I wanted to recommend this hotel, I really did! But the owner of this hotel actually *yelled* at me in both Italian and broken English b/c I had forgotten my luggage there ("abandoned it" as she said) and she threatened to leave it at some police station on this Island for me to 'go pick up' while I was standing, luggage-less, in a Rome hotel some 4 hours away. Yikes. So that sums up the service at this hotel. :(
I DO however wish to thank BIANCA for getting my luggage back to me, even if it did take over a month, and I alone had to figure out where and how it should be shipped back, after many dozens of phone calls and emails. Unlike US, where if you forget luggage, you get it very next day at your next hotel, "no charge and no complaints", in Italy if you leave luggage behind by accident, it can easily ruin your entire vacation and you will think Federal charges will soon be filed against you - so learn this lesson well! Yikes.
Bianca who thank God knew enough English to communicate with us, went the 'extra mile' to get my things back and without yelling at me even once. Yah Bianca! Many thanks again. :)
So with that aside, here is my review...
Location & Beauty: Truly unbelievable. I agree with the reviewer who said "probably you never forget this hotel" as the location was BEYOND gorgeous. We had a lovely balcony with view of pool and sea. The sea sparkled from just over the red clay tiles of the hotel and there were tons of lovely vistas and tiny beachy paths to walk down to get to the sand, which is literally RIGHT below your hotel room. Very convenient! Yes there are lots of kids but they were well behaved and it was overall a very good mix of young, old, and everything in between. I think everyone would feel comfortable on that beach as it is so inclusive and Europeans have such a "whatever" attitude anyway. Nice!
Beach: Absolutely gorgeous. We rented a boat from Daniel's Boat Rental, which is just a shaky card table + chair propped up on the beach. :) BEST BOATING EXPERIENCE EVER!!! We felt like rock stars cruising around the Mediterranean in that FAST little boat and getting out to swim up to the various caves!! If you look down you'll see ship wrecks, fish of all kinds (eel, sharks, etc) so be careful! I'm sure snorkeling would have been great but we were just wanting to buzz around and lay out for sun. PERFECT. Boating here was THE BEST experience we had in Italy, hands down! We will never forget it!
Food: Always there is something open! This is key if, like us, you like to eat! Most of Italy "closes up shop" at various (highly unpredictable) times of day and then you will be stuck with noplace to get a meal for literally hours at a time. By US standards this is definitely strange so it was great to find this particular beach area where always there is SOME place to nosh - either in hotel or at one of the little kick back, feet in the sand, beach restaurants. Gelato choices were endless on the beach too - big plus! Had breakfast at hotel's restaurant (included in fee) and there was plenty to eat though nothing different from other hotels across Italy.
Lanuage Barrier: BIG problem here. We went in September and 95% of visitors were German. No English speakers whatsoever. Nice to be in a completely non English speaking area for a bit, b/c you feel as tho you are TRULY "away from it all"! But owners speak ONLY Italian. I do wish they knew some English so we could have talked easily. I love both languages but speak neither so communicating was truly impossible. You would be surprised how stressful this can get after a couple of days (and esp if you leave your luggage behind! Forget it!). Also all 3 of us got the feeling that Americans are not exactly "welcome" here, as in all of Italy, so if you are from US prepare yourself for that.
Spa: Didn't work as advertised. You pay $10 to use it for the hour. The "hyrdrotherapy tub" is NOT a hot tub whirlpool as you would assume. It is just BARELY lukewarm water, kind of chilly actually, and it has bubbles - that's all. We used it anyway and the view was pretty but it was COLD! The sauna did NOT work at all. It was not even plugged in. No apologies or refunds for that either. When we asked about it they said "oh well, the main tourist season is over". Ohhh-kay. But I paid $10 to use it? Not their problem. Right after we left, a group "ran in" behind us without paying their $10 and nobody busted them, even though we told the Front Desk about it. An hour later, they were still in there partying it up. :^o So apparently the $10 per hour 'fee' is pretty random. If you are dumb enough to go to the front desk like we did and tell them you are using the Hot Tub Area, then you WILL be charged but if you SNEAK in, apparently it is FREE. That's Italy tho in general. You have to shrug off a lot of things you see there.
Rooms: NO English channels on TV! Bummer. Tons of German & Italian stations tho. Even one station in English such as CNN would have been VERY very welcome as after 2 weeks in Italy we were wondering what is going on at home. Rooms were clean tho which is all we actually expected. Loved the balcony with the swimsuit 'dryers' and fantastic view, which is where we spent all out time, while not on the beach!
Friendliness: NOT friendly. By American standards, our group found them quite unfriendly and not at all 'welcoming'. I know in US we have much higher standards and in general "the customer is always right" does NOT exist in Italy whatsoever. So be forewarned!
In general, we LOVED the location so much that everything else was eclipsed by that. This is truly a one of a kind spot!
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- Also Known As:
- Barsalini Hotel Marciana
- Hotel Barsalini Elba Island/Marciana, Italy