My husband and I have just returned from our magical wedding at Lerici castle and honeymoon in Forte dei Marmi (30 minutes from Lerici by car and well worth a visit for the shopping alone!). During our days in Lerici we stayed at Hotel Shelly - recommended to us by our wedding planner because of its prime location in the centre of the town and its proximity to the castle. It really is superbly situated, right on the sea front with its own private beach/sunbathing area directly in front of the hotel. You can park in a secure and private car park about five minutes walk away for a daily charge or the hotel will give you a free parking pass enabling to to use any of the public car parks in the town. The hotel itself is clean and airy, some of the rooms have been recently re-furbished so make sure you request one of these on booking and all offer spectacular views of the Gulf of Poets and the castle where we got married! We were given one of the side rooms which are larger than the others with two bedrooms and two good sized balconies. The bathroom/shower room was also very clean and spacious. Because of its side position our room kept lovely and cool during what must have one of the hottest Septembers in Italy on record.
Because of the occasion our family and friends also stayed here. Our wedding party practically took over the hotel. In fact we reserved our ten rooms almost a year in advance to ensure we could all be at the same place.
Maybe I was expecting too much from a three star hotel, but considering the occasion and that they were generating quite a lot of business from our stay at an off peak time of year I was expecting a very high level of customer care. This I didn't get. Before I say any more I must say the catering staff in the amazing top floor breakfast room were lovely. I couldn't fault them. However the reception staff were seriously lacking in customer service. On arrival I announced the reservation for my now husband and myself in italian and was met with a a rather miserable response. Clearly they would have recognised my name and would have been aware of the occasion as I had been emailing them constantly for almost a year, but I got nothing. No congratulations, no smile even... Shocking. Our family and friends were also met with similar responses and throughout our stay there was no warmth, no interest in our wedding, nothing that would make our stay at Hotel Shelley (a hotel with so much potential) extra special. Are they resting on their laurels a little with regards to their prime position? Possibly but surely customer service is THE key to success? I found them very unapproachable and even gave up trying to talk Italian as I found them quite indifferent and rude when I did. The final straw which is mentioned in my mother-in-law's review below is that on the day of the wedding as I left the hotel on route for the ceremony at the wonderful castle with my bridesmaids and father all dressed in our matrimonial finery there was no reaction from the reception staff! Totally unbelievable.
We refused to let the hotel staff ruin our stay and time in Lerici so please do not let this put you off visiting what must be one of the prettiest little seaside towns in Italy. Our whole time here was magical and there are so many pizzerias and cafes to eat at in the main piazza and the sea is great to swim in with some lovely beaches just further up the seafront past the hotel. My husband and I were sorry to leave Lerici when we did because it is really is a very special place. We highly recommend hiring a speed boat dinghy from the harbour and taking a two hour trip around the Golfo dei Poeti - SO beautiful! And the castle with its view of Lerici and the cinque terre is stunning but make sure you take the lift hidden under the castle just past the cafes, it's a long walk up there! Especially in a wedding dress!
I would give the location and hotel 5 stars but due to the awful level of customer service from the reception staff I can only give it three stars.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Shelley is located in a strategic position in front of the sea and offers the warm welcome of a private residence and modern services for meetings. All the rooms are equipped with private services, direct phone, tv, balcony with panoramic view on the "Gulf of the Poets". Bar, breakfast with panoramic view, meals for excursions. In summer time is available a large terrace right on the sea available with private access to the sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shelley Delle Palme Lerici
- Shelley Delle Palme Hotel