when it comes to cleanliness.
The location of the hotel is fairly poor - far out from town meaning you have to get a 20 minute shuttle bus, which is pretty unreliable. We found on several occasions it was fully booked and we had to do the 70 minute walk into town in the blistering heat instead. It has its own beach, but like most Italian beaches this is very painful underfoot - take shoes for the sea if you do book.
The entertainment at the hotel is shocking. Do not take children. The only entertainment provided EVERY night is a man on a keyboard, crooning the exact same set list every night. This hotel is too far out to have a wander into Sorrento too, so don't rely on exciting evenings!
Whilst in Sorrento we did a few different days out which I can advise. The highlight was definitely the Amalfi Coast. We hired a scooter for a day (about 40 Euros for the day), which turned out much safer than hiring a car - loads more room to maneuver - and cheaper too. We also visited Capri, catching the ferry from Sorrento for 28 Euros each return, which was pleasant and had nice views. Finally, we visited Pompeii. This was amazing, but don't pay the ridiculous amounts Thomas Cook want, just head to the train station in Sorrento - only cost us 6 Euros each return on the train and it took half the amount of time to get there. Trains run every half an hour and are really straightforward. If you do Pompeii, I suggest you invest in the tour guide - they add so much more to the day out! And take a brolly too, the heat is intense there!
As mentioned we got married whilst out there and did this through Thomas Cook.
We were married in the Cloisters of San Francesco, which is stunning. Be aware that it is open to the public though during the ceremony - resulting in swarms of tourists taking pictures whilst saying your vows. Very odd!
We ended up booking to meal afterwards privately as weren't happy with the prices quoted by Thomas Cook. We ate at a place called La Antica Trattoria, which was amazing. Beautiful food, very reasonably priced and excellent service - they gave us lots of freebies and we must have ended up having about 7 courses each! Plus the location of this restaurant is right around the corner from the Cloisters and is really pretty for photos too!
Thomas Cook were awful, I cannot advise strongly enough not to book with them for your wedding. I wish we'd done everything privately. Below are some snippets of the complain letter I have sent, outlining the main things that were wrong with the wedding package:
Upon booking of our package we were told of various extras we were entitled to as part of our room upgrade and wedding package. As stated in the Thomas Cook brochure at the time of booking, because we were getting married whilst in Sorrento, we were entitled to a free excursion to the Sorrento Musical. Several weeks after booking we received a letter forwarded from the Cooperative Travel informing us that we were no longer entitled to this excursion, as brochures are subject to change. Once we arrived in Sorrento, it became clear that the value of this excursion is in the region of £50.00. This was the first example of poor communication.
We were also sent a pack prior to departure with information regarding the specifics of the wedding – including all relevant paperwork to be completed. As requested by Thomas Cook, all paperwork was sent off by me in November 2012. In February 2013, three months after sending off my documents (including original birth certificates) I felt concerned that no contact had been made to confirm that these had been received by Thomas Cook and so asked at the Cooperative Travel branch if they could contact in regards to this. Staff at this branch waited in a queue to speak to the weddings department for three hours, before being told that these were in hand and that I would not receive them back until arriving in Sorrento six months later. This again, was something I feel should have been communicated to us.
A final piece of paperwork which could not be sent along with the rest was the Certificate of No Impediment, as told in the wedding pack, which could not be processed until twelve weeks before the wedding. As instructed in the pack, I waited until this point to apply for these. Eleven weeks before we were to get married, I received contact once again from Thomas Cook, telling me that their brochures were subject to change, and that because of new laws (laws I later discovered had been in place for at least three months at this point) I was also expected to complete a statutory declaration in the presence of a solicitor (at a cost to us both) and was then to forward these four documents to Milton Keynes to the Foreign Commonwealth Office (at a cost of £30 per document plus postage - £126.00 in total). Had this been communicated at the time of booking, we could have budgeted appropriately for this extra cost. What’s worse is that the deadline for all of the documents explained in this additional letter was in fact the very day that I received notice. From that point on Thomas Cook issued various threats to Cooperative Travel about cancellation of the wedding were the documents not received in time, despite the fact that I had received literally 0 days notice to even begin applying for these documents.
As mentioned previously, the package was booked through Thomas Cook, someone I haven’t used in the past, mostly because we wanted the wedding package. Sadly, this too was a very disappointing service. As mentioned previously, communication was poor in the UK for the weddings department. I did find that prior to our departure the wedding coordinator in Sorrento, Sorin Vlad, was very prompt and helpful in his email replies. I did, however, find that much of what he informed me was either incorrect or misadvertised. I enquired with Sorin about the cost for my wedding guests to spend time in our hotel and was informed by him that is would cost 30 Euros for all inclusive drinks or 50 Euros for food also. However, when we checked this with the manager of the hotel he told us it would cost 69 Euros each, provided that it was only including evening meal. We mentioned this too to our rep – Devan, who called Thomas Cook to be told it would cost 75 Euros or 100 for food too! Once again, various communication errors.
On the morning of our wedding I was greeted by the hairdresser organised by Thomas Cook. This woman spoke little English, did not bring any equipment (borrowing my things to do my hair on the morning) and could not style in the way I desired (a very simple do). Whilst one may argue that I should have had a trial, I decided not to after speaking to another Thomas Cook bride to be at the hotel, who told me that her trial was awful, and that when she told the hairdresser that she wasn’t happy with the style she had done, was told that she would just do it differently on the morning, and was not willing to do it again.
We also booked for a limousine to take me to the venue on the morning of the wedding. I asked several times how many guests I could take in this ‘limousine’ and was told via email, as well as in person that it could take 4 people. To my surprise I left the hotel on the morning of my wedding, to discover a standard Mercedes car, not a limousine, and was told by the driver that it could seat two people. As it meant missing my own wedding if I waited for another vehicle to be sent, we ended up squeezing into this vehicle. Definitely not the dream wedding arrival one expects when paying such large figures (80 Euros for a 15 minute journey).
I hope this is helpful!
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