The drive to the hotel - in my case from Palermo - was stunning: beautifully green with dramatic contrasting views of mountains, vineyards, sea and ancient ruins. The same can't be said for the setting of the hotel itself, sadly. Located on a highway that runs between Castelvetrano and Selinunte, it's far from the most idyllic or perfect for anyone that relishes long, scenic walks or runs. Well placed though, for a traveller seeking car hire, in order to explore - with plenty of parking spaces available and easy road access to Sicily's bounteous offerings.
Recently-built, the four star hotel lives up to Italian style expectations. The rooms are spacious and clean. The room fittings are top-quality, the shower is excellent (even for someone who relishes a bath). The artwork on the walls is attractively modern and continues the stylish theme (although it may not be top-of-the-pops with traditionalists). There were far too few hangers in my wardrobe (perhaps should learn to travel lighter) but the chambermaids obligingly and speedily brought me more. A small criticism would be that there are too few draws/storage areas provided, so toiletries, books, cosmetics etc., need to be left out on surfaces. A good safe was provided; the air-conditioning functioned well and could be easily self-adjusted, within certain parameters. My little terrace with two chairs and a small table offered side views over the outside drinks area, pool and panoramic vistas.
The common parts of the hotel continue the stylish theme. There were nice touches too, at the side of reception, with the large wooden bookshelves replete with help-yourself novels and magazines (mostly in English thanks to the mainstay of the recent clientele). I found reception staff generally smiling and helpful with a wide range of requests. Admittedly, I had the advantage of being able to converse in Italian. When it came to checking-out my bill had many errors but when I pointed them out they were investigated and corrected, with a smile, so I paid the correct amount.
The breakfast buffet was copious and comprehensive, the staff smiling and helpful. The breakfast soundtrack was sometimes amusing; notably one day featuring a gladiatorial theme; when I jokingly commented on this to the staff they told me they needed energising that day! The evening meals were a good standard, with an emphasis on fish (so great for non-meat eater) and pasta; vegetarians were also obligingly accommodated for. Highlights, for me, included the 'caponata' (a Sicilian aubergine, tomato and olive speciality), the fresh artichoke hearts, the grilled local fish and the fabulous minestrone.
The small gym had several 'out-of-order' machines but those that were working helped compensate for the fact that I couldn't run outside due to the (slightly perilous) highway setting. The swimming pool area was fabulous and vast with comfortable loungers. Although some debate ensued - especially after heavy storms - as to how adequate sterilisation levels of the water were. Due to the location, it wasn't appropriate, either, to have post-dinner walk so we tended to congregate in the eclectically pretty bar or outside seating area. This made for some convivial and fun evenings amongst a largely like-minded and very friendly crowd.
If you're considering staying here, appreciate the value and the hard-working staff but don't limit yourself to the confines of the hotel. Take advantage of the free people-carrier, that will transport you to nearby Selinunte each morning, to enjoy the fabulous beach and unmissable Carthaginian ruins. Get the local bus (which stops right outside) and wander around attractively authentic, unspoilt Castelvetrano. If you can arrange - or get onto - a tour, don't neglect to explore and admire the mediaeval wonders of breath-taking Erice, (around 75 minutes drive away).
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- Also Known As:
- Esperidi Park Resort
- Esperidi Park Castelvetrano
- Esperidi Park Hotel Sicily/Castelvetrano, Italy