Not a luxury apartment - maintenance items not fixed
Kitchen equipment laughable
Reception closed at 7pm so had to phone for attention
No wellness suite as promised
No cycle track as promised on site
Truly dreadful food in restaurant
I should preface this review with a word about me. I stay 200 nights a year in 4 and 5 star hotels all over the world. I am Gold or Platinum card on most loyalty schemes. I ran large (800 bedroom) London hotels and was in the business for 15 years. I have recently completed my professional diploma in vegetarian cookery with the Vegetarian Society. I can cook, I can run hotels at the highest level and I am a vegetarian.
We booked the Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi on a special deal. The promise of a Deluxe Suite with breakfast seemed great - particularly since there were things like a wellness suite on site.
Actually we seemed to have been allocated a Deluxe Apartment on arrival. Not sure since it was about 9pm and Reception had closed at 7pm (where did it say that in the booking?). We phoned the number on the closed door and a helpful young man showed us where our room was (Adriatico apartment - is that a luxury suite?) and helped with luggage.
Still it was a nice room on two floors and warm. No food available anywhere because it was Easter Sunday and 9pm. Restaurant closed and nothing else open in Castel di Lama. OK - bienvenuto in Italia. We drove to Ascoli and bought takeaway pizza and beer (Luxury? Italy?)
The kitchenette was two electric hotlpates, two saucepans, a wooden spoon, a sieve and a grater with lots of plates, bowls and the cheapest cutlery imaginable. More like a team building challenge than a luxury apartment. No knives to cut anything with. The design of the kitchenette meant the electric kettle cable trailed over the two hotplates - bad design. No freezer - only a fridge which was in the lounge not the kitchen - hmm feeling less luxurious by the moment.
Nice weather next day - let’s exercise in the wellness room. Oops closed for refurbishment along with the swimming pool - where did it say that in the booking?
Breakfast was adequate if uninteresting and very limited on options on the buffet. One or two pastry items became familiar faces over the next two days.
Still we had brought bikes with us from the UK to cycle to Ascoli Piceno or down to San Benedetto del Tronto which “can also be reached along a splendid cycle path from Ascoli” according to the hotel’s website. This came as a big surprise and shock to the Tourist Information people in Ascoli Piceno. There is no cycle path from Ascoli to the coast and definitely nothing that goes near Castel di Lama. They should know - particularly since one of the staff lives in castel di Lama. The joy was starting to pale. We had brought bikes to cycle but couldn’t and there was no exercise facility as promised.
Back to the hotel. The two safes didn’t work so we couldn’t lock anything away, the handle in the shower had no central screws so fell off in your hand, the sliding door on the bathroom had no handle on the inside so could not be shut and the plug in the whirlpool bath could not be released. “Luxury” term now becoming laughable. All reported to reception in writing. News came back that most could not be fixed. The plug in the whirlpool bath was taken out - so no bath possible but at least it emptied - but of course you couldn’t fill it because there was now no plug.
The phone rang next day and someone asked us if we wanted to move since we were unhappy with some things. At this point we decided it might not be better anywhwere else given the standards we had seen so far so stayed. A bottle of Prosecco appeared that night - nicely displayed on the table with a corkscrew (?).
The restaurant seemed very closed so we ate in. next morning (April 3rd) we asked if the restaurant was actually closed. No, of course not, it is open. Great let’s book for tonight at 8pm. By the way one of us is vegetarian - no problem at all the chef will be able to accommodate that.
At 8pm we entered the empty restaurant and got the table d’hote menu. Hmm nothing much vegetarian - but one main course looked a possibility.
One of us ordered the lamb - sorry chef says only fried lamb tonight. OK and what are the “verdure stagione” - chef says only grilled vegetables tonight there are no “verdure stagione”. Wow this menu went out of date quickly - we were the first through the door. The web site talked of a kitchen garden that “enable us to offer guests tasty and natural ingredients all year round” - Not tonight apparently.
I asked if Insalata Caprese was possible as a starter. Of course. What arrived was about twelve wedges of tomato with two balls of mozzarella. Not sliced? No basil? No dressing? Luxury restaurant? Insalat Caprese? Not bad for a student but not a restaurant standard.
The lamb dish was one lamb cutlet deep fried to extinction covered in nuts propped on a bed of fried vegetables - noticing a frying theme here? The grilled vegetables (which arrived some time later) were two slices of aubergine and a piece of pepper on a side plate. The aubergine was warm the orange pepper was peeled, soggy and not cooked that day.
My main course was pasta in a watery sauce with halved cherry tomatoes and bits of mushroom. If my student son had served that in his bedsit I would have been disappointed. On “Master Chef” they would have asked “What were you thinking?” Truly awful cookery, badly designed, made, seasoned and presented.
Another table of three Italians seemed to be receiving much more attention - they were getting a tasting menu that seemed to run to eight or nine course. Lucky them. Each dish arrived with a full explanation and they seemed surprised and delighted. We were never shown that menu.
Dessert - two or three items verbally described. I chose some kind of semi freddo/mousse. A bought in thing with a swirl aerosol cream on top and squeezy chocolate sauce out of a tube. Nice at the burger bar - not in Ristorante Borgo. I asked for a doppio espresso to go with it. Got a sweet little stove top coffee pot of coffee. Nice but not a doppio espresso…
OK let’s pay and leave. No sign of anyone so we went to the desk. Could hear voices in kitchen - perhaps discussing the next delicious course for the three Italians on the next table. Waited another five minutes then left.
Phone call on Thursday morning - perhaps to ask if we were enjoying our stay. No it was to ask what time were leaving on Friday. Hmm perhaps we are in the way of someone important coming in.
Went to reception at 1100 on Friday - seemed to irritate a young Italian woman who was holding a Skype telephone conference at the reception desk. Was she perhaps the owner or manager? Who knows? She called a receptionist to deal with us. We were told we had to go to the restaurant to pay our 73 Euro bill since it was a different business.
Having lost the will to give feedback by this time I went and searched the kitchens for David - he had been our helpful (but slightly unshaven) waiter the night of the dreadful dinner. I paid and left.
We will not go back. We can not ever recommend this place. It seemed like a good idea but the standards of hotel keeping, cuisine, maintenance and customer service are a very long way below their luxury promise. At three stars this would have been irritating but expected. At this level completely unacceptable. My advice would be to find some professionals to run this place or give up and just do weddings and functions (with a much better chef).
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Travel Republic (UK), Priceline, Ebookers, Booking.com, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi Hotel Castel Di Lama
- Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi Italy/Castel Di Lama