On a recent very busy 6 week holiday (I decided during the planning stage that I needed 3 days just to laze around a pool and relax for minimum of 3 nights) When I found the site of Hotel Helvetia, the sight of the beautiful lap pool overlooking the picturesque bay sold me. I was travelling alone and the 170 euro a night was great for this picture perfect setting.
I began to question my choice in the taxi en route as the driver spoke. He actually took me on a tour of the beautiful Sestri Lavante and whilst he did not say anything directly bad he did not say anything positive about my hotel choice. He did speak warmly of other establishments ( in my opinion)
Once there I was struck by the lack of hospitality. The gentleman who showed me to my room was terrible flustered but pleasant enough. The older lady behind the counter could not even acknowledege me with a smile. I had to ask where breakfast was served, where the pool was, where were the complimentary bikes, did they have a town map (which they did not produce). On the way to my room the gentleman told me I would be served a welcome drink (but not when or where) I was almost in my room when he said I would not be able to use the pool till later that day because a film crew were using it to shoot a commercial. I expressed my disappontment.
When I originally booked I had viewed all the rooms on the net and advised that I would go ahead with the booking but not the "green room" So I smiled when I entered the "green room" They had changed the bed cover from green to yellow...no problem really. The room was pleasant enough, the bathroom very modern and all very clean. I unpacked and found my bearings but realised that I would have to leave my room as the shouting from the camera crew was too noisy to enjoy the room or the balcony. Their wires and equipment were directly outside my room and they were constantly running by and shouting instructions etc. I went to explore the wonderful little town and thought I will be more ready for my swim at 5pm (when I was told the pool would be available)
Of course when I got back there was a change and I was told I would not be able to use until tomorrow. I said I would prefer to leave so the "flustered " man asked me to wait (I was left in reception with the older lady who sat behind the counter with no acknowledgement of my presence...I told her her hotel was lovely in broken Italian) When he returned he said I could use the private beach and asked me if I had enjoyed my welcome drink????? No where was the private beach and where was the drink. With all due respect to all concerned, I come from Australia where we can boast the most magnificent beaches, this was a grey shaley beach with a little rope dividing the general public from the private (the quaintness is a draw card which brings a smile to my face) I had my drink at the private bar, thank you and left to explore the town and thank fully I found a place (Hotel Grande Albergo which has marvellous helpful, welcoming staff and a roof top pool with wonderful views and they could accommodate me)
I advised the staff at Helvetia that I would be checking out in the morning (whilst in reception I heard another guest saying they had to unexpectedly leave in the morning)
The next day I went for breakfast and when I used the internet in reception I advised another lady that I would be leaving and thought I had paid for the first night could she get my bill. She spoke english but (in my opinion) she had no idea what my bill status was and indeed just mid "helping", left me high and dry and went to try and serve another guest. In frustration I left and went to my room to pack.
When I got upstairs my door was wide open, my bed had been stripped, bedding was piled high on my suitcase and it was only 9am. I tried to speak with the lovely housemaid who was in my room and discovered that she was under the impression I was staying (they must change sheets daily). Back to reception and the dizzy lady who was not aware that I was leaving. I informed her I had told reception the night before (two staff members present) Again I was in the middle of speaking to this younger woman (with pigtails) when she left me mid sentence to answer the telephone.
I went to my room, packed and out of a great disappointment could not wait to get out of there and START my relaxation. It was obvious there was a lack of communication here and their procedures were not up to scratch so I queried the payment of the first night because I mistakenly thought I had ( the next place I was staying at was also 170 euro and they had taken payment)
Well it took another 40 minutes before I could leave because it could not be sorted and I was by this time doubful of them. I explained this time to a gentleman (husband of the lady with pigtails) that they must have booked the commercial people in advance and it would have been curteous to advise guests on arrival and if they were not happy with this then they could offer to help them move elsewhere.
The Helvetia is a pretty place, all staff except reception were very nice, the pool area is wonderful and the view of the bay magnificent. Everything in gorgeous Sestri Levante is within walking distance. I could not recommend the Helvetia for the lack of hospitality and rudeness of reception...they reduced my bill to 100 euros without question so I should not complain but they cost me a day of my holiday which I was not happy about) I went on to have the time of my life and thankfully in part to the Grande Alberga and staff I have wonderful memories of Sestri Levante.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boutique hotel, direct to the beach, private pool overlooking the sea, tranquil and romantic hotel, perfect for couples Wi-Fi and bicycle free of charge ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Helvetia Hotel Sestri Levante