We have just returned from our third visit to the Grand Hotel Fasano.
Whilst the hotel is still as lovely as ever, an old and nostalgic lakeside property refurbished to offer modern day facilities and a fabulous Aveda Spa, there was something not quite right this time.
It's the little things, the things that one would expect from a 5 star property, that were missing. A frequent dissatisfaction was the food and the attitude of some of the staff. It was as if it was an effort to serve us and we were an inconvenience. The lobster in the Magnolia restaurant was very disappointing, I'd go as far as to say the worst I've ever had, but we were late to dinner and so I didn't complain. The next night we waited over an hour and a half for our food to be brought to table, by which time my daughter was so tired she was in tears and so went to bed with no food. We also ate in the terrace bar, but on two occasions the crudites were not freshly prepared, brown dried ends to the celery, dried out carrot and cucumber and peppers that had deteriorated, not at all acceptable, but again we didn't make a fuss because we just do not like to complain and in fairness the other meal which was cheeseburger and fries was very nice as was the home cured salmon and fennel. We mentioned this to the concierge, Jay, and he recommended that we should have alerted the staff because otherwise they cannot address the issues, which is a very fair comment. We wanted to try the hotel's a la carte menu but we were told that my 11 year old daughter's request for a plain pasta could not be accommodated so we didn't bother. Instead we went next door to the Casino Restaurant which we would highly recommend, where we enjoyed a fabulous meal and our daughter was very nicely catered for with a simple pasta dish which was not on the menu.
The last straw for us was the occasion when we ordered a cheeseburger, a side of fries and asked if we could also have a mixed salad side order. We were refused because it is not on the menu! At this point I did go to the office to say that this and all the other little niggles were not what we expected from a 5 star hotel at the rates charged. The director confirmed that the system would not allow for a side salad to be served. This I felt was ludicrous having had a bar/restaurant in the past I know that we would not have refused such a simple request for the satisfaction of the customer. The way in which my complaint was handled removed any respect I may have had for the director. I have never felt so patronised and been dismissed so rudely. He was not interested in the slightest, although Nives did assure me that she understood completely and would take it up again later when the director had more time.
In short, hotels are about people and the owner/director who loses sight of this fact is heading into dangerous waters. Guests at any establishment deserve to feel that they are valued and appreciated, but visitors to an establishment such as Grand Hotel Fasano have particularly bought into an expectation of satisfaction at all levels.
Without doubt the hub of this hotel is Jay the head concierge and without him the hotel is nothing and it shows when he is off duty. The other reception staff are also a credit to the hotel. Breakfast service is still lovely and the waiters very helpful and courteous. The Aveda Spa is fantastic, in particular Angela and Silvia...and if the opportunity arises I strongly recommend Claudio for the Reiki treatment.
I think on the whole we would prefer to remember the first visit we made four years ago, when the restaurant was uncomplicated but excellent and offered a warm and enthusiastic welcome with a complementary glass of Prosecco from the maitre'd. Happier times....thank heavens Jay was still in residence!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With a frontage directly onto the peaceful western edge of the lake, this luxury five star hotel has rather exceptional qualities for the discerning guest. Privately owned, it stands in 12.000 Square meters of tranquil and secluded sub-tropical gardens. It has a heated swimming pool, access to the lake for water sports. Public rooms, including spacious lounges, are furnished with elegant sophistication and panache. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Gardone Riviera
- Grand Hotel Fasano Lake Garda/Gardone Riviera, Italy